Friday, June 4, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday #4

I know its been loooong since I did this, but Friday’s here again and I’m filling blanks from Lauren’s blog. She has great blanks this time. So fill yours and link up here!

1.  My dream vacation would be    a long trip to Europe. I’ve read about Paris, Venice, Rome, London and I want to experience the beauty of these cities first hand (and maybe use the experience to write a book :P) Also, I would love to go to Hawaii. There’s something about the beaches that makes me want to go there and have fun.  

2.  The best trip I've ever taken was   the trip to Goa with all my school friends in January 2008. Four days of beaches and awesome fun. We went on a two hour cruise, visited beaches, I had beer for the first time (and also got a little tipsy), visited a fort - Fort Aguada and had the time of our lives! I have been wanting to write about it (among the soooooooo many other things I’ve already mentioned) and maybe I will. I’ll just put it on my To-do list ;) .

3.  The most important items to take on a road trip are   toothbrush, a first aid kit (and that includes medicines for minor stuff like a fever, loose motions, head aches), a camera and extra batteries/battery charger, cell phone charger and if you are on an impromptu road trip, I’d suggest carrying food and water along too. 

4.  The next trip I'm looking forward to is   the one we all know we have to take before Jyothi leaves for the US. We’re not sure where we’ll be going or when exactly but we do know that we are going somewhere before the last week of July and I can’t wait!   

5.  If I had to pick one CD to listen to for a long road trip it would be   one that has a combination of different genres and therefore different artists. And for a reaaaallly long journey, I’d recommend more than 3 such CDs at least – experience!  

6.  The biggest disaster I've ever encountered while traveling  was   Ugh! I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this before but I like to call it my NDE – Near Death Experience; and I’m totally not kidding! I’m going into a bit of detail, so bear with me. It is an interesting story.

I was out of town for an Audit in 2008 to a small town called Baramati which is two hours from Pune. We had finished our work there for that year and were on our way back to Mumbai (in a Chevrolet Tavera if I may mention. It’s an SUV and a pretty sturdy vehicle.) It was between three and four in the afternoon. Half an hour after we started, we reached a point where they were re-constructing a part of the road. It was a highway but since it was leading to a small town, it was pretty narrow such that only a huge lorry and a relatively smaller vehicle could run side by side.

Because of the work, one half of a part of the road was blocked and vehicles from both the directions could use just half the width of the road. There was a lorry stationed on the right side of the road which carried the stones they used for their work which meant that only the left half of the road could be used. Moreover, by the time our vehicle reached there, there was a lorry approaching us from the other side. So we waited a few feet before we reached the stationed lorry to let the other lorry pass.

So picture this, there’s a stationed lorry on the right side of the road; we are on the left a few feet behind leaving quite a bit of space for the other lorry to come through and pass us from our right. NOOO!! The other lorry didn’t hit us! Geez! Will you let me complete??

So, as I was saying… I was sitting just behind the driver on the right side of the vehicle and suddenly saw that a biker (without a helmet… the idiot!) tried to overtake us from behind, hit the right side of our break lights, skidded in front of my eyes and his head hit the rear wheel of the stationed truck. I gasped!

In our vehicle, apart from me, it must’ve been only the driver who saw this happen but even he didn’t react. My other colleagues didn’t know what was happening. The laborers gathered in a crowd and were gasping too but I didn’t see anyone make the slightest effort to move him, make sure he was alright.

He laid there, his head hurt and bleeding and all these workers were just standing. I asked my colleagues why no one did anything and they didn’t understand because they weren’t even aware of what had happened because it all happened in a matter of seconds.

Suddenly everyone gathered around our car, we didn’t know why! My best guess, they thought that our car hit that guy and therefore we should’ve been the ones to take him to a hospital. But the driver didn’t budge. He wasn’t at fault; even one bit and moreover, it wasn’t even his own car. There was no reason for him to let his company’s guests out in the middle of the highway for someone – did I mention that the biker was drunk?

Anyway, when the laborers realized that we weren’t going to open the door they picked up the huge stones (that were just laying around conveniently enough for them) from the ground and threatened to hurl it at the car. The driver immediately started the car and navigated through the crowd slowly because people were gathered right at the front too.

And then the pelting started. We knew they might do that when they picked the stones up, but to actually see it happen shocked us. Our windshield cracked with a single hit, and then the window where I was sitting. The glass at the back of the car cracked too. I remember screaming and we all ducked. Another huge stone was hurled with such force at the windshield that it sprayed splinters of glass on to the lap of the driver and one of my colleagues. There were a few splinters even on my right shoulder and my lap as a few more stones were thrown at the vehicle one after the other.

It felt as if it took hours but we managed to leave the angry mob far behind. But we were still in shock trying to absorb what had just happened. We were just glad that the glass was strong enough to not break even after stones being pelted continuously. We shuddered when we explored the possibility of even a single stone making its way through the glass. It was the first moment in my life where I felt thankful to be alive. Thankfully, we escaped without even scratching ourselves.

The minute we were away from those hooligans, the driver drove at almost full speed to the nearest police station (which was another twenty minutes away) to lodge a complaint and report an accident. We were there for about four to five hours while some officers went to the site to enquire and then they took a statement from each of us. The statement was of course in Marathi, which I read in full before I signed it. The inspector smirked when I insisted on reading what was written and said, “Padh lo,kuch galat nahi likha hai,” (read it… we haven’t written anything wrong).

We were still shocked and waited there until another vehicle was sent to pick us up. Our manager made a few calls and asked why we were being held for four hours?? He said we should have reached home by then. That day I saw how understanding he can be because he insisted we all take an off the next day, relax and clear our heads. Fortunately the next day was a Friday. So we got three days off, enough for us to get out of shock. But never will I ever forget the incident!!!! Nope! But phew! That was close! Oh and the biker, even though seriously injured, lived! :)

7.  My favorite traveling memory is   the first time I sat on an air plane when I was eleven years old to go for a two month vacation to Ghana! I had only seen airplanes from our terrace and had always wondered what it would be like from the inside. I remember I was so anxious, I couldn’t sleep the night before we were supposed to board the flight. Those were the funnest two months of my life!!!

And this was a fun set of blanks to fill. At least I got to tell my Baramati story. :)

P.S. In another 5 posts, it’ll be my 100th and I would love suggestions as to what you want to read. Leave a comment or send an e-mail at