Looked forward to this trip for months. Talked about shopping for it. Finally bought nothing. Packed warm clothes, woolen socks and Hide & Seek.
Boarded Bhuj Express at Bandra Terminus. Created chaos by yelling a lot. Fought for the window seat. Made new friends. Screamed at the top of our voice. Sang cheesy songs. Stayed up late at nights as the temperature dropped down to 2 degree Celsius. Shared ghost stories. And got scared when another train went hurtling by. Realised that two jackets, one monkey cap and gloves wasn’t enough.
Visited Swami Narayan temple on the way to our resort. Admired beautiful marble sculptures. Clicked a million pictures. Scared away pigeons.
Jumped on the beds in our room. Almost got injured while jumping. Played in the swimming pool. Had cold ice water baths. Got badly tanned. Snuggled inside warm blankets. Listened to awesome music on headphones.
Screamed some more. Got a sore throat. Clicked a zillion pictures. Posed for another zillion. Reminisced our childhood by playing some old games: kho kho, lagori, red letter, langdi, sakhli. Fell flat on my face. Gazed at stars. Tried to identify constellations.
Visited the fossil park. Searched for cool fossils. Marvelled at the process of sedimentation. Realised how cool evolution is. Pocketed some fossils to take home.
Woke up early. Had a scrumptious breakfast. Visited the Tropic of Cancer. Stood on the Tropic of Cancer. Took a two-hour bus ride to view jackal-feeding. Got disappointed when the jackals didn’t turn up. Were told that we scared them away by making lots of noise.
Visited the India-Pakistan border. Stood on the India Bridge and saw a glimpse of Pakistan. Got mesmerized by the White Rann of Kutch. Simply stood and stared for five whole minutes. Realised five minutes wasn’t long enough. Realised that photos can not capture even one-tenth of the beauty.
Went shopping. Hogged on some Gujurati pani puri. Ate some Gurati sweets. Roamed on the streets of Gujurat at night. Got lost. Finally rescued by our group in-charge. Sat at the window in the bus. Stared out as cars zoomed. Almost froze to death but still didn’t shut the window. Hogged on dinner at the resort. Had rasagulla. Had another rasgulla. Then one more.
Sat by the campfire. Laughed till our stomachs hurt. Laughed some more. Played dumb charades. Laughed. Laughed. And laughed.
Visited a village. Discovered Rogan art. Played with kids. Tried to handle the charkha. Clicked pictures with kids, who offered us berries. Laughed with them. Ate Banarasi paan chocolate for Rupaye ka do and drank cold drink from a Pepsi bottle priced Rs 4.
Went to Mandvi beach. Saw tons of dead jellyfish. Poked many. Saw camels. Rode one. Got super excited. Ate bhutta by the sea. Ran on the beach. Bought channa bhel from a vendor. Got blessings from him for free. Saw giant windmills.
Stuffed our bags. Asked our professor to extend the trip. He laughed. We didn’t.
Finally returned to Mumbai.
And realised it isn’t so bad either.
Swami Narayan Temple.
On our way to Tropic of Cancer.
White Rann of Kutch.
A house in the village.
Sunset at Mandhvi beach.