In Travelogue

This is the first in a series of posts I plan to write on our trip to Binsar.

Over two months ago, the plan was hatched to make the second Travel Bloggers trip. The first one to Coorg last year was fabulous and it made every sense to plan the second edition. We had a whole host of destination choices but chose Binsar in Uttaranchal for one reason: It’s remote location. Figure this. It takes a 3 hour flight, an overnight train journey and a 7 hour road trip via hilly, curvy roads to reach this place! I’m a big fan of exotic remote, unspoilt locale and Binsar fitted in like a ‘T’.

The six bloggers, three from Chennai, two from Bangalore and one from Mumbai, all flew into Delhi airport. We all banded together and hired a van to take us to railway station to catch our overnight train to Kathgodam. The train’s departure time was 9:50 pm and we started from the aiport at 7:30 pm. We were told that its an hour’s journey from the Airport to the Sarai Rohilla railway station and we figured we were well placed to reach in time. But boy, were we wrong!

I always had the impression that Delhi’s traffic was the better amongst all major cities. That impression took a serious beating. The Delhi traffic that evening would’ve made a tortoise look turbo charged. Looking at the brighter side, the bangaloreans amongst us felt better!

7:30 became 8:30 and we hadn’t even crossed the half way mark. We were still confident of making it in time. At 9:15, we were just a kilometer from the railway station. But we were stuck in the middle of a traffic deadlock. At 9:25, we hadn’t moved an inch and the nervous jokes turned into worried thoughts. We were mentally warming ourselves up for jumping out of the vehicles, hauling our heavy bags and making a dash to the railway station.

I got off the vehicle and approached a gentleman on a scooter in front of us to ask how long would it take to reach the station. His answer was least bit reassuring. “1 hour by car in this traffic. 20 minutes if you can run”. Not good. We had just 20 minutes with us.

By then, he had found a small gap in the traffic for him and he squeezed through to take a right turn and was gone. I returned back to van to convey the bad news. Just when we were about to offload our luggage and run, the scooter guy knocked on our vehicles window. This guy had parked his vehicle on the other side, crossed the road to meet us . He simply gestured us to follow him.

At that stage, we were desperate. We asked no questions. We urged the driver to blindly follow the fellow. We squeezed through the small gap in the road, took a right turn and entered a small gully that was only a bit wider than the van we were travelling in. After multiple lefts and rights through the Delhi gullies, we found what we were aching to see. The dimly lit Sarai Rohilla railway station board.

The scooter guy had to take a road before the railway station and urged us to keep moving. I felt sad that we didn’t stop to shake his hands and thank him. Actually guys like him deserve a hug.

We made it to the railway station 10 minutes to spare, a luxury actually. We used the time to quickly pack Dal-Chawal for all of us and rushed to our seats just in time for the train to move.

I’ll never forget the nameless good Samaritan on the old Bajaj Chetak. ( Prashanth, fellow traveller, managed to capture the guy’s number plate DL 85 P 2329). Without him, we would not have made it to our four day vacation that we were so looking forward to. This post is dedicated to the kind souls who go out of their way to help others.