Saturday, February 09, 2008

An enjoyable official trip

Perhaps the most amazing trip I ever had. My meeting was scheduled at five in the evening and there I was, all alone, at Agra Cantt Railway Station as early as 8:15 a.m. I had to take only one quick decision - what to do! In India, especially in an orthodox minded state like Uttar Pradesh, nothing is normal for being done by a solitary girl, who if not pretty, is reasonably attractive, mainly due to her youth. I could not possibly sit in the retiring room for the next few hours.. the suggestion from my very caring husband was that I check in with some hotel and take rest. Come on, rest for nine long hours was not what I needed. Yeah, agreed that I had got up as early as 4:30 in the morning to catch the 6:15 train, but do you need nine hours to make up for the lack of sleep? So, I decided that the only productive use of my time would be to roam around the city, so famous for historical monuments. I enquired at the tourism help desk and much to my dismay, was informed that Taj Mahal, the prime attraction of Agra was closed for visitors since it was a Friday. "What could I do if my meeting is scheduled on a Friday?", I asked myself. I didnt schedule it and neither was I aware of this weekly off. But, I was told, a glimpse of the member of new seven wonders of the world could be caught from the backside, across the remains of a once voluminous River Yamuna; which was no less than seeing the monument from the front. And all the other monuments were there, which could be visited before sunset. Hey, I had no plans to fool around alone in an unknown city till sunset! So, without wasting any further time, I walked out of the railway station, hired a car, explained my situation to the driver and plunged into the city straightaway. Oh, I hired a camera, obviously. I could not collect one due to the shortage of time, but you can procure one on hire in tourist places. My driver was a soft spoken man who took me to the farthest point, Sikandra, the tomb of Akbar. I overwhelmed him by asking him to come along with me. I appointed him as my photographer and heneceforth, all I did was pose! We visited the major monuments because time in hand was short, had a sumptuous lunch and found a hotel for myself to catch a solid hour of sleep. I sent the driver to return the camera while I prepared for the meeting by dint of which I was present in Agra. The rest of the story is short; my presentation was a grand success and I wrapped up the meeting in record time as I had to catch the seven o' clock train.

This would indeed be a trip to remember!!!