"The place has to be dainty,difficult and dangerous", said my wife as I frantically Googled for suitable holiday on the eve prior to an unexpected seven days break from work. Of course, my idea of a dainty holiday is not having to step out of home. Difficult, for me, is to do grocery shopping during holidays. Crossing the road,in Bangalore, to do this shopping is not without its dangers.
But, this time she was quite certain with the definitions. Dainty was exquisite. My idea of an exquisite location did not go beyond Ooty. The 36 hair-pin bends en-route Ooty was as dangerous and difficult as it got for me. However, influenced by Facebook photos of friends vacationing in Machu Picchu and Mongolia, she would have none of my pleadings that we spend our unexpected vacation in Ooty, Yercaud or Kodai.She was not even okay to my extending the geography to Munnar.
I reminded her that we had been to several places, on vacation, which were dainty, dangerous and difficult. The vacation in 2002, in Sri Lanka - for example - when I fell of the elephant's back and just managed to grab its tail to break my fall - from from a height of 12 feet - was certainly difficult.
Travelling across Sri Lanka was, then, undoubtedly dangerous. The speed-boat ride from the Male airport to Lohi Fushi resort,across the choppy sea, in the Maldives, was equally dangerous.
However, she would have none of it - for this was the era before Facebook. " How can I post the 2002 photos now?" she queried. "Those photo's were taken from your Kodak camera, not from a digital SLR".
I logged on to makemytrip.com where holiday's were neatly categorized into:
I wish they had some categorized as "Facebook Holiday" packages (little known places,not far, with a good back drop for photos which could impress friends and garner likes and comments) with DSLR images of the holiday built into the cost of the holiday. That would save me the cost of changing my camera - which was also my wife's pre-condition for the holiday. I was not averse to changing the camera but being the photographer, always, meant I featured in very few frames.
Suggestions like the Andamans,Lakshadweep,Kulu and Manali were all brushed away with a "not like-worthy" comment. "What about Srinagar?" I suggested, in jest, completely sure it would be pooh-poohed. "Srinagar!" she exclaimed in excitement."Perfect!" "Srinagar is dainty, difficult and dangerous".
After scrounging travel websites for a reasonable fare, I knew that planning this travel was going to be difficult. That the Srinagar airport did not have a functional Instrumental Landing System (ILS) made it quite dangerous. Whether Shalimar Bagh and the rest of Srinagar would be dainty remained to be seen.
(to be continued)