My Travel to Europe was God’s Plan
My Travel to Europe was God’s Plan. Things happen when they are destined to.
My Faith on the above saying has stayed with me & grown stronger ever since my European sojourn.
In six words, I’ll tell you how this vacation took place. IT WAS PLANNED AND THEN EXECUTED.
So simply & so easily. It was as effortless as I make it sound. And it was so, because, I think, that is the way it was designed to be, destined to be.
God All Along the Travel to Europe
All along the travel to/in Europe, it was as if God was holding my hand & prompting me the way. And he did like only he can. He, too powerful to let any disruptions in. Because, when he decides- things, people, events- they all fall in place.
I know travel to Europe is no such feat that should lead me into such profound thoughts. Yet, I felt deep within that He was hell-bent on packing us off to Europe (God and hell-bent; Oh! what an anomaly!)
Of course, we were taking all the basic, necessary steps for travelling but weren’t moving mountains for sure. Things just kept falling in place one after the other. So you see, how self-willed God is. He makes it easy for us if we tread on his chosen paths. He then clears away all the thorns & disruptions strewn along.
And when things become so fantastically, dramatically easy, when the cards open such big in our favour, we start doubting if it is a set-up. At least I did. It is then that he blows his cover & we know he’s there, and close.
Travel to Europe- The Plan
Four months before we set off for the holiday, it was to be a 4N/5D quick brief trip, an office perk to Paris-Amsterdam. It was a plan in our mind only & stayed that way.
One-and-a-half months before, we decided to not only put that plan into action but also improvise it. We elevated our Europe travel to 13N/14D long into spanning goddamn 9 countries. Took a week to shortlist a travel agency & then its itinerary.
Flight tickets were booked by the operator in the next 7 days. But the likely date for visa allotment if we opted for Delhi fell at a mere 5 days gap from the travel date. This was risky & hence Delhi was ruled out. The next best bet was Kolkata to apply the visa from. Kolkata was ideal since we have a home there too & would also allow us to spend a part of the summer holidays with family.
We stay in Chandigarh & would travel to Delhi (4-5 hours away) to board a long-distance train to drop me at Kolkata. Skipped travelling by air because sudden plans attach with them abnormal flight costs.
Our train tickets for Chandigarh-Delhi travel were confirmed but not for the consecutive journey. Any Indian well-knows the chances we stand for reservation in the Indian Railways at the peak of summer holidays. But as the Lord would have it, much to our surprise, our tickets for Delhi-Kolkata got confirmed. We were in glee.
PS: Keep noting how obstacles kept disappearing by themselves!
The Execution & Initial Hiccups
Thus, our sojourn to Delhi-Kolkata began. Locked the house, took a cab to the railway station only to discover that the train was late. That would mean that we’d miss our subsequent train from Delhi. Couldn’t allow that. Now what?
We had to reach Delhi in time & the only way was to take an inter-state cab now. But the catch was: while train deposits us to Delhi in 3 hours, a cab would take at least 4.5-5 hours. Add to that an hour more courtesy heavy & unpredictable Delhi traffic.
Nevertheless; after a few quick discussions & frantic calls we managed to find a cab that would drop us to Delhi. This was done with my husband’s help who was already In Kolkata on an official tour. Had he been with us, the rigmarole would have been comparatively easier. I was travelling with my 12-year old son now.
Was a cab ride going to decide our European fate ?!
The spot-booking had us under a few thousand bucks extra levied by the cab-operator. This was notwithstanding the fact that he exempted himself from any guarantee or assurance of our reaching Delhi in time. Delhi traffic you see! And I couldn’t blame him either.
Well! beggars couldn’t be choosers so the best we could salvage out of the crisis was by taking chances. And those chances, the driver dimmed by his attitude. He was UNINTERESTED, UNTAKEN & UNINSPIRED by the time-challenge that lay before us. Drove most comfortably while tapping his fingers on the steering to the beats of ‘Kesariya Tera….’.
Sure we loved Arijit (the singer of Kesariya) but this was NOT the time. The status quo had to be broken; the driver’s ears impactfully twisted.
My first attempt of fire-fighting was by magnifying the urgency of the hour and drawing his attention to it. We of course, told him it was EUROPE that we were to travel to & that international was too expensive to miss.
