Day 1 – 23rd June 2012 – On the way to Dwarahat, Uttarakhand
My Day 1 accounts may give you a déjà vu feeling always if you have already read my travelogue of Himachal Pradesh. The same story of going to bed late (this time it was 11.45 pm) and getting up early (oh yes, it was very early, we got up at 3.15 am to catch the flight at 5.50 am). The same story of slight anxiousness about the arrival of cab (this time it was duly taken care by the service provider by sending the sms well in advance). However, the unusual traffic at Priyadarshini Circle and also at the airport was making me bit nervous. We reached the airport well in time and whoa, there was no queue for the Spicejet flight for check-in. it was a 2 minute affair and we were through. J
We had set an ambitious plan of covering 400 km and reaching our destination by 7 pm. Paulo Coelho was obvious this time, the universe was actually conspiring to make us achieve our target (did I forget to mention that the ambition was privy to a pure soul! J) We actually grounded 20 mins prior to our scheduled arrival to IGI Airport. There is no reason why I had to be happy wearing casuals and getting out of the IGI airport….i was sure, I was off to the hills, amigos!
Delhi was burning those days. I mean literally, it was burning! It was 8 in the morning and I just couldn’t bear my walk from the exit of the airport to the car parking where our loyal chauffer for years, Shib Kumar was waiting for us. Due to Saturday, we didn’t find much traffic on the road and zoomed past Kalkaji, Okhla, Noida and Ghaziabad in very less time.
In the meanwhile (or before confirming the order), I managed to strike a conversation with Mr. Prem Singh Bedi , the elder Bedi sibling running the Bhajan Tadka! I gave him the reference of the show HOMP and Rocky /Mayur and his face beamed with smile. I also told him that we came all the way from Mumbai and were looking forward to eat at his restaurant. He asked us what we’ve ordered for and made sure that garlic lachcha naans are prepared immediately. That was so nice of him.
After finishing our lunch at 12.30 pm, we still had plenty of time leverage on our side. However, it was sure a no non-sense journey. Well, the distance till Ramnagar (aka Jim Corbett National Park) is not exceptional. The same boring plain road! Shib Kumar had already taken an audacious decision to drive through Jim Corbett National Park instead of sticking to the normal Kathgodam – Haldwani-Nainital route.
After driving for another hour, we reached the town of Dwarahat. It was 8 pm and people had already closed the doors, probably had their meals and were ready to go to bed. How lucky you people are! At the same time, we are either breaking our heads in our offices or facing gigantic traffic snarls or jostling for some space in local trains! Why, why….God is so unfair! J After asking for directions to our destination, we finally managed to reach Yogoda Ashram in Dwarahat.
Normally, Yogoda Society doesn’t allow non-members to stay in their Ashrams but since I’m the worse half of one of their sincere members, they accommodated me. So nice of them! I almost looked like a devil amongst good souls with my black lycra t-shirt, rugged jeans since everyone else was wearing simple cotton kurta-pajama. But actually, you don’t become spiritual by wearing simple clothes but you may say that it is one of the baby steps towards attaining spirituality.