This article is about the adventures of 5 crackpots who decided to tour Nainital at the time when the climate is at its chilliest. To debrief on the Article title – our Nainital Tour can be captured in those 3 days Our 3 day tour was spend on each of the place indicated by the words – Tal, Mall and Fall. ‘Tal’ means Lake as our first day was spend on checking out the different Tals – Bhimtal, Naukuchia Tal,Sattal etc ; ‘Mall’ stands for the Mall road famous for the shops lined across the length of the road – a Shopaholic dream place ; ‘Fall’ means the Jim Corbett Fall which we saw on the 3rd day, on our return journey to Lucknow via Ramnagar. Before we hit the intricacies of the 3 day activities, here is how it all started.
We had a 1 week holiday after our 2nd end term exams. As I was not going back to my hometown, there was a plan of touring some place in Northern India. Uday, my colleague along with his friends were also entertaining the idea of touring some place. We initially had two choices – Nepal or Nainital. But due to long road travel in the case of Nepal, we decided on Nainital due to the ease of travelling.
Hence began the chronicles of the Five – Madhavi, Ajitha, Jahnavi, Uday and Me. While packing our stuff, I enquired my friend Uday about the night journey in train and asked him if I should carry any extra Quilts to fight the cold. We had a Quilt packed up but I know from experience that night travel in train usually leaves one shivering. My friend Uday confidently replied that he was taking an additional ‘blanket’ which he supposedly had used for the entire 4 years @ NIT Warangal during his graduation. He went on to say how chill the climate used to be in NIT Warangal and how the blanket had served him as a shield protecting the fighter. I was completely flattered by the marvelous qualities of his special ‘blanket’ and didn’t tell him anything. We started off on Dec 27th from our college (IIM Lucknow) to Aishbagh railway station. We reached the station an hour earlier and had a light dinner near the station.
The train had already come by then, hence we settled comfortably in our seats. The cold was seeping in gently and I was sure the night would be more chiller. We spend some time reminiscing the exam week and how we had screwed up the exams. After an hour of chit chat we decided to sleep. Mine was a middle berth and Uday’s had the lower berth. I took the Quilt and wrapped it around myself.,. I would have resembled the Egyptian Mummy, except the quilt was blue in color.Aided by the slow movement of the train along with the warmth of the quilt, I dozed off peacefully. I got up around 4am thinking that I had an exam to give in few hours (Aftermath of the exam s effect). Then realizing that it was a bad dream , I decided to go back to my nice sleep. Then it occurred to me, that Uday would have finally deployed his shield – ‘The Blanket’. I peeped down to see the prized thing. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Uday had said that the blanket had served him well for 4 years under extreme cold conditions. But it never occurred to me that he could be having such a sophisticated blanket. What I could see was a frozen body with a curtain cloth lying above it. I have heard of the concept of warm blooded and cold blooded but to see the technology being improved so as to integrate that concept in a blanket left me speechless. Maybe the blanket morphs one in to a cocoon like shell which is warm inside and cold outside so as to match the outside environment. I couldn’t imagine how my friend would have gotten the complicated technology!!!! Then my friend opened his eyes. I realized it then my friend was shivering and had almost frozen… The ‘so called blanket’ was the curtain cloth which I had spotted lying over him. To this moment, he claims that it is a blanket, hence iam putting the image for yourself to judge… But, beware you might assume it to be blanket from the year 2050!!!
We reached Lalkuwa by 6:30. Nainital which is on the top is around 70 kms from Lalkuwa. We had few vehicle owners waiting outside and offering to take us to Nainital. A person came and offered us a Tavera for 700 bucks. We bargained with him and came down to 630. We were still eyeing for more bargain because there is an option of paying per seat (60 bucks) which would cost us very less. Then another person offered us an Indica for 400 bucks. Seeing this, the Tavera person also lowered his price to 400 bucks. You never know how the localities can dupe the tourist.
Since we had arrived at Nainital at a busy time (approaching New Year eve), the whole place was crowded and hotels were booked up completely. we saw few hotels charging around 1200-1500 for one day for a 2 bedroom. Finally we were able to find a hotel accommodation @ Mallital for Rs 750. We hit the sack immediately and rested for around 2 hours. Then we refreshed then started the outing for the day. We had our lunch in one of the hotel… the food wasn’t that great. It seemed people in this part don’t know what spicy food is. Even in the biryani, there was no salt or spice. Every place indeed has its own unique cuisine!!! Then we proceeded for the boat ride at the Naini Lake. The lake scenery was just awesome. With the lush greenery around you and the Mountains providing the backdrop, the boat ride was a pleasant experience. There was a small temple in one of the shores to which we paid a short visit.
