How to Reach Thailand Without Killing Yourself
Hmm, you naughty boys went to Thailand we heard, with a smirk and impertinence in the tone, they asked, it was obvious what this snug was meant for, it was a routine affair back home.
Yes, I went to Thailand, that was all I could mumble, concealing myself in an imaginary fortification of ignorance.
We were back in town, met an uncle and an aunty, mid-aged stout lady, who had traveled herself a bit, but the only outing, she discerned as excursion, was with her favourite tele serial characters, rest it was all bull shit. The uncle was a thin and slender subdued man, with a little pot belly and an inward chest gracing him, his sole idea of a trip, is to drive round to nearby hill station drinking beer, drink litres of whisky next day and come back drinking beer, having time of his life. I am not jeering or criticizing anyone else’s choice, but when personal whims are put under scrutiny, humans are bound to get salty.
It was a destination that would turn us into a scornful breed, like the era of segregation hadn’t passed yet, you will be seen upon as someone of depraved mentality, a libertine who doesn’t abide by the law of the land, for whom the animal isn’t holy and the reverence for the other sex doesn’t prevail in the frontal lobe, the wiring had been mishandled with, in the nation of 130 crore humans, sex is a taboo, a forbidden affair only to discuss about, not the other way around. Alright enough of the blabbering and apologies for this emotional outburst.
This story is from beginning of the year, early January, it is being published this late due to lack of intellectual resources, which we still lack in abundance, but have been accorded with adequate enough to narrate this one.
There were seven of us, other than two of us desperadoes Mr. A and Mr. G, there was an oaf Mr. RR, a Canadian boaster Mr.H, two devotees Mr. Ak and Mr. V. The bachelor Mr. AA was going to meet us at Gurgaon. It was originally meant to be a trip to Bali, but tickets shot up unexpectedly and the destination swayed to Thailand.
Six of us began our journey by the taxi – an Innova and by the time everyone was picked up and we left the city, the driver was vexed enough to feed us to hungry dogs, if he could. He was so frustrated, that he didn’t heeded even, to our desperate cries for call of nature. Only when oaf’s system couldn’t take it anymore and the chamber was filled with smell of dead rats, we’re accorded a much needed break almost after 3 hours and covering more than 200 kms, after little tea and snacks the situation eased up a bit, but after a while he was again irritated, maybe it was odour of one of us, that was tripping his nerves, he again missed the cut to dhaba and then took a death defying U turn, took wrong lane on the National Highway and landed us at the dhaba somehow, the shock killed most of the hunger and there are only vague memories of that dinner, he was hell-bent to make us repent the destination we have chosen, the flight was from IGI airport Teminal 1, New Delhi in the morning, we reached Delhi by midnight and the plan was to spend the night at Mr. AA’s home in Gurgaon, but the uncanny attitude of the bastard continued (he can be abused now, reasons are pretty enough) and we were stranded on the road in the midnight with luggage, before Gurgaon’s entrance, he refused to enter Gurgaon due to some permit issues. Here Uber came to our rescue and we reached our destination somehow, much to the surprise of Mr. AA, who never thought that we’ll take his courtesy seriously.
You know when there are 7 people in a group, your brain tells you, it’ll be a happy go lucky trip, but how the circumstances unfold themselves in the future, make you question the whole school of numerology and the deceit it’s based upon, we in Northern part of India are dealing with another catastrophe these days, that’s fog due to pollution and burning of paddy remains which turns into deadly smog, for us nuclear winter is already here, at least for 4-5 months. We’re the last ones to board the flight, reached after multiple final calls, because shitty Starbucks coffee is more important than whole trip, although it’s already priced almost at par with the trip, I’ll rant for some time now, ‘why’? Because the flight was of a vaguely reputed airlines, still over expensive and 5 of us including two of us, the lucky ones were given seats in the last row, which is a torture exported from medieval ages, you have to sit with your back straight as your seat is fixed to wall behind it, the food was paid and rubbish, and there was a 12-hour layover at Kolkata.
We were in the land of Sarat Chandra (the maestro of human emotions, especially of an estranged one and women) and Tagore, Mr. AA had worked in Kolkata for two years, but his idea of Bengal is Mohun Bagan FC – because everybody is fan of it and a quest for almost non-existent veg food, when asked about the monuments or a good market, it was one blank stare of ignorance, alright google maps rescued us, took ola cab and the curse of driver continued, this one was also, adamant to kill us without damaging his car much, one was such a near miss, we still wonder what saved us. We were in hunt for authentic fish curry and reached park street area somehow, here Mr. AA suddenly got back his lost memory and pointed us towards a restaurant, who’s staff straight away told us that they serve Italian food only and this part of city is still under Empire, meanwhile we were waiting for firang sahib’s on their horses to whip us for creating nuisance, running here and there on busy streets with our luggage before, a Bengali restaurant called Arsalan rescued us, the biryani was good but the fish curry we had was divine, you’ll never find anything tantamount, in North (our idea of eating fish is to deep fry it and eat it only in winters, when having whiskey), short on time and due to hustle bustle of city, plan to visit any other place was killed, 4 people went ahead.
But those vibrant yellow coloured vintage ambassador’s roused the inner child in us left behind and sitting in that majestic ride of bureaucrats and aristocrats was just utter fun, “bumblebee’s running on Victorian streets, along with their humming mounted fans, amidst colourful caged houses, football fans and cheery lads.”
Back at the airport in waiting area, boys have weaved a new theory by the time, there was a little Indian girl of 12 or 13 with an old foreign lady and the girl doesn’t look happy, there were fatuous guesses; she could be her grandmother, she must have adopted her, daughter of a friend who’s nearby and the wildest one, ha-ha, she is a child trafficker (the emotions in one or two of the Quixote’s had to be curbed down by the time).
