31-May-2006

Bhutan - Prologue

Every trip has a beginning. Ours can be best described as a series of random events materializing into a road trip. W had sent a mail to our B-School batch e-group saying that he was planning a road trip to Bhutan and if anyone was interested, we could mail him back. My colleague P and myself had been making halfhearted research on a Konkan coast backpacking tour. The Bhutan idea sounded better. I mentioned it to S casually during a phone conversation. S got in touch with W and signed up.

Of course there were the obstacles that work throws up. One of life’s standard rules is ‘Your indispensability at work is directly proportional to how much you are looking forward to your vacation’. Eventually it was decided that W and S would go by road from New Jalpaiguri to Thimpu on Thursday. P and self would land in Paro by air on Saturday whence the other two would meet us.

This was one of those perfect trips for me. I had to do absolutely no planning but wait for terse instructions from W on the lines of ‘scan your passport and sent it to Pallab’ etc. Pallab was the tour organiser and a few conversations with him revealed that he was a bit scatter brained. Not having to interact frequently with him could keep your blood pressure down. W’s Sikkim trip had been organised by Pallab and W was sure he could manage the Bhutan bit too.

With nothing much to do, the part of me that loved organizing decided to contribute by buying a Lonely Planet guide. Frequent travelers would have noticed that you could surf online for practically all the information you need to know to go to any place. But armed with a Lonely Planet guide, you suddenly feel like the seasoned backpacker rather than the amateur tourist. LP told me all I needed to know about its food , royalty and a variety of other highly indispensable stuff.

Finally it was D-Day. P and self scooted from office at 3.45 p.m. to make it to a 5.30 p.m. flight to Kolkatta