Friday, September 29, 2006

I Am Back....

After a long and grueling road and air travel.  I guess I have traveled much longer this time than any other time before and it was like that for forever,I would be just traveling with my luggage this time:).But finally I am back home today with a little pain (that too came just  when I was about to get home and I shall tell you about it after just a little while from now) and a great sense of satisfaction that everything went well for all, the only thing that matters the most for me!
So as you know that I left on 18th of this month.  This time it was going to be a little different for me for couple of reasons.  First and far most important one was that I was going for an overseas assignment to BanglaDesh.That one reason is strongest one to make the entire tour most different from any other tours of past.  Second reason which I feel is also a very strong factor that I was going for a module which was completely new for me and I had very little or should say none in my hands to prepare for it.  Third reason was that I was not going to New Delhi straight as like usual coz I needed to stop in midway this time to collect somethings from somewhere.  Fourth reason which could be a difference making one was that I was not feeling well since my last tour and I had no time to rest and get health gain.  I needed to go coz it was already fixed and I gave my words.  So even if I wouldn't be able to be healthy, I still had to make sure that everything goes well with whatever was possible in my hands, which would be a serious matter coz it would take double of the strength and which I was already not having coz of being sick.  So I guess there were couple of reasons for calling this tour a much excited, much intense tour than the last ones.  Anyways so as I said that I needed to stop in midway to collect some of my stuff and most importantly a laptop coz I am not carrying my own  yet :-(.So I started my tour in the afternoon on 18th and left for that collecting destination.  I got my stuff collected(almost all the stuff I should say) and came at the bus stand for taking the next bus to New Delhi.  But sadly(or should say mistakenly), I forgot to pick one very important thing so even when I had already got the ticket, I had to got down from the bus.  I called the person from whom I needed to collect the entire stuff to get there and hand me over it.  After a long wait in the sun for exactly half an hour, he came and handed me over it.  I decided that I would leave from the mid place after spending an hour over there and would be there at Delhi by 8pm.But with this sudden small mistake, that plan got crushed like a piece of glass and I left for Delhi again at 5pm.Cant say that a good start right?Well you can imagine how much frustrated I would be and how many things would be there in the mind?I needed to stay in Delhi for one night because my flight to my overseas destination was in the morning.  I wanted to be in Delhi before dark coz than it would be easy for me to find that motel which was already booked for me there.  But nothing like that was going to happen and I had nothing in my hands which I could do to change that  thing now.  So it was just sit, relax and wait to be there actually now.  And that's what I did in the whole way.  I got Delhi at 9pm, way after the time I anticipated for my arrival and the subsequent course of actions.  But there was no time to sit and get upset as I needed to get that motel and for that the first thing I needed to do was to find that place where it was situated.  So as I am having no idea about Delhi and its routes for the different places, I hired an auto rickshaw which charged a whooping amount and I had again no chance to stand and argue for that coz I was getting late and dark was getting more and more.  So I agreed and we left for my "destination motel" :-).It  was more far than I was told and it took way more time than I thought in the starting when I left from Delhi bus stand.  The driver of that auto was very  friendly and we talked a lot on our way.  He told me so many things about Delhi which were new and also at the same time, "shocking" for me.  But it was a real picture and there was no gimmicks that were added in that.  It was a nice talk and I enjoyed it so much.
