Continued from Part 9 - Exploring Delhi - A guided Tour
Two major events were scheduled for Day 8 of the tour. First was a visit to Taj Mahal at Agra, then dinner at IAS Uncle's home which turned out to be a fun event when each one of us all explained the reasons behind our nicknames. Read on to find out more.....
The Taj Mahal Trip
The Taj Mahal trip started pretty early. The bus arrived pretty early and we started even before daylight set in. The journey was scheduled to be a three hour drive. It was quite foggy morning, but early morning start ensured a traffic snarl free road.
We reached the Delhi Agra highway soon. The most interesting aspect of this drive was that we were travelling on this highway, which was a six lane road for the first time. The speed which the bus was travelling and the smoothness of road was really superb. The adrenalin rush inside the driving enthusiasts were quite evident by the way these people were discussing on the speed of the bus and the superb roads.
We had just one stop for breakfast. The city of Agra arrived sooner than we expected.
First we went the Agra Fort. Again it was a sprawling campus, and a magnificent building. We had to cover a lot of distance to completely enjoy this fort.
The photo sessions by “Padakkam” during which he made each one of stand in each of the doors of the big fort and padakkam snapping up the picture from a distance place was a special event.
Unfortunately the picture does not do true justice to the effort which he put in for snapping up this. We can get a view of the Taj Mahal from top of this Agra Fort.
We had a small shopping spree in Agra town. The place is famous for leather items. We were taken by surprise when we heard the cost of shoes. Almost all in our gang purchased atleast 2 pair of shoes because the price was almost one third of what we get here. Once all the purchase was over we proceeded to the invincible Taj Mahal.
Before visiting the real Taj Mahal, we had a taste of its constructional brilliance, when we were taken to a museum which housed a lot of Taj Mahal like structures created out of marble. Some of them were for sale also, but the amount they demanded was enough to buy the smallest car from Maruti’s stable.
Neverthless the items on display were of real quality and it is said to have been made out of real marble.
The bus rolled into the sprawling parking lot of the Taj Mahal. There was a strict security checking at the gates, video cameras. Pettu was carrying a video camera with him, but the attitude of the security people made him hide his camera in a bag. His plan was not to take the camera out, when inside the fort.Once we crossed the big arch like entrance, we are into a new world. The elegance of this building cannot be expressed in words. Add to it the pond and the landscaping in front, it becomes a real marvel.
Soon a lot of photographers surrounded us, each offering us instant photos, some of them even offering a blazer which we can wear for posing. It was very difficult for us to pass all kinds of vendors in prowl and move ahead. Another very bad thing is the kind of littering around this marvellous structure.
Soon we were inside this fort completely built in marble. The beauty of this magnificent fort helps each one of the visitor ascertain the love of Shahjahan to Mumtaz Mahal. He has succeeded in achieving the objective for constructing such a tomb in memory of his love, as a result of which even after 400 years we are talking about their love. What a monument !!!!
Well soon padakkam was in action again, and this time he directed us to form a chain, by holding hands together and raising it in unison.
Wonder whether padakkam has a scope for direction as he did during electronic association inauguration when he make our juniors enact a modern Ramayana.
Meanwhile someone noticed that Mr. Pettu was not around. We searched around but he was not found. Panic button was pressed and we were in a searching spree. It was not the first time we are searching for a lost person, we had experienced this during our first year when we searched for a guy who absconded.
Much to our relief Pettu was found out soon. He was seen arguing with the security staff. Both of them seemed to be in a very serious mood. Security was talking in Hindi and he was talking in English. Soon PispisPistu arrived at the scene. The security person had somehow seen his camera and he wanted the custody of camera, since it was a violation. PispisPistu somehow convinced that no video was shot from inside, and only because of the fear of keeping it at the gate, he carried it inside. Somehow the security was convinced and he got his camera back.
The trip back was uneventful and most of us were fast asleep with the superb roads creating no hindrance. Once back at the youth hostel, we had an important event to attend.
The dinner @ IAS Uncle’s Home
The person who made this trip happen – IAS Uncle of LimeKumar had invited us for a dinner. No words of thanks is enough to express our gratitude to him. A person whom we had never seen had helped us a lot and made all the arrangements. He has even invited for a dinner. We were little apprehensive on what kind of mood we all be in during the dinner, because he is a high level officer of Govt of India.
