Amazing Anda-man!

13th Mar 2022
Photo of Amazing Anda-man! by Rho

It had been 3 years since I last went on a trip. It was to Kodaikanal, which was just a regular outing, getting a break from normal life. Andaman has been more than a year in the making. Fitting in all the desired places in 5 days and coming up with the best ways to achieve it on a small budget was not gonna be an easy task. We had to leave some places due to limited time and some due to budget. But ultimately, we sketched a near perfect plan. Until it all started going haywire at regular intervals!

When you have a big group of 9 people for the trip, things need to be planned a bit more attentively. Covid restrictions had made it harder and unpredictable. In the 3rd week of December, when we booked our flights, we got divided into 3 groups based on who got which flight at a low price. We hit a little snag in January when the restrictions were back in place due to Covid. We hoped and waited. Fortunately, the plan was intact as the restrictions were eased for tourism. Forward to Feb 2nd week, the first group's IndiGo flight got cancelled. We dug deeper into the issue and we found out that Port Blair Airport will remain closed from Tuesday till Friday every week until May because of runway revamping. Surprise motherfucker! We waited and waited with no other choice. After a few days, the second group's GoFirst flight got cancelled too. Well, we were down and under. Everything was set in place. We had booked almost everything like accomodation, jetty service, a day package from a tour operator… just anything that needed to be pre booked. But the plan was almost off. Just when we almost denied ourselves the pleasure of the Andaman trip, we pulled a rabbit out of our hats.

Our original itinerary was from 15th to 20th March. Since 15th was a Tuesday, we rescheduled the flight to 14th morning (which was a Monday) from Chennai. Instead of different groups, it was now all of us in the same flight except one person who was gonna catch up with us directly at PB as she was coming from Ranchi. We had to adjust our entire itinerary. Two good things: one was our accommodation was flexible, thanks to the owners and the other was that my good friend who planned this trip with me had mistakenly booked the Port Blair - Havelock ferry on 15th instead of 16th. Now that an extra day was added to the trip at the starting, that "mistake" turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Let's get into the trip.

Day 0, March 13th:

Out of 9 people, one was from Jharkhand as I mentioned earlier. So, she was gonna take a flight from Ranchi to Kolkata (layover) and to Port Blair. But the rest of us had booked a train from Bengaluru to Chennai. Train was at 10:30pm and we all met at the Kengeri railway station in Bengaluru. It didn't take us long to depart the place. Train was right on time. We all slept partially during the whole journey, with one or two of us being awake at any given time.

Day 1

March 14th

By 7am, we reached the Chennai railway station. We took a metro from the station to the airport. This helped cut our time and expense a lot. At the airport, we just freshened up a bit after which we checked in. Our GoFirst flight was set to depart Chennai at 10:30am. Everyone from the group were not experienced flight goers. Some of us were just involved in zig-zag paths to figure out things. We had a mini breakfast there because alas, we were in an airport and everything was costly. But without any hiccups or a delay, we checked in to our respective seats and the flight left at the right time. We reached Port Blair's Veer Savarkar airport by 12:30pm as expected. But with so much of rush, people coming in and going out of the airport and such a huge line of people waiting at the baggage area, it took us some time to finally come out with our luggages. And there our friend was already waiting for us. She had landed a few minutes ago and was waiting for us. It had been 2 years since our last meeting, thanks to Covid. One long hug, a quick chit chat and off we went. We took two cars at the airport itself and we went to the Airbnb we had booked that was right at the center of the city. It was 2pm by the time we reached the place. It was not huge but nice and spacious enough with 3 rooms to accomodate 9 people. Even the hall had both a sofa and a huge bed. We settled into our respective rooms however we saw fit and some laid down on the bed while some freshened up. We took full advantage of our tiredness and the time to be lazy.

Initially, our plan for the evening was to visit Cellular Jail and a stroll around the city. But turns out, Cellular Jail was closed on Mondays, so we ended up going nowhere. In the late evening some of us just went on a stroll to bring some food and other stuff. We played some card games for the rest of the day and went out to a nearby place for dinner. We sat and talked for a while and then crashed on the bed waiting for tomorrow.

