This was the first time I went somewhere with my friends… It is ridiculous to say that I am 25 and I haven’t had experienced this before. Among all the things that happened during my short trip to Visakhapatnam-Araku-Vizag this is the most important part I wanna share with Y’all.
Last month we travelled to Visakhapatnam from Hyderabad for one of my friend’s marriage. After her marriage ceremony our plan was to travel to Araku and see one or two places there. Then visit the beach there in Vizag and return. For the road trip we hired a local travel agency. The agency agreed to take us to a few nearby places to visit and drop us at the railway station at the end of the trip. My friends who directly talked to the agency were clear about our expectations and how much we were going to pay.
As per our agreement, the driver would pick us up from the hotel after we have breakfast and we’ll start for Araku. The driver showed up early in the morning and asked for 2000 Rs. Considering it as diesel expenses my friends paid. 2 hours later he came back for diesel money claiming that the earlier amount was for advance. Nowhere we agreed for any advance payment. This was not a good sign and one of my friends warned as this guy might throw unexpected tantrums on the road where we would no other option expect giving him the money.
We were having trouble with the hotel staff as well. We got a call from hotel reception to empty the room 10 minutes prior to checkout time. Failing to do so would cost is the price for the full day stay. The hotels checkout time was 8.00 in the morning which is pretty early in comparison to the other hotels… We were not informed anything about that until we received the call half asleep.
Among the three rooms we booked we vacated 2 and all of us shifted to one room for staying for 2 more hours. We had to pay for the whole day nevertheless.
The driver’s claim created a chaos but ultimately we agreed to the driver.
We paid our last visit to our newly married friend’s house and started for Araku.
On the way we visited Bora Caves and a water fall. The driver dropped us to a hotel in Araku.
Next day’s plan was to wake up early in the morning to go to the view point. Have breakfast from a roadside shop, visit coffee garden and Tribal museum and travel to beach, have lunch somewhere on the way and go to Railway station.
Our plan started falling apart from the beginning of Day 2.
We could not wake up early in the morning since we barely got any sleep on the previous 2 days for the travel and the wedding. So had to skip the early morning plan. We revised our plan and first went to have breakfast. Then we headed towards Tribal museum, it was definitely one of the hottest days of the year. According to the local people coffee museum was underwhelming and not worth going in short period of time. So we skipped that too.
So then our only goal was to have some lunch and go to the beach taking the road. Because of excessive heat people started feeling sick and we decided to have lunch only after reaching Vizag.
We were discussing among ourselves which beach we should go according to the distance from station. Suddenly the driver asked us… Shall I drop you to station now?
That’s 3 hours and 2 drops less than what was agreed. We were in utter shock. We started to convince him but he handed over the call to his boss. All along his boss wanted this to happen. The driver was listening to our discussion all the time but decided to drop the bomb at the last moment. A little bit of an argument happened over the call with the owner of the agency.
Only the guys were talking… Girls including me were not adding to it. I was wondering where the driver was going to drop us cause we were still unsettled and unconvinced. I didn’t have to wait much longer as he stopped the car in front the railway station.
The conflict intensified… The conclusion wasn’t in our favor. We decided to report this to police and disagreed to pay the full amount. The owner as well threatened us about the police.
We had to take all our luggage and walk towards the railway station. Our stomachs were entry and a taste of bitterness in the mouth. We kept the luggage in the luggage room and got a great deal for a cab. The driver agreed to take us to the beach in a reasonable price. There was no time to waste…we were already running late… We had to have some lunch as well.
We reached the beach in time … Found a decent restaurant to have a late lunch. The driver agency kept calling my friend. We stayed at the beach for an hour or so and rushed to the station.
My friend talked to the agency and they were at no ease. They threatened us that they would deduct the money from the driver’s salary. This caused a moral dilemma in us… Because we were fighting for the fair price and we thought that the poor driver could not support us going against his a’hole boss.
For the sake of the driver we agreed to pay some amount of money, not full though.
We came to the station and 3 of the guys went to meet the person who would come to talk. Surprisingly he brought few more people as well. The quarrel turned worse and just after my friend paid the money…those guys started shouting and abusing pretending like my friends said bad words to their boss. And all of a sudden one of them hit one of the guys from our group.
He too didn’t hold his grudge back. He went all his way out to hit him. Police came in and the guys from the agency started making false allegations against my friends… Such as they cursed their boss, they started the fight etc. My friend’s wife was present on the spot too…
On the other hand me and one more girl who happens to be the wife of another friend of mine were sitting at the waiting room with all the luggage. We had no idea what was going on on the other side of the station. As it started to approach the time to get on the train and half our friends still didn’t show up… We got anxious. 2 of the guys who didn’t went to meet driver agency person came running and told us to take all of our bags and get into the train first.
We 4 people managed to get into the train well before time. Our train’s departure time was 8.30… it was 8.25 already and there was no sign of the other half of our group. 2 guys who came along with us were constantly talking to them over call still having no idea what happened. It was 8.28 when we came to know that our friends went to railway police head police officer and they were nowhere near to any settlement… We didn’t know about the fighting but it was still surprising.
When it was 8.29 we realized that rest of our friends would not be able to make it to the train… So one of the guys with us said that we should get down as well. We would not leave any of us behind. It’s okay to miss the train but we would be together. We got down the train with all the luggage again.. By 8.30 when the train was about to start we got a call that our other friends are also coming.
But we already got down with the freaking luggage. Since one of us got on … The train started moving. It was the most breathtaking moment of my life. I jumped on to the running train along with the other girl… The guys started throwing all the luggage from the platform into the train and we had to catch them. Three of us boarded and one was still running by the side of the train.
My friend rushed to the compartment to pull the chain… It was not working at first. Finally it stopped.
Pulling the chain for personal reason is illegal. Police comes for inquiry and you have to pay some fine.
My friends got into train successfully. And train started again after some time.
Some of the passengers thought it was ridiculous. But, hey… At least we caught the train and no goddamn luggage was left behind.
I was in shock to see the guy who got beaten… His lips were cut, face swollen… An expression on the face that I haven’t learnt to read. He stood beside the open door of the running train to compose his thoughts. Certainly it was a mental roller coaster for him. These are guys from well educated and respected families, they never had a hand fight with goons before. Things happened too fast and there was so no time to think before reacting.
Fortunately the other 3 people didn’t get in a fight while trying to stop them. They kept their cool while talking to the police as well. It is very important to act wisely when opposition is charging you with false allegations.
Technically the driver agency owner was not a good man and he had his relatives in powerful positions to help him sustain his business. There was no way he could do any better than that.
I prayed so hard to make the rest of the journey free from any sort of adventure. God took care of it. We finally gathered together and had dinner… Talking about the conflicts and arguments… Allegations and threats.
From my experience of the trip- these are the major take-away’s- Always make sure to go for a reputed and genuine travel agency. If possible, have people with you who know the local language. If things go down-hill, try to act more strategically than emotionally.
That’s all folks. Thanks for reading. 🙂