It all started with an 'impulse'. The room of my friends was pretty calm when I broke the silence with my uncalled-for baritone. "What are you guys going to do today? If not too busy, let’s go to India Gate". I was quite ecstatic about it but couldn’t find the same enthusiasm in anyone of them (RC, RN, DM, I refrain from taking their names lest they should mind it). I even got into an argument ‘to go or not to go’ which, needless to say, I lost, as I always do. This incident was one more confirmatory evidence in my 'why I won't make a good manager' list. I mean, if I can't persuade 3 people for a thing which they are most likely to enjoy, how am I supposed to persuade or motivate 300 people as a manager for a job which most of them would hate to do; Tough life ahead.
But it was really hard to sit on my bums once the idea made inroads in my mind. After all, sitting with your lappy cant be more fun than roaming around. And so here I was, all set to set off for India gate. Google maps come handy for you get exact route and the distance you are supposed to cover. With a large shot of glucose to support my muscles, I started my night safari at around 8:30.
The initial few kilometers were most trying as the muscles were not used to that kinda exertion, the rest of it was relatively easy. Its something like your semester exams, the first two papers play havoc with your mind, body and sleep, for the remaining ones, well....., you get used to it.
Ice-creams, cold drinks, bhel puri, you name it and its there. And then there is something (if you can call it a toy) which glows with red and blue light, catapulted to sky like a rocket and comes down much like a helicopter. In fact, they are so many in the sky; it appears as if a swarm of giant glow-worms has infested the India Gate.
You can find virtually anything at India Gate except ….. (U guessed it)…. A washroom. It’s kinda strange that so many people come to the place, including foreign tourists for whom The Indian tourism ministry has roped in no less than Aamir Khan under the movement “Atithi Devo Bhavah”, and yet they have failed to spot the dire necessity of a permanent Washroom facility and not an Ad hoc one which closes down by the time the clock hits 7, ironically, the time when people actually start coming. Thankfully, there are sprawling and dimly lit parks all around India gate with dense shrubs and nitrogen deficient plants; you know what I mean.
A mini Ice-cream sundae and a plate of bhel-puri was sufficient to recharge myself and now I was ready to cycle back to Noida, with only one hitch, I didn’t know on which road I parked my cycle out of the 6 almost identical roads. I finally found it on Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg, this time, with a flat rear tire. I was totally screwed up, it was 11 PM and my cycle had a flat tire!! Where am I gonna find a mechanic now? I asked an autowala how much would he take to Noida Sec 82 and he said, “300!”(the max I had was Rs 104). I wasn’t willing to shell out such a ridiculous amount of money (despite my vulnerable circumstances!) for a trip which otherwise would cost half the price or even lesser.
I called my friend Lokesh for some cool advice. He suggested that there are few routes on which buses ply round the clock. I didn’t know and neither did he, but why not try my luck to find a bus which may drop me somewhere near noida. I had to reach ITO (Income Tax Office) for that, which was quite easy but would have been a daunting task if it wasn’t a cool breezy night. I reached ITO and a good and a bad news awaited me. The bad news – there wasn’t any bus at that time to anywhere near Noida and the good news was – an Autowala told me that there was a sardarji near Pragati Maidan metro station who fixes punctures all through the night. That was a ray of hope. In fact all my heaviness and despair vanished in a snap and I even started singing some peppy numbers of bollywood like, “piya tu ab to aaja”, “jeene ke hain chaar din” and likewise. However, on reaching there, I came to know that sardarji had left an hour before due to some reasons and would only come back at 6 in the morning; I couldn’t wait that long. Dejected, I made a return tourney to ITO when, at one of the traffic lights, I met a guy (whose name, unfortunately, I can’t recall) from Amity doing MBA (general) with me. He helped me negotiating the price with the Auto walas and finally we struck a deal with one of them – 100 bucks (which was 4 Rs lesser than I had) while sharing the auto till Noida Sec 37. It was a real pain to mount the cycle in the auto but once inside, the rest of the ride was easy (of course, comparatively). In the meanwhile I tried to convince the driver to drop me till my home (i.e. Vivvek Vihar, sec 82) and not till Sec 37, to which he, thankfully, agreed. And this is how my out-and-out mis-adventurous trip to India Gate ended. I paid the driver Rs 100 plus a tip of Rs 4.!!!