My family had been planning about going to various holy places in Northern India since months & it had finally materialised.So, we were all set to travel in a group to Rajdhani that is Delhi & from there, we were to proceed further.
As orthodoxy & ritualism are our forte,we always tried to book rooms in our Mutts.In Delhi also,we were at Sri Raghavendra Swami Mutt at R. K Puram.The idea is that we request the Mutt for a puja which is chargeable & lunch is the prasad of that puja.We also give some more money as our share -actually, it is the Almighty only who makes us his agent so that we can indulge in some form of giving.We had our baths & we attended the puja followed by prasadam.Later ,as all in the familyn with a few exceptions are die hard coffee addicts coffee was boiled on a heater which had been brought especially for the purpose !
Then some of my family decided that they wanted to shop & off they went. I had called up a classmate whom I was just dying to meet after so many years ! She came & picked me up.I & she chatted non-stop.We did not know where to begin & when to stop but since I had a train to catch in the night,I had to leave. She deposited me safely in the Mutt .Dinner was on at the Mutt but since my chum had fed me generously,I refused even curds.After dinner,we left in Taxis which had been called up .Now,my actual work began.
My family is bereft of even a basic knowledge of Hindi .So, I was on the job of translating to the driver ,to the coolies etal.I did feel great but soon it gave way to irritation.Anyway,with my translation job & loads of luggage which involved bargaining with porters,we reached the station.We were leaving for Haridwar.Since,Haridwar comes fairly early in the mornings,we barely slept.At Haridwar,we all alighted after haggling with coolies about luggage .Then ,we had to make some calls to Bangalore as the travel agent was located there.He had made some bookings of accommodation as also about our travel to Badrinath from Haridwar.A bus had come to pick up but money was an issue.Anyway,the call had its effect & the driver dropped us at an ashram.Only problem was that it turned out to be the wrong one.We once again got into the bus & reached another ashram.I was allowed to go in first to ascertain if this was the destination.Thankfully,it was & we shifted our baggage & ourselves to various rooms that were allotted.The manager made a big fuss as he felt that six rooms were needed to divide our entourage but my family was adamant about taking only five rooms.We completely believe in the letter & spirit of accommodation -especially when it comes to hotels,lodges etc.I had to intervene a lot in this matter to sort it out.It was quite funny as I had to keep on telling the manager why my family felt five rooms were more than enough.The manager relented looking at my helplessness at translation & not because he was convinced.
We then had tea & left for the bath at the ghat.The Ganga was cold to touch but with a strong will,we ascended & had our dips .WE also performed small pujas to the river.Then we came back to the ashram to our rooms.We then took cash & handed it to the local travel agent as our charges for the onward journey to Badrinath.
In the early afternoon ,we left for Badrinath praying all the while that we must have a safe journey as many people had been struck for hours enroute because of landslides.