As Heaven, As Hell - India

Time flies… When I make the booking of AA’s tickets to India, it was 1 year ago.

So far, I did prepare the itinerary for every trip to overseas, but this round is slightly different, I was only in-charge of train and hotel booking due to extremely heavy workload and damn tight schedules. Sightseeing part, I have asked my best buddy cum traveler to prepare.

Our first day of arrival was not an easy task for us. We have been through the darkness and fear, first time felt so helpless and afraid of being a traveler in other country. We both almost got robbed and may get killed by a group of scam. But we were lucky that we are smart and alert enough to know it inside-out and able to stand until the next morning until we left the ugly yet terrified place.

We both were so excited as we flew to a place that I called it as “As heaven, as hell” – India. We booked our air ticket one year ago, together with the luggage and air fare + taxes, each person only have to RM247.00.

When we touched down New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, the airport obviously is new and built because of recent Commenwealth Games, it is as nice as heaven. The capacity, interior, creativity, I would say it is as good as heaven, seemed like 2-3 times bigger than our KLIA. However, once you stepped out from the air-conditioned airport, immediately you feel the heat of 35°C at the time of 9:00pm. That’s when I call it as HELL.

Without wasting more time, we seek for information from the authority on how to get to old Delhi railway station. We were told by folks that taking public bus would be the easiest way, fare is INR100 per person.

Once we alight from the bus, I don’t really feel comfortable with that area. It is not only dark but a lot of MEN walking around. In India, hardly or zero possibility you will be seeing a woman walking down the street. That’s when we were approached by a guy with neat and tidy formal dressing, claiming to be a staff in GPO (General Post Office), proactively asking us if we need any information or help. As the bus was stopped in the middle of the street, we do not know where is the old Delhi railway station, so the only choice is to ask him for direction.

To our surprise, he told us that the station is now closed due to the safety as it is an area with full of Muslims, certainly we are not allowed to enter unless we have got a valid boarding pass. Of course I have my train tickets ready but still we were too naïve and trust everything he said, he then proposed why not we car pool by a tuk-tuk with him on cost-sharing basis, INR10 per person as he would like to go home. But before that he will guide us to the “Tourist Information Centre” together with us, to assist us to get the boarding pass.

The office clearly stated DTTDC, which stand for Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation, but I think they misused the logo, so that those who came to their office would BELIEVE them. Other than us, there are 5 Koreans are in the office. We were assisted by a guy named George who can speak fluent English. After he saw our train ticket, he mentioned that many travelers are facing the same problems, pointing at numerous photocopies of passport on the notice board, implying that we should have aware of such occasion. He even said that my train ticket is not valid, as I should have booked the ticket under “Tourist Quota” instead of “General Quota”. I started to doubt them, questioning on the validity and even “Tatkal” which is created for last minute foreign tourist. He even make a call to the railway station authority IRCTC and request the agent to speak to me, the agent even requested me to login to the website and cancel ALL my tickets as soonest possible, so that I can still save some money.

I started to feel very very weird, then that George shows up his true colors. To show that he is in bona fide and very kind in helping us, he offering us a BUDGET package that cost INR21,500 (According to my buddy, it is the price for 2), and that’s about RM1550.00!! While I was discussing with my buddy on such scam, George suddenly interested in my watch (holy sh*t, I forgot to take it off!), asking me how much does it cost. I told him it is only imitation and cost only RM10, you can simply get it anywhere in KL, and I was shocked when he said I give you RM10 and you give me your watch!! That moment, I seriously almost had gone crazy! After we rejected his offer, his manner was totally changed, ordered us to discuss anywhere else as he got other travelers in house (That 5 Koreans basically was already served by another idiot).

We then told the neat and tidy formal guy about what happened and insist to go back to old railway station but was few times denied by him, I got lil mad and had raised up my voice, told him it is my responsibility to look after myself, not him then only he asked the tuk-tuk driver to give us a lift. He even told us only pay the driver IDR20.00 for one way but that driver insist to run on meter which started at IDR19.00.

