After a long time I got some time out. Last time, 4 years back, I had been to Chardham yatra that included Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. It was a great adventurous journey reaching these places.
This time too, alongwith adventurous it was more of a wonderful one, as I was accompanied by 60 odd people of our community. It was like travelling with a big family where everybody were somehow related to each other. This kind of tours allows you to enjoy the benefits of a large group (cost-wise) while enjoying a full privacy with your family.
We started on the night of 1st Oct. 2004 by Golden Temple Express. Most of us boarded from Borivali station, though some of our group members boarded it from Dadar station. Our Dadar passengers had to face some harassment at the hands of our Indian Railways TC. They were not carrying their train tickets as tickets were with us. We were boarding the train at a very next station i.e. Borivali. Anyways, when Borivali arrived my father who had the tickets instantly solved the problem. This tour was arranged and managed by him with full support from my mother on a no profit - no loss basis.
It was going to take us some 30 odd hours before we reach Amritsar. Thus, all had made a good provision for food and were carrying lots of spicy and tasty eatables along with variety of sweets. I don't remember me eating anything that my Mom had packed for us. As we roamed around inside the compartment our kind and gracious members kept offering different delicacies. Breakfast, brunches and luncheons got fussed into continuous munches. Our mouth was constantly churning things way, throughout the journey as something new always kept pouring in. We never said no.
The group comprised of - 50% more than 60 years of age, 40% - middle-aged and 10% - youngsters, including me. In train we played various card games viz., Challenge or 420, as some people call it. Housie and Antakshari also formed a good time-pass and yes, not to be left out, with lots of laughing. Of these playing Housie proved to be a great fun. At a time we used to be around 15-20 playing around 8-9 games in one session. One of the fellow passenger, who was having a quite afternoon nap, felt disturbed at the noises we were making and warned us. But, after sometime got up and desired to be part of the game. He took the role of announcing numbers. He did that with total dedication. He had a good sense of humor, which showed up while announcing numbers. This added to the fun.
You could now imagine the amount of fun we had for all 30 hrs. We reached Amritsar at 0600 hrs on Sunday, 3rd Oct. 2004. We never realised how time went. This was earlier thought to be a great boredom journey. But, it proved to be opposite. I would remember this journey forever.