The day after exams got over, we were off to Ganpatipule, a delightful beach resort 350 km from Bombay. We were searching for respite from the Bombay heat, and boy did we find it.
Our train was the rather suggestively named Konkan Kanya, which literally means, “babe from the Konkan”. She didn’t look very suggestive though. In fact the only suggestion I made when I saw her was to go back home. But we decided to brave the dimly lit interiors and the stinky compartment as it was only an 8 hour journey. We settled down and much to our surprise, the train departed at the said time of 11 pm.
The journey was uneventful, unless you count the part where we removed the supports to the middle berth where Amit was sleeping. I discovered that still photography from a moving train is not exactly my forte. I also discovered that waking Salil up from deep sleep is the easiest way to experience excruciating pain. We arrived at Ratnagiri station at 6. 30 in the morning.
We had hired a car to take us to Ganpatipule, which was 45 kms away. We completed the journey in about an hour and reached the Bank of India credit society’s holiday home. Accomodation in this place was achieved by means I’d rather not mention. Let is suffice to say we got 2 terrace flats in this place dirt cheap.
The place was excellent. A kilometer from the beach on a slope and an excellent sea view. Breakfast and a bit of cricket and we were going to the temple.
The temple is a famous one, but not being the tourist season, was pretty much empty. We also walked once around the hill housing the temple. Legend has it the hill is shaped like Lord Ganesha. We were enlightened, on that particular walk, by the 3 Civil engineering students, that most of the rock in that area was shale or limestone or lycra. I forget. Not to be outdone, I spent the best part of half an hour, explaining how difficult it is to supply power to that isolated area.
We had lunch at one of those houses there where the owners serve food for a price. The place was recommended to us by one of the priests at the temple. The food there was pathetic and expensive and judjing by the curses we heaped upon the priest, I am sure we have condemned him to a place where he would find far too hot for his liking.
Evening was spent at the beach, where we engaged in a spirited game of football. Sunset, and we were back at the hotel.
That night was one i would remember well because that was the first time I played poker. Actually the desi version called “teen patti”. Half an hour and richer by around ten thousand fake rupees, I was hooked. We played till about 5 in the morning, becoming more and more insane as far as the betting was concerned.
Woke up at about 9, and had breakfast. We had a big day ahead of us. We were supposed to visit a place called Marleshwar. It has a waterfall and we were supposed to bathe in the calming flow of water. We reached there and walked up 500 steps to the temple, only to be told that the Waterfall was off limits because of the monsoons. Good law abiding Indians that we are, three of us jumped the barrier and took pictures anyway.
We reached the hotel in the evening, me sitting in the back of the car which was so uncomfortable, I was soon dreaming of Aushwitz. Another game of poker and we were off to bed at 1. By this time it was raining ass hard outside.
Four of us were sharing the room. Salil and Amit got the bed, while me and Kedar were sleeping sleeping on matresses on the floor. It was about 5.15 in the morning that I woke up to detect a certain wetness on my clothes. I was in the process of contemplating a biological malfunction which had not taken place since when i was 4, when I put my foot on the ground to hear a resounding splash.
Lights on, and I saw the room was an inch and a half under water. It was everywhere. It got our luggage and Kedar’s cell (his fourth in as many years). The guys in the other room were lucky. Or so it seemed. The water didnt get to the room where they were sleeping. But it got to the room where they had put their luggage.
It was still raining very heavily and we realized our plans of touring ratnagiri that day were dooomed. So we did the next best thing. We packed our bags and left for Ratnagiri station. We got to know that our train, which was supposed to arrive at 10 that night, was delayed till 3 am. Balls to that we said, and got tickets on a passenger train scheduled to depart a couple of hours later.
We managed to get on and with certain negotiations with the ticket checker, we managed to “upgrage” ourselves to sleeper class. 10 hours later (3 of which were spent in playing an insane game of dumb charades), we reached Mumbai, a bit hungry, but safe and sound.
It was 1 am when I rang the doorbell and stepped inside the warmth of my own home. A warm bath and hot dinner awaited.