7 a.m. in the morning on 17th December 2010, my friend Rahul calls up... “Get ready, the cab will be here in half an hour”. Ohh yes, just 3 hours of sleep that too on the next day after the exams finished... is that fair? Actually, it is fair: four of us were to go to Brighton to celebrate completing one term...yay yay yay!
Within a few minutes we were in the cab on our way to MK, to my surprise there was traffic on the way, had never seen such traffic on the road from Cranfield to MK. Will we miss our train? Nope...we dint. We made it in time but the train developed some technical problems and we got delayed in reaching the station from where we had to change our train. However, we managed to board another train...and there we were in Brighton... a beautiful town on the banks of English Channel. We reached our abode... a nice cosy two-bedroom apartment, which had the view of the English channel from each of its large glass windows. Kept our luggage there. The comfi sofas looked so inviting...we could not resist and decided to relax before stepping out again for lunch. About 45 minutes’ bus journey got us to a pub on the banks of the English Channel. Some photo clicking, then a superb meal, and mouth-watering desserts. The view from the restaurant was breath taking! The lovely view, the great food and awesome company makes this lunch one of the most memorable meals of my life!
Lunch followed by shopping, movie at home, superb dinner and most importantly awesome company... a day well spent! The next morning was beautiful... got up to a snow-clad Brighton. In no time, it was time for us to leave Brighton. L We moved on and reached London. Once in London, we realised that the snow had disrupted lot of services. It had not snowed a lot in Sussex, so the effect was not felt to that extent on our way from Brighton to London.
The experience after that was one of the worst experiences I have had till date in UK. The train from London to Milton Keynes was the slowest ever. At Milton Keynes were greeted with 8 inch snow and no transport available to Cranfield. Two girls stranded in snow and no one to help... L It took the two of us more than an hour to get a cab to go from Milton Keynes to Cranfield. One hour shivering in 8 inch snow while it was still snowing more, haggling with the cab drivers and persuading them to drop us at Cranfield took a toll on us. The taxi drivers were asking for 4 times more fare than the actual fare: opportunistic behaviour! And the most amazing part: when a taxi driver saw my fren talking in Hindi... he said, “kyonki aap hindi mein baat kar rahi hain isliye main risk leta hun par you will have to pay more. I will take you in thrice the fare.” We agreed. The moment we sat in the taxi, the driver says, “aap pehle pay kar dijiye”. We were shocked! Why pay in advance? Probably e thought we did not have enough money so we showed him that we had money but he kept insisting that we should pay him in advance. Probably he thought that if we got stuck in the traffic he would leave us there so we decided to get off the cab with even more worry that we might probably not be able to reach home at all. Friends kept calling to find out whether we got a cab and trying to arrange for people to pick us up from the station so that we either reach home or get a safe abode for the night. But alas! Nothing worked. Finally, after about an hour of haggling we got a cab for about thrice the fare but we had no option but to agree. The taxi driver was nice and despite the heavy almost still traffic we reached Cranfield in one hour and a half. Thankfully! Later, we found that a few people had taken 2.5 hours to get to Cranfield and some people had to stay back at strangers’ places for the night.