Off we go...

Photo of Port Blair by Rho

Almost there!

Photo of Port Blair by Rho
Day 2

March 15th

Many might disagree with this, but our plan was unorthodox as we didn't stay at Port Blair. We were leaving for Havelock this day itself. We had booked a Makruzz ferry which would leave for Havelock at 10:30am. It's not that all the luggage were totally unpacked but whatever was out, we packed them and left the Airbnb by 8am. We called the same cab service whom we had hired yesterday and booked the same to reach the docking. None of us had ever been on a ferry before and damn, didn't we love the experience! It was fascinating to say the least. Unending view of the sea all the while you are just chilling inside a huge boat. It was a 2 hour journey so by 12:45 we were at Havelock. It was amazing how they park ferries so perfectly. It took quite a bit of time to recognize and get our luggages because they keep on unloading them at a rapid pace. It was hot af, just how it should have been on a usual summer day at Andaman.

We headed straight to the hotel we booked called Golden Pebble. It was quite difficult to find to be honest but the place was perfect for us. We checked into our rooms while also enquiring about food and two-wheelers for rent. This day was meant to be our lazy exploration. We did expect the crowd but the island experienced a huge influx of tourists and travelers during this exact week. Our plan flipped on us in such a way that we couldn't even get 2-wheelers on rent. We contacted 8-10 rental agencies, and threw our hands wherever we could but no luck. All we managed was to get 1 vehicle which was of no use. It was disappointing, I know. But we couldn't let one more evening go to waste.

Jetty at the Havelock Island

Photo of Havelock Island by Rho

We hired 2 cars and by 4pm, we headed to Radhanagar beach. We ate some food and drank coconut water. We spent a bit of time there before moving on to the beach. Oh Radhanagar, ain't you a beauty! I had not come across such a picturesque beach before. No wonder why this is one of the best beaches in the world and one of the cleanest beaches in Asia. White sand beach, amazing sunset and completely surrounded by green and mountains. Because of the crowd, we got separated where one group was at extreme left and the other paraded towards the extreme right. The beach stretches and just goes on to the right until you come across Neil's Cove. It's absolutely amazing. People including me who were on the left side just kept walking to explore more of the beach and after a while, in mid way, others met us. It was getting really late by then and we couldn't enjoy as much as we had thought. But one thing we definitely did was to take an alternate, half through-the-woods route while going back in the dark. Not everyone joined us though. It was me and one of my friends. While everyone went back to the hotel, my friend and I took a detour to go fill the form for the next day's Scuba Diving plan to Sands Marina resort where the dive center was present. We talked with the instructor for a while who was my friend's dad's friend. She was really good at walking us through the basic stuff. Once done, we walked back to Golden Pebble and had dinner with the rest of the group.

Radhanagar Beach

Photo of Radhanagar Beach by Rho

Radhanagar, you beauty! Hue couldn't be better.

Photo of Radhanagar Beach by Rho
Day 3

March 16th

This day had been rightly termed as an "Activity day". We had to wake up and be ready by 6am. We were then picked up from the hotel by the scuba team. By 7am we were at the spot. They started by giving out the forms that the rest of the group had not filled. They then began with instructions and abouts of Scuba via a small presentation. Since we were 9 people, we were divided into two groups. We wore the suit and all the necessary equipment post which we had a 15 minute training session. My Osmo Action was waiting for this day. Honestly, what we did during training felt harder to do than what we actually did later in the diving. We were then taken to the dive site "Tribe Gate", a 5 minute drive in the boat to the middle of nowhere. It was a perfect time for scuba. This place was a visual treat as well. The crystal clear waters, the perfect weather, adrenaline rush in us… just splendid to say the least. We got geared up and listened to the last few words from the instructor and then one by one we dived into the waters. For the full Scuba experience, you can watch it and read it here:
As we returned, the next group was ready to go. We sat there talking, looking at the pictures and videos taken by them while we also got our certificates.

