When I wrote on my Facebook timeline that I have fallen in love with Uttarakhand, I wasn’t wrong! Three trips in last one year have proven that. Last month I returned from my 3 week trekking trip to Valley of flowers, Hemkunt Sahib, Badrinath et al & now again!
“Are there not many places to visit in India”, I was asked when I told I am going there again.
Yes, there are, but then this time it was an invitation again. I was approached by Club Mahindra if I would like to be a part of the ConClay’s ‘Unconference’ at Kanatal. This is my second invitation from Club Mahindra.
The Himalayan range.
ConClay is nothing but congregate, converse and collaborate. Unconference, as they call it, is a kind of informal conference. It builds an atmosphere for knowledge, alliance and ingenuity. Travel bloggers, writers, photographers, naturalists and more are invited to convene for sessions ranging from the formal to the informal, from well prepared presentations to just-stand-and-speak ideations and from showing of a working tool to discussing something new related to travel.
Coming to my wonderful experience at ConClay, Kanatal.
Day 1 started very early. I was in the cab at an unearthly time of 2:15 AM and was in the check-in queue by 4:30. We were supposed to be five of us flying out from Mumbai including both the Club Mahindra representatives Arun Nair and Akshat Kant. I couldn’t find anyone from our group who even remotely looked like the photos I had seen. But as soon as I checked in and came out of the queue, I found Manish Kumar waiting for me. We knew each other for last few years through our blogs but this was the first time I was meeting him in person.
Akshat and Deepak.
Then in the bus we met Arun Nair whom I already knew and later the other two, Akshat and Deepak. The flight to Delhi was on time at 6 AM. Since all of us had checked in separately, our seats were scattered. Mine was quite in the middle above the wings; rest were at the back but they could at least see & talk to each other.
First I was disappointed that I’ll miss out all the gossips and discussions but then in a way, I thought it was good that I was alone since I seriously wanted to utilize this 2 hour plus flight to catch up on my sleep.
But this was not to be!
Earlier, while in check-in queue, I had seen Olympics bronze medal winner, the hefty Sushil Kumar and his similar looking brawny friends at the airport. Well, I couldn’t have run for an autograph then. Little did I know God will listen to me by sending three of them to surround me in flight! Two behind and one next to me. Their strong and big statures were not suited for economy class seats and I was literally stuck on the window like a fly. They struggled to fit in and after sometime Sushil Kumar who was seated next to me went to the front where he found two empty seats… all to himself. I thanked my stars. But there were two more left.
Poor fellows. The authorities should allow them to travel by business class. Even their breathing, shook my seat. Their knees pushed against my seat so hard that I felt I’d have to apologize to the passenger sitting in front of me !
During the whole flight I could not tilt my seat even for a second. Damn! This was not going to be my day. The breakfast was served after a while but these two poor guys refused it. I thought, being wrestlers they found it insulting to have so little on their plates. But no! The reason was something different. They couldn’t open their trays!! 😀
Anyway, I had my share of anxiety and entertainment and in no time we landed in Delhi where we met with two other bloggers Lakshmi and Nandita coming from Bangalore.
Three of the four women participants.
Delhi-Dehradun flight was delayed by two hours. After that we had a 80 km drive to Kanatal via winding mountainous roads and once again I must appreciate Border Roads Organization (BRO) for the upkeep. On our trip to Valley of flowers, we had faced many more landslides in number and severity.
We couldn’t do any of the scheduled activities for the day after reaching Kanatal. However, we did sing to our hearts’ content at the Karaoke session after dinner. The singers in us had no inhibitions in that cozy atmosphere.
To be continued…..
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