As we woke up mid-morning on the day after the Reception party, the day seemed promising. We spent the afternoon visiting couple of relatives and as per our plan; the second leg of our double honeymoon began that evening! We were to fly to Delhi that night and within a couple of hours, catch a connecting flight to Leh. But then, half day into the ‘promising day’ we just learnt of the Delhi-Leh flight being pushed by a day and that meant, we had an entire day to spend in Delhi! We contemplated cancelling the entire trip, fearing another series of cancellations and delays as was in leg one. But well honeymoons don’t happen often, and besides this time there was no deadline to abide by for our return, we were just heading back home after the trip, so we decided to go for it. We spent the whole of next day in Delhi doing nothing but relaxing, relaxing and more relaxing. It was only here, we realized how very tired we really were! The past few days had been in such fast pace, we had no time to even think!
Early next morning we landed in Leh to a freezing 6 degree Celsius! It was way colder than we had expected and our already tired bodies were trembling in the chill. We had to ‘chill-out’ in this weather for an hour before we could manage to get a taxi to take us to our hotel room. I lay there huddled under the thickest of thick comforter I could find and had two pairs of socks on. My body refused to heat up for the next couple of hours. The entire day, the sun was nowhere to be sighted. Late afternoon, geared up in all the winter wear we could lay our hands on, we ventured out to get some fresh air and some food. Just a few steps seemed very strenuous. We found ourselves gasping for breath and halting every few minutes. The altitude difference was beginning to take its toll on us. Hubby dear, who seemed to be coping better than me, did all he could to keep me warm. Rubbed my ice-cold palms and feet, tucked me into woolens, got supplies of hot water and besides began to wonder if it was after all a right decision to fly to Leh. But yes, it was! Leaving aside the fact that I was freezing, the sights Leh had to offer were breathe-taking: white snow-capped peaks all around… reminding of the popular Mani Ratnam number; almond-shaped-eyed cute locals scurrying around doing their daily chores; tranquility that was so wonderful and enchanting.
Vegetarian food was a rarity there. After hunting down for an eatery serving vegan Tibetan cuisine and giving our taste buds a treat, we headed back to our room. The day went well after all. Next day though, was not as good. A bout of cold and cough troubled my husband. With every passing hour, this seemed to be aggravating and by evening, he too seemed struggling to walk just a couple of steps in the chill. This prolonged into the next day and now the worried wifey, suggested we go to a doc. We switched roles and now I was the care-taker and he, the patient! Mid next day, we met a physician, who diagnosed his condition as AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness! Whoa, after our round of Sea sickness, Air sickness and now as if to fill the void, here comes Mountain sickness! He assured us that it’s pretty normal for tourists to fall prey to AMS and it’s caused due to the high altitude of Leh. He spoke us out of our plan of wanting to return sooner than our 6-day stay in Leh. As adviced we hung on and tried to enjoy the remaining two days, which seemed the longest from among our vacation days.
Finally, it was the night proceeding to out departure from Leh and soon we were flying to lower familiar grounds. We were so glad we made it through till the last day, without much difficulty in spite of falling sick.
Well, if you think this was the end of our adventure… you are in for more surprises! We get that wretched news again… our flight to Delhi is delayed by an hour! This meant we were left with just about enough time to catch the connecting flight to Pune. Hope upon hope we prayed that we make it on time without any further delay.
No points for guessing… yes, as luck would have it, the flight delayed further by twenty minutes and also the baggage collection took ages, we missed our connecting flight and were left stranded and stressed out in Delhi! Oh my… talk about getting jinxed!
Weary of running behind time last two weeks, we just let it go by for the next hour or so, and did nothing but just sit sipping on some cola. Eventually we started working out options to get home at the earliest. Flight tickets for the same day were sky high and train tickets were not available. Hmmm… after another hour of juggling alternatives, my husband ventured onto the various airlines’ kiosks to try his luck. Unexpectedly, I soon got a call from him saying he has got amazingly cheap tickets in a flight which was to take off in another two hours! I learnt some cancellations happened and there were few seats available and we were lucky to get hold of two of them! I still cannot pin point which lucky star smiled upon us that moment.
In an hour and a half we had a glimpse of the aerial view of Pune. I was finally… oh finally reaching my new home. The sense of relief and excitement that flooded through me, took precedence over every other emotion. Hubby dear, looked at me and smiled. After all that we went through, each and every adventure and hurdle that was thrown at us, we were glad we faced it all, together.
As the flight prepared for landing, he warmly took my hand and said ‘Welcome to Pune’! :)
We hurried our way to the check-in, where we met with some confused officials who seem to be mixed up about the flight details, since this was a cancelled and re-scheduled flight, the details were not clear to them. For a second they even told us there is no such flight! Our fingers were never uncrossed. After much clarification, they cleared out tickets and at last let us board the flight.
The biggest surprise came as we hopped onto the aircraft and checked for our seat numbers… we find them to be in the Business Class! :) So much for the anxiety and trouble we had to go through for these seats. We travelled back to Pune in comfort and style!