Who says change is the only constant thing? Some things in life never change. They remain constant. Especially when it can be described as “Jinxed”. I can bet on that!
It all started with our annual vacation plan. Zeroing in on the destination met with bumpy road to the extent that at one point I assumed that the road was washed away. However, the indomitable wanderlust did not loose hope. After a lot of negotiations, some coaxing, a little bit of cajoling and a lot of bribe to rest of the three from my family, we finalised Leh- Ladakh as our destination.
This time around, I decided to give my “tour planner cum manager cum guide, etc etc” role, a holiday. In came the umpteen tour operators, each one promising the best itinerary. Early bird gets the worm but the late one gets the back seats in the bus, when travelling with group. We were informed in most civilian way that we were too early for the next year’s season and darn late for this year’s, if we wished to have better view seats.
A sand storm thus hit us even before we could reach the cold deserts of Hundar, Nubra Valley.
After knocking on the doors of the handful tour operators, lady luck smiled. One tour operator had mercy on us and thought of giving us a try. The tour manager, however put the ball in our court by requesting us politely to check the availability of flights and tickets. Silver side of the dark cloud was “air miles” that we could use to tide over the massive blow to the pockets for booking the tickets so late. This was the first time in my life, I appreciated my better half for he is always on the move and more in skies than on ground.
Tickets arrived after burning a big hole in the pocket. I decided not to stitch it but use it as a binocular to see the things far off and conveniently ignore what’s in vicinity!
I had a sigh of relief when I filled the detailed registration form, mailed it across to the tour manager and paid the necessary charges. Now that onus of looking into the nitty-gritty of the tour rested with the tour operator, I felt like a butterfly. Shopping for self and all the extended selves (rest of the three) was on cards. I played those cards well and much to my satisfaction. This way I burnt another hole in the pocket. Binoculars have two lenses, wont they?
Suitcases, hand bags descended from their permanent abode and were allowed to breathe in fresh air. To my surprise, the little one wished to walk the path her elder bro had. She declared that she would pack the bag, on her own. I got the raise of sorts, I must say, when all I had to do was supervise the packing by the children. Aha, what a feeling!
Precisely a week before our travel date, better half enquired about the itinerary from Tour manager. Till that time, I had absolutely forgotten about it. Bout of panic made me freeze and sense the sub zero temperatures of “Khardung la”! Thanks to the dripping sweat from my head, courtesy Mumbai summer, I sprang to action. Without missing a moment, I called up the office, only to be connected to the recorded message informing me about the working hours.
Next day, I was first to appear at the tour operator’s door, even earlier than their house keeping staff. I waited patiently at the reception till the staff finally arrived. Settling into the chair opposite the tour manager, I smiled but was met with a straight blue collared face. I solaced myself by saying that the email doesn’t has my profile photo and she should be given the discount of being in touch with thousands like me. Equipped with this thought, I opened up the conversation. To my surprise, she thought I was there to inquire about some summer tour. I had to update her that we had already done the bookings for Leh Ladkh. She was taken aback. Checking her list of guests from the mentioned tour, she informed me that our names did not feature in the list.
I witnessed a landslide, thousands of miles away from the real land of landslides.
Regaining some ground by collecting up my spirit that lay scattered in pieces, I informed her about the payments we had made. I had all the transaction details in the mail, handy in my mobile. Now it was her turn to witness the landslide. The landscape of her face changed from corporate composure to the utter mayhem. She checked the mail communication in my mobile and then searched at her end. The payments were received but our names mysteriously slipped from appearing in the list of guests.
Jinxed!!! That’s the best way to describe my travel tales so far in four and half decades of my existence. It somehow never changes… All my travel tales, whether domestic or international, are dotted with such striking surprises.
All that ends well is always well… Now that I have returned back from ‘Land of high passes’, aka Ladakh, I can say that landslides can happen at sea level too. And “jinxed” tales make a good read.
PS: Courtesy missing names, we were allotted a 6 seater SUV for the entire journey from Srinagar till the end of the tour! Boon in disguise…
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
This post is published for #OpenNTalk Blogger’s League hosted by @Gleefulblogger & @Wigglingpen in association with SummerBarn, Vedantika Herbals, Nyassa, Explore Kids World.
This June, I will be sharing four posts(one in each week) chronicling my experiences from my recent tour of Leh-Ladakh. I am glad to be part of #CrossBorderSisters, Team6 of the #OpenNTalk. You can read fab posts from my buddies Bahwana Shah of Kickupstairs, Adit Kapoor of Panoramic Ripples, Dr Priyanka Naik of Nostalgic Moments and Manisha Garg of Zara Hatake Blog!
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