Since we got out of school, Drishti (my best friend) and I, had a dream, a dream to travel together. After convincing our parents for two long years, bearing their insults to our emotional intelligence, capabilities and what not, we were finally allowed to go to Mumbai, that too during the Christmas holidays.
We had extensive plans for Mumbai but obviously, as naive as we were, staying at a good place was never our priority. Our focus was more on where and how we’d cover all the places we wanted to visit. Our 5 days were divided by the second to squeeze out every inch of Mumbai from Mumbai. You ask about parents, well, we lied to them, quite a bit about where we were going to stay and a few other petty things. The problems this simple lie could cause never crossed our minds.
A few days later.
“The second we land my mother is going to kill us for lying. Didi won’t lie to her. I know her”, said Drishti, looking at me.
“We will blame her. We will tell auntie that didi did not tell us about her plans to leave and this was a last minute plan.”
I scooped in with my brilliant idea to save the day.
We were quite convinced after giving a deep thought to our excuse that our parents were not going to buy this. On the brighter side, what could they do? They wouldn’t ask us to fly back. I hope not. I knew my father would come down and kill me then and there. No point of being scared of a scolding, right?
A few hours later.
We landed, and we were bombarded with kaali-peelis and hundreds of phone calls from Drishti’s mother. Whilst making our way through the city and appreciating every second of our freedom, we decided to ditch all calls for the moment and proceeded towards our destination.
Drishti contacted one of her friends who was ready to let us live in a small flat owned by his mother that was currently unoccupied.
Our plan was quite clear and sound in our heads. His flat would be our so called hotel for our parents. We’d save some cash. What could possibly go wrong?
FOOLPROOF PLANS! SO PROUD!
He drove us around, the Sun was setting and I was quite mesmerized by the beauty of the city. The last of Sun’s rays dancing on the sea, was a treat to my eyes. After driving and walking for a long time, we reached our destination.
The moment we stepped into that little flat, a flashback of all the Savdhan India and Crime Patrol episodes came running to me. We were in a place where probably murder, loot and all the evils invited themselves without delay. The television surely has ruined kholis and overcrowded areas of Mumbai for me. It was already dark and beggars are not choosers.
We told the guy that it was fine when our faces clearly stated it was not.
We let him leave, tried to bolt the door somehow and shook our heads in a unanimous, loud NO!
“No! We cannot stay here. Someone is going to kill us here and our parents won’t even know”, said Drishti.
I silently nodded and we got ourselves together and vowed to get us out of this situation, safe and sound. We gathered courage, our bags and left the place, out on our search for a decent hotel. By then, we had played the victim card on our parents and surprisingly my father told us how this was a part and parcel of life and entrusted us with “managing things on our own”.
I felt responsible. It was around 9 in the night and we were roaming on the streets of an unknown city finding a place to stay. Drishti’s friend was sorry for the whole situation and offered an empty flat in his building for us to stay for the remainder. This time we did not leave any stone unturned and travelled an extra distance to have a look at that flat. It was good, actually good. Coming back to reality, we still needed a place for the night.
The wild search
After surfing through tens of booking sites and underestimating the time to cover distances in Mumbai, we settled for a luxurious place. When I say luxurious, trust me, the place wasn’t but its price definitely was. At this point we had accepted the fact that we don’t have many choices anyways. Settling down in our little room we decided to resolve other issues at hand.
Drishti’s mother was worried and we ended her woes by sending her multiple pictures of us in the room, a detailed address of the place and a lie, that we were going to stay here for the next five days. The amount of money we carried and the long list of our plans wouldn’t let us stay there, even if we wanted to.
We had a great night sleep and a lesson for life.
For some places you just cannot take your bags and crash anywhere. It sounds very cool and filmy but is not quite practical (atleast for us, this time). The flat was not the best thing in the world but it was in a safe society. The times we live in, safety of girls is a huge question mark. You never know when you could become a target of something unwanted. Also, the safer we felt, more we enjoyed. Furthermore, lying to our parents was never a good idea in the first place. They too were only concerned about our safety knowing that none of us had travelled this far alone till date.
It was quite an adventure if I think about it now, we got a hands on experience of Mumbai. Now, that we were settled I could not stop thinking about what more mayanagri had in store for us.
To be continued….