Recently I came across this contest that asks me to write about persons whose condition is serious. The contest definition says those who are always serious in every matter they handle, more punctual than time are categorized as person jinki condition serious hai. I could not think of any other person than myself. Well I am the one who is very punctual, so much so that I have never waited for any girls anywhere. If they were five minutes late I used to go elsewhere. Well, not to mention that is the reason I never had any steady girlfriend too. So I am writing this post for the contest –
This incidence happened when I was travelling to Shirdi with my family, me, my wife and our little 1 year old kid, Piku. We went to Manmad from Hyderabad and took a cab to Shirdi from Manmad station. Even though there were Tata Sumos available I didn’t want to travel like cattle and hence thought of hiring a Maruti Omni for us – personal vehicle with a personal touch. The driver caught us at the platform before we could see his vehicle and I was okay until I saw his vehicle and got inside.
As soon as I got into the cab I realized that it might have been scrapped by its owner a few years ago. That special vehicle didn’t have a front window pane, the seat covers were cut off and the sponge lining was visible from outside. The whole van was stinking like hell as if it was soaked in mud just the previous day.
Within five minutes I realized that I will repent this trip throughout. I couldn’t believe that for a journey that should have cost me not more than 300 rupees at the most, I am paying double the amount. I felt that I would be happy if we reached Shirdi in good condition without any trouble.
The driver soon started from the station and I got engaged into thinking about our trip. Suddenly the cab came to a screeching halt in the middle of nowhere. Only a few huts were visible at a distance.
– What happened? I asked the driver. I was worried that he would ask for more money by giving some reason or the other.
– “The driver will come”. said the man who negotiated the fare with me and whom I thought was our driver.
What the hell. I have booked his cab and negotiated the price with him but he had never told me that someone else was going to drive. I felt like giving a big blow on his face for keeping me stranded in the middle of nowhere, risking all our lives. I was more worried about upsetting that day’s schedule that I had planned meticulously with minute details than anything else.
But almost immediately I realized that if that guy wanted he could have robbed us instead if his intentions were really bad. To add to my dismay, the driver disappeared in one of the huts after being in the cab for 10 minutes. He didn’t even give me a choice to protest or say anything and disappeared suddenly.
Now I had no choice but to wait for the unforeseen driver and didn’t have any choice of taking another cab / bus to my destination as it was a completely deserted place. We were left alone in the middle of nowhere. My wife was also fuming and I was just waiting for another volcano to erupt on me without any fault of mine. That made me even more angry on that guy.
I was almost falling asleep when the original driver appeared from nowhere like a chamatkar after 20 minutes of wait. Those 20 minutes were like two hours to us.
After he appeared the first thing I have done was confirming the price with him. I wanted to make sure that all my initial bargains don’t fail with this new man coming in. To my surprise, he was not bothered at all and seemed to be disinterested in my bargain. So far I was happy with this bargain and thought that I have got a good bargain but slowly I started feeling that the bargain was not good at all.
– You know there is a village here where we don’t have any lock in our doors as there is no theft or robbery. The driver wanted to start conversation.
– Oh that’s great. While I said that, I also wondered – what was the need to steal from the villagers when they could rob the tourists daily in broad daylight? I didn’t have courage to utter those words though.
We reached Shirdi in approximately two hours. We were approaching the temple and I was thinking that my wife will be satisfied after we reach the serviced apartment that I have booked for us. This apartment was half a kilometre away from the temple. Our plan was to visit the temple in the afternoon when there was no crowd.
At a first glance, I felt that Shirdi is an upcoming town and the signs of a village turning into a town were evident everywhere. There were some malls and shops and a lot of hotels on both sides of the main road.
My hotel was in front of the water park. I wanted to visit the water park after the temple visit. I started imagining how much fun we would have in the park when suddenly the driver took a left turn from the main road and shattered my string of thoughts.
– Where are you going? You need to go to the ‘Silver Oak Holiday Home’ just opposite to the water park. – I screamed.
I tried to confirm the location as he was driving into a muddy area full of big craters and all of them filled with muddy water. I have never seen this kind of road in my lifetime. Even the prehistoric roads as I have seen them in my history books were better.
