“Don’t cross the road alone” to “You are crazy, are you out of your mind?? what made you think you can do this alone???? …………………….and yes I did it alone, my first SOLO trip.
This all began towards the end of 2015, where getting cold-feet to the upcoming big event and switching a job; suddenly gave me all the possible courage I had been trying to muster all these years. I decided to go on a solo trip; didn’t know where, all I knew was it had to be now.
Which place…??? Would it be safe??? I have just left a job, would the money I have, suffice???What if I get mugged/murdered or hit by a natural calamity???...........you must be wondering these questions were breeding in my mind…but even to my surprise they weren’t!!!
It was an instinct, and all I knew was I had to follow it!!! In between leaving current job and taking up another one, the whole trip had to be completed within 10 days. So now the place was finalized – Nepal; but with the earthquake hitting Nepal in April 2015, an old friend and a localite of Nepal, advised me not to. With the lack of adequate time in hand, I did not want to contemplate on the place; all I knew was it had to have Mountains and hence it was North and since it was North India, it had to start from Delhi!!
So there I was at Delhi airport 11pm in the night, not knowing where to go!!! Already missed a day, by missing the flight and incurred additional expenses in booking another one. Yet again, it was time to go by my instinct !!!
–the name of this place had made space in my heart for some unknown reasons and since I was in the exploring mode- it felt just right to go to MCLEODGANJ. While at the airport, I booked evening bus ticket to Mcleodganj. With a day to spend in Delhi, I certainly didn’t wish to rest, but was slightly fearful of hitting the road without any plans either, as I couldn’t have afforded to miss the bus this time. So I approached this girl at Delhi airport, who was awaiting her friend’s arrival; my first interaction with a stranger in a new city. The city welcomed me through this girl who helped me make a detailed itinerary which would eventually land me at Rajiv Chowk Metro station from where I had to board the bus to Mcleodganj.
Day 1 - Delhi (India Gate-Guru Bangla Sahib Gurudwara – Sarojini Market – Red Fort) – Delhi has its own charm and against all that I have heard about Delhi, it surprised me with its warmth. Being spend entire night at the airport, I was almost famishing with hunger. On heading out on Delhi roads at 6.30am, our Rajdhani welcomed me with its Kullad chai; only a Mumbaikar would understand the happiness of Kullad chai in 15 degrees temperature, since we are completely devoid of it. Experiencing cold, shopping at Sarojini market, hospitality at Guru Bangla Sahib Gurudwara…surely makes me want to visit Delhi again. While I was adoring the beauty of Red Fort, I received a message from Red Bus of my bus being rescheduled by 2 hours (Early) and boarding destination being changed to Majnu ka Tila from Rajiv Chowk Metro station. My eyes almost popped out on seeing that message, as I clearly wasn’t prepared to miss the bus. I decided to skip rest of the itinerary and directly headed to Majnu ka Tila. Majnu ka Tila seemed to be an extremely God forsaken land with nothing but huge roads, a school on the left and bus stop on the right. With nothing interesting to do, I decided to spend some time reading a book and sipping on tea; when a Punjabi uncle, who was reminded of his daughter by seeing me, advised me to enter a small dinghy lane, right besides the bus stop. Knowing I don’t have much to do, I decided to take his advise, only to be surprised by a Market run by Tibetans, it was indeed a mini Tibet.