So in this whole chit-chat,we finally got at the told place.  There was someone who was supposed to come and pick me up from there and take me to that motel.  I called that person from the local calling booth as my phone battery was already dead:-(.After about 15 minutes, that person came and we left for the motel by walk only.  After about of 15minutes of walk, we were finally there.  Motel was alright but I was fasting so I didn't have to have any dinner.  I asked for a cup of tea though but the motel was not having any milk so they said "sorry sir" for that :-).Hard luck for me but that's okay.  Room was okay okay too.  With the grace of motel staff, air conditioner was working and room was clean.  So at least I could sleep.  It was not going to be for long coz in this whole check-in process and all that, it was already midnight and I needed to leave at about 4.30am.So without further thinking , I decided to sleep.  I couldnt sleep at all and when I was going to get finally some sleep, I got a call from the motel manager at 4am to get ready as my cab already came.  It was quick what do you say?Cab came on time and that too at this early morning time?Someone give me a pinch!OUCH!No its not a dream.  Is real so be quick and get ready.  I do get ready very quickly so no problem for it ;-).At about 4.15am, I was out from my room and after spending about 5minutes at the reception completing the check out formalities, I was finally out at about 4.20am.Cab was right there outside the motel, completely ready.  So I loaded my luggage into and left for the Delhi International Airport.  I was flying by Air India (which is now known as Indian) to BanglaDesh.Why not Bangla Airlines?Well I wont say anything about Bangla Airline but just that Be Indian, Use Indian ;-).So I got at the air port, did complete all the immigration requirements, got my luggage checked in.  Flight was on time.  After everything set and done, I was there at the waiting lounge.  That was after a very long time now that I was sitting there at the waiting lounge of the International Airport.  Sitting there brought back some memories of the times when I was sitting at the same spot and was going overseas.  Anyways that's not what I am going to tell you here( and to tell the truth  wont ever tell you at all about it).So exactly at the scheduled time, the boarding started.  Plane was okay, air hostess were nice and friendly.  We started after about 5minutes from the scheduled time.Thats okay isn't it?Food was okay too.  I wont say that it was so much good but it was alright for some one who didn't have anything in the last day ;-).I was so much tired coz I didn't sleep at all in the last night in the motel but a bad habit goes with me and that is that when I am traveling, I cant sleep in the plane or train or bus at all.  And on top of that I was not going to get any rest even when I was going to get at the Dhaka coz I had to report at the site.  I was at Dhaka for the biggest mobile service provider over there, Grameen Phone. It was my first trip to Dhaka.So I was just thinking how is everything going to be there in the terms of the place, people and most importantly how will my assignment go?In all these thoughts, finally I was there at Zia International Airport of Dhaka.Hmm cant say I liked the place in the first look.  It was a little too small to be called as an airport.  Anyhow, we had to go to the immigration counter.  The place was full with the people.  Well we were standing in the queue and were waiting for our turn to come.  It is said that when you are standing in a line, the line next to you always appears to be moving much faster than yours.  I don't know how much true it is but when I saw there were four lines that were there including my line and none of the lines were moving :-).I met a guy named Alex who is working with WHO  and was deputed in Bangladesh for 3 months.  We were standing in the adjoining lines and I was just telling him the same quote.  We both were smiling looking that none of the lines of us were moving even for an inch.  I was there at the airport at 10.10am.Well our talks got finished, the whole rush of people which was there with us was no where now but we were standing at the same places.  Now that's something which is not good right?So we did a little of cheating and we moved to the next line to us.  Well no luck was there too and that line too didn't move.Hmm so we cheated again and shifted to the next line.  It was having very few people so we thought we would be lucky over here.Hmm I said lucky a little too early:-).The immigration officer for our line just got up from his chair and disappeared!Great!!What else we needed?Well there was just one line which was left for the foreign passports so we thought we would stand there now.  In this whole scene, we had already spent one hour on the immigration counter itself.  WOW!Now that's not something you can consider as a good impression for someone who is visiting the place for the first time right?Anyways somehow we cleared immigration over there, collected our luggage and came out.  It was crazy outside.  There were so many people,not the passengers but cab drivers, hotel representatives and don't know who else who were there but all were pushing to each other, cops were pushing them and there was just shouting everywhere.  In all this, someone just came to me and displayed a banner of my name.  He was the guy from the Holiday Planet, the hotel where I was going to stay.  So I just handed over my luggage to him, sat in the car and left for the hotel.  There was so much rush over the roads and there was no such thing which we know as traffic control.  Somehow, we landed up at the hotel.  My room was not ready so just for that day they said that they are going to put me in some other room and then later they will swap me to some other room.  Well I had no time to sit and complaint coz I had to report at my work place.  So after 2 hours landing in Dhaka, I was there at the Grameen Phone office.  The place was nice.Participants were very excited about the program.  After a formal round of introduction, we kicked off the program.  All the participants were really very hard working and as we had lost some time in the initial phase of the program, they all agreed to sit for extra hours to make up for that.  I am a complete and strict vegetarian and Bangladesh is a complete non-vegetarian country.  Well my participants took complete care of that and managed to get me a veg meal every day for the lunch.  We did manage to finish up the program on schedule.  All were happy when the assignment got finished and I received some very good and unforgettable comments from the entire team.Thats most important  part for me that I managed to finish up the assignment with a smile on everyone's face.
