Monday, April 20, 2009

It is the journey that matters, not the destination.

Always wanted to write a travelogue of sorts whenever I've been on some trip, and have had a few memorable ones in the last few years - Vizag (going inside a submarine and having lunch on a destroyer was awesome!), Kumbalgarh (can still taste the tomatoes and the excellent Rajasthani dinner), an impromptu visit to Panchgani (the TAT was the best) and of course, the North-East trip that covered everything from Rhinos to tribal villages and playing in the snow.
A few of my friends had made this plan for a Goa trip last weekend and though the trip fizzled out, we did end up going somewhere. Wrote something finally late at night, not because I had nothing better to do, but because I just wanted to write something fun and something not pertaining to food or movies or books. So here goes...

There were 8 to start-off with on their way to the Rio of India (or Cancun if you prefer), but a mess-up with the railway booking left the Fellowship with all their bags and nowhere to go. A few of them tried very hard, but Goa was a no-Go.
The Fellowship then deposited their luggage at Marinlinia and moved on to have a bite at Bade Miyan (there were some who were hungry) and a beer at Mondy’s (there were some who were thirsty). Their thirst not quenched, they went to the house of another fellow traveler who had ditched this Fellowship earlier. Between sips of wine and schnapps, the group tried to keep their spirits high. While an unsuccessful attempt at truth and dare failed to elicit a good response about vegetable preferences from some, others failed to appreciate the truly great card game that for no rhyme or reason is called Literature.
After a long night, the Fellowship bid adieu to their fallen comrade, and departed for Marinlinia. Two of the group returned to their home in the White Village, not to rejoin in the journey that had not yet started. And so now there were 6.
While Langda Tyagi, She-who-has-too-many-names and The Rabbit were enthusiastic about leaving immediately, after another extremely long round of deliberations (there were more to come), everyone returned to Marinlinia.
The next morning started with more discussions, and though no one was sure where they were going, the gang of six that remained got going in a Tavera driven by the Son of the Wind-God.
The journey through Mumbai was tedious and long, and the car trudged along waiting to hit the highway. Instead of going towards Punea, the gang took the turn towards Alibaug. On the way, they stopped for a bite. And there they received the sermon of the holy Mansh Baba of what to eat to lead a good life on the road, and how fast moving foods make fast moving Fellowships.
Finally, the car arrived at the thing that does not matter. A recovering Langda Tyagi and a reluctant The Mermaid stayed back on the sidewalk, while the rest of the gang took to the beach. The tide was out, the water was shallow, and what started out as a nice walk led to revival of the dinosaurs. Actually only one. After a massive water fight, She-who-has-too-many-names decided to transform the holy Mansh Baba into one of her ancestors – the Stegosaurus.
The sun was retiring for the night, and the Fellowship tired from their journey also looked for shelter. They ended up going to the Hotel Radisson and to a nice duplex suite that allowed the managers in them to have a top-view and also simultaneously experience what the vassals below feel. Food followed a lot of wine, and then while playing an really exciting game of Top5, everyone got bored and dozed off. The AC kept groaning throughout the night, and the power went off just for a while, enough to give a view of starry ceiling of this wonderous room. The Mermaid conveniently did what all good Indians do – go to someone else’s place and rid them of their home. The Rabbit being the homeless one, migrated a level up for the rest of the night.
The next morning everyone woke up and Tharki, for once he was awake, discovered how fun it is to see a mermaid out of water, or was it water on the mermaid? While getting ready for the road, discussions of the fair Katrina dominated. Fortunately, this could not have had much of a debate - she really is very beautiful. A quick breakfast and the Fellowship was back to what mattered – the journey, just to remind those who have not been paying attention.
There were a few things about the Fellowship that must be mentioned. Tharki kept sleeping, The Rabbit kept reading, She-who-has-too-many-names kept telling Tharki not to sleep and The Rabbit not to read, Langda Tyagi kept dreaming lucidly (yes, you are also reading this in your dream), and I’m not sure what the Stegosaurus and the Mermaid were really doing.
Kashidir passed on the way, and though the thing that mattered was really nice and beautiful, Murudor was a bit murky with oil-slicked sands and a long wait in the hot sun to visit a fort in the middle of the water.
The Fellowship returned to Kashidir, and this time the Mermaid took to the water, understandably very reluctantly because she had left her fins and tail at home. This time she definitely looked like a fish out of water. The Fellowship lost a lot to the Sea-God – She-who-has-too-many-names lost her cap, Stegosaurus his spectacles, and The Rabbit saw his lipguard float away. The only thing that kept coming back was a stick that everyone tried throwing away.
After thrashing around in the water, everyone was so hungry that the shack soon ran out Maggi, eggs, bread, chips, and whatever they had except money. Lounging around now trying to soak up the sun instead of just being soaked, the group talked, slept and ate for some time. Then they decided to hit the road again and move towards Punea.
On the way to Punea, there was a short stop for Samosas and Chai, but unfortunately everyone had to see the unholy sight of S&S Co. (Stegosaurus and Tharki) relieving themselves not keeping their hands where everyone else could see them. (Thank God for that!)
Though the group had been soaking wet almost the entire weekend, Punea turned out to be a bit of a dampener. By the time they reached Hard Rock, the party was over. No one was stoned enough to pay the crazy entry at Stone Grill. Tangerine had lesser people and looked less alive than a graveyard. So everyone went to the Meridien to eat.
After coming back to the Dinosaurs’ Lair, the gang decided to call it a night. Some were so tired that they slept where they were sitting. Oh, it was just Tharki! And this time he wasn't just sleeping. She-who-has-too-many-names discovered her cinematographic talents and captured the candid moments on camera. (For the dirty minds reading this, Tharki was just snoring.)
The next morning, the group hurried up as one of them had some prior engagement. Breakfast at German Bakery was a very healthy and wholesome one consisting of juice, eggs, porridge and strawberries & cream. At this point Stegosaurus bid farewell and returned to his lair. And now there were Five.
After buying Osho chappals, the Fellowship was on their way back to Mumbai. The journey back was uneventful. The Mermaid was now getting impatient; the others unable to fathom her impatience and eventual departure. And now there were Four!
The plan was to make most of the remaining day- watch a movie, catch a play, anything to make the great weekend continue, but Langda Tyagi after being the (enthu) One turned to the Dark Side (just became plain lazy). After much of The Rabbit’s nautanki that could not move Langda Tyagi (who was now looking very comfortable in his LangdaTyagi-asana), all it took for him to jump up was an invitation to Gloria Jeans, which was his favourite destination and the last of their journey.
No, they did not meet Katrina and The Rabbit did not get to do “Have you met Langda Tyagi?”
And so the journey of the Fellowship ended, with the wish that next time there are more fun-karenge opportunities, more GDs, more Genda Phool, and even if they are still unable to reach Goa, the Fellowship reunite for another journey.