You can check out these IG handles for the more scenic stuff of the whole trip: the.sarcastic.one_ and viganesha_hr and sgagankumar

We were still constantly trying to hire 5 two-wheelers. I mean how hard could it be? We tried contacting 10+ rental agencies and again the same people whom we tried yesterday as well. Finally, we managed to get 5 vehicles. 4 scooty and 1 bike. 5 of us went to get them while the rest stayed inside the lobby of a hotel. We had to, it was damn hot. Next stop was Elephanta beach. We had chosen to go via trek. By 11:30am, we left for the starting point of the trek. We parked our vehicles, hired a guide and bought whatever snacks we could and started right away. It was a decent 45-minute trek and we were at the beach. There were none at the entry point but then there were many once we were near the activity booking counters. We all opted for different games. I went parasailing, the view here being the sole reason. It lived up to my expectations. Never ending blue waters stretched well beyond the eyes could see. Then I went jet-skiing as well. It went like zoooom. Didn't know when I started and when I ended but they did give me a chance to ride it in the middle. It was getting late as in Andaman, sun sets and rises an hour early and yet it's considered in the same IST zone. So, a little conflict over here. 4:30pm was the closing time for all time activities here. We took some pictures, ate food and started walking back.

Trek to Elephant Beach

Photo of Elephant Beach by Rho

View while Parasailing

Photo of Elephant Beach by Rho

Next thing was out of the books for us. Since we couldn't cover Radhanagar beach enough, we rode back to the beach. This time again while some of us stayed in the middle (as we were initially unaware of what lay on the extreme right side), others went to the end of the beach on the right side. That's where I had mentioned Neil's Cove is present. It's just amazing. I initially didn't go there thinking it was nothing but once I went, it blew my mind. My friends managed to capture the entire sunset on the camera. We stood there getting lost with every passing minute. Once it was dark, we started walking back. But again in the middle we took a detour. Instead of walking on the beach sand, we explored a different route, again through the woods but a different path. Only this time everyone joined us. It could have been a perfect setup to create a feeling of horror short movie… woods, weird sounds, dark, isolated… it had everything. We were not even 100% sure whether this path was leading to the exit itself. But then we saw the lights and sighed. Some of us went back right away. But some stayed here shopping for souvenirs. Unknowingly, we spent almost an hour buying stuff. Journey back to the hotel was so peaceful and chilled with a cool breeze brushing us. I didn't even try to ride fast because I just wanted to inhale every moment of this. It was around 8:30pm by the time we reached our rooms. We freshened up and joined others in the dining hall. We ordered food there and had our dinner talking about our day and stuff.

I wonder how much effort crabs put in for this.

Photo of Radhanagar Beach by Rho

Neil's Cove

Photo of Radhanagar Beach by Rho

Neil's Cove

Photo of Radhanagar Beach by Rho
Day 4

March 17th

Our cruise back to Port Blair was at 9:15 but before that we had another place to attend to. It was an early morning call from Kalapatthar. We woke up very early, by 4am. Kalapatthar beach was about 7kms from our hotel. We rode on the two-wheelers that we still had. It was so dark and yet so peaceful. We parked our vehicles and walked to the beach. There were already some people waiting for the sunrise while some were busy setting up the cameras. We kept walking until we struck a perfect place to capture the whole process of sunrise. While my friend set his DJI Pocket 2 in slow-mo, I set my Osmo Action in the regular video mode. The whole capture time was for about 45 minutes at the least. It was so beautiful that we felt we struck gold in the form of this sunrise. Once the sun was up, we took a few group pictures and walked back to the parking area. While going back, I had to make a quick stop because I have this weird habit of collecting sand from every place I go. I had forgotten to fill the bottle at every beach here until now so I didn't want to miss this as well. Fortunately, my friend was ready too. And we both got down in the middle and found a place where we could crawl towards the end of the beach. We filled the small bottle with sand and resumed our journey back. We didn't have a lot of time left so freshened up and packed all our bags. Some had to go to return the vehicles so they went back after the rest of us got down at the port. We literally ran against the time there. We waited and waited, so much that I had to send the girls to the ship and I stood with the security asking them to wait. It was 9:15, the departure time of the cruise. For some reason, I was not worried but instead I was like Huh, get ready for one more misadventure. But just when I started calculating the future possibilities, they arrived. We ran and just ran until we saw the ship still standing there. We put our luggages at the back and accelerated inside. And I broke out of the misadventure story that my mind was already weaving. Just as we boarded the cruise, the crew confirmed that all members were on board and it departed on time.

