of one night in McLeod

It’s dark and it’s raining outside. Everyone’s gone out and the two of us are alone in the room.

He’s just a stranger and he’s too close for comfort. I act busy but I know he’s watching me, like a predator. The tension is obvious. My heart is thumping in my chest. I’m going weak in the knees thinking of what’s about to happen in the next few minutes.

Maybe nothing will happen if I just get up and move to another room. But part of me wants to find out what happens if I stay. But I know this isn’t right and I must do something to stop it. But do I have the courage to do… Anything?

He finally makes his first move, and I make mine. It’s like a dance, we both know the rhythm. I have been in this situation before. The goosebumps, nervous excitement, dry throat; the inability to move – this is all too familiar.

of the McLeod Grudge – Part I

So I’m back.

Actually I’ve been back for two days now but I just couldn’t bring myself to write about the sheer wastefulness of this trip.

As many of you already who follow me on Twitter already know, we left home at 10:15 pm and got stuck in a massive-pain-in-the-neck-and-netherlands jam at Mukarba Chowk. Seriously. I was stuck for almost 45 minutes after about 30 minutes of driving.

When we did reach the highway the ride drive was pretty smooth. We went from Delhi to Ambala to Ropar to Anadpur Sahib to Una (oh the roads in Una were so beautiful!) to Kangra to McLeodgunj in 12 hours. Yes, despite the jam. Yes, we were driving at 130 kmph and even touched 140 twice.

Mom, being Mama McFeederson, had packed enough food to last us an apocalypse, so we didn’t really have to stop much except twice for a pee break. She couldn’t have carried a commode or she would’ve. Trust me, Indian moms pack the whole goddamn house when they travel. Salt, pepper, ketchup sachets, bedsheets – you name it. No, I dare you, try!

All through the journey we kept telling mom about how much we had heard about McLeod. We told her she was going to have the time of her life. Sitting in a cafe, mingling with tourists from other countries, talking about the social conditions in their countries, reading books all day, just chilling out all day. She was obviously very excited. She’d even brought a pen and a diary to write poetry in.

So we reached McLeodgunj at 11 am and walked straight into a nightmare. Cars everywhere. Roads broken. Shady hotels on either side of the road but almost impossible to reach. Luckily I had booked a hotel in advance, so we were okay. I called them to ask for directions and they told me they had no parking.

What the fuck? What kinda hotel has no parking?

The kind that is shady and impossible to reach. We had to park our car in a parking lot that charges 300 bucks a day. I nearly choked on my tears as Mister shelled out the money. We were used to exorbitant parking charges but this was steep even by Vasant Kunj mall parking standards.

So we parked. Mom was visibly sorry for bringing the whole world with her as Mister and I picked up the luggage and walked into what could’ve been the third task for the Triwizard tournament. It was not a maze at the first look, but we literally had to climb over drainpipes and small walls that were basically boundaries of people’s houses. Once, I stepped over the disabled hand of a disabled hawker selling rotting green apples. On the bright side, he couldn’t have felt any pain. At least not then. Just as I recovered and apologized, I knocked over a glass kept on the wall on my right with my shoulder bag and dropped it in the poor guy’s lap. That would’ve hurt. Fuck.

Mister glared at me and chided me for being clumsy. Then we witnessed a woman falling into the sea of people and drowning in it. She fell right in front of a car. People were trying to help her get up, but she kept searching for something on the road. It turned out she was looking for her kid who had fallen down with her. That was probably the only time I have ever been thankful for being in a jam.

Mister pointed out that it had taken us 30 minutes to cover a distance of 200 meters. I pointed out that I used to be an athlete in school and could cover 100 meters in about 13 seconds. In response, he said nothing but his face said bitch please. In retrospect, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him go bitch please before. Ha! I keep learning new things about him every day!

But I digress. He was upset with the location of the hotel and the fact that they had no parking. And then they gave him another reason to be mad. They told us checkout was at 12 and we’d have to wait for a bit while they cleaned the room, but by the time we actually stepped inside the room, it was 1:30 pm.

Yeah. I was the one who made the booking. I blame Tripadvisor reviews and I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

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