When we are not far from the old railway station, the driver took the right turn into an alley that has no cars but only few people walking towards it. Suddenly another neat and tidy formal dressing folk stopped the driver from going further, telling us with fluent English that it is not safe to go there now as it is Muslims district, the station is closed for safety purposes and insist the driver to turn back! I got very very fed up and request driver send us to New Delhi Railway Station instead.

Driver at first kind of refusing our request, but eventually he did. We thought that we are now safe but when we trying to enter the screening of security, a guy stopped us and insist to check on ticket. Without hesitation again, I show him my ticket as I thought he is one of the authorities. He pointed out that I have came to the wrong station and requesting me to go to the “Tourist Information Centre” to get boarding pass, exactly the same as what we experienced earlier, I feel that they are a group of syndicate, they are everywhere, they are connected!

As not to let them cheat, we REFUSED his offer and insist we will enquire at International Tourist Bureau. He then show us the way to the office, which is located on the first floor of the railway station. Once we reached downstairs, he requested us to walk up to first floor, but we know that this isn’t right and something is VERY WRONG. The notice board at downstairs clearly stated the office is only open from 8:00am to 8:00pm and he doesn’t even wanna lead us to first floor. Half way we walked up the stairs, I told my buddy, “if we walk up, I’m sure we will get robbed and maybe murdered.” He nodded his head to show his agreement. We quickly turn back and try to escape, then another guy appeared and trying to stop us, ordered us to go to the office at upstairs… Why would a stranger know where you are going? Obviously they are TOGETHER !!

We both were so tired, exhausted, dehydrated, fear and helpless. We went to one of the platforms at the railway station and spent our night there. We waited from 12:43am to 8:00am, with sticky yet smelly body, sitting on the bench in the awful environment, where you can’t breathe well due to the smell of urine and stools; dare not to fall asleep especially when there are strange eyes staring at you like an alien. It get worse around 5am, where the station started to get crowded, black crowds on the opposite platforms were staring at 2 fair aliens that glow within them.

During that long night, I was so afraid and worry. My mind keeps thinking of many things, my family, my friends, my staffs, my works (SHOULDN’T BE LOR!!) and someone that I really care and love. That moment, I only think of going back to the love one, nothing else.

After this incident, I find out few things that very useful and great for those who intended to backpack to India.
  1. Ignore those who proactively approach you
  2. Never trust the one who being bona fide and actively approach you
  3.  Never trust the one who can speak very fluent English and actively approach you
  4. Never trust the one who trying to impersonating as a official authority. Only those dressed with uniform has the rights to order or check from you
  5. Beware when your driver is talking over the mobile phone while you are on-board. They might be calling someone to inform them your arrival
  6. Only go for PREPAID TAXI, owned by Indian Police. It was established to abolish touts from cheating tourist
  7. Firm up your decision, trust your instinct (though may go wrong), but only trust yourself when you are in a country that is totally strange to you. If you think it is right, it will be right, better than being fooled by someone else
5 Responses
  1. ian-ization Says:

    wow... what a scary experience when you talked about bag packing in India. I wouldn't go there unless on business trip. It's too dangerous especially at night.

    Thank God you came back in piece and peace...

    Take care there~ :)

  2. Gratitude Says:

    Scary-sial! Thank heavens you are ok. I suppose my few trips to India were pleasant, since it was either via tour or pickup by hotel driver at the airport.

    I guess you're a very much smarter traveller from now onwards.

  3. Go Smerv Says:

    Ian, it was not a pleasant trip, but after such exp, i dun ghink i shud hv prob bsckpacking again

    Gratitute, im always smart de wor, just this time did not study well, but im lucky that we r safe

  4. Groupdmt Says:

    Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time
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  5. Anonymous Says:


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