Sunrise at Kalapatthar Beach

Photo of Kala Pathar Beach by Rho

We reached Port Blair and called the same cab operator and went back to the same Airbnb we had stayed at when we first arrived. As for the rest of the day's plan, we didn't have much time. We had planned to visit Chidiya Tapu. Instead of taking two cars, we went for 1 car and rented a two-wheeler. By 12pm, we left the place. It was a 2 hour journey to Chidiya Tapu. Chidiya Tapu just by itself isn't much. It's just another regular beach but small in size and a variety of seashells. We ate some food on the way and took whatever snacks we could. Our main spot was Munda Pahar. Before starting the trek, we were instructed to be back at the starting point by 4:30. I knew it was going to be awesome but I didn't know how awesome the trek itself would be. It didn't take much time for me to get separated from the rest of my team. I just couldn't stop my feet from cruising through the trail. I wanted to reach the point as soon as possible to spend as much time there as I could. But damn this trek… it kept forcing all of us to put brakes and stop here and there. Those little openings in the woods led us to some breathtaking views of the azure sea in regular intervals. It takes 45 minutes max to reach the peak and it took just a few minutes less than that for us to arrive. I guess the party arrived late for me as well! What's amazing about this place is that although once you reach the peak, it's not actually the end. We could see all the 3 sides of the sea merge into one but few of us had decided to go till the end. The rocks are kind of partially blocked as a precautionary step but it's not to stop you from continuing the trek, at least not yet. In a couple of months, it would totally be blocked and visitors won't be able to proceed further till the end. So, few of us carried on. It's a zig-zag, up-down, rocky path to go through. As adventurous as it is, it involves fear and danger factors too. So, just be careful if you do go there (assuming it is still open when you go). Munda Pahar, according to me, is the best till date. The sea stretches off into infinity and just doesn't seem to end. We did spot one or two ships out in the far. Along with us, there were 4-5 people who decided to come till the end and we had a conversation with them as well, but we stayed there for the longest time. I just didn't want to return but alas, this mesmerizing view had to come to an end. At exactly 3:45, we started going back. We reached the peak and saw that others had already left. But we met them on the trail and reached Chidiya Tapu just at the right time to witness the sunset. Collected some unique seashells even.

This place still has some reminiscence of the tsunami, uprooted trees and disfigured spots clearly vouching for that incident. We drank tender coconut and then returned. But as we entered the city, my friend and I got down in order to return the 2-wheeler that we had rented while the rest headed back to the place. It took a while to get this work done since the owner was confused and a bit absent-minded. And then we couldn't get any auto for almost 20 minutes so we decided to walk until we hit a sweet spot where autowalas would care to stop for us. xD And oh man didn't they charge a hefty amount of money! Our day ended here. Once in the room, it was all dinner, playing cards and talking. We also confirmed the plan for the next day with the ExperienceAndaman tour operator with respect to timing and all. We had booked a day package for Baratang Island (2 vehicles of course!). We were told to be ready by 3am.

On our way to Munda Pahar.. but whatta sight this was!

Photo of Chidiya Tapu Beach by Rho

At the edge of the world.. I mean Munda Pahar! Absolute beauty.

Photo of Chidiya Tapu Beach by Rho
Day 5

March 18th

As told, we were all ready by 3am. But the cars came a little late and by the time we left, it was almost 4am. Our heartbreak happened when we had our first pit stop and we were told by the drivers that there's a long waiting list and there's a high chance that we might end up having to choose between two places as opposed to covering both. As per the plan, the primary place was Baratang Island and from there it was going to be Mangrove Creek, Limestone Caves and Mud Volcano. We stopped there for more than an hour. Drivers were in constant touch for updates with some officials and tour operator. But all of that was in vain. At the end before resuming our journey, we were asked to choose. After a lot of digesting news and thinking of which place to go for, we ended up in two different groups. 4 of us chose Mud Volcano (I was one of them) and 5 opted for Mangrove Creek and Limestone Caves.