Naini Lake View
By then it was 4:30… Any group having girls in it would will get to know eventually about the keenness of the girls observation power. No matter where you are, the girls will eventually find a shopping place. It’s more like intuitive power. And in case of Nainital, there was a whole road scattered with shops (Mall Road) beckoning them. Hence, we eventually hit upon the shopping. I and Uday got our-self few woolen wears like gloves, caps.,. It would have taken us around 15 minutes to check out different varieties and decide which one we wanted to purchase. Most notable to mention here is the detailed process which the girls followed while making the purchase. It seemed to me as if they weren’t making a purchase but were scouting the place for something. The whole process would pass through different stages. In the First stage, scouting phase - Ajitha and Jahnavi would enter the shop and check out the products. They will look at it from all direction, and angles (top, bottom, side way) and eventually ask the price of it. Then the second stage would begin, the Bargaining phase – where the race to hit upon the best deal would start. Based on how satisfied they were with the bargain, the process would enter the third phase known as Re-Scouting phase. The probability of the occurrence of this phase depends on the Satisfaction Index. This index is a function of the price rates quoted by the shopkeeper and the extent to which they were satisfied with the bargain. If the satisfaction is less, this Phase would be kick-started. (I, for sure have no idea about what is the reference point of the satisfaction index. You better contact the girls for that precious knowledge) So, in this phase, the girls would realize that there are many more products to be seen. Then the second phase continues again. Now you might think that the story ends here. That’s where the surprise element is. The fifth stage, Madhavi would enter the stage and would go in and check the validity of the bargain; more like a supervisor in charge.. The sixth stage concludes with the purchase being done.
I and Uday wouldn’t have minded it much for the six stage process. Our only concern was when the process was repeated in umpteen stores. So it eventually ended up with I and Uday would start admiring the store location, observing the stores layout etc to keep ourself busy. Probably, we would have observed close to 20 shops. Of course we would have gotten the opportunity to observe many more stores hadn’t it been the regular norm of the shops in Nainital to shut down by 9’0 clock. Anyhow, we had flooded ourself with so many facts that I and Uday decided to check out something else. We went to get some winter cloths leaving the girls to scout the remaining shops until 9’0 clock.
One thing worth mentioning is our plan to go to Jim Corbett. We were considering going to Jim Corbett on the final day of our stay before coming back. Since it was a new year eve, it was already crowded.,. We went to a referred travel agency to check out the availability of the Safari tickets. Here, we saw the talent of one of trip members come to fore. Jahnavi, has such persuasive skills that she would make our Communications prof very proud. We had ‘Persuasion’ as one of the topic in our first term, and if there was one person who was actually following it in real life, it was she. It all started with the Travel agent quoting the price for the whole day trip. Though the rate he was quoting was quite high, we asked him to give us a better deal. The man was persisting in his view about the rates. That’s when Jahnavi entered the picture, She gave him a detailed view of the cost structure for charging per km and then went on to narrate from her experiences how and where all the rates differed depending upon the topography. The travel agent would definitely have been baffled with these facts and by the time she ended, he would have readily given away the claims to the travel office, if we had asked him to do so. Iam not sure if it was her speech or something else, he said he will give a good deal to us and would call us back later.
Anyhow, we were feeling hungry too, so me and my friend Uday took a break and went for cloth purchase leaving the girls to continue their scouting. The climate was becoming so chillier that we would have ended up purchasing all the clothes in all the shops as a means to keep us warm. I think that it is a strategy deployed by the shopkeepers., As and when we saw a shop, it occurred to us that we needed that particular woolen wear. Somehow we reached our staying place and found the next room to us, still locked. It wasn’t surprising given the fact that there was around 15-25 shops left to scout !!! We then went and had a short dinner and came back and hit the sack… Uday was persistent in having his ‘specialized’ blanket with him. I by no means didnt have any issue with that. There was iron man movie which was being telecasted in HBO. So the day peacefully ended with we, sleeping relaxingly under the warmth of the quilt and blankets and to the sound of tv playing on…
The Tal will follow... (Day 2 Chronicles to be contd...)
P.S: I had forgotten to put the pic of the 'techo-specialized' blanket. As you can see in the comment by Uday, he is of the opinion that he would like to hear others opinion about the blanket qualities. Well, here you go, the pic is there for you !