By Kartik Kannan
8 am April 13- 2011
As I was browsing through the newspaper, I took a closer look at the date. I was 48 hours from my wife’s birthday, and it totally skipped my mind, since I was busy pursuing my alternate career as a cricket correspondent for a radio station (Chennai LIVE 104.8 FM) in Chennai. Before my wife found out, that I had no surprises lined up on her birthday, I had to figure a place, mode of commute and a nice room (apart from a gift that makes her go WOW).
I went to my bathroom with my laptop, and within a few Google searches, honed in on Gokarna, a place diametrically opposite to Chennai, on the west coast. I booked bus tickets on KSRTC, for a 1330 bus ( or so I thought ), and booked a beach facing room on OM beach.
I told my wife, that there was a surprise waiting for her, and she should pack her bags for a quick 5 day trip. I did not mention the name of the place though, and used the time she was dressing up to buy her a watch.
45 minutes early or 15 minutes late?
We biked our way to the CMBT bus stand, reached there 45 minutes early, so that I could blindfold her in the bus, and not tell her the location. It turned out that, I had seen the 1330 bus, but had booked the 1230 bus instead, and here I was at the bus stand,15 minutes after the bus had left. One part of the surprise broke when she realized that we had to board another Bangalore bus. We took the 1330 bus, and found our way to Bangalore.
I realized that we had to reach Navrang Theatre ( North Bangalore) to board another private bus to Gokarna at 2130. Our bus to Bangalore was late (2010) and it reached Silk Board, on the southern periphery of the city, and I decided to get down here, and rush in auto to the northern end of the city. After agreeing to the auto-drivers random number quote, and frantic calls to my wife’s cousin in Bangalore, we realized that we may not make it to the 2130 bus, being stuck in one of the many traffic jams. My relatives sensed that we had not had any food, so packed some rotis for us, and drove to the bus stand, to ask the bus to wait for us. Luckily for us, the bus was delayed by 30 minutes and waited 5 more minutes for us, after our 3 wheel mad goose chase across the ends of the city. The conductor called out loud and clear, for passengers to Gokarna, and the final surprise element evaporated in thin air, as my wife heard his shrieks.
Celebritydom in Bhatkal
Some more adventure followed next morning. It was my turn to report on last night’s IPL match for the radio station back home, which I had completely forgotten. I had no clue about the game in last night’s mad chase, and had very little battery charge left on my mobile. I called up a friend, and he mailed me the Cricinfo scorecards, which I read in 2 minutes, and then the call came from the radio station asking me to stay on line, while they introduce me in the show. I could not do this in a moving bus with wind blowing from both sides, so asked the driver to stop on the road for 2 minutes, which was in the outskirts of a town called Bhatkal. I got down from the bus and got on with my match report, on phone with a lot of gesticulations with my hands and face, to drive home the impact of Pune beating Kochi in last night’s match. As I finished, I saw some 20 people around me, listening and watching intently, including the bus driver. They thought I was some celebrity who was doing Live reporting, since I also had my SLR camera dangling across my neck (which I had kept to take moving shots from the bus).
Meanwhile, my wife was clearly amused by the turn of events, and had quite a start to her birthday eve! We had more adrenalin than we had bargained for, and hoped we’d get some more on our trip, as the bus made its way to the rickety Gokarna Bus stand.