Second attempt was: Pleading-begging while showcasing our potential heartbreak explicitly. Third- We challenged his driving skills with a deliberate but soft trigger aiming for the ego wall. Went like,`Ek baar pehle bhi aise hi late hua tha par us cab waale ki wajah se time se pahunch gyen then’( In the past too, we had gotten late this same way, but managed to reach in time because of that cab-driver ).
Did the ego-punch yield anything? No, Nothing worked; absolutely nothing.
I understand speed limits and I respect them. But then there are bonus-minutes, which if need be, must be utilized. He was bent on under-achieving.
What really worked !
Truth be told: when nothing works, money does; at least in India. An offer was made: some extra money for the guy if he drops us in time & some extra, extra money if well-ahead in time.
Truth be again told; Lord Vishwakarma ( the Hindu God of engineering) himself descended on earth, embodied the cab-driver & enacted the transition from `Nothing is in my hands’ to `The Victory-Lap is Mine’ speed.
RESULT- We arrived way before time. I rewarded him handsomely as promised & reached Kolkata for a memorable family vacation before our visa date. POV- The Lord was supervising!
Another potential complication for Travel to Europe
The Schengen Visa was/is currently taking a lot of time & is also in the grapevine for this. On the given date, we reached the facilitation office & completed all necessary formalities. We were only half-hoping that the visa process would run without hiccups & our passports returned duly in time.
As a standard Hanumant bhakt, I raised in his court an offering (prasaad) of Rs 500/- were the God to clear the visa process in time. Only later, I realized that the offering was redundant, needless as this was His wish & His command that we take off & successfully navigate to Europe.
Nevertheless, we waited for the courier with anxiety, hope & hopelessness. And like readers can already make out, we were soon the proud owners of yet another stamp on our passports. Such a prompt receipt! This was by no means normal.
We celebrated while funds were promptly arranged without further ado. No hassle there too!
Normally, any middle-class family here, in India would start prepping up, months before, for a holiday as prestigious as this. But we had just a week after we returned home to Chandigarh from Kolkata. We were excited but somehow, the feeling just wouldn’t sink in that the take-off would be so close to the launch.
We’d scarcely just thought about it barely 40-45 days ago & here we were, all set to go. Too good & too soon to believe! Even a holiday inside India can take months to plan and execute but this international holiday was about to be conquered in six weeks straight.
Preparations & Weak Expectations for Travel to Europe
Till then, we had hardly encountered any difficulty except that little anguish during the cab-ride. Looking back, that too was nothing! Then WHERE WERE all the road-blocks that we are so accustomed to? What happened to all those disruptions- family frowns, money freezes, health arrests, job callings, process delays to name a few!? Why didn’t they come? Did they not know that we were to embark on a holiday we wanted to?
Never mind! We shopped & packed expeditiously, yet; we harboured the nervous anxiety of something going wrong, or horribly wrong. It felt strange and uncomfortable, the way things were unfolding with such ease.Though prepared with a full armament of documents and a meticulous research on our travel necessities during & after; we were still waiting.
Waiting to miss the flight, waiting to forget our passports, waiting for one of us or from the family behind to fall sick. For an emergency or a covid situation resurfacing in Europe or simply our vaccinations falling short of protocol. And if not anything prior to boarding, maybe on flight, post-flight. Maybe something after landing.
I imagined along with my son, a bundle of things to hold us back. We two together make an awesome pack of pessimists. Ugh!
Really ? How Come ?
Need not be told that we safe-landed in Paris, our first stop as we flew across Dubai and the shores of the Black Sea & the Adriatic.
The whole trip went smoothly minus any hiccup. Concomitantly, realized, we’d left nothing important behind at home too. Not my hat, not the umbrella, not even the toothbrushes. We didn’t catch a flu or the virus, lost a passport, got a pocket picked, or even a phone dropped. What do I say?!
On the contrary, the hotel rooms were amazing, the food was great, the guide-par excellence, schedule-smart. To top it, we encountered zip fraud, zip cheating! No mess-not a dress nor a piece of tress!
Way back India too, we forgot nothing behind in hotels. Rather the amazing, amazing travel to Europe brought with it memories of a beautiful, beautiful continent with its overbearing nature & opulent architectures. Europe was indeed, spectacular and the holiday, gratifying!
Hey God! Hope you don’t regret making it so explicitly easy! For now, I am surer than ever of your presence around. The way you’re going, you may soon be traced, ascertained and believed infinitely. By me & humanity you’ve been showering your blessings with.
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Meanwhile, read another one while Diwali’s round the corner!
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