Tips and suggestions on How Not to Travel
Disclaimer: No part of this following text is over exaggeration, unbelievable or impossible. All have been tried and implemented successfully, much to the dismay of the writer. Unless you want to look more like a fool than you already are, you are welcome to try these stunts. I promise you whole heartedly that none of these are dangerous or life-threatening.
- Give yourself atleast half an hour to decide what to pack. This simple bullet has serious consequences on your whole travel plan, as we will see.
- Do not unnecessarily overburden yourself. When you know you won't be wearing more than two pairs of clothes, do not pack three pairs. Else you won't have enough space to cram in a pair of formal shoes (why formal?) and a turkish towel.
- Remove your clothes from the last trip from the travel bag. Otherwise the bag will stink. not everybody in this world has as forgiving a nose as yours.
- Once you've decided what to pack, do not leave the actual act of packing till the last minute. This again will have serious consequences.
- Do not depend on your dad's credit card for tickets. Else you will be tempted to book a flight to Hawaii or some other exotic place.
- Do not depend on your dad's credit card for tickets. Else you will postpone booking tickets until the last minute.
- Do not depend on your dad's credit card for tickets. Else you will recieve only an e-ticket. Which in itself is not dangerous, but will have its own complications.
- If you are a lazy bugger like me, do with all due respect depend on your dad's credit card for tickets. It is the only way if you want to reach the venue of your interview (interview?) the next day.
- As i've said earlier, book your tickets well in advance. If you haven't, well you always have your dad's credit card. And besides, if not for us, why do our dads have credit cards :P.
- Before booking tickets online, decide first whether you want to book tickets by train or by flight. Very important. Do not confuse between trains and planes. One is a straight line, the other is a set of infinite lines. (Bad joke. what else did you expect?)
- Rule out trains if you have to reach somewhere really far within a really short time. Rule out buses with the same reasoning. And besides, why would you go by bus if you could buy flight tickets on your dad's credit card?
The actual flight:
- If you are flying, make sure you have already packed your luggage well before the time of departure. Remember, this is not a train. You cannot, i repeat cannot run after a plane.
- If you are flying, make sure you are at the airport atleast half an hour before the time of check-in. Please note: half an hour before the time of check-in, not departure.
- If in case you have made sure that you would be at the airport not later than half an hour before the time of departure, be ready for the full set of consequences:
- 1. Since you would have booked your ticket online, you will have to take a print out of your actual ticket at the booking counter.
- 2. Since you were planning to reach the airport by an auto-rickshaw, there is every chance that it will breakdown in the middle of the highway, requiring a minimum of half-an-hour of repair.
- 3.Since you planned to reach the airport only half an hour before the time of departure, there is every chance that you will miss the flight since the auto-rickshaw would have taken up the half hour for its repair.
- 4. And even if you did reach the airport just in time to catch the flight, the ticket counter might run out of pages to print out your ticket, or the boarding pass might take time.
- 5. By which time, the plane would have left, since you confused between a train and a plane. Believe me, you can't deal with infinite sets! (Prepare yourself for a string of bad jokes!)
- Do not disappoint yourself that you have missed your flight. If there are more than 12 hours between now and the time you have to report at the venue of interview, (ah! so we were planning to go to an interview!) there is every possibility of finding a permutation-combination of flights that will take you to your city of destination. Simple. Dad's card, book tickets.
- When you are booking tickets online, and you see before you a range of flights and travel plans, might as well book the most convinient one. Hoping that might save you some time.
The actual actual flight:
- Armed with the experience of already missing one flight, you will resolve yourself never to miss another flight in your whole life. And since this being the most immediate flight, you will not miss it. I guarantee you. (In case you still missed your flight, now being the second time consecutively, can i use your frequent flyer's discount the next time?)
- Always be polite with the flight attendants. The poor buggers, as it is they have to live with those plastic faces. Makes it easier if they see so many more plastic faces around them.
- Do not expect to see beautiful air hostesses on Indian air networks. You have been brainwashed to believe air hostesses are beautiful. It is in your own interest to get rid of that misconception.
- When you have nothing to do on the flight, do not play with the buttons overhead. I agree it is a lot of fun to see flight attendants running around just to realise it was a mistake, but you will not believe how they can wreck your life. As it is, there is enough tension in your life. (You are going to an interview remember?)
