Our family has been a part of three tours. I mean, long ones. I so hope, we undergo more of these. Futile thoughts...
Father and two enterprising friends planned things well. We three families have visited the north, north-east, and the western parts of India. Those were the days. At get-togethers, most of the time is spent in reliving those moments. Amazing ones.
When we look back in time, it surprises us. Amongst the various surprises thrown in, i realise that i'm grown up, and pretty old.
We visited the north in 1994(?).
We alighted at Agra. Two days and a night inbetween was spent journeying to the north from Bangalore. That was the first time i saw samosas' and jilebis' econsumed for breakfast. Ewwww! How can anybody eat those for breakfast? Moreover people ate them without cleansing their mouths. It made me gag, if nothing else. A first insight into the ways of north-indians, such as this, for a child is not so pleasant.
If i remember right, the first place that we saw was the Taj Mahal. Excitement ruled me, then. One of the seven wonders of the world.... mausoleaum in marble....this and that. The exteriors was maintained in a very shabby state. Red stains, chracteristic of pan decorated the outer side of the compound wall. I thought, 'Do we really have to see this place?' Thankfully, the area inside was comparably well-kept. I hope it is tidy these days.
We were to catch a connecting train to Delhi(?) fom Haridwar(?). While waiting at the railway station at Haridwar, PLG uncle, somebody else and me were watching a nearby cart. The vendor(not older than 25) was selling some mixture, with lots of boiled potatos. A number of people did buy from him. We were jobless. Uncle suggested we buy a plate of whatever-chat that was. The three of us shared it. I guess, i never took to it. We disposed the leaf in which it was served, along with plenty of chopped potatos.
Our first night at Delhi, and we dined at Dasaprakash. Were we glad to eat proper south-indian food?! Ordering full meals for everybody despite the age, we gobbled the puris', rice, sambhar, rasam... like we've never tasted south-indian fare before. Manna from heaven!
From Mussorie we planned to go to Dehradun. I was so adament to visit Dehra and the Garhwals. I wanted to roam on the streets used by Ruskin Bond. To visualise Dehra from Bond's angle is enchanting. Unfortunately we couldn't make it to Dehra due to some reason. It left me upset and disappointed. To a great extent. I still desire to holiday at Dehra. With a Bond in my hand.
One of father's close friends' had shifted to Lucknow. Thus, we headed towards Lucknow. We hired a vehicle. It looks like an auto, and can fit more than ten people. Try imagining an enlarged version of our auto, with more seats in an extended posterior. Gomti runs in the middle of the city, and it stinks!! The water was a dull grey, plastic material, rubbish flowing along with the water. We were shocked to see the Gomti in such a sad condition. One of the many examples of water-pollution. A very good one, indeed!