I was skeptical. As always! But this time, much to my surprise, I found every single thing falling in place, at the right time.
Until the eleventh hour (Na…I’m exaggerating!), till 28th Oct I had no travel plans, no place to stay, absolutely no friends in Mumbai but an urge to attend the most disruptive conference in blogging- the BNLF, hosted by Indiblogger, on 31st Oct and 1st Nov.
I decided to skim through the attendee list hoping to see some familiar faces- man or lady, I didn’t care much. I needed to ask someone of their plans. And much to my surprise, everyone, I mean everyone to whomever I asked were either cancelling or already had plans. I didn’t lose hope. I kept pestering the Indiblogger team to accommodate me through Stayzilla and Boo yeah, on 29th evening I had the confirmation.
That’s exactly how I took a bus to Mumbai, doing my research through Google Maps and friends. I ate their head asking right from which bus to board and from where, to where I should be getting down to reach the hotel I was allotted to.
Clearly, a first-timer in Mumbai and keeping my Dad and husband on toes by the last-minute decision of travelling and staying alone, I have been brave enough.
When I decided to withdraw some cash from the nearby ATM on Thursday, I found something alarming! I have lost my ATM/Debit card. Now, having lost the ATM Pin of the other card which I own, I didn’t have any option and cursed myself for the stupid decision of not applying for a credit card. Ha! And the reason being I would turn to be a spendthrift. I knew where exactly my card was. Yes, with him- my husband who was with me the previous week. And I had sweetly kept my card on his wallet. He is now miles away. I immediately transferred some money to my roomie’s account and she gave me the cash.
And what did I do? A couple of hours before boarding the bus to Mumbai, I went shopping and yes, there was hardly any money left! I should be kicked on my b%%t, I know! And in the hurry-burry, after getting on the bus, I realized I hadn’t taken even one Identification Card. Cool, right? All I had was my Corporate ID. This was clearly unlike me, who always made a list of items to take, items to buy, to pack, to give and you name it, I would have listed it!
Well, thus started my journey to Mumbai, to attend the BNLF- Blog Now Live Forever!
I was successful in convincing the ticket-collector of the bus. But I knew I would be in trouble both at the hotel and the conference without an ID card while checking in.
Well, I reached Mumbai in three hours of boarding the bus. Was I flying, I am not sure! But I did make it even though it was a Friday evening.
To my surprise, the bus stopped at the auto-stand. A good Samaritan that he was, an auto-driver approached me, offering to drop at the hotel. I made friends with him, I tell you! I was in high spirits! And he charged me 150Rs for travelling hardly 4-5kms, clearly taking advantage of my innocence or should I dare say, my ignorance. He was kind enough to give me some tips as well, while travelling in Mumbai autos.
- Never to ask, “Kitna hoga, Bhaiyya” (How much does it cost?). Mumbai autos charge by meter rate. I could have at least saved 120 bucks there! Hmmph, what audacity!
- And in a minute of travelling in the rickshaw, I almost met with an accident. Oh the infamous Mumbai traffic, the over-crowded streets and the autowaalas who are always in a hurry.
- “Aap is hotel mein kyun rehrahe ho? Company ne sponsor kiya kya? Kuch conference attend kar rahe ho kya? Woh hotel bahut mehenga he!”, (Why are you staying in this hotel? Did the company sponsor you?Are you attending any conference? It’s an over-priced/expensive hotel), he remarked. I simply said yes mentally kicking my heels in the air and making a note that I’m headed to a posh hotel.
- “Kya aap Sunday ko idhar rahoge kya? Flea market miss mat karna!” (Will you be staying here on Sunday? Don’t miss the Flea market). I replied that I would be busy with the meet and no, I didn’t feel a least bit weird with him probing into my details. At least he was not a rude old man who cribbed and spoiled my entire day.
I got down at the hotel paying the autowaala who was laughing at my stupidity and promising me to charge me based on the meter the next time I take a ride on his auto. All I could do was smile and mentally take a note of how much money I am left with to spend the next two days.
… to be contd.