- Even Domestic airports have arrival and departure areas different. Get that through your thick head. It is not the railways, where you wait on a platform for the next connecting train.
- If you have to switch flights, make sure that you wait in a lounge where there is a TV available. Waiting for three hours in the middle of the night is not an easy thing, and you need more company than a sea of uninterested faces and a silly Su-Do-Ku.
- Do not watch the TV, especially if it is an interesting match like the one between England and Sweden. I agree 89th minute equalisers are rare to come by, but so are Boeing-737's that would take you to HYD within two hours. you might just get caught up in one forgetting the other.
- Remember, there is a possibility of a TV even after the security clearance. Do not believe that the waiting lounge outside is your only hope, and delay your security check unduly.
- Hutch/Airtel cellphone recharge kiosks do not recharge Reliance cellphones (Duh!), although all are of similar Samsung make and model. There is a difference between similar and same. Infact, Hutch Samsung rechargers might just discharge a Reliance Samsung phone.
The second actual flight:
- As i've said before, do not expect to see beautiful air hostesses on Indian air networks, especially when you're travelling the second part of the journey by the same airways by which you've travelled the first part of your journey. They don't change air hostesses overnight. (Who am i kidding? they do. infact they change air hostesses every flight. what i am talking about is that they can't make them beautiful overnight. like i said, expect the unexpected. bad jokes.)
- Atleast mix and match airways for a better chance at getting beautiful air hostesses. (Aw god! Diablo's coming after me!! help!!)
- If and when you are solving the lame-ass puzzles in the local newspaper they give you for free on the flight, do not switch on your reading lights when the cabin lights are off. All the reading lights achieve is to make you out as a centre of attention, and if you already have the quasi-serious absent-minded-prof look that i seem to have, you have every chance of being pounced upon by an equally hopeless looking flight attendant bloke. Worse still, they are so unobtrusive, that when a hand reaches out suddenly and says "Thou art mine" (read "That one's nine") you are forced to second guess the nature of flight attendants in general. I mean i truly wouldn't have minded if it was a female (i'd have been startled, true, but wouldn't have minded. me a gentleman afterall, with a heart after the finer essences in life.)
- When you have reached your destination city safely, and while you still have time before the interview, do not sleep! First have a bath, get done with your daily ablutions, and shave for god's sake! Mark my words: after a whole night of hectic travelling and wasting your cell balance calling up ppl while on roaming, you are bound to be tired and bedraggled. It will show in the interview. Atleast have a decent shave while you have time. And as expected out of me, i slept.
- Venue: Gachibowli, IIIT, Hyderabad. Somehow it never fails to remind me of the SuperBowl. I mean like i keep imagining that the Hi-Tech City with its rounded laced facade is in fact a huge bowl of cereal, like the ones they show on a Cap'n Crunch box. Lack of sleep does that to you. Hallucinations i mean.
- When you don't know how to reach a place, rely on planes. When it is out of reach of planes, rely on auto-rickshaws. But do remember, you cannot use your daddy's card with the auto wallahs. Did i forget? you should have come armed with money to your neck. Else thou art doomed, my brother.
- So armed with money, and relying on autos, go from point A (being your temporary abode of accomodation) to point B (being your interview venue) while preparing to pay point 1 K (meaning it takes 100 bucks! from Taj Krishna Dn to Gachibowli on auto, even via Mehdipatnam.) But remember, all this is in good faith. For thou wilt have reached thine Holy Grail in time, if all went well and you had change to pay the autowallah. Nobody has change so early in the morning (i'm talking about like 8:30 - 9:00 AM). Another valuable nugget of wisdom.
". . . "
Huh? what? where? huh huh.. uh .. brrr.... huffff... brrr... hufff....
"Sarat Chandra Addepalli"
Somebody called me? was it you? no? oh well.. i musta been dreaming... back to my snoring...
"SARAT CHANDRA ADDEPALLI"
woah!!! dude, quit shouting already.... Here I am in my cousin's formals (oh yeah! formals of course!) since i packed three different pairs of clothes that I didn't need, and since I don't have the clothes that i'd need, and lemme get some sleep for i have travelled late all through last night without sleep, and nothing for company except SuDoKu and a stoopid crossword i couldnt make head or tail of. Give the guy a break! i mean...
