The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Dudhwa National Park: Part 2 - Setting foot on foreign soil


          We started in our Tavera, and reached the border check-post roughly an hour later. It was 6:00 PM and pitch dark. There was no electricity at that time adding to the darkness. We managed to follow the candle lights glowing here and there and traced our way ahead. The road was leading to a bridge over some river (the bridge called ‘Mohana Pul’, pul meaning a bridge in Hindi), supposedly marking the divide between India and Nepal. We continued walking and then started a discussion about who among us had already travelled to a foreign country. Jinal, the most talka(c)tive of the lot, turned out to be the only one to have travelled to a lot of countries and OMG, she got into HER mode. She went on and On and ON trying to recollect the names of the countries she had visited, and also started sharing some of her “GREAT” adventures. She was raining torrents of words making the dry river below overflow and the bridge started to tremble. On the other end, we were blinded by the darkness and were struggling to grope for our way forward. Suddenly, some noise (probably due to the jerk of the trembling bridge) frightened her and that was when she had to give it a break.

          Somehow, under the darkness of the new moon, we managed to cross the bridge that was about three furlongs long. The other side of the bridge had the Nepal check post followed by a decent “Welcome to Nepal” hoarding. There were rickshaws taking us into the heart of the town where we were told, there is a huge marketplace. We hence decided to go ahead on foot as we didn’t find a rick. Few steps ahead, we managed to find one in which I sent three of my friends and the remaining three of us walked along to find another.
          Before they left, we decided that we would meet at the border back by 7:30 PM and come back to our Tiger’s Den. However, I think the feeling of landing in a foreign land was still echoing in our minds, and we decided to stay back for a little while. Our group managed to get another rick shortly after the first group left. This fellow, incidentally, took us to the main marketplace which was far ahead of the main chowrastha. We later learnt that our poor friends got down at the chowrastha itself having thought that it is the main marketplace.

          All along this main road, there were almost 30-35 banks in a stretch of just a kilometer, something I never saw anywhere. So, we started commenting about that in our own style and finally managed to reach an even darker junction. It was pitch dark and within that, we saw a faint light from a distance and going closer, we could see a shop almost about to close. Creeping in, my friend Smriti already started asking the shopkeeper about a list of things that she wanted to buy, making the shopkeeper go berserk. Meanwhile, I picked up a conversation with the other two young chaps in his shop. They started asking us our whereabouts and after knowing that we were from IIM L, one of them started giving us lectures about MBA, CAT, and how tough it is to get into there, etc.

          With the gyan (read: GLOBE) overflowing, I started browsing the shop when my eyes landed on a beautiful jacket. So, Ravi and I got into bargaining the fellow on those jackets and he started a mini exhibition of all the jackets he had. Finally, both of us ended up buying one each at a good bargain and Smriti returned empty-handed having not found the things she wanted to buy. The shopkeeper might have, as an act of revenge, deliberately ensured that she didn’t get any of the things on her wish list. With a lot of difficulty we reached the border by 8:25 PM and we saw someone running furiously on the road near our car. On closer examination, it was our ‘littleBIG BRO Prashant. He was so heated up that we felt we would burn to ashes in the furious flames emanating from his eyes. The reason, we were too late and he thought of various options that could have happened. He even went to the extent of thinking cinematically that we could have probably been attacked by intruders on the way, or we could have fallen off into the river, etc. I could not hold my laughter imagining his imaginations however I could empathize with him getting angry worrying about our safety. Finally after some heated arguments amidst the freezing cold, we went back to our Tiger’s Den.

          After a so-so dinner, we sat and played cards in the dark night, under the candle light, mute, until P-RUSH-ANT started talking. Rohit as usual, went about in his computer-way of scoring either a zero or a Full Count. Amazed at his consistency, we kept on playing and the more we played, the more consistent his scores became. Finally, at 3 in the morning, we decided to shut off for wanting to get up early next morning. Dreaming about seeing a tiger in the safari, I managed to doze off. And then…

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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli