Earning your first big pay cheque is a one of the beautiful moments of life. The amount can be small but the dreams we see with them are so big. We fantasize about it when we work; it is what pushes us through all those tough days, boring days and horrible days. It is our ticket to buy some happiness and freedom. For me that happiness came with a sleek shiny body, two wheels, two rearview mirrors and one big engine. For me, it was a scooter.
I wanted a scooter since a long time. Staying far from my office and college meant I had to rely on public transport for travelling. And with the population of 19.98 million people in the city, public transport can get really daunting.
So I saved two month’s pay, did hygiene research on internet and went with my parents to meet the guy who sold the scooty. Everything was perfect. We had made the down payment. We just needed to make some minor modifications and delivery of the scooter was scheduled for next week.
That’s when my sister called me. We are going to Singapore, you want to join me? One of her friend had moved in there few years back and she had been asking my sister and her friend to visit for a vacation. So she they had planned a 9 days trip to Singapore.
Now there was no way I could afford both, trip and scooter with my salary. Even if I could, my guilt of overspending won’t let me live in peace. So I straightaway said no to her. After all I was just one step away from getting my own bike.
She told me it won’t cost more. We will be staying at her place, using public transport to travel and probably even cook easy meals at home if needed. Singapore is well connected with public network so travelling by metros or bus made sense. We would definitely save major chunk of money by staying in at her friend’s place. She owned a big apartment which she was more than happy to share with us. And coming to food part, well cooking simple breakfast and coffee or some ready meals packet was not so tough. And even if we ate out once a day, Singapore is not that expensive for food. At least not all the places.
There comes a point in everyone’s life when they have to make a tough choice. I was at that point. On one hand I could choose something that I longed for quite a long time. I could end my daily travel struggles and make my life convenient. That was scooter for me. On the other hand, I could choose something that I seldom dreamt of and create some travel memories. My first international trip, a trip to Singapore. My parents actually wanted us to go on a trip together. You will cherish this forever they said.
I knew I had to select either convenience or experience. With calm mind, I did what any person would do. Prepared an excel sheet with cost benefit analysis in detail. Yes I am a geek. And I am proud of that.
And guess what I went with. Singapore, yes! Am I happy with choice I made? 100%. Did I know this when I made the choice? Absolutely not! I was just half excited for the trip and half awkward about it. They were my sisters friends not mine. May be not a big deal but still it is not the same.
After much contemplation, I booked the flight tickets and voila I was in the plan. To my parents horror I was travelling alone for my first international journey. Though I believe I am very responsible person, they made sure I had packed everything right. With lots of love coupled with hint of paranoia they bid me goodbye.
And there I was at Mumbai international airport. Two hours before the boarding time. Happily going through all the check ins and security when my phone decides to go off. And the charger could not help it either. All my numbers, address everything was saved in phone. The panic took over me. Losing your phone is a dreadful thing, especially when you are going to a new country. Luckily I had printouts of tickets and visa. Also, Thank God I found a very nice guy who lent me his phone. He patiently waited as I called my parents to coordinate with my sister and wrote down the address and the phone numbers. Initially I was going to meet them directly at the apartment but she decided she would rather pick me up from the airport to avoid the hassles. Poor her, lucky me.
Talking to them made me little calmer. The boarding started and I was wee bit happy because I got a window seat. The happiness manifested when I realized there was no passenger besides me and I had entire row to myself. Extra room made the ride so comfortable. And the preloaded movies made it even more fun. It was a 5 hours ride from Mumbai to Singapore. I watched Boss Baby during first half of the ride and in the later half I went to sleep. When I woke up, it was 5pm and I was in Singapore. Next day was reserved for A Wild Date at Singapore Zoo