A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS

Tripoto
22nd Aug 2017
Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

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I trimmed my nails and was ready for another journey , to Daman , and Diu.

The plan was again for Andaman and Nicobar islands , but because it so seemed a far cry , we were obliged to drop the ‘An’ from Andaman.

The same group as last time , almost . Just that this time , in the place of the non-kafir , we had Prat amongst us. The packing was done , the bookings were done. Our itinerary was supposed to be of a three-day trip : First travel to Daman , then to Diu (which is a fifteen-hour bus journey from Daman) , back to Daman , a detour to Udvada , the small ghost town of Parsis (Zoroastrians) where a fire has been burning at Atash Behram for more than a thousand years ! without any seventh-year itches , or thousand-and-one-year itches , and then back to home.

I had even drawn a customized map , carefully noting the distances and time between the spots we had planned to visit.

We were just one day away from the impending journey , and this is where things went awry – violent showers showed up at Daman and Diu.

While planning the journey , we had carefully picked up the dates with the brightest , immaculate sun shining on the website portal. Nevertheless, the website defied us – Weather went south !

Nonetheless , the following night , a pack of six foolhardy youths sneaked out of their college periphery (owing to lack of permission) and set out to set the Thames on fire ! or the Arabian sea , or… hell! the Gulf of Cambay on fire !!!

Gulphe De Cambaye (in Portuguese)

Photo of Pune, Maharashtra, India by Neelesh Chandola

Gulf of Cambay

Photo of Pune, Maharashtra, India by Neelesh Chandola

We boarded the train past midnight and slept . Slept , till people woke us up to get off at our station. The station was called Vapi .

taxis outside Vapi railway station

Photo of Vapi, Gujarat, Republic of India by Neelesh Chandola

pelting rain awaited us.

Photo of Vapi, Gujarat, Republic of India by Neelesh Chandola

stuffed inside the taxi.

Photo of Vapi, Gujarat, Republic of India by Neelesh Chandola

Right outside the station , we hired a taxi which took us to Daman ( which is a union territory) in twenty minutes and charged a meagre rupees thirty per head.

pelting rain awaited us.

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

stuffed inside the taxi.

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

At the Daman Taxi Stand , rain encompassed us on all directions , and we felt the dire lack of some decent umbrellas. After having waited for twenty minutes , a pack of six foolhardy youths ventured out the taxi stand shed , into the open , against the torrent.

Google maps came to our aid and we tentative went the right hand from a cross road , called chaar rasta in the local parlance. Upon going some distance into the right hand , we came into the knowledge , by the agency of the Map provided by google , that we just took the opposite track . So U we turned , and trotted on. After a 650 metre walk we reached Nani Daman Jetty , overlooked by St Jerome’s fort .

St. Jerome’s fort

Photo of Taxi Stand, Seaface Road, Dilip Nagar, Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

We climbed up the fort and heard a nearby chorus of students singing the national anthem . I , for one, stood stiff on the steps in the buffeting rain in respect of the National Anthem. After scrutinizing and giving reviews and critiques about the fort I , with Prat took shelter inside a cavern and planned the further escape – “let’s cross that bridge over there and escape into the Dominican monastery , for some refuge”.

We ran down the fort aiming for the long bridge and ran… straight into the nearest shelter we could ferret out. The rain had grown into a vehement torrent and we were desperate to save our rain-soaked bottoms. The Bridge now seemed a far cry. Under a shed , we changed our clothes into shorts ,and waited .

brooding over our fate while watching through a cavern.

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

the ever so elusive Arabian sea , lighthouse on the other side.

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola
Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

customized map of Daman

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

Diu

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

waiting for a light that never comes.

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola
Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola
Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

marvellous sculpting

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

Nani Daman Jetty

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by Neelesh Chandola

It rained … rained cat and dogs.

It rained … rained Abel and Cain.

An hour later , we were still waiting and again changed into our wet clothes. Jaded and worn out by impatience , a pack of six foolhardy youths ventured out into the buffeting torrent into the streets of Daman. The bridge seemed a bridge too far , we went for the bus stand asking the locals for the road.

the ever so elusive Arabian sea , lighthouse on the other side.

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

Earlier , at home , the least white , who was rumoured to be originally from Uganda , or Nigeria , had looked up google for Udvada , and google retorted – “Did you mean Uganda ?? ”

At the bus stand , we finally decided we had to give in , in the face of the unyielding Rain. Then began a desperate quest for the refund of the bus tickets. The two firms , which had issued us tickets through ‘Redbus’ were within walking distance , one of them within sight. After hours of fighting for the refund (for which we had petitioned earlier , 24 hours prior to the journey), we returned unsuccessful and had a hearty vegetarian meal at a restaurant called ‘The Veg’. The rates , being devoid of any taxes (for Daman is a union territory) were very , very reasonable. The drinks too , are very cheap , though we didn’t manage to get our hands on them.

We even sought out a hotel , and in the course turned up at the same very place at the taxi stand from where we had started. Exasperated and baffled by the labyrinthine streets of Daman , we gave up , and laughed hard of course.

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

All this while it was raining. We couldn’t continue to Diu , nor to Udvada . Disheartened by this betrayal of mother earth , we turned back homewards , drenched .

After a six-hour painstaking journey , a pack of six foolhardy youths reached Pune – the Queen of the Deccan. Some of us turned back to college while I , with the least white and Prat waited at the house of the Notsowhite . After a day whiled away outside watching a horror movie and roaming around the city , we walked back into the college.

Moral to be learned – a) Never , ever , count on weather forecasts .

hopefully , Lord willing and the creek don’t rise , the next journey would be a pleasant one. And… I will return to Daman and Diu someday , this bit is for sure.

customized map of Daman

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

Diu

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

waiting for a light that never comes.

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola
Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola
Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

marvellous sculpting

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

Nani Daman Jetty

Photo of A MAP IN VAIN , A JOURNEY IN RUINS by Neelesh Chandola

“EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY IN THE END. IF IT’S NOT OKAY, IT’S NOT THE END.”

-John Lennon

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