Plan AheadIn the moment of desperation, when we stepped out of the hotel, none of us picked up our masks and had to pay a fine for that while on our way back. This was the second time I was paying a fine for not wearing a mask in the last 2 weeks.
We came back to the hotel and now had no idea about what to do. Phones were out of service, there was no internet, nobody we could call and even the TV was not working.
All the channels were barred from broadcasting. We just sat there in the hotel for the next couple of hours looking at each other's faces with nothing to do at all.
There was really no way of knowing how long this situation will last. Internet and phone could be gone for several days altogether and that was not something we could afford.
After discussion, we decided that we will wait until the next day, Friday. If the situation didn't resolve, we will cut our trip short and drive back to Delhi over the weekend.
The next few hours were spent doing nothing. We just had a lot of cups of tea and wandered in the hotel aimlessly, like a bunch of ghosts in a horror movie.
We were the only guests and had the entire hotel to ourselves. So we just paced around in the corridors, analyzing the situation and speculating our next steps.
Salvaging the SituationAt around 3 pm, we picked up our laptops and decided to go to Asrar's place. I knew he lived somewhere near Dal Gate and had his address on the visiting card he gave me when we met him last week. We drove to Dal Gate and after a bit of looking around, found his place.
He was right. BSNL phones and the internet were both working fine. We connected our phones and laptop to his wifi. Whatsapp calls were made to friends and family letting them know of our wellbeing. Office laptops were switched on and we set out of office messages in Outlook.
Gunjit was supposed to fly to Srinagar the next day and join us on the trip. Looking at the current situation, I was assuming that he will cancel his trip. But to my surprise, when I spoke to him, he was still set on his plan. He still wanted to come even if it meant that we may have to drive back the very next day.
We were to pick him up from the airport but that now was not going to happen. Vehicles were not allowed to go towards the airport for security reasons. So I gave him the address of the hotel we were staying at and told him to catch a cab after his arrival.
Finally, after all was said and done, we finally caught a breath of relief. Asar, if you are reading this, you really were our hero in that moment of despair and I just do not know how to thank you enough.
BoredWe spent a few hours at Asrar's place and drove back to our hotel in the evening. There was still nothing to do and only a few shops were open. Not much happened after that.
Clicked this picture while driving back. Houseboats lined up near Dal Gate.
We bought a set of cards from a shop and even that turned out to be a bad one. The entire set was messed up with a lot of duplicates and missing cards. The only game we could play was bluff and even that is no fun with only 3 players.
Anyway, the entire evening was spent idling around in the hotel and shuffling through the TV channels, hoping to find one still working. Trust me, we were so bored that we would have watched anything, just about anything. But unfortunately, not even a single channel was broadcasting.
Sometime between 9 and 10 pm, Mubashshir served dinner. After that, we just decided to call it a day and crawled under our blankets.