I got the opportunity to visit Delhi – Gurugram a lot, while I was working with AIS as our corporate office was in Gurugram.
I think these frequent work related trips made me fall in love with traveling. Although I did not really venture out of the work location (regret this as there are so many places worth visiting near Delhi), I did like running around and spending time at the airports (airports are my happy place) and exploring Delhi/Gurugram on my own.
It was after 3 years that I started thinking about going to Agra during one of my work related trips. I spoke to my driver (Sunil) about Agra – distance from Gurugram, if he could take me there, places to visit apart from Taj Mahal..But, it did not happen.
It was February/March 2017 and I was in Noida for an event, where I again brought up the Agra topic in front of the same driver and he said “Madam, aap sirf bolte ho, jaate nahi ho.” That really struck me. I asked my colleague if he could cover up for me while I abscond from work, go to Agra, see Taj Mahal and get back to the event venue by late evening. (Sooo not me!)
I called up the driver and proposed the idea. But, as luck would have it, he had to refuse then; but he called me back after 15 minutes to say that he could take me to Agra now.
But within those 15 minutes, I thought this is not how I wanted the trip to be - so rushed - go to Agra, see Taj Mahal and come back to Delhi without really getting a chance to explore the city and chill.
So, I dropped the whole idea.
It was April and I got another opportunity to visit Delhi for a meeting. I checked with my boss if I could book my flight ticket from Mumbai to Delhi on a Saturday (which was a holiday), take a day off on Monday and attend the meeting on Tuesday. And she agreed!
This time around, I knew how I would travel from Delhi airport to the bus stand (Sarai Kale Khan) and the hostel I wanted to stay in, but had no bookings. (Again, this spontaneous person was soo not me!)
The journey from Delhi airport to Sarai Kale Khan was frustrating as I had to change 3-4 modes of transportation, and Dilli ki Garmi (440 C - 450 C) was not helping. But, I was relieved once I boarded the bus.
I reached Agra in the evening and met a couple – Vaida (from Lithuania) and Misha (from Gergoria) who were in the same bus as me and were trying to inquire about backpackers’ hostels from the bus conductor. Since the bus conductor was unable to understand, I intervened and suggested they came along with me to the hostel I was going to. On seeing 2 firangis with me, a mob of auto and cab drivers surrounded us. However, I had to ignore them and book an Ola Auto instead as they were clearly over-charging.
We booked our rooms, got ready and went out for dinner that day. I was completely third wheeling in between the lovey-dovey couple who had just gotten married and were on their honeymoon. It was quiet a nice night – we had dinner and spoke about how the two of them had met, our professions, our lives..