Right now, I'm at the Amritsar airport at Gate 5, waiting to board a flight to Delhi which I just came to know is delayed by 30 minutes. While waiting, I just started recalling about the time I left home for this trip. Past 3 or so months I've been travelling constantly. From Goa → Mumbai → Gurgaon → Ambarsar.
Today from Delhi, I have a train from NDLS to Agra at 16:00. After years of handling Covid and stopping distributing the linens in the train, the train company messaged that they have finally started distributing linens again. I don't know why am I happy about it because I won't even need the linens today.
Anyways, past 3 months have been different, and I just want to log some part of it which made me feel alive and uneasy.
While my time at Ambarsar, I haven't really travelled, or did any touristy things. I just really wanted to see Golden Temple, feel the spirituality there, eat langar and try some local food.
This might also be because it was par 43 degree celsius every single day here and it was hard to go out anywhere in the day time.
I really wanted to see Wagah border, I've been told here by most Uber drivers I've journeyed with that that place has strong patriotic vibes. I would've loved to feel that. I couldn't gather the courage to go there and stayed at my Airbnb doing things you would do on a free day at your home.
There's something about Ambarsar though, which took me back to some time back. Specially the area around Golden temple which is the city centre, that places is mostly crowded and has lots of street food vendors and shops.
One thing I liked about that area was the architecture, which is beautiful. Every shop and buildings around the place have retro-ish architecture with red walls and yellow lights. I've only seen the place in the night though, twice. The first time I went there, I knew that I would be visiting it again.
Ambarsar has good food. I couldn't try some restaurants which I was suggested but I am sure Ambarsar food is amazing.
Sometimes I feel I haven't travelled everywhere in Amritsar for a reason. And not just Amritsar, I now tend to do it everywhere. To leave some places, only to have a reason to come back to. Strange isn't it?
I was there to attend my oldest friend Shashank's wedding in Ghaziabad. But guess what? I didn't. I had already shopped clothes and everything for his wedding but it didn't go out as I had planned, and on the day of his wedding I went dumb and cancelled the plan to attend his wedding.
Shashank if you're reading this, I'm sorry but Ghaziabad was too far from where I was staying and it would've been very tiring if I made the trip.
Instead, I went to Shivang's reception which was on the same day in the evening. Shivang is a good friend of mine, we worked at BigBinary and also shared flat in Pune.
The rest of the days in Gurgaon were pretty good. Also May 3 was my 28th birthday which I spent in my Airbnb in Gurgaon doing nothing.
Right when 3rd of May started in the midnight, I started having severe headache and started to feel very tired. I remember talking to Rahul at 1 or 2 in the night and I could barely speak without efforts.
When I woke up that morning, the headache was too much. I asked my Airbnb host, Raju Ednani if he has Zandu-bam or something for the headache. He gave me a saridon which gave me relief from the headache, but the tiredness was still there. I guess I had caught Covid because before that day I had been travelling in and around Gurgaon. Also had spoiled taste and barely wanted to eat meals. It wasn't that hard to go through that, the hard part was I couldn't go out much after that. Plus there were some things going in my mind, someone showed up from time-machine which affected me mentally.
Apart from that I met friends, roamed around the streets of Haus Khaz in the night and almost gotten a tattoo 😅.
Mumbai wasn't about travelling much, I was there for some family work, which went through fine after some back and forth.
And yeah, made a new friend while I was in Mumbai.
Goa was the start of this escape. All because I missed travelling and was tired at home and "shaadi karle" talks. Goa is my happy place, where I don't worry much.
A lot of things happened in Goa this time. Initially my brother and sister-in-law joined and we explored some nearby places.
They left after a week, after which I roamed around like a number 1 bullshit guy. On the day of holi, I took a scooter and drove to Panji and then to Baga. There's much more to it but it was a crazy crazy day and an experience 😅. That day ended with colors on all over my face and hairs at a sunset on Baga beach, post that had Maggie and chai on the streets.
Also in Goa, on a random night at 1 or 2 am, I typed my resignation mail from BigBinary where I had been working for 6 years.
Buying a new machine for work
One day my old Mac stopped working suddenly in Goa and after getting it checked and worrying about how I would be working I decided to get a new Mac. This particular part was an experience in itself.
How do you buy a new laptop? You go to the store, you select the laptop you want to buy, you pay and then you take your machine home.
For me things went roller-coaster. First, I wanted M1 Macbook Pro 16/256GB configuration which wasn't available at any of the stores nearby. It was available only on order basis. So I ordered from a store and it took them 3 days to get it from Bangalore. So far so good.
The owner of the store said he can deliver the machine to where my Airbnb was. So far so good!
He came to my place in a Land Rover with someone who seemed like his friend who was also driving the car. I had to pay him the remaining amount for the machine. I transacted through UPI, the first payment went through but not the second one because of transfer limits per day. So he suggested we go to a ATM nearby and withdraw cash for the remaining amount, which was close to 70k.
First of all, I've never in my life withdrew this much cash or I guess even held 70K cash in my hand. I always did big transactions through bank transfer or UPI or Credit card. So I was kinda feeling weird. Not scared, but weird. Then his friend and he drove me to an HDFC ATM nearby where I had to withdraw 70K INR. Seems pretty straightforward, no?
It wasn't. First of all that ATM machine was in open, meaning it wasn't inside a room or something. It was as if you walk on the street and can access it from the street itself, you won't have to go inside any room, no boundaries whatsoever. Second, there were people(dangerous looking) around the ATM. Third, I was alone, with two guys who were physically double my size, who were also discussing about buying a gun at one point as we drove to the ATM machine.
I knew I needed to do it, so I went to the ATM. I cashed out 70K in 4 withdraws. Now the cash was too much to carry to the car and I only had my wallet to keep the cash. I somehow took it inside their car and asked the store owner to count the money.
There was a possibility of a scene there. Fortunately, that didn't happen. The store owner was good man. He handed me the packed MBP to verify, which I did. They then dropped me to my Airbnb and then left from there.
The situation might sound normal but there were some chances of things happening.
It's been awhile since I've been travelling without any plans. I literally planned the Amritsar trip a day before my checkout in Gurgaon. It's good to be uncertain about where you'll be tomorrow, but it sometimes is uneasy. It takes away peace I guess.
But now as of writing this, I've reached home. The funny thing was I had to break into my own home to get in. There's no one at home and the set of keys I had was missing one key of the entrance lock. With the help of neighbour I had to break the door's lock to get in. Such is life 😅