Sunday, May 29, 2011


All right tourists of this world, from Uzbekistan to Udaipur, let me give you some insight into the no-go territory for your forth-coming vacation. If you truly wish to enjoy holidays, stay away from – fussy toddlers, honeymooners and flatulent jerks. Don’t tell me that you weren’t warned. The intention is not to hurt any community but to state the facts. Honest, hand on my heart!

Go to any destination and the first thing that strikes you is that the resurgent-middle-class is on a vacation spree. Do not be surprised to find fellow Indians experiencing a National geographic moment in a Zambian bush lost in a herd of hippos, or clicking pictures in a meditative pose at Po Lin monastery on far-off Lantau Island.

Ever since tour operators like the Thomas Crooks, Dupe Pauls and Con and Kings are competing, tourists are going places. And in hordes! I have had nasty experiences with Thomas Crook and accordingly I warn all travelers to be prepared for last minute itinerary changes, hotels in red light areas and cheap connecting flights. What is assured is a vegetarian meal. So I suggest that you trawl the internet, plan your own itinerary, select your flights and pick your hotels. This way you have only yourself to blame for surprises if any!
Since I wanted to get away from the concrete jungles of Gurgaon, I opted for a cruise holiday. As luck would have it, the ship was invaded by several families in group tours. Given that meals are included and people have paid for it, meal time is full paisa vasool time. Its good fun to sit and observe dispassionately. Some pile their plates to last for days, and wolf it down in two minutes flat. Appears as if it was their last meal on earth! Children amazed by the assortment of juices available, mix liquids and swirl glasses, spilling it on others. The mothers meanwhile strategize new ways of procuring beagles for the kid who overslept and couldn’t make it for the breakfast.

While traveling in a coach to a distant island, I had no choice but to sit next to not one, but two, honeymooning couples. Double the fun! Now, I had two options. One was to enjoy the live action and meander back to my hey-days decades ago. The other was to resign to my fate, close my eyes and doze off. I chose the second one.

When you are desperately trying to sleep during a long journey unruly kids are the last thing you want. One family had two really boisterous ones, Jignes(h) and Somes(h). By the grace of God both were blessed with shrill voices. And to my delight they were playing antakshari. Honestly my head is still buzzing with a raucous, “Mein Tees Markhan che… Mein Tees Markhan.” And with the amount of snacks being shared in the family, I was ready for a Khakhra to fly over my head.Good fun if you are in a good mood.

Ahead in the coach was a cute little chap who just had to go every two hours. The mother was baffled, “Why does he have to go so often?” Well dear, if he is shoving cookies from one end something has to emerge from the other end. Right?
In our eagerness to rush we have forgotten to wait. Most will rush for front-seats, rest rooms and elevators. In fact we rush for everything. But the moment we have to wait, we become uneasy and start shuffling our feet. Why? In the elevator, my foot was stomped twice. When I had had enough I pleaded, “Maam your kid is standing on my feet.” Instead of reprimanding the child, the lady gave me a quelling look and stomped my son’s foot while on her way out.

And then on the return flight there was this mysterious flatulent jerk that kept purifying the coach with his Axe Effect. Towards the end I kind of guessed the culprit but couldn’t muster enough courage to ask the chap, “Hello, why are producing so much stink?”

It’s a free world after all.

Surprisingly the cruise was more of a peek into the human psyche than any island or its culture.  With due respect to everyone, I hope we appreciate finer aspects of respecting fellow travelers. The ‘I, me, myself’ and ‘I got it first’ attitude holds a  threat of sullying reputations.
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  1. First!

    An interesting account of your Cruise. I too had a gone on a Singapore tour a few years back and was astonished to see the number of Indian families vacationing. Let alone the Honeymooners.

    Indians have the rep of being obnoxious tourists. Its time we learnt to be more civilized like the Japanese who are favorites wherever they travel.

  2. its really sad to see that even after so much of exposure we still lack in a thing called "civic sense".....

  3. hii

    oiii!! its really sad to know that ur holiday was spoiled by such crackpots. Yes, we do need a lesson or two to behave properly in public...

  4. Hi Alka you narrated your experience well!Especially the 'cookie from one end and the emergence form other end was really so true!But let me tell u "this is the universal hard to digest and strictly to be borne fact ":))

  5. like the narration
    and good pic

  6. Ordeal is the only word which could define your vacations. Jerks and super jerks are such unwanted kind of species which can grow anywhere, yes anywhere includes Moon and Sun too. It is impossible to escape from the clinches of their insanely practiced acts. I sympathize you Ma'am. :)

  7. Very intersting.
    I tend to agree with you.We had taken a cruise--Star Virgo- and it was a wonderful experience.

  8. @Abha... true...well said.