Wish you could say that to your interview panel! But as fate would have it, i was dragged out of a seemingly drugged sleep into the depths of a desperate drama. (notice the effort i'm putting in, just to craft an alliteration. If you haven't already divined, this is not for your reading pleasure. this is for my writing pleasure. so please... :P) the actual interview. what was i asked? what did i answer? aw c'mon dude. we both have better things to do than discuss the details of a dead dodo. (redundancy. dodos are already extinct, so it is enough to say dodo instead of a dead dodo. redundancy is a tool that i think a language gives so that ppl like me can write worthless shit that ppl like you will read.)
The means of communication:
- Hmm.. Guess i've already mentioned beware of airport recharge kiosks. maybe something there must have tampered something inside the simply unimaginable work of engineering that is my cell phone. Reliance Samsung CDMA phone, the world's slimmest CDMA phone is not slim without a price. The battery. With a very great tendency to discharge quite fast, especially when rapidly changing service areas, as is the case when travelling long distance, do not expect this particular species of phone to last your journey (even if it is not even 24 hours continuous) with only full charge at the outset. it needs more. it is a monster. and a necessary one at that. We'll see later why necessary.
- Again, the Reliance Mobile network, proud to be one of the fastest growing cellular networks, is not without its share of drawbacks. For a cellular network that is hailed as one of the most technologically efficient and forward, i think it is a thing of shame that one cannot recharge the talktime balance when in roaming!! (recharge vouchers from AP are not valid for a cellphone registered with Gujarat, and there are only so many e-recharge centres).
- Always carry along with you extra talktime recharge vouchers. They are of sublime importance. And do not look for them just before you board a flight in the night, coz that's the time shops generally shut themselves down.
- Be warned that if you are in Hyd, with a Reliance cell phone on roaming, and no recharge card, you are in for a lot of trouble. As you go from Somajiguda Post Office to Panjagutta Police Station, you will not find even one RIM prepaid shop which will sell talktime recharge vouchers.
- In times of such trouble, there is only one thing one can do. Bow to the almighty King! And thy shalt rise renewed. And recharged.
Roaming the city:
- When in Rome, act like a Roman. Meaning the moment you ask a Hyderabadi auto wallah "enta?" (meaning "how much?" for the fare; one should keep in mind tariff meters still work in Hyd, not like in Vizag where you got to haggle) he will inevitably conclude that you are not from the city, and will take you for a ride. Both literally and metaphorically. So be prepared to be looted, if you have not the wits to act like a Roman in Rome.
- Like i said, i'm a gentle man with a heart after the finer things in life. So i go to these mega crowd pulling shopping malls that lie in the centre of the city. Not to shop, dimwit. I'm a guy, not a girl. And eat overly priced pizzas that are just melting with cheese. You've got to admit it. the finer things in life are never cheap. They cost around Rs.150 for two.
- When you are planning to leave in the evening, do not plan to watch a movie too. It is just fatal. I didn't. And so i missed my only chance of watching Krrish in Imax print :( .
- Coming from a middle class family, and already having booked two airline tkts because of missing one, doesnt exactly guarantee that you will return by a plane again. In case you haven't planned your return even before you depart, you are pretty much in the same situation as I was two days before. Options left: only one. Bus. Unless of course you're willing to wait until you'd find a reserved ticket on a train back. But then it'd just be an extended unjustified holiday on my part, that too while absconding work at the college. So i booked Bus tickets.
- If you don't plan your return journey carefully, you might have to travel around 1300 kms by bus. And since you've already wasted thousands, your conscience is always in your face, and you can't buy tkts in comfy Volvo buses or a/c coaches.
- And since this requires more than 24 hours of travel by bus, it is near humanly impossible to travel non-stop. And besides, no bus service provides continuous shuttle from Hyd to Abad. So you have to go via Pune. And watcha gonna do in Pune for a whole day? Options open:
- You could plan to walk and go sight seeing. Bad option ofcourse, coz incase you forgot, you are travelling the night by bus, and will have to the next night also, and you might need all the energy you're gonna get.
- You could plan to rent a room and get some sleep, but only if you have a heart of stone. I mean if missing a flight and booking two instead of one isn't already enough, renting a room for a half-day would be the best way to melt your dad's plastic, and your conscience too.
