August 24, 2012
I reached Delhi at around 9:00 in the morning (earlier than scheduled). My next train to Amritsar was at 2:00 PM. The plan was to get fresh at the waiting room at the New Delhi railway station, but the state of affairs in the waiting room were pathetic. They had two rooms, and both of them were packed, and neither of them had proper toilet facilities. The only good thing about them were that they were air-conditioned. But that didn’t matter at that moment for I badly needed to use a restroom. So I got out of the station and decided to find a room to use for about an hour.
It had rained in Delhi, so the roads were all muddy, and it terribly hot and humid. In the heat, I walked out of the station into Paharganj with my huge backpack. I walked and walked, into small lanes, but couldn’t find any for a decent price. Everyone would ask for a full day rent, nearly 400 bucks. Finally, in a small sub-lane, I found a room for Rs. 150/-. I didn’t even see the room, but paid for it. While walking up, I see a guy talking an odd-looking girl into one of the rooms. I cursed my luck, closed my eyes and walked into the room allotted to me. It was a hole. The fan wasn’t working, but the loo was alright. I was drenched in sweat by now. I washed up, and hurried out of the room in 30 mins.
It was still 11:00 and I had 3 hours to waste. So i decided to find an AC restaurant and go sit there. I took a rickshaw to Connaught Place, roamed about a bit till I found Haldirams restaurant and settled there. I ordered a Chole Batura and Kesar Pista Faluda, and sat there for more than 2 hours. The food was finger licking good btw. I then headed off to the station, this time on foot. I reached the platform, and waited for the Garib Rath (#12203) to Amritsar. Rain started pouring heavily. I got into the train, and I can’t tell you how filthy it was. Thanks to the rain, the already dirty compartment became muddy. I had an upper berth, so climbed up to get away from the filth.
Slowly the train started getting empty and that’s when I came down. It reached Amritsar at 8:30 PM, again ahead of the scheduled arrival time. I now was in Punjab, land of five rivers. I took a cycle rickshaw to my CouchSurfing host’s place. I was to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Parbodh Bali, and elderly couple near Celebrity Mall on Batala Road. They lived in a duplex house in a quiet residential area, and I was given a room on the first floor. They were very nice people, and Mrs. Bali made awesome Punjabi dinner for me – Paneer Burji, Chole and Pulkas. Heavenly. Me and Mr. Bali had a nice little conversation and planned my day in Amritsar before I hit the bed.
Tip: CouchSurfing is this amazing portal where people share homes with strangers for free, on mutual trust basis. If you happen to have an empty room in you house, you could do the same. Visit www.couchsurfing.org to learn more and become a member today!!