In my little travel history, I have learned many new things. Sometimes it is good, sometimes bad. But all my experiences always helped me a lot to pursue another adventure. I am not a hero, rather a diplomatic, fearful human being. And I know it. In any new situation, I tend to overthink and make it more difficult in my mind, even before facing it. But most of the times it had become a good memorable experience for me. Here today I am going to share one such story with you. Many of you may have experienced or heard the same. My experience had happened in Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is one of the coolest city I had visited. And the only problem there was the language problem. Mainly when I had to communicate with the locals. Most of them speak Tamil as it is their ‘s official language, along with Telugu and Malayalam. They also speak Mahe and Yanam . And none of them I know. Despite this big problem, I enjoyed my solo travel in Pondy. And the experience I wanted to share had happened with me on my last day in Pondy when I checked out from my hostel at 11:30 pm.
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I was partying with my hostel friends as we were going to part away in a few hours. When we realised the moment had come, it was 11:30 pm and my bus for Chennai was at 12:15am. My emotional vulnerable roommates decided to drop me at the bus stop. But I was reluctant as they all were drunk and I did not want them to fall in any trouble for me in a new city. But they forced me and in two bikes they dropped me at the bus stop. There I insisted them to go back and not to wait for the bus to come. As they left, at that hour, I realised it was an isolated, empty bus stop. I had planned to take the bus ride from Pondy to Chennai for a new pocket-friendly experience. And the bus ride takes only 3 and half an hour. I had a flight for Mumbai at 9 AM. Everything looked perfect, until that moment of isolation arrived.
So I was sitting and waiting for my bus to come. All the shops were closed, one or two people were looking at me while passing from there. Only street lights were giving company. At that moment I realised a bus stop is a big place if it is empty. It is also the quietest place if there are no honks, engine sounds, no people with heavy luggage, no big buses waiting for the passengers and ready to hit the road, no hurried people. Few buses, trucks sometimes were breaking my chain of thoughts and the silence while crossing the high way. I was enjoying the time until I saw those two people. They were sitting on a bike and chatting and looking at me. Their presence made me concerned. Both of them were almost 6 feet tall, well build and dark.
I startled when suddenly my phone rang. The conductor of my bus called to inform me that the bus was arriving in 10 minutes. I checked the watch, the bus was 10 minutes early. Thank god. He told me to wait near Indira Gandhi statue. I looked behind me, in front of me, right and left of me, there was no sign of our ex-prime minister’s statue. I asked him about the situation of the statue. But he had learned to say a few set things in English. According to his vocabulary, my question was out of his syllabus. He started to explain things in his mother tongue. I could not understand a word. I had no option but to ask those two men about Indira Gandhi statue’s location. They looked at me and said “wrong side”. All I could understand was that I was on the wrong side, and I did not know the right side.
I looked at them confusingly. He tried to explain in their language, that the correct place was 3/4 minutes away from my current location. And I needed to go from the outside as the middle connected gate was closed at that hour. I did not know whether to trust them or not. The outside was dark and empty. And they were constantly checking me out and my bag pack. Above that, I had already spend 3/4 minutes to understand their instructions. So I picked up my bag pack and started walking outside. Suddenly they called me and pointed at their bike. I did not feel comfortable at that hour, so I kept on walking. And I heard the start sound of that bike. That came near me, those men tapped hard on my bag pack and pointed at their back seat again. I thought they asked me to put my bag pack at their back seat and leave. I tried to ignore them and started walking again. That time they grabbed my bag pack.
Instantly I made my survival plan. If the bag pack could save me the trouble, better I gave it to them without any fight. I had my tickets, a few bucks and passport in my small pouch. Hopefully, they did not notice that yet. I needed to catch the bus, at any cost, or else things could turn worse at that time for a stranger like me. I released my bag pack and placed it on their bike’s back seat and started walking in a hurry. My phone started ringing again.
He stopped me again, I thought now they would take the phone. He said “Inke Irukkai” (Seat Here) and pointed at the back seat. I thought of running, but by the time he snatched the mobile from me and started talking with the conductor, he cut the call, gave me back my phone and showed me the back seat again. When I got back my phone, a relief ran down. I climbed on the back seat for two reasons. I had no option, they did not let me go. Secondly, they returned the phone so I could take a chance with them.
They took me in front of our ex-prime minister’s statue. The Volvo bus was waiting for me. I was ashamed of my thoughts. I hugged him and said, “thank you anna”. He did not expect a hug. He smiled and said “Patukappana Payanam”. I thought he was asking for money for the favour. As I put the hand inside my pocket, he said “Safe journey, and started his bike and left.
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