Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Mangalore Express

First I want to congratulate Guru and wish him and Suvarna a happy married life. Not only was his wedding an memorable event, his love story is an exciting one too. How exciting: he met his lady love in the bus while commuting from office to home. (I don't want to deprive Guru from sharing his beautiful love story in his own words).

When Guru announced about his wedding to Suvarna in early December, all our team members wanted to attend the wedding at brides' native place, Sirsi. Their wedding was to be held on Monday the 21st Feb. Everyone agreed on a three day long weekend travel and explore the tourist places near Sirsi. Within a few days, the onward train tickets were booked to Mangalore and return was booked from Hubli for 9 members. The planning was put to a hold in event of the Christmas holidays. Early January, Guru was pleasantly surprised to find that Mike (our big boss in US) and Daniele (Guru's functional boss in US) are planning to visit his wedding and enjoy the 3 day travel with the team. Despite several If's and But's in their travel plan, we booked round trip flight and train tickets for them. Later, the trip also included the three new members Dhanpathi and Ravi (accompanied by his wife).

Guru and myself proactively planned for the three days travel. We sat together identified tourist places, drew schedules, calculated rough expenses and made reservations. With everything planned our only worry had been about Mike and Daniele traveling 8 hours by Indian Railways. Undeterred by our graphic explanation of the Indian Railways and Railway station, they were strongly convinced to experience our Incredible India!. With Guru off to his native a week before his wedding, I had taken up the responsibility of a full time travel agent. Last minute inclusion of Krishna's wife in the trip increased our travelers list from 14 to 15. I had collected an advance amount of Rs. 2200 from individuals towards hotel and other expenses. With everything planned, we just waited for our travel day eagerly.

Firday 19th Feb, Mangalore Express was scheduled to depart from Bangalore City Junction at 8:55PM. Before leaving the office, I personally informed everyone about the train timings and requested them to be available at the railway station by 8:30PM. Unfortunately Krish, Ravi, his wife and 1 year old kid missed the train by a whisker. While we enjoyed the comfortable train travel, they had to travel by bus to Mangalore and then to Udupi. After a few hours of playing cards with Daniele we decided to hit the berth. At 7:00AM we were awake and looking at the beautiful western plains. When I found Mike and Daniele sitting by the window seats and enjoying the country side, I offered them to come out and have a look by the door. Their great Indian experience had began with the fresh morning wind rushing against their hair as they stood with their heads out of the train. Like every other Indian we encouraged them to enjoy the journey by dis-boarding the train at stops and boarding again after the train starts. Surprisingly, by the time we reached Mangalore  Krish and others had managed to reach Udupi by 8:20AM. At Mangalore railway station, our 21 seater mini bus was waiting to take us to Udupi. At 9:00AM we set off enjoying the scenic bus ride on route to Udupi.

We reached Udupi at 10:00AM and checked into our rooms at Mango Suites. The rooms were comfortable and well maintained. Around 11:30AM we set out to visit the famous Krishna Temple. Before we entered the temple, Mike received blessings from the temple elephant - his first experience which unfortunately he could not get a photograph of. While I had imagined the temple to be a architectural marvel that would intrigue our boss from US, but on the contrary the temple was small and simple with horde of people pushing through the narrow passage that is common for exit and entrance to get a glimpse of All Mighty. I just hope that they enjoyed wallowing in their sweat as well others, while pushing through the queue. With His blessings, we head out to have lunch at the best restaurant in Udupi, that closely resembled Saravana Bhavan.

Everything is within walkable distance in Udupi. Loka, Deepa and myself  (the veggies) finished our lunch and walked back to the hotel. Everyone was back from lunch by 2:30PM. I informed them to be down at the lobby around 4:00PM in their beach wear and we will be heading to Malpe. We manged to leave for Malpe at 4:45PM and it was nearly a 45min drive to the place. Sunil and myself didn't enjoy the comfortable ride in the air conditioned bus and took a permanent seat near the driver. On-route to Malpe, the driver informed about St.Mary's island, 3Kms off Malpe beach. We decided to try out the island and asked the driver to drop us off at the port. On time for the 5:30PM ferry we reached St.Mary's at 5:50PM. Our fun at the island lasted only for 30mins as the last ferry was at 6:30PM. Sunil and Krishna despite warnings from Dhanpathi, rubbed their body against a rock in the sea which inflicted multiple bruises in their chest and hand. With no medicine and time to treat their wounds, we took the last ferry back to Malpe. The sunset at Arabian sea was picture postcard.

Back on our bus at 7:00PM, we were heading out without any clear destination. After some discussion, we concluded to finish our dinner in our wet clothes at Malpe's Hotel Paradise Isle which was by the beach. Krishna and Sunil got themselves completely high with nearly 400ml of scotch. Their conversations and acts got interesting. The restaurant service was one of the worst resulting in Dhanpati and others getting in a verbal tussle with the waiters. Adding to that was Sunil's un-controllable thirst to dance at the private party being held in the hall nearby. Dhanpathi and Mike motivated (secretly enjoying) Sunil to break an entry into the party. Gathering all his courage thanks to his scotch, he and Krishna managed to enter the party. Worried that they might end up with black spots under their eye, we sent Subu to the rescue. Subu diligently rescued them, however was questioned for depriving Sunil his opportunity to dance. We managed to complete our dinner at 10:00PM and make our way back to hotel in Udupi.
I briefed them on the day 2 plan and asked them to assemble at the lobby at 7:30AM. (To be contd.)

1 comment:

  1. please continue it quickly Sundaram. Don't forget to add Sunil's talk after 400ml of scotch :)