“We should plan a trip together again, you know“, Brian was the one who started it.
Our first trip was during 1st year, to a college fest called GES in IIT Kharagpur. The three days of fun, attending some awesome seminars by awesome people, escaping the brunt of ragging left a deep impression in our hearts.
“Lets go to Darjeeling”
Darjeeling is a hill station of our state. Many of our seniors had gone there, and we’ve heard their stories.
“It would be quite costly, you know. And its off-season. It might get dangerous. Plus there is some political turmoil going on there. If there’s a strike and all, we might get stuck in there.”
“Then where ?“, Brian said, disappointed.
“We could go to Digha, a nearby sea beach“. I had been there quite recently, and I knew everything there.
“Oh there’s a beach ?“, Brian sounded excited.
“Actually, they’ve cemented it. The tides are really forceful.”
“There’s no beach ? Drop it.. Where else ?”
“Umm.. Kolkata, the City of Joy..“, I suggested.
“Yeah.. Andy could show us around !!”
Andy had been living in Kolkata for a few years before coming to this college.
“Forget it !!“, Andy said, “Every time a relative comes to my house, it becomes my responsibility to show them every tourist spot”
“What !! Fine.. Don’t come with us. Abby will show us everything.“, Brian looked at me.
“Umm.. Actually.. I’ve hardly gone there ever, except on business. Never to enjoy.”
“Dude !! What kind of Bengali are you? Doesn’t even know his own state’s capital !!” Brian and Hank shouted, irritated.
Y’know, I know so much about Delhi. I can show you everything. Just come once.… Brian went on and on about how well he knew the country’s capital city back home.
Kolkata was ultimately decided as our trip destination. The next few days, Hank and I searched through the net for everything of interest in Kolkata. Trying to devise the best route to get the most of it in one day.
Yes, it was a One Day Trip (!!!), so as to cut costs on accommodation. Also, Brian and Hank were anxious to reach home at the earliest.
I tried to bring in a Kolkata-resident friend from my class to be our guide, but that didn’t work out.
So, Brian and Hank made their tickets for going home accordingly. The dates were set, the tourist spots selected and the route decided. We’d start off sometime after midnight of 6th December, roam around Kolkata on 7th December full day. Then at night, we’d set off for our respective homes.
Then came the Semester Exams and the exam fever affected us all. The one thing that kept me going was thinking about the trip that we were gonna make once the exams ended.
Finally on 6th December, we were done with our exams.
We looked up trains on net, selected one at 2 am, that reaches Howrah at 5 am morning (a city near Kolkata, since Kolkata has no railway station of its own). Then we could brush and finish our morning ablutions by 6 am, and set off for the day’s trip.
But what trip has been fun if all of it went as planned? God had decided to shower us with some more fun.
I went to book an auto-rickshaw in the evening, since bus won’t be available at 1 am. I returned with the information that no auto-rickshaw would run that late.
We had only one option. Pack up immediately, start for Howrah, spend the night at Howrah station, and resume our trip the next day.
Also there was another development.
Ted Bush had planned to visit Kolkata along with his group of friends, but somehow, he got ditched and was going to join us instead.
In the meantime, Hank had disappeared with one of his ‘other’ friends. A few angry and disgusted calls later, when he returned, Brian and Ted had already packed up. I didn’t have anything to pack, I helped Hank pack quickly. Since I was a local, I was gonna come back to the hostel later. The rest were gonna catch their respective trains leaving for their respective states.
By 6 pm, we were walking towards the nearest bus stop, laden with trolleys and bags. We reached Durgapur railway station by 7 pm. The enquiry told us that the next train to Howrah was at 11 am. Ted and I went to get us some dinner. We came back with some overpriced ‘aloo paratha‘s and curry. Brian and Hank couldn’t eat more than two. While Ted and I were devouring our third ‘paratha‘, Hank had asked at the ‘Enquiry’ once again for trains to Howrah. Surprisingly, there was a train in a few minutes !!
He came back to us panting. We hurriedly packed the foods back, and dragged all the luggage to the platform. We managed to board that train, and reached Howrah station 2-3 hours before midnight..