Baratang Island lies between South end Middle Andaman. When we reached this place, we traversed through the Jarawa Reserve Forest Area and we need special permission from the government to enter. All this was taken care of by ExperienceAndaman. The Jarawa Tribe is one of the most primitive tribes known to us.
More than the journey, time spent in a long queue of vehicles was tiresome. We witnessed some occasional showers. In the Jiraktang village, there were nearby stalls and hotels and in between the gap, some of us had breakfast. Then we resumed our journey through the forest. Army personnel in their vehicles are to be escorted all the vehicles in and out of the island. Stopping the vehicles, taking photographs, or entertaining any kind of activity is prohibited here. There have been cases where things were stolen, vehicles were messed with and all such things. So even if we spot the tribal people, we were told to not do anything. Once we reached the checkpost, our drivers got down for the formalities and we entered the island. At the docking point, there was a vast parking space where we parked the vehicles and then headed near the ship. It was around 9am when we reached. This is the Middle Strait Checkpost/Jetty. The ferry here was so huge that big vehicles like cars and even the buses fit in, apart from the passengers. We need to buy a ticket once we get in, it costs 12/- for each. It has a facility where we can go to the upper floor and from there we can see as much of the first area that's visible. We were able to spot the dense mangrove trees. On the ship, we finally got to see the indigenous Jarawa people close up. From my guess, I would say all of them in that small boat are from the same family. This ferry took us to Nilambar Jetty, Baratang Island.

For us, the group which chose Mud volcano, it was a 20 minute ride to the entrance point of the mud volcano, through the narrow half-baked road. We went through a village (name of which I don't remember) to reach there. From the entry point, it was a small 5 minute walk on the stairway to the volcanic point. This place hosts India's only mud active volcano. Mud volcanoes are as similar to actual volcanoes as they are distinct. There is no magmatic activity involved here. It's just mud, slurry, gasses, water bubbling up from inside the ground and forming a dome structure until it overflows. To be honest, I was not that excited looking at it. The weather was so damn hot. But all of them were small. Some were tiny even. Nevertheless, it was fun and cute to look at them. After a while, we started walking down and rested near the shade where they had put a circular dome. We sat there talking for a while till the jeep arrived to pick us up. On our way back, we had lunch at one of the restaurants. Going by how crowded it was, it was the place's most famous. Then we went back to the same spot and sat on the bamboo jetty waiting for others to come back from Limestone Caves.

Bubbling it up!

Photo of Mud Volcano - ಮಣ್ಣಿನ ಜ್ವಾಲಾಮುಖಿ by Rho

Mud Volcano

Photo of Mud Volcano - ಮಣ್ಣಿನ ಜ್ವಾಲಾಮುಖಿ by Rho

For Limestone Caves, it's a 2-part ride. One on a small boat from Nilambar Jetty till the starting point of the trek. Boat name was Coral. 20 minutes into the ride, the boat entered the narrow canopy of dense mangrove trees. It seemed like an eternal green tunnel. A few minute ride through this mesmerizing winding way led us to the Nayadara Jetty, which is nothing more than a walking trail made of bamboo and trees. This is the second part. It was like entering a green village. It was around 600-800 meters walk through the tree-trail, muddy and soiled trail. Same path and yet you walk on a path made of different constituents. Soon we reached the cave entrance. Inside of the cave was probably 3-fold darker than how it seemed on the outside. Even when the weather on the island outside of this was hot, it was dark and cool inside. The guide walked us through the caves and explained about them. Once you go deep, you will see the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. It was some quality time there. Once done, it was the same path back to Nayadara Jetty then to Nilambar Jetty. We had some snacks there only as we didn't have much time left and others waiting at the bamboo shades.