    @Irfanuddin...Right. Civic sense is the word.

    @AS.... I had fun, irrespective. thanks for reading.

  9. @Raji...true.


    @Prateek...Yes, ordeal is the word, but overall I had fun. Such special characters add spice to life.

    @BKC... Virgo I believe is bigger. We were at the Libra.

  10. Cant blame the honeymooners and the toddlers but you cannot ignore them either..This is also probably the reason that we are not looked upon as the best tourists anywhere in the world...

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation inspite of the colourful characters you portrayed..

  11. I know it can be quite an experience around kids and I have two of my own who are sometimes so loud and uncontrollable. With PDA becoming commonplace, it sometimes gets really cheesy to be caught close to new lovers who want to show off their love and ugh about the farty guy. I also hate smokers who care a damn about smoking publicly. Also those who scratch themselves in horrible places in front of you. We normally don't take tours and haven't been on a cruise this far but would like to do that one day :).

  12. no doubt man...Indians are the baddest tourist anywhere on earth...even with all the money...we would be lokkin to make the paisa vasool

  13. If every Indian developed a civic sense that would prevail everywhere, I don't find a reason why India could not develop at faster rate. But then, people are probably too busy filling in things that their homes lack, and don't care much about what is truly lacking within.

    I just hope that the next cruise you are on, is off season, as per Indian norms. :)

    Nice post.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  14. you went for a cruise, I was like wowww... but the wow moment ended once I read your interesting aacount... :)
    well hope the next one won't be this untolearable

  15. @Alka,

    Oh my god you are scaring me. I am worried now!!!

    We had one cruise holiday to Bahamas in 2009. It was not too bad. I did not like Bahamas but ship was okay. It was vacation for me..wife can do what she likes so as daughter and I can sit on the deck and do whatever I wanted to.

    Now this year we are planning (already paid) for another cruise holiday with friends..and your post scares me....

    Crooks...Jerk..Tees Maar Khan...awesome hilarious narration...very very funny :)))

  16. Cool post. I travel a lot and have bore the brunt of obnoxious fellow desi travelers many times.. Jignes(h) & Somes(h) included !

  17. You have left nothing to imagination while mentioning fellow travellers :)) It can be really stultifying to have fellow travellers who don't give a hoot to others. Better luck next time!

  18. @Rachna...I love kids and some of them were so well behaved that I enjoyed chatting with them......its all about upbringing as you rightly said.

    @Perception..I had a great time, with all the spicy characters thrown in.


    @Anshul....One should avoid the summer rush. It was fun nevertheless.

  19. @Rajlakshmi... Its fun and if you are planning go for it.

    @A.....I am sorry if I scared you. Colorful characters add to the spice. However avoid summer rush. I had a great time nevertheless. you know.

    @Zephyr...I had a great time nevertheless.

  20. :) fun post! look at the positive side.. every cruise can give you material for a book!!

  21. god, super cute n hilarious...though i am so sorry that your fun was spoilt...but hey, it created a jolly good read..needed the laughter desperately

    looking at the honeymooners with two choices,the shoving in of cookies, the singing not so sensational are too good!:-)

  22. @magieye....Sure..


    @Suruchi.....I had fun Suruchi....all the characters added spice and provided food for the blog.

  23. I am planning a holiday later in the year but your ordeal is yucky...luckily though I am not on a cruise and am thinking of planning my own stuff on internet

  24. Oh ho.. why cant we jsut all have fun .. and stop spoiling it for others ..

    but you had fun thats what means most .. I have never been on a cruise though done say day tours on some in spain...

    would be nice ot go on one maybe sometimes...


  25. @Pesto Sauce...Go for it. Only avoid summer rush.

    @Bikramjit....Cruise is a great experience Bikram.There are so many activities and shows on board. You must go, only avoid summer rush when children have holidays.

  26. Alka, though I laughed throughout your post, I feel bad for you. Even after paying so much, you have to put up with all this nonsense because of your co-travelers insensitive attitude. To be honest, this is the situation for most of us. We just have to grin and bear it, or ignore it.

  27. Very valid points.. If you are on a holiday then so are the others! And thus, it only makes sense, that your behavior does not hamper the others enjoyment! :)

    Great post :)

  28. lovely post couldn't stop smiling at the expressions!
    civic sense lacks in public especially in India.

  29. Love your style of writing...:-) Now you are goading me to go for another honeymoon...:-)

  30. @Rachna...true.

    @Sakshi...It was fun nevertheless.

    @Harman....Civic sense is the word.

    @Atulsush...Hopefully with Sushma.Thanks for reading.

  31. oh nice! ive never bn on a cruise before! d closest i cn relate ur story to is our boat ride frm apollo bandar to ajanta caves. its damn boring if u ask me. :o