In Feb 2016, we were invited by my brother in-law to join in with them in a proposed trip to North-East region of our country. In fact, he and his colleagues enjoy every year a week long family pleasure trip to one or the other region / country. This time, at the planning stage, he had asked me also if we would be interested. There were four other couples who had already conveyed their consent to this proposal.
"Why not?" the eternal traveller within me instantly responded with a resounding YES! The trip was scheduled to start from Delhi on 8th May and was to cover Mirik, Darjeeling (one night stay), Kalimpong (one night stay), Namchi, Gangtok (3 nights stay), Shillong (one night stay) and Guwahati. Return flight from Guwahati was to bring us back to Delhi on 15th May in the evening itself without staying overnight. From home to home, it was going to cost approx. Rs. 30,000/- each person i.e. Rs. 60K per couple.
There were three months for me to daydream about the places I was going to visit. I also enjoy familiarizing myself with the street plan of a city, important landmarks, routes with the help of google map / wikipedia / travelogues written by others. This helps me in venturing a solo photo-walk early morning in an alien city while my family and fellow passengers are still asleep in the hotel. This way I am able to get some good pics of a new place which would be impossible to get otherwise during day time.
Personally, I prefer to visit less number of places so that I would be able to explore each place better. Having a whirlwind tour as if I were to address public meetings for an upcoming election is not my idea of ghumakkari. But it was preferable to agree to visit 4 states in 7 days than not going anywhere at all ! So, we happily joined in.
As per agreed terms of our tour package, we were to be picked up from our respective homes in Delhi / Ghaziabad by 9 a.m. to get the flight for Bagdogra airport (Bagdogra is the airport in Siliguri, West Bengal). In the morning of 8th May, my brother in-law - (His initials are C.P.) who also assumed the role of tour manager on behalf of everyone including him own family, was incessantly making phone calls to the other families so that they won't get late and won't forget to carry photo id, address proof and passport size photographs.