Taxi – Part 2
Rambling along duty free shops, smoking in death chambers, we boarded the wild goose and we had landed in the land of smiling people, the first thing you notice are big sign boards everywhere, which beware you about human trafficking, now this Suvarnabhumi Airport is so colourful, you’ll find each and every race, age and sex here, making it one of a kind. We bought some essentials at duty free and learned the Thai word for hello (Swasdee ka), it was all swasdee ka’s afterwards, we had forgotten Namaste and hello for some time, four of us had our visas whereas others went for, on arrival visa, while we were waiting for them, it was nice to see employees, taking care of luggage, themselves retrieving it from belts and matching the boarding passes, the jackets were still on as we’re coming from freezing temperatures, as we took an exit, thermal shock and the jackets were neatly abandoned, it was around 2:30 in the morning and our next stop was Pattaya. Here we saw a 7/11 store and hence began a love affair between man and a store, we got ourselves an Innova, here also somehow, the man was hesitant, if all of us will fit in, as there was an issue, earlier our taxi had a carrier on roof, this one doesn’t and that day we came to know how those caged, crammed chickens feel like, we were the ones, Thai people are crazily in love with the pickup trucks, it’s a monopoly. We reached Pattaya early morning and I forget to mention, that we had a free confirmation booking for hotel rooms (yes we are procrastinators and dimwits), by the time we reached, the rooms were gone, man at the reception, promised to get us accommodated positively somewhere when pestered every 5 minutes, early morning, in the hotel lobby, pool area, restaurant, we were everywhere, tired, lazing around, sleeping and doing whatnot, it wasn’t a perfect start to trip or day or anything.
Around 8:00 am, we’re all almost awake, there were lot of bemused faces around by this time, seeing our drooling and swollen faces, sitting, sleeping in an awkward posture, we gathered ourselves as politely as possible, again infuriated receptionist and went to an eating joint in front of our hotel, the plan was to skip hotel food and have try local cuisine as much as possible, but there were dark days ahead, it was a small roadside joint, with only one girl working in the open kitchen, an old granny was doing prep work, we were given menu and it was all fine till then, the dishes were named in both English and Thai with their pictorial description side by, we ordered Thai Fried rice with chicken and pork, there was another big problem at hand, she doesn’t understand English, we were depressed but the pictures were there for illiterates like us, now we showed her the dish and what came on table was relatively 20% the same thing what was in picture, we told her it’s not the dish shown here, she smiled in return, we told her earth is round, she smiled in return, asked her what came before chicken or egg, she smiled in return, this cannot carry on for long, we will starve here surely and there was a thunder in the sky and there was a divine voice; Kids use a translator. This time, converted the name, showed her, she again smiled but the dish came out alright and was relevant, oh the relief, but it wasn’t for long.
Then suddenly Andrew Zimmer took over us, we ordered preserved eggs next, the dreaded eggs, the outer shell had turned translucent grey and the yolk was ash black, suddenly everything smelled like, a morning cow barn, curious eyes were scrutinizing each other, the eggs were on the table, the first two who tasted them were fine, little hesitation and gobbled down, but it wasn’t good afterwards ‘Captain, we have a man down, I repeat man down, another one, “copy that”, there are three now, no four, last one saved his life, it was a havoc of puking and overacting’ (in our part of the nation, there is a vast fissure among people of different sects, eating habits vary drastically, even eating a chicken liver or gizzard is a big deal, leave it, even eating an onion or a garlic is forbidden at times), it was one hilarious scene, Socrates must have eaten these eggs instead of poison in reality, the slow, sweet, nourishing death.
It Begins With a Vanquished Heart
I forgot to mention, we’re in Northern part of the city, it is a calm and less commercialized side, we got ourselves a nice hotel at bargain, we were allotted rooms at 10:00, dozed off a bit and went to swim in the pool at noon, here all of us were in boxers or swimming trunks san one man, Mr. RR was in a Frenchie underwear, quite a show he put down, ladies were swooning over this dreamy masculine man, though a little stiff and chubby, even a deep sea nymph came allured.
Three of us went to a nearby 7/11, in the search of beer and chips, both of us and Mr. Ak, there she was at the billing counter, the cute, shy damsel with the hazel eyes, the cupid had done his work, Mr. G was hit, another man was down, Maroon 5’s “It was always you” was droning all over, rest of the trip.
Discontent and Optimism
In the evening boys were ready for what they came for, what they want to do, the infamous walking street, which had lured us, was the destination, we took a bath bus taxi, these are trucks with two sitting rows at back, you got to negotiate price with them, what we witnessed at walking street wasn’t very promising, it is a long lane with café, bars, clubs (famous for their notoriety), massage parlours on both sides, there was a scattered crowd of whites and Indians, some pretty girls though, time being everyone was numb, boaster’s mouth was open, it’s a biological design to be attracted towards a beautiful and genetically fit specimen of opposite sex, they weren’t Thai girls but hot, very hot, shops and bars were although open but empty. We walked the lane, had some coffee and came back depressed, those stories we heard were proven deceitful, decided to return once again at time, when the nocturnes will come out of their holes crawling to lure a prey.
We were back at hotel and straightaway went to 7/11 to get beer, this time bastard (Mr. G) was in a frolic mood, he got a chocolate billed, gave it to her and she accepted it with a smile without any hesitation, if it would have been India, there were two options, with the same end, either the boy would have been abused and thrown out or he would have been halve beaten to death and then thrown out (it’s a bitter reality and that’s the future full of hatred, prejudices and odious ambiguities, we’re hell bent to shape a world for our posterity, in which an innocent gesture of love and appreciation is misjudged as one filled with lust and filth).
“Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six, the journey will continue further, when some dark, revealing days and bitter-sweet anecdotes, faced by boys will unfold.”