Covering: Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India
I was on an official tour to Rajahmundry. I brought up and live in Delhi and it was my first South India tour. So I already have a fear of language problem there. I took flight early in the morning and reached there around 11:30 am. Since it was the month of July so I was expecting hot weather in Rajahmundry too. But unexpectedly weather was very pleasant and clouds were there in the sky. I have already communicated to my hotel manager to send cab for me to commute from airport to hotel.
I have a habit of familiarizing with cab drivers / auto drivers and that too of the states, which I am visiting the first time. So, I asked in general to start the conversation "Weather is unexpectedly good here. In Delhi it is too hot". But the driver did not react. Then I guess he may not be able to understand English. So, I continued with Hindi "Bhaiya Mausam acha hai Rajahmundry mai; yaha July mai aisa hi rehta hai kya?...". He again did not react and said "Hindi, English na". Then I understood that he did not know either Hindi or English. Since it was my first South India tour and driver was not understanding what I was saying, I doubted whether we were going in the right direction or not. My mind was full of bad thoughts like whether he was planning to kidnap me... Bla Bla Bla.... Then I saw outside Cab window and looked on sign boards, public transport buses, shops so that I could get the name of the place where the cab was exactly at that point of time. But I was shocked when I saw every sign-board and bus had Telgu script which I was viewing first time and not able to get anything. I was totally confused.
Then as usual, technology connected me with the world and all my fears shed away. I turned ON my google maps in my mobile phone and was happy to see that we are on the right direction. After 45 minutes, I reached my hotel safely. I thanked myself that I charged my mobile fully on that day.
After reaching hotel, I took the menu and searched for North Indian food. To my surprise, I found North Indian Thali in menu and ordered for me. I was very happy but my happiness was just for a few minutes till Thali reached on my table. It was North Indian Thali but in South Indian Style. There was more than 6 bowls with different vegetables, I supposed these were vegetables only. But I did not understand what was there in Thali except one i.e. Dal. I am pure vegetarian and that too do not like rice. I was confused what to eat. Then I asked for rajma as I am very fond of it but they didn't know what rajma is. I also asked for ready to eat packets then finally he arranged them in the evening. My kind advice for all is to take along some ready to eat food packets.
After two days, I had flight to Delhi from Vizag Airport. I booked a seat in Garuda Volvo Bus through APSRTC website. I was told that it would not take more than 4 hours to reach Vizag from Rajahmundry. The Boarding time for flight was 17:30, so I booked volvo that was expecting to reach Rajahmundry at 12:00pm. I reached bus stand at 11:45am. Display was there at Bus Stand which was showing Expected and Scheduled Time arrival of buses and I was happy to see that it was showing status in English too. But I was surprised when I did not find my bus number on the display. I called the Bus Driver's Mobile number which was given on APSRTC website when I booked the ticket. But the Mobile number was going switched off. Then I tried to see the LIVE status on my mobile phone. But my bad luck prevailed again, server was not up at that time and status was not updated from yesterday. I waited till 12:30pm and enquired at counter. But at counter, no one was understanding either English or Hindi. I was puzzled... what to do.
But by the grace of God, we Indians have humanity and always ready to help each other... and there too I found one God's man that can understand little bit English. Then somehow, I communicated whole scenario to him and then he communicated the issue to the persons sitting at counter in the language which I am not able to understand. Probably, it should be Telugu. In this whole communication, it was already 13:00 hrs. I was sure that today I was not able to reach airport on time. Finally, one conductor came and that man told me to sit in the bus that was of-course not volvo but a roadways bus which was going Vizag. I took that bus and that man, (probably he was serving in AP Roadways) told the whole scenario to driver.
Bus speed was low and it was already 15:30 hrs. when bus stopped at one place. I turned on again Google Maps on my mobile. It was showing 2:00 hrs more to reach Vizag Airport. Then suddenly driver came and with his gestures he asked me to deboard from the bus. He pointed me one bus to board that was about to restart from that place. It was the same Volve Bus which I booked. Finally, I took that bus. I was enquired driver about scheduled time of its reaching to airport. He ensured me that it would not take more than 1:30 hours from here. Finally, I reached airport at 17:15 and thanked God for giving me too much adventurous and exciting trip.