Anyway proceeded to his apartment. IAS uncle, his wife and kids were waiting to receive us, and the moment we stepped in, we all really felt at home for he was a completely down to earth person and within no time the mood of the gang changed and every one was happy. The presence of IAS Uncle’s father and mother made the party even more interesting. Soon IAS Uncle suggested to have some events, but before that he wanted to have an introduction of all the tour gang. Suddenly someone suggested that the introduction should also contain the nicknames and a description of why the nicknames was chosen. The fun was about to begin. The introduction started.
Limekumar – I cannot live without having atleast 5 to 6 glasses of lime juice each day
Kodali – My sideburns resembles that of an axe with a sharp edge. Hence the Malayalam of axe - KodalipispisPistu – What ever I talk people will hear only a pis pis sound, because of the speed which I release my dialogues.
Pazhuthar singh – I look like a ripe mango, Malayalam of ripe is Pazhuthu, Singh came because my beard grows pretty fast. So fast that people sometimes say that, by the time I reach college after a full shave at hostel, the beard will be in place.
Chandi – I am called so because of my plump nature. ………
Alummood: I don't resemble the famous mallu comedian Alummoodan, Still I got this name.
Putt – my favourite breakfast item.
Kashuandi – Always brings cashew nut (kazhuandi in Malayalam) whenever I come back from home
Dada aka Guruvayoor Kesavan – My size and appearance earned me these bigwig names
Ottakuth – The term which I uses most when I talk.
Pretham aka booda aadmi – Pretham, since I was once drowned in a 3 ft high water of a water theme park, and people say that I died at that time and it is my ghost which they are seeing now.
Booda admi, because of my young looks.
Theeppori – I provide spark to all kinds of things, be it a quarrel, be it a discussion or be it anything
Chiratta – My screeching sound is like scratching in a coconut shell (chiratta)
Theekkoolli – My huge size earned me the name matchstick (theekkolli).
Kattalan – My mannerisms are similar to that of a jungle grown kid, like george of the jungle.
Mama – My really young looks make these guys call me Uncle (mama)
Eruma – Even though I am glamorous, jealous people calls me buffalo (eruma)
Pazham – I am as soft and bumbly as a banana (pazham)
Ishtan – I am from Thrissur. So I naturally use the word “Ishtan” to refer other people
Tharavu – People say that my walk resembles that of a duck (tharavu)
Padakkam – I was famous inside hostel for bursting crackers (padakkam)
AK 47 – I was knowledgeable enough to decide the name of the gun from the hole created by the bullet.
Pettu or Muyal: I am called pettu, since it is the name given for waste things. Rabbit (muyal) because I walks soft, talk soft and gets beaten up by Dada often.
And finally JAM – No no I am not an eatable item, but the first letters of my three letter name when read together is JAM.
A session of songs, mimicry and miming followed. Then it was turn of appoppan and ammomma to say a few words followed by IAS Uncle, who took all of us by surprise, because of the way he behaved as if we are all very well known to him.
We had a very delicious dinner, after which we thanked IAS uncle for all his support and the arrangements which he had made for this memorable trip. As a token of our appreciation, we handed over a small gift too.
We bid goodbye to the great family and came back to enjoy the last night of our tour at Delhi. Some one had brought crackers and we decided to have a Diwali celebration at the International Youth hostel.
It was a sort of camp fire and we all enjoyed thoroughly.
Once inside the hostel, everyone started packing there belongings for the trip back tomorrow. The items which were brought during this trip were on display.
Seen here is a guy who while showing of his purchases dozed off. He could easily be mistaken for a road side vendor. Only padakkam can do this.
Soon we all went to the sleep mode. It has been a hectic 8 days so far. Our bodies were tired but the excitement just kept energising it for more. Tomorrow we are starting our train journey back via Konkan route.
So some more excitement is pending as we gear for our journey through the longest railway tunnel as well as the longest railway bridge, a journey through thick dense forest amidst the ghats in train.
Part 11 - The return trip via Konkan
The story so far: (Click to read)
Part 1 - The plan
Part 2 - The Approvals
Part 3 - The Journey begins - Palghat - Jhansi
Part 4 - Another side of Life - Jhansi - Gorakhpur
Part 5 - The Himalayan Cruise: Gorakhpur - Kathmandu Bus Trip
Part 6 - First Night at Kathmandu
Part 7 - Exploring Kathmandu - A guided Tour
Part 8 - Bye bye Kathmandu - Enter New Delhi
Part 9 - Exploring Delhi - A guided Tour
Part 10 - Experiencing Symbol of Love, Then Symbol of Humility
Part 11 - The return Trip via Konkan
Part 12 - Then and now !!!!!!!!