– Yes, I am going in the right direction – he replied calmly
– What are you saying? I have booked a three star accommodation. At least from the room rent I felt so.
– Sir, there is a five star hotel on this road, too – pat came the reply.
His reply came as a direct blow on my face. All my dreams were shattered in no time. I couldn’t believe that they had five star hotel in a muddy and bumpy road full of craters. I was never so dejected even when I was rejected by my first love.
– Oh shit, is this the place you have booked? You always try to save money in small things and never take care of our comfort. I don’t know what my father has seen in you when he had chosen a worthless fellow like you – my wife started her usual complaining
– My bad… I didn’t have information on the approach road of our hotel on net. I tried to be bold.
As we went in I could only see water on all sides of the car. The big holes under my feet made the situation scary. I started praying in all possible languages to Baba that the car should not stop there. I started imagining the vehicle stopped in the middle of the road and I was asked to push the vehicle. As we progressed in the road and there was no sight of our hotel that possibility of me pushing the vehicle seemed more.
– See your hotel there. It is only another turn away. Driver pointed to something towards the left.
– Oh, that’s ok. You concentrate on driving… I almost screamed. I didn’t want him to lose focus and go into deeper water or even worse – to turn turtle.
I will never forget the vicious smile he had on his face after seeing me scared. I felt like kicking his ass and throwing him out of the window, but restrained myself considering the greater danger of getting down and pushing the car to my destination.
He took another left turn through a bushy area. I never wanted this trip to be so adventurous. Already taking the one year old baby in Indian train was enough of adventure for me.
No, the last part was not so bad. The final 10 yards was free of any water or craters and we reached an apparently new building with a cute school for toddlers in front.
It was 8 am by my watch. My hope of having a good holiday at Shirdi has died down by that time.
Before paying the driver off I got off from the cab to meet the manager.
As I entered the premises I could see one table with a huge register kept on it but nobody was in site. The table was probably taken from an old furniture shop as a reject. The chair was one of the typical chairs used in govt. offices and this one was repaired several times but still put to use. I was looking for the manager when one person came out of the watchman’s room.
– May I see the manager please! I urged.
– Yes, tell me. The fellow replied.
To my utter shock, the person who seemed like room servant or at the best the watchman of the premises turned out to be the manager, too. Good money saving tactic huh…
– I have booked a room online. Can you please check if this is confirmed?
I wanted to confirm first as I couldn’t believe that I have booked this hotel online with price of a three star hotel.
At the back of my mind, for the first time ever I was thinking that may this turn out to be the wrong hotel. I didn’t want to take the risk of staying at an island in Shirdi and definitely I didn’t pay the premium price for an area like that.
– Yes, this is confirmed.
Oh god! What a shock with this confirmation. I couldn’t show my true emotion to him. Instead, I smiled and went back to pay the driver.
– One more thing. Our check-in time is at 12 noon – Pat came another shocker from the manager.
– What! Do you mean I need to wait for four hours to get a room now?
– See I plan to vacate your room by tomorrow 8 am. Why don’t you adjust? – I tried to calm down and show patience.
– Ummmm well, I can do one thing. I will not give you generator back up for four hours in the morning.
– Four hours! What do you mean? Don’t you have any electricity? I almost screamed as I continued to get shocks from this man.
– Sir, we have daily six hours of power cut. Four in the morning and two in the……
By this time I remembered that I already read it somewhere on the web but I was not prepared for these shockers in a three star hotel.
– But can’t you adjust this little bit as we are planning to visit the temple in a while and you can put the lights off then.
I tried to negotiate again.
This time he agreed. I patted my own back. I am mastering negotiation skills.
Meanwhile, one servicing person came from inside the watchman’s (sorry manager’s) room. Probably he was the only other person apart from us and the manager in that building.
I was wondering how the building will look like in the middle of the night when there is mandatory power cut. As a positive thinker, I could only think of another adventurous night in a haunted house. I wished that my dream of writing a best-selling novel on a haunted house will come true now.
Disclaimer – This post is written only for humour purpose and not to hurt anyone’s feelings. If this anyway hurts anyone’s feeling that is purely unintentional and regretted.
All the images used in this post are taken from internet and none of them belongs to this author.