Beginning a post with the title ‘a photo diary’ is another way of saying – “I’m too lazy to actually apply myself to writing so I’m just going to post some pictures and be done with it”.
I was going to do just that but I owe it to one very special person to write a little about how this mind-blowing trip to Thailand was planned and executed last month. Somewhere about two years ago, Shikha said that she wanted to take a trip outside India – just the two of us. I loved the idea but of course the dismal state of my finances brought in the much needed reality check. Three months ago, on a very lazy Wednesday morning, one mail started a discussion that by the evening, led us to booking a week long trip to Thailand. It was that sudden and that simple. Reason for the trip – Well, mostly because we wanted to travel together and also that this was going to be my bachelorette trip. Celebrating being single one last time! :) [Technically, I haven't been single in over a decade now but still seemed to be a good reason to go celebrate before taking the big plunge.]
There’s this lovely quote by Mark Twain;
’I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.’
On most occasions, it works as an accurate test of compatibility of my travel companions with me. On paper, we both put together to travel is a recipe for disaster. I plan, organize, re-organize and then plan some more about everything under the sun and Shikha, well she plans too, but is more than capable to leaving her passport at the popcorn counter and completely forgetting about it. :P But the thing about Shikha is and the simplest way to put this would be;
Everyone should have a friend like her.
Everyone should be blessed with a generous splash of awesomeness like this in their lives. Every person deserves an amazing friend like that. Someone who has unwavering belief in you, someone who’s always willing to bet on you even when you yourself won’t. Someone you can learn from, admire for their strength of character and love unconditionally. We’ve gone for months without a single phone call and then picked up the threads of conversation like we never stopped talking. There have been no awkward pauses or lull periods in our conversations ever. We’ve also spent hours in the same room doing our own thing without saying a word and never feeling the ‘need’ to say something to fill the silence. She’s one of the most saintly souls I’ve known in my life, so its very easy for anyone to feel affectionate towards her.
So she can forget her passport wherever in the world, I’ll go find it for her. She can stuff her money in her pocket like it’s waste paper, I don’t mind straightening it and organizing it for her. She can roam around wearing giant daisies in her head and it won’t change in the least, the way I feel about her. So Mr. Twain’s quote in this regard doesn’t quite hold up because for some people, all rules can be thrown out of the window. And for the record, we had a peaceful trip and no one lost anything. :)
I highly doubt it, but according to Shikha – that’s me up in the air. She didn’t try para sailing because got sea sick owing to a 20 minute motor boat ride. Yes. 20 minutes and sea sick! :D :D
Up in the sky and deep down under – all within two hours. Quite an experience!
If I had to go there again, would pass on attending the Alcazar Show. It’s great with all the costumes and dancing but nothing awe-inspiring as such.
It was quite an experience walking through this street on Pattaya. But in the middle of all the Go Go bars, lady boys and multiple services on display, I must say that I felt absolutely safe at all times in Thailand. It’s a very safe destination for women.
It was a funny experience seeing our Thai host on the cruise sing all the popular bollywood songs. ‘Tum hi Ho’ from Ashiqui 2 pretty much ruled the roost on this cruise and in most of the Indian bars there. Very drunk and heartbroken Indian boys in Pattaya almost ruined this song for me.
First destination on the bachelorette night. :)
There was a popular TV series with Sandhya Mridul as the lead in which I had seen the floating markets of Bangkok for the first time. I was in grade 5 back then and I remember being completely fascinated by what I saw. I’m glad I got to finally visit, shop and eat in the Damnoen Saduak floating market. :)
We took this picture on our last day just at the end of the street we were staying at in Bangkok. It holds true for all my travel experiences and is surprising well applicable to my friendship with Shikha too. We met for the first time in school (11th Grade) and we both were new admissions into school. I started to befriend her and initiate a conversation many times in the first 2-3 days. Her answers were always in monosyllables or invariably something related to academics. To be honest, my interest in her initially rose out of the lack of suitable people to hang out with in 11th grade. The entire lot at my high school walked around with this sense of ‘I’m too cool to be alive’ air. I remember going home in the very first week and telling my mom that I met a girl and she’s probably the most boring soul alive. My mother inquired a little more about her and after she heard enough declared very prophetically – ‘She seems to be a good girl. You should be friends with her’. Call it faith in my mother’s instinct, lack of better options at school or destiny, I powered through with Shikha for the next whole month. We started to talk and it laid the foundation for a pretty solid teenage friendship that went on to survive the trials and tribulations of adulthood. We sat together in school, she stole a 100 pens from me in the two years at school, we studied chemistry together, I went to her house after school, she came over to mine after tuitions, we would go out for movies together and do countless other things together. There are a few decisions in my life that I took with some amount of conviction (that conviction sometimes born out of my subconscious) that I’m very proud of. Powering through to get to know Shikha and investing in her, features somewhere on the top of that list. I’m glad that I took that risk and in return life rewarded me with an extraordinary friend. :)
So ending this post with Mr. Twain’s wise words again;
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
Roger that. :)