Guess what? In less than a month, I really made this start of year 2 as enjoyable. First is attending the hiking thing with the other coursemates in Kudremukh; and secondly; for joining the Aids Day trip to Pune. The trip to Pune was so relaxing. Had Prof KJ escorting us all along, and oh God, he's so sporting!
Basically, the original idea to visit Pune was to go to its Aids Research Center at a place I don't actually remember where, but it is called Nari. There, we saw exhibition and go all about Aids; how it is infected and how is it being diagnosed and how to prevent it. Actually, our trip was thought to start at 3.30 am on that Saturday; instead; the buses came exactly at 5 am. So, the trip to Pune which was 6 hours from Belgaum; resulting in all of us reaching to Pune quiet late while the Aids Day has already shuts its doors.
Haha. But while patiently waiting for the bus in the midst of cold morning; we asked Prof KJ how would the plan be if we arrived to Pune a bit late? He said: "Then we just head ourselves to the sight seeing site!" How cool is that? Hahahha
The buses we boarded were the first of a Non-airconditioned bus. However, it didn't bother us since along the way; it was freezing upon letting the outside air to come in. I had to sleep with gloves on my hands; couldn't stand the coldness. It was a semi-sleeper bus, but due to many whom with withdrew to follow on the last minute; we conquered most the free available seats and made a crony at the very back seat. Hihihi
Continuously awaken during the trip because the bus driver simply didn't have that basic idea of where we were supposed to go. I think almost 6 times I woke up and then sleep again. Then we reached to a small hotel which I forgot its name. Only an hour was given to get ready, to shower and to perform salah. The breakfast of toast and omelette that we were supposed to have has turn into our lunch instead. We arrived there at 12.30 pm.
Did I mention that Pune has this really awesome shopping center. The name they called it Phoenix City Market, but woah, it's like a baby version of midvalley. I went to Zaraa to actually perform my prayers in the fitting room. Since we can't just go to the fitting room, my buddy and I grabbed this amazing silhouette trench coats and further headed to the fitting rooms. After solah, we tried on those beautiful trench coats, mine was red, and my buddy wore the white. I prefer red since it looked more bold. The price was affordable if we had our allowances that time. It was just 5000 rupees ! Other stores had the trench for 10 thousand rupees at least. It was so devastating that we had to act snobbish and put back the coats.
Prof KJ and our warden Madam Vidya just gave us an hour and a half to stroll around the mall to find for food. Yet it ended up, we spent 2 hours there. After some dinner with momo, window shopping here and there, we finally made an exile whereby Prof and Madam Vidya both were there, asking us to walk faster, the bus was there waiting. It feels like a school trip once again, but in a more fun way. Bad news on the bus we heard was, another bus got smuggled. We were relieved that none of our belongings went missing.
Travelling via the non-AC seated bus in Pune was gooood. We didn't feel uncomfy at all since Pune was very temperate. The road was rocky of course but we slept somehow. Finally, reach the wonderful place called Mahabaleshwar. It was freezing!! We must do some hiking a bit to reach our bungalow. It was 2 am that time. Freezing and all sleepy-headness, we fastened ourselves to the bungalow. It was such a nice place. For girls, a room was for 6. It was just for one night, but they provided us with good beds and matresses, with hot water too! That morning, we had a purdy breakfast of soft bread with omelette. Yummy!!
By 9 am we started to find for good strawberry farm to visit. Sadly, most of the farms had their strawberries still ungrown. We ended up dipping into fresh fruits and cream. Mine was mulberry with cream, cost around RS110. Others dipped into strawberries with cream of course. But that was too mainstream. LOL. I sat a table where Prof KJ and Madam Vidya were also there. Prof said something that amazed me, which was:
"When we're in a holiday; doesn't matter whose late whose not, just relax and enjoy!"
WOHA! You heard this from a deputy dean hahaha. Gosh. He's so sporting when it comes to sight seeing. Like his style so much though. Then we went to this place where there's a chocolate factory as well as flowers. Took some time enjoying the flowers, bough a kilogram of strawberries, and headed up for lunch. So this is the part I want to emphasize. The Mahabaleshwar Lunch. Jeng4x...
Someone who had been to this place, suggested to have lunch at a hotel. The hotel is very extravagant from the outside, almost like a Greece-kinda look. We went inside this quite-luxurious looking hotel. Everyone got their seats and asking for the menu. The interesting part was that the restaurant served ham and bacon. We waited like a log, then knowing some of the students who were in charge for the trip, was discussing some things with main waiter. One person who discovered that the hotel served bacon and ham, went to see the other students who were discussing to tell that the place served such things that we cannot eat. But it was weird when they emphasized more on the fact that the chef wasn't there and they said that the restaurant didn't serve those food for six months already. Oh please!!
On the first place, it was a mistake to bring two buses full of students to such a luxurious luncheon place where one dish cost up to 400 Rupee. Secondly, it was so bizarre that the fact on the haraam food wasn't been taken into priority when it comes to consumption. Even if the restaurant didn't serve the ham and bacon for six months, then they really did proper washing (according to Syara') for the utensils and the plates? It was more bizarre that those who were discussing regarding the chef were supposed to be the ones who lead Islamic discussion groups back at college.
After some conversation, some did object saying that in a place where there's no other choices, where the place do serve pork and then we don't have a choice, then it's okay to dine. But may I clarify, that sort of thinking only applies if we are staying or living at a place where, true, there's no other choice but THAT restaurant alone. Obviously, there are many other restaurants that served halal food like the one we had fresh fruits with cream before. Like a briyani stall one of us said was available at that time. I just want to say that we are staying in India where halal food isn't that hard to be found. Not like in those countries in Europe; where choices are limited.
Don't play when it comes to food preparation and food consumption. Don't simply make Islam as that simple when other choices are there. The better choice is to have the most halal food there is whenever possible. Don't make our lust for food as a reason to dwell into something sinful. What we eat becomes our flesh, and our flesh is also our 'soul' that we use in everyday life to serve ourselves as servant to dear Allah AlMighty. Just wish that people take this as serious as possible, regarding food consumption.
We ended up not to eat at that lavish restaurant and went back to our bungalow to pray and get things ready to go back to Belgaum. Another 6 hour journey and we were all hungry. Prof and Madam Vidya was kind enough to find for a good veg restaurant along the way, and alhamdulillah we found one. It was 10 pm and we reached to a RNR-kinda place where we can choose to have veg or non-veg dinner. We chose veg though, because we are cool! Lol.
Last thing we did was to play at a playground nearby where Prof KJ also played. Hahahhaa! Cool isn't it. Contented and enjoy: we finally reached Belgaum at 5 am that other morning. How fun life is isn't it?