In a boat amidst Mangrove Forest

Photo of Limestone Cave Baratang by Rho

Reaching the Jetty, starting point of the trail

Photo of Limestone Cave Baratang by Rho

Limestone Cave

Photo of Limestone Cave Baratang by Rho

The last ship was gonna leave in a few minutes. So, we had to hurry and got into the same ferry that we used to reach here. From the Middle Strait, we got into our respective vehicles and left. Everyone dozed off and had some sleep at some point in time once we got into our respective vehicles. 3 hour journey back to the apartment. On our way back, we were hinted that the cyclone Asani was nearing Andaman by the drivers and possible flight cancellations depending on the severity of Asani. By 6pm, we reached Airbnb. It was a tiresome day.

Well well well… things started going awry. Well, who were we kidding when we thought the trip was going smoothly! As Asani was nearing Andaman, we were seeing its effects. Next day was supposed to be a casual outing day for all of us, depending on personal preferences. My plan was to cover Ross Island in the day and Cellular Jail in the evening after which I would just roam the city at night. Some of them were in for this plan so we went on the website to book tickets for Cellular Jail for tomorrow, but there was flashing news on the booking page which said, “All the activities in the main island have been cancelled due to cyclone”. Just another heartbreak in the list of many that we have been through. Weather in the room started getting worrisome, glum faces all around. Moreover, we would be again segregated into groups for flights, all our flights were scheduled for day after tomorrow at different timings. Except for one guy who was leaving early i.e., tomorrow. The same worry started getting reflected on some of the parents' faces when they heard the news. As mentioned earlier, one of us was from Ranchi. So, her flight was from PB to Ranchi at 8am, 20th March. She was getting tense and she wanted to leave as soon as possible even if it meant catching any flight today itself. But somehow we convinced her to calm down and stay. Because we still were not sure when the cyclone would be hitting Andaman. 20th, 21st, 22nd… it was too confusing and the social media, news confused us even more. They said it would be 22nd initially then 20th then 21st. And it actually didn't hit the island but just passed by it on the 20th eventually. We just stayed in for the rest of the day, ordered food from outside and played cards. Even in such weather, they did deliver our food.

Day 6

March 19th

We woke up to the smell of rain and the sound of thunder in the middle of March on an Island that was supposed to be humid and hot. As mentioned earlier, one person was departing early on a 1pm flight to Bengaluru. Looking at the downpour chaos was all around in the house/Airbnb, survival instincts began to kick in. We were planning on stocking fruits/grocery at home imagining the worst case scenario. But things went awry, yet again, as the girl who was supposed to leave on 8am flight tomorrow just got notified that her flight got canceled.This created a domino effect of stress between everyone and instantly all eyes were on their individual phones to check if their flights were delayed/canceled too. In between this chaos, the guy who was supposed to leave today was all packed and set to leave for Bengaluru and some of us helped him walk down the street from where we were able to hire an auto to the airport. And the girl whose flight got canceled was on a mission to leave the island and reach mainland India on any next available flight and any destination as she was worried. She packed her luggage and waved goodbye to the group and went to the Airport to book the next available flight. I tagged along with her to Airport and helped her in any way possible.

Airport was just a mess! Like hers, many other airlines too started canceling the flights and everyone was in a hurry to catch any available flight to any mainland city. We were literally running against the time and not to forget such a heavy rain. We both were at the counter and trying to check the available flights and book but as expected there was only one flight (same as the one that our other friend was in) and it was to Bengaluru at 1:30pm. When we started talking, there were about 7-8 seats and in no time as she was talking with her family on the phone, there remained just 1 seat. When we decided to book, one more guy came behind us to book it. He was so frustrated, worried and in a hurry that he just was not listening. Neither to me nor the ground hostess, even though we were already booking the last available seat for my friend. Eventually we did manage to book but that didn’t stop this stranger from raging on us. I stopped paying attention and just helped her get in. Once she got in, I bid her goodbye and returned to the auto. That stranger meanwhile was glaring at me. Well, I hope you reached home safe and sound my friend.