Now my schedule over there for the official assignment was finished on 23rd and I was supposed to get back on 24th but there was no seat available in any flight on that date so I had to stay for two extra days over there.Hmm I don't like this so much but again had no choice.  And when I landed up there, there was a huge pressure that got formulated over the Bay Of Bengal which became the root cause for very heavy downpours and storms all the while when I was there at Dhaka.Great so this means I cant go out too anywhere  and I had to sit in my room :-(.So what you are going to do when you cant go anywhere, no one is there with you.  No you cant work on your pc coz that's what you did in the last 5 days.  So what is left?Yes watch television and in that too, watch and hear music which is my favorite thing to do :-).So I did hear a lot of music on MTv.I also saw two movies,Lage Raho MunnaBhai and the second movie of Tony Jaa,Tom Young Gong . Luckily for me the storm got a little mild and I requested my co-ordinator over there at Dhaka to come along with me so that I can pick up some stuff for my sister.  He promised to come sometime in the evening on 24th.Well so I had to wait the whole day.  He came but at around 8 and he had to go and meet someone in the way.  So we had to stop at that person's place.  It was a business meeting for him and I just got so bored over there.  Anyways we left from that place at about 9.20pm and to add to my joy of shopping, I came to know that all the malls get close at 10pm.Great!So I just rushed to the place, picked a few things which I liked, had a veg pizza from Domino's and we came back to hotel.  Despite all the problems, still I managed to get something.Alrite I was happy :-).
Finally the day came when I had to leave.  My flight was scheduled for 11.40am and I left the hotel at about 8am coz I didn't want to get struck in the traffic and all that.  It was a right decision and I was there at the airport at about 8.20am.It took me a while to locate the counter of Air India but finally I got there.Hmm what can be the most annoying thing that you can hear when you have checked out from the hotel, set up completely for the departure and have a connecting flight to catch?"Sorry Sir,due to some technical reasons, your flight is canceled and now it will leave from Dhaka at 10pm in the night.  We have arranged the hotel stay for you.  Please bear with us."(BUMMER)WHAT!!Don't tell me this!I am not going to stay here for a minute.  I have another flight to catch from Calcutta to Delhi and than I have bus to catch from Delhi to my place.  Well as you can see I was not happy at all to hear that and there was no chance that I was going to wait over there for almost 12 hours to catch my flight to Calcutta coz that was going to ruin my entire schedule plan and also I would be left with nothing with me to take me from Calcutta to Delhi.  So I went to the flight manager of Air India and told him my situation.  He was  a nice guy.  He listened to me and just for me only, he made arrangements of one seat in the Bangla AirLines.Wow!Thats nice.  Though I don't like the airline very much but still for that time, it had come as a life saver so there was not much that I could complain about it.  After a wait of one hour at Bangla Air line counter, I got my boarding pass.  Great!I was there in the waiting lounge after 5 minutes and there I met a guy who was going to India for the first time and also was traveling overseas for the first time.  We talked for a while.  He was going to India as a tourist.  It was nice talk to him.  Finally the plane came and we left at 10am for Calcutta.  It takes 35 minutes from Dhaka to Calcutta.  In the flight, I met Mr.Bala who is a lecturer in Banglore and also a researcher for Economics.  Quite an intelligent guy.  We talked a lot over number of things.  He told me some very strange and true facts and shared some of his experiences of his numerous overseas tours.  In all this, we were there at Calcutta airport.  He had to catch a flight to Banglore and I had to catch a flight for Delhi.  I didn't know the location of Domestic airport so he came along with me.  His flight was at 2pm and mine was at 6pm.So he left for his flight counter and I sat over there waiting when it will be 6pm:-).Its so hard to pass time when you are alone and its such a long wait.  Well I couldn't do anything so just sat over there and was watching people.  There I met a guy who was from Assam and was working in a Bio Technological company.  We started talking.  He was waiting for his flight which was originally scheduled to fly at 7.30am but didn't fly till 3.00pm.Well I nearly had the same kind of experience in Dhaka so we were just sharing our views on everything :-).Well his flight time was there so he left and I was left alone once again to sit and wait.  Somehow it became 3.30pm and my flight,  opened their counter.  I did check in.  Flight was supposed to be on the time but it got delayed for 30 minutes, thanks to the huge air traffic.  It was a good flight though.  Kingfisher is among the high class airlines of domestic sector but its worth every dime spent.  So if we remove that delay from the picture, it was a good flight.  I took the cab and than finally took the bus to Ludhiana to complete the last phase of my travel.  Everything went fine so far but just when I was about to get down from the bus, my right hand got a little twisted.That was the reason of that pain that I mentioned above.Well thats okay.Its a little hard to type though but its okay :-).So finally I am back home.On the whole this trip was a good one and as I said I managed to finish my assignment well, that is the most satisfacotry thing for me.
So what I am going to do when I am at home?Well as I didnt sleep from the last 3 nights and not yesterday too, so I shall try to sleep and have some rest( which I dont think is going to happen tonite coz my mood is not so good).Than I shall finish my blogs which I missed all this while.Anything will be after that only.Oh yes and I shall finish and publish those unfinished blogs of mine which are lying in my draft folder.So keep looking.Some random thoughts are in production:-).Till then adios!!!!
 

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