Race Against Time- Part 1


I’m sorry for being off the radar for a few days. I’v been juggling college, office and a quick trip to Amritsar these days. Needless to say now I’m exhausted.

This trip to Amritsar was planned 2 months back. It was supposed to be a quick one with us leaving early morning and coming back at night the same day on Sunday. But I had no idea what was in store for me.

We were four people travelling together. Me, my dad, our family friend and his son MJ. So we reached the railway station early and got settled in the train for the 6 hour journey. Now, I’m usually very exited to travel in trains but the moment I settle in I start feeling extremely sleepy. I had planned to click a lot of pictures on the way but I just ended up being really really drowsy all the way. No amount of crosswords, Ludo, and chamomile tea could help me stay up.

The only pictures I managed to click were of the railway stations and that too because of a bunch of overexcited British tourists who used to bring out their camera’s the moment we stopped at any station. It is thanks to them that I too got motivated to move my butt and bring out my camera. 

We reached Amritsar exactly on time. Now, MJ’s dad is  REALLY particular about time.  And since we literally had just three and a half hours in Amritsar, he made us dash out of the train to catch an auto rickshaw for the Golden Temple. We were actually running after him. And to say nothing of the poor driver who he kept prompting to drive fast. 

When we reached the Golden Temple we raced to get off our shoes, deposit our bags, get out our camera’s and lenses, and just ran inside. The Golden Temple is usually crowded on Sunday’s because people form the nearby cities and villages come there for ‘Darshan’.

MJ and I had planned this as a photo trip. We wanted to capture as many pictures as possible of the city and the Golden Temple. But we had no idea we would be just running to get in to the line to get inside the temple. We did manage to click some pictures. It was a bright sunny November morning so the pictures did turn out pretty decent. 

It took us one and a half hours in the line to get inside the temple. We said a quick prayer, gave our offerings to the priest and moved on. It was so crowded we could hardly say inside for 15 minutes.

When we checked our clocks, we realised we just didn’t have any time for ‘Langar’. So we came out of the Temple and decided to have lunch at ‘Kesar Da Dhaba’. It is a really famous place in Amritsar which serves authentic ‘Dal Makhni’ which is cooked in a traditional way on the tandoor. It takes 12 hours for this dal to ready. 

We didn’t have time to walk to that place so we took a battery operated rickshaw. Now Mj’s dad instructed that driver to drive as fast as he could because we had to catch a train soon after lunch. And that chap drove like a crazy possessed man. Amritsar is a really old city with narrow lanes and this chap drove at such a high speed that we just hung on to our dear lives and hoped and prayed that we don’t smash into someone. 

Me and MJ enjoyed this ride but my dad, who is not fond of high speeds especially in such narrow lane kept screaming at the driver to slow down, but that just made him drive more fast much to the horror of my dad!

We reached the Dhaba in a record 4 minutes. MJ’s dad gave us clear instruction to eat as fast as possible and then rush towards the railway station to catch our train. He actually made us gobble down our food so that we are not late. The dal was delicious and despite the fact that we were late,(According to uncle. According to us we had a good buffer time to reach the station safely) we follwed the dal with some equally delicious Phirni (A Kashmiri rice pudding). 

The journey to the station was equally fun for us and torturous for my dad because uncle made the driver go as fast as the poor rickshaw could go. We reached the railway station and ran towards the platform. The train was already there and people were scrambling to check the confirmation lists. We had a confirmed ticket so me and MJ just got into the train, found our seats and just crashed into them because we were so tired of running. We were just about to keep our bags on the overhead racks when uncle came in telling us that our name is not on the confirmation list. At that very moment a family of four came and said that the sets on which we were sitting were theirs and they too had a confirmed ticket. Confused, we got off the train to look for a ticket checker. 

When we found one, we showed him our tickets. He gave them a look, smiled and told us that we were late for our train. When we gave him a weird look he explained that we had the tickets for the train that left Amritsar at 5 am that morning. And we were standing on the platform at 5 in the evening thinking we would catch the train.