JB was doubling up with pain on her way back from work. Something didn’t seem right! She was consumed by enormous rushes of nausea and an insufferable abdominal ache. She looked at the beautiful watch at her wrist. The hands said 7.15 pm. She had only a few hours to reach home, pack, and leave for the train station. Her train from Delhi to Chandigarh was exactly in 3 hours from now!
Back home she popped some pills and started packing her rucksack. A four day trip to a snow destination meant packing wasn’t going to be easy. She hugged her black and navy jumper close to her body to stop the chills going down her body. She realized she was feeling extremely unwell!
Quickly shirking that thought off, JB gritted her teeth and started stuffing woolens and other necessary things into her rucksack. She cursed herself for repeating the same mistake every time. She always kept packing for the last. She somehow managed to stuff the bigger pieces of clothing into the bag but the other things still remained. And then her body broke into shivers. Uncontrollable shivers!
She hugged herself tightly and collapsed beside the rucksack, muttering under her breath. She couldn’t jinx this trip. Everyone in the group was looking forward to it since a very long time. She looked at the clock on the wall. Shakeel must have been back from work by now. She reached for her phone and dialed the number from her favorites. In a few minutes, the front door flew open and Shakeel entered with panic pasted on his face. He was always extremely anxious for her. She explained everything to him and told him that she may have to call her trip off. Shakeel nodded.
He quickly made her some ORS from a sachet that they always carried in their first aid bags, and told her to rest. He then locked the gate from outside and quickly went away. JB sat under the blanket in bed, sipping on the warm and ugly liquid that made her tongue go sour. She felt absolutely deflated.
She must have dozed away for some minutes because the next thing she knew was Shakeel standing in front of her with a thermos of warm water and some pills “I got this from the doctor”, he said and handed them to her. She popped them praying that they worked. He asked her if she had been able to pack. She told him that most of it was done and that she just needed to pack a few more essentials. “ Dont worry, i’ll do it for you”, he said, “ just guide me to where the things are”.
As JB shouted the instructions from her bedroom, Shakeel packed the rest of her things. In a couple of minutes, her bag was packed. The only uncertainty that remained now was her health. It was 8.30 pm, and they were definitely not going to catch that train. Anyway, the railway inquiry had said that the train was running 6 hours late, so that possibility was no longer there. If they were to reach Chandigarh in time for their onward journey to Jibhi, they would have to take a cab by midnight and reach Chandigarh by 4 am. JB relaxed. She still had some time before she could decide if she was able to go or not.
She must have dozed away again when she heard Shakeel whispering to her. He held another dose of the pills to her. She swallowed them, rolled over, and went back to sleep. It was 11 pm when she finally woke up. Her body felt much better. The stomach ache was almost gone, but the nausea was still lingering. While she was sleeping, the group had arranged for an UBER cab that was to pick them up from Kashmere gate bus station at 11.45 pm and drop them at Chandigarh.
JB got up. The sudden movement made her feel dizzy, and she realized that she was feeling extremely weak. She wanted to take a hot shower and hoped that it would make her feel better.
The hot shower definitely made her feel better and JB now hurriedly got ready. Shakeel had already called for a cab (before making sure that she was well enough) and was carrying both their bags down. She followed him and locked the door carefully behind her. Still a little unsteady, she made for the cab, praying that her body did not give up and she could hold herself together for the rest of the trip.
At the Kashmere gate bus station, she was met with the smiling faces of Sumit, Sajjad, Manya, and Pankaj and was welcomed with a hug from each. They were so glad to see her, after giving up hopes of her joining them for the trip. She learned from Pankaj about how he had nearly lost his luggage on his journey from Bareilly to Delhi today, and how he had somehow managed to salvage it! She exhaled for him in relief.
The UBER was waiting for them. As everyone made sure all their luggage was in, JB strapped herself to the front seat and sighed. She had finally made it. Her trip to the snow-covered destination of Jibhi was happening and she couldn’t keep herself.
It was a bright morning when JB finally woke up from a delirious sleep. She vaguely remembered their deboarding at Chandigarh and taking their cab for the rest of the journey. She had slept for the most part of it. They were now heading swiftly towards Jibhi and the temperature inside the cab was quite hot. JB unraveled herself from the shawl and pulled the window down. The cool air on her face made her feel much better.
As they winded their way towards the lesser-known hill destination, JB felt herself smiling. She realized that, despite the sudden toss in health, the canceled train, and the almost loss of luggage, their trip was finally coming to a success. (Or was it? Wait for the next episode to know more.)
Sometimes life unfurls uncertainties at you, especially during traveling, and only some brave hearts manage to make their way through. If you have a partner or a team that is as zealous for traveling as you are, then there is no stopping you. Always be thankful for such travel partners.