Friday, July 13, 2012

Episode 6: Arriving at Amritsar...

On 13th April my mother and I went to Amritsar. We planned to stay in Amritsar for 2 nights and then fly back to England from there. We knew somebody who works in SGPC who said they would book us a room at Guru Gobind Singh NRI nivaas. When we got there we were told that no booking had been made and that they were fully booked. When I rang the SGPC member again and said no booking had been made apparently he asked to speak to the Singh manning the reception. In short, after a few phone calls, the same person who said they were fully booked said we now have a room. I was shocked at the poor service. Afterwards I met a Singh there from England who said there were loads of rooms empty on his floor. Also a lot of the people I saw were not NRIs but were from India, yet the accommodation building was made with support of Sikhs abroad for providing facilities for NRI Sikhs.

Our relatives dropped us off at the Harimandir Sahib multi-storey car park and from there they arranged a riksha driver to bring us and our suitcases to the nivaas (accommodation building). First the riksha drivers said they will arrange 2 rikshas. One old Baba and another young guy. The young guy was supposed to bring our bags and suitcases and the old Baba was going to take us. When the young guy packed our stuff he asked for us to get on as well. There was hardly any space. We sat with bags underneath us, infront of us and behind us. I was thinking with just a small knock to the riksha all the bags are going to tumble down on us!

We got outside the carpark and the old Baba was waiting, but the young guy said "Don't worry, I'll just take them." Thinking it would be a short uncomfortable ride we went along with the man. When we got near Harimandir Sahib we were told the roads were blocked because Prakash Badal (the Chief Minister) had come to pay respects at Sri Harimandir Sahib. So the Police made us go all the way around Sri Harimandir Sahib complex (which was some distance!). 

The poor guy was sweating and looked like he was struggling. He suddenly braked because a 3 wheeler scooter was coming and nearly hitting us. As he braked the Vaajaa bag nearly hit me on the head and one of our bags fell off! People were staring at us thinking what on earth were we doing sitting amongst so many suitcases and bags!

Eventually the guy got us to Guru Gobind Singh Nivaas. He initially asked for 20 rupees and then by the time we got to paying him he asked for 80 rupees!! lol. It was so funny. We felt so sorry for him we gave him 80 rupees and thought it would be nice to give him so clothes as he must be poor. But he didn't want the trouser we gave him! Perhaps he thought it was one of my trousers or something. Just to clarify it was new and unworn and brought to give away to someone. Sat Naam, Vaheguru.

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