One of the life lessons I learnt while travelling was about #LoveAndLaughter and what could be a better day to share it with all of you than Valentine’s Day !
I remember that day quite clearly. We were to leave for Lucknow that evening and were still debating how to reach our boarding station which was in Old Delhi this time ! Travelling to Old Delhi is quite stressful as you never know where you are going to get stuck. Don’t get me wrong, I love old Delhi and the charming streets of Chandni Chowk and have spent weeks there trying to click that perfect picture ! In fact, I fell in love with photography because of my adventures in the galis of Chandni Chowk.
But travelling there for work with luggage is another ball game, altogether ! So we had two options, book a taxi or take the metro. The boy was in favour of leaving earlier and travelling by a taxi whereas I said it was better to leave later and go stress free in the metro. After all, the metro connectivity from Dwarka is pretty awesome and especially on this route. By the Airport Express Line, it would hardly take us 45 mins to reach Old Delhi. So we agreed to take the metro.
We left on time but what we did not estimate was that it might take us longer to reach the metro station. We struggled to find an auto rickshaw to take us to the Metro station and finally boarded a local bus in the fear of getting late. As usual, the bus waited at each sop for more passengers and that got us sweating. We again got down and took an electric rickshaw to the metro station.
The Airport Express line is not as frequent and we would have liked and it took another 15 minutes to arrive. We got off at the New Delhi Metro station from where I suggested that we take the Delhi Metro and reach the old Delhi Metro Station as we were running short on time. But the boy said that there was no metro station at the old Delhi railway station or even close to it and we would be further wasting our time. Instead, he said we should take an auto rickshaw and reach the Old Delhi Railway station from New Delhi Railway Station which to me was not such a bad idea but just that I wasn’t sure about the traffic on the way especially with the narrow lanes of Old Delhi. I insisted that there was a metro station at Old Delhi Railway Station and that I remember seeing it and boarding a train from there once but the boy was just too sure that there wasn’t any otherwise he would have seen it !
Finally, I gave in and hailed an auto rickshaw who promised us to take us there by the fastest route. We still had 25 minutes left so we were not too edgy. The auto rickshaw took us from a route and looked clear and just as we were easing up, we encountered a rally that had blocked the whole road ! Oh my god, it was Shivratri that day and some old Delhi folks decided to block the road with the rally. The auto rickshaw guy tried to bypass it and take us through but in 5 minutes we realised that it was an impossible task. The only thing left to do now, was to run. Yes, run !
So we jumped out of the rickshaw, paid the guy and sprinted. I realised I was wearing slippers and had to run in those. Thankfully, we were on a short trip so we just had two backpacks to run around with and also I knew the lanes of Chandni Chowk like the back on my hand so we didn’t have to stop and ask for directions. I told the boy to follow me as I found my way through the Old Delhi crowd, bicycles and garbage. To top it all, there were people sleeping on the footpath and the only thing I could do to avoid them was to jump over ! So I ran a hurdle race in slippers through the ‘galis’ Chandni Chowk till I saw the Old Delhi Railway station gate. And then I couldn’t run anymore, we had made it in time to walk the few steps to the station.
We boarded the train, all sweaty, huffing and puffing and sat down to catch our breath. To me, the whole series of situations were out of a movie and I had such a great adrenaline rush from the hurdle race that I told the boy that I had such fun ! It was so surreal. The boy, on the other hand, glared at me and told me that it was my fault and that we should have started earlier and all that. To that, I just said that we wouldn’t have gotten stuck, had we taken the metro to Old Delhi instead of the rickshaw. He got angry and said “There is no metro station here, how many times do I have to tell you that?” I kept quiet as he was fuming and I didn’t want to spoil the rest of my train journey.
In the middle of all this, we did not realise that there was another passenger sitting next to us watching us quietly quibble over whether there was a metro station or not near the Old Delhi Railway station. He suddenly decided to chip in and said “Lekin Bhaisahab, yahaan to metro station hai !”
The boy suddenly realised that we had audience and responded boy saying “Haan, lekin door hai na?” The kind man said “Nahin, railway station ke andar hai.”
That’s it. I could not control my laughter any more but could not laugh out loud at my husband in front of a stranger so I just looked at him silently with the sparkle in my eyes and surpassed giggles in my voice. He looked at me, feeling defeated but still not ready to accept that he was wrong. And then he gave in and we laughed together ! The stranger seemed a little confused about the fight turning into laughter, maybe he had wanted to add fuel to the fire in the hope of some drama and entertainment and but all he got were two people laughing in love.
The lesson I learnt that day and hopefully the boy did too, was that anything can be overcome by #LoveAndLaughter, by enjoying life and the situations it creates, by taking up every challenge it throws at you and making the best of it.
One must stop trying to blame someone for what has happened or take the blame themselves because maybe it was destiny. Such unwanted and unaccountable situations often enrich your life with stories to tell and laugh about ! They are like silver lining to the dark clouds. And if you look closely, there’s always something to be learnt from them.
“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” ― William Shakespeare,