I know the title sounds strange but yeah!
There is one blog post that I have been wanting to write for the past one and a half months but I have been procrastinating to do it as usual. Actually, it is something which is pretty normal to me but dangerous according to most adults considering the city that I live in.Delhi(the capital city of India) has the highest rape statistics in our country(proof:https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/delhi-records-highest-crime-rate-most-rape-cases-among-19-major-cities-1781977). So kids, please do not try something like this at home.
I did this during good Friday cum easter break when my plans to attend a three-day silent disco festival failed due to the assignments load that was dumped on us in university. We had four days off for good Friday (March 29th-April 1st). But when my university gives us holidays it means work from home.
Back then I was having a hard time in college due to academic pressure and other stressors around me. Life became so hard at that time that I reached a point where I could no longer stand staying in the residence that I live on my university campus. This was one of my impulsive decisions which I will never regret. I mean all the decisions I make are impulsive and I end up regretting 90% of them lol.
So, guess what I did ?without even giving it any thought I packed my bags, I called up OYO rooms and asked them to find me a hotel room in central Delhi for three nights that cost me less than 1000 rupees. They found me this hotel called India International in Paharganj which cost me 600 per night. While I was on the way on the bus and the metro station I began worrying wondering what if I had made a wrong decision?Because all the hotels that I have stayed in India so far which cost me less than thousand were pretty bad. My picture of such a hotel is that of washrooms infested with cockroaches and lizards.
When I reached the hotel I found that it was located in one of Delhi’s worst areas-Paharganj. I mean not worst in terms of safety but in terms of cleanliness and infrastructure. It was located in this place called Chuna Mandi in Paharganj which was a lane full of Oyo room hotels which made me heave a sigh of relief. Those hotels were small but looked good on the outside.
Ramakrishna Ashram Marg which comes on the blue line in the Delhi Metro is the nearest metro station. I realized later that the metro station is only a five-minute walk from the hotel. I got off at the wrong gate apparently when I arrived and I did not know where the hotel was obviously so I ended up wasting sixty rupees on an autorickshaw ride. The auto drivers in Delhi overcharge like anything, your bargaining skills are indeed put to test with them but I was in no mood to bargain at that time.
When I reached a hotel I was given a warm welcome in the reception. The reception was pretty well decorated, it did not at all seem like a hotel which costs 600 per night. I was given a room on the first floor. There was no lift in the hotel though which was a major drawback.
When I opened the room I was pleasantly surprised, it was so big and beautiful that I would not have minded paying 2000 rupees for that room. I felt like I was being given a surprise birthday party in my house after a long day’s work. It was a godsend for 600 rupees. I jumped on the bed as soon as I reached and lay down on it for two hours straight staring at the ceiling that is how heavenly it felt.
I am extremely tall and plump, the bed was big enough for three people of my size to fit in. I felt like I had come on a family vacation without my parents.
I practically did nothing that whole evening. I just had dinner that night and went to bed. When I woke up at 6 am the next morning the entire room was dark. Usually, the sunlight is out by 5.30 am during Delhi summers. I was pretty surprised. Then when I went for breakfast to the terrace at around 8 in the morning I realized that there very much was sunlight and it is just that my room window was facing a building wall.
Breakfast complimentary for all three days, I had to pay for lunch and dinner but the rates were pretty nominal. The terrace breakfast was a unique experience. All though I had to settle for bread,eggs, and parathas with some subzi every day I was fine with it. My lunch and dinner bill overall was around Rs 350 for three days. They mostly serve Indian and Chinese, a few continental dishes. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian are served.
I did not tell anyone except 2-3 of my close friends about this retreat. When I returned to college after good Friday I told people that I went sightseeing around Delhi while staying in the hotel. But I am admitting to the entire universe now that it was the biggest lie of my life. I put myself under hotel arrest for three days and it was miserable because there was no lighting in the room during the daytime.
The hotel staff was very nice indeed. None of them stepped into the room unless I called them for room service. Even room service was quick and efficient.
It was very safe and secure. People back in Chennai make it sound like I will get raped if my step out of my college campus whereas that is not the case at all. Oyo rooms is a reliable and trusted source for room booking.
I believe that unwarranted incidents are less likely to happen through trusted sources. I feel people exaggerate the safety risks in Delhi.
Through my personal experiences, I have realized that if you present yourself as bold and adventurous guys get intimidated by you and they would not dare harm you. I found the cab drivers and locals in Delhi to be extremely kind and helpful. They sometimes go out of the way to do favors for you. Let me recall one incident where I was extremely dehydrated when I got into a cab after a long day of roaming about in the sun and the cab driver stopped on the way to buy me a water bottle. He firmly refused to take money for the bottle saying it was a very small amount .
Yes, the safety of a city can be judged using its rape statistics. But that should not stop young women from going out. Women should explore but take necessary precautionary measures such as using trusted sources which have brand names: usage of uber and ola in case you prefer cabs, usage of public transport. Book your accommodation through a trusted agency like Airbnb or Oyo rooms in case you have a low budget. If you have a high accommodation budget safety is usually guaranteed since high priced hotels usually have chains all over the world.
Also, avoid going out alone at odd times of the day(between 9pm and 6am).
The retreat did help me eventually because it made me introspect and realize cum accept a lot of things. I felt like I was making a fresh start in life in university after that hotel stay. I did end up telling a lot of people including my parents about it in the end. People were like ‘how the hell did you do it all alone?’.There was a neutral reaction from my parents’ side but they did tell me that they would not have allowed me if I had informed them earlier that I was going.I am in my early twenties which is a kid according to Indian standards.
For low budget travelers like me, more than a big fat European vacation it is small retreats to places in your own city which give me the break I need.I prefer taking several small breaks in between work than working at a stretch and taking one large break. What about you guys ?
Do you have any interesting hotel experiences to share or do you have any experiences contrary to mine or anything to share about this post ?
If yes,please drop it in the comments section.