- Or you could just call up one of your good friends in Pune who is staying in a bachelor accomodation, and beg him to let you stay over for the day. While you're at it, might as well ask him where to get down in Pune. Don't forget this important tidbit. (Like you've already noticed, i simply can't resist saying "it can have serious consequences", but i do mean it!)
- When you do board the bus, do not forget to tell the driver or his assistant to wake you up the next morning when your stop approaches. Coz unless you've developed a very keen biological alarm, or infact you're actually carrying one, you will in all probability sleep through till the bus, which was headed for pune, infact crosses pune to go god knows where!
- Do not depend on your cell phone for an alarm, especially if it is of the model and make i've already mentioned, which has a very short lived battery time, especially when you're travelling long distances. Can't stress this fact enough. Coz in hope of saving battery, you might be tempted to switch it off during the overnight bus travel, thus depriving yourself of the sole alarm service. Or you might decide to let the cell phone be switched on, hoping it will wake you up the next morning, in which case it will (i guarantee you) get discharged, thus again depriving you of your alarm service. So, Do not depend on your cell phone for an alarm.
- Do not be surprised and get alarmed, when you wake up the next morning, to realise you missed your destination. All you need to do, is to shell out ubeleivably extraordinary amounts of dough to yet another autowallah to let him get you from wherever the hell you landed up to the place you actually want to go. Might as well take an auto, seeing as you really are stupid enough that you can't get down from a bus right! (springs to my mind the infinite profundity of meaning articulated as follows by Bullet Tooth Tony: "Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity" ).
- Infact, if you do miss your stop on the bus journey, congratulate yourself, coz now you would have learnt a valuable lesson in life: always inform the driver to wake you up at your stop the next day. Armed with this knowledge, (armed, yes, coz knowledge is power) you would do very well to swear never to miss your stop in a bus ever again, especially if the next bus journey would be that very night (remember? you've still got to get to A'bad! Just so sad that this never-ending journey from hell isn't finished yet!).
- So when you finally get to your friend's place, thank your stars that you did infact reach where you set out to, with all of your luggage. (Oh did i forget to mention? PLEASE do check your luggage every time you get on or off a means of travel! there is always a chance you will forget something, seeing as you are stupid enough to attempt such an incredibly incredulous journey in the first place).
- Bus journey scheduled for the night again? "yes". Do you have your tickets? "no". Then what are you doing? "mmm.. ??". Oh my god, do you still need somebody to tell you to buy your tickets on time? even after all this? Don't worry dude, i'm just like you. Been there, done that. Li'l piece of advice. Buy your tickets. So i did, and was pleasantly surprised that tickets were still available, even to A'bad, even just 6 hours before departure, even for a bus that departs at 4:00 in the afternoon in the scorching heat.
- Time to kill till 4:00? Take my advice. Sleep it off at your friend's. Yeah right! easier said than done, so you might be tempted to spend some time at an internet cafe, just coz you're bored. Fine go ahead. Be warned though, of chatting, coz you might miss your next means of transport, while you're chatting. Especially if you're chatting with a very special person in your life. (Doesn't really matter if you've never met that person, or even if that person doesn't live in the same continent either, coz if that person's really important, you might just be tempted to cancel the bus journey just to stay chatting).
- Again, to reiterate, a plane is not a train, and a bus is not a plane. If you plan to arrive at the bus station half an hour before the bus is scheduled to depart, you might find yourself waiting for a whole hour. (Yes, i can do math, the extra half hour's for the time it takes for an average indian "hi-tec" bus to actually start!). You can plan to arrive even just 10 minutes before departure. But in all probability, armed with all your experiences of missing modes of travel, you will arrive at the bus station a full half an hour before departure. Don't say i didn't warn you! Like i said, a bus is not a plane.
- Also, armed with your experiences with a cell phone, you would have already recharged your phone at your friend's. Yet, you should resist the temptation to leave your phone switched on for the bus travel, coz there's only so much you can resist, and soon you might find yourself smsing the above said important person (coz unless you already missed this bus too, you must have abruptly finished your online chat conversation abruptly to arrive at the bus station earlier than was necessary). And believe me, even sms's do cost, especially when you're on roaming, and that too on a Reliance mobile network! Notwithstanding that it's an international sms in the first place! (Another not-so-important fact: Reliance group of companies was started by a banya. If you have not the heart to deal with and sift through the seamingly endless varieties of talktime services and offers, you might infact be being shortchanged!)