Mum, Munch (that was what Sanam was now affectionately called) and I left for Pune to pack up house for the posting to Jamnagar. We travelled from Gorakhpur to Delhi by train where my father-in-law was at the station to pick us up. He took us home to Sheikh Sarai to freshen up and say a quick hello to the rest of the family before dropping us to the airport. We unexpectedly bumped into Sandip's young cousin Akash, who was also on his way to Pune to join a college there and who turned out to be booked on the very same flight.
We checked in our baggage and were just hanging around waiting for further announcements when we heard our flight number being called as cancelled! There was an immediate mad rush of humanity towards the counter, all demanding explanations or refunds. I tried to elbow my way through the hysterical throng to get some clarity on the situation, but was quite unsuccessful so beat a dishevelled retreat with a wailing baby in my arms.
Our sighs of relief were short lived because as soon as we drove into the winding hill roads of the Western Ghats we found ourselves stuck in the middle of a dreadful traffic jam. We were immobile for over an hour with the truck parked alongside blaring the latest Bollywood music. My little Munch decided to stand up in my lap and dance in time to the cacophony much to the amusement of the scruffy looking men in the vehicle.
Once we started to move again we realised much to our exasperation that our good driver was pulling off the road again, this time to help his mate whom we had met earlier, whose taxi was now the one with a flat.
By this time we were quite numbed with exhaustion so when the cabbie said he would like to stop at a roadside 'dhabba' for a quick cup of tea we readily agreed. As he swaggered into the dimly lit shack we heard him bellowing at someone in the darkness to bring him some 'afeem'. Mum goggled at me in shock and horror and whispered that we had been travelling all this way with an opium addict. I just told her that he had bought us this far so it would most probably be alright, and in any case there was not much we could do about the crazy situation we were in.