I returned to Airbnb after knowing that she was safely onboard the same plane as that of our friend was on to Bengaluru. My friends wanted to buy souvenirs to give to friends and family, so they had booked a cab to pick them up at 4pm which would take them to Aberdeen Market. On reaching the market, it had stopped raining for some time and my friends were able to shop for everything they needed to buy. On their way back home in the cab, all of a sudden some phones started to chime at the same time. After looking at their phone, they started to panic as Indigo canceled all the flights that were scheduled to depart from PB tomorrow. Unfortunately, I was booked on that flight too. Now, we started looking for alternatives. Pretty sure their customer support was getting flooded with calls and messages from all the panicked people on the island. There were a lot of mishaps happening and our brains were not functioning completely to make definite decisions. While some were busy talking to customer support, I was busy searching for alternate flights. On my phone, I was ready with one flight on Ixigo while on the laptop, I was ready with the seat selection on the GoFirst flight scheduled for tomorrow (same flight that the other group was in). I guess we were a bit late in doing things fast as we couldn't confirm any of these flights for tomorrow. We ended up just confirming the full refund for the cancelled flight and paying more than double of our original flight charge for the GoFirst flight scheduled for the 21st to Bengaluru. The other group which was on a GoFirst flight didn't get any kind of update on flight cancellation at all. GoFirst customer care just kept on informing them that there's no cancellation as of now and flight is scheduled as per the timing. We went from hating GoFirst to preferring it in a span of this trip; they stood up to their tagline, “GoFirst: where you come first”. To conclude, one group’s flight was on schedule, another group had to take in this mess and ended up booking a GoFirst flight scheduled for 21st., 2 people left today itself: one as per plan and the other with no choice.

Day 7

March 20th

Everyone was asleep at peace, but woke up to the noise of the very first flight that was landing that day, it was none other than a GoFirst flight. This was salt to our wounds while there was excitement in the other group! Our Airbnb was aligned right on the path to the Airport's runway, so we constantly were able to hear and see flights arriving and departing from the island. The group who were to depart today was excited as they were confirmed that they would be leaving the island as per scheduled time. They started to pack their stuff up and got ready to leave, while on the other hand we were just sitting there and looking at them hoping that their flight gets canceled too.This is when we realized that we had stocked up more food than required in Airbnb for the cyclone situation. So, we started to send stuff with the group as much as possible as we didn't wanna waste any food. Soon the clock hit 11 and their cab had come on time to pick them up. They left us causing yet another heartbreak, to add on top of this once they reached the airport and were done with security checks, they sent us a picture of their flight waiting on tarmac to get them boarded.
Trust me, you don’t wanna know how we spent our day. I can either kill you with boredom or I let you live. We spent the whole day just lost in our own worlds, except a couple of times when we came together to have food, or to play games or go out. We went out for dinner and walked around for a few minutes and went back to the flat. If there’s an award for the laziest day spent on any vacation or trip staying in and doing nothing, then it should go to us.

Day 8

March 21st

Never before have I woke up wanting to leave the place and end the trip with such a huge smile on my face until now. Flight was rescheduled, it was running on time now, everything was done. But when your luck is so bad, somewhere deep inside, you would still have a bad feeling about this. That’s me. But fortunately, nothing as such happened. We called up the same cab service and booked it for 11am. Meanwhile, we got ready and packed our bags making sure nothing was left behind. We locked the place and handed the key over to the maid and left the place. We never looked back. Once inside the airport, we were welcomed with even more of a rush and long queues. All the left out people were going back today, just like us. It was a good thing we checked in early. Everything was smooth until we reached Bengaluru.

Who would have expected that even after reaching the Bengaluru airspace, we might not go home. As soon as the flight’s descent began and we were nearing the runway, rain and winds were so heavy that the pilot barely managed to land it safely. Few passengers got out while few like us got stuck inside waiting for the weather to get better. As we stood inside, I overheard the conversation when the pilot mentioned that 2 minutes early and we would have had to divert our flight to a different place. Oh man! Never ending roller-coaster. We ate pizza and took a cab. One by one, we got down at our desired stops. I got down at Mysore Road metro station and took a metro to Majestic. My long journey was not done yet. I had a bus scheduled at 9:30pm to my native. Another 10 hour long journey. “You’re there, you’re almost there”, the voice inside me was telling once I got into the bus. “Stfu, I am done”, I said and dozed off.