So our recent trip to Rishikesh was way different than all our other vacations. This time there was no fancy hotel or homestay. There was going to be a hostel. A mixed dorm and just three beds for the three girls traveling all the way from Mumbai!
As a pampered and relatively good kid I had never really gone away from home as such. No boarding school, no out of town job and certainly no living alone shiz. So living in Zostel – our home for the 3 days was something I was really looking forward to.
We entered our rooms in Zostel Rishikesh. Room Laxman, a four-bed mixed dorm of which three rooms were booked by yours truly. But there was someone going to come on the fourth bed and we were wondering who. Turns out there wasn’t just one person but three different men.
When we first entered our room, one man was already showering in our bathroom and another coloured black and blue with gulaal was waiting to call dibs on the washroom so that he could clean himself up. We weren’t prepared for our privacy to be invaded like this, but then it was a hostel, right?
1st Night : The first night we spent in the company of a solo traveler who had come from Bangalore on a 6-day strenuous trek. A software engineer by profession he was this reserved guy who was extremely courteous and soon became quite friendly too. His schedule was tight. He came in the evening by 5PM and met us only in the night when we were all ready to konk off. The next morning he had a reservation to go bungee jumping (Good decision) and immediately after he was leaving for Dehradun.
We shared breakfast together and spoke quite a lot about how he got on to doing a solo trek and all the preparations that went into it. Unfortunately our meeting was so brief that I totally forgot to take his number or even ask for his full name. But I was really interested in the bungee jumping and wanted to know how it was. So while we didn’t meet again he left us a really sweet note. A gesture I think I’ll remember forever. It’s amazing how people touch your heart with the smallest things.
2nd Night: We wondered who’s going to enter our den next. We were lucky enough to enjoy the company of a passionate travel blogger who was on his search for Indian culture and festivals. This young man was an engineer who had left his fancy job to pursue his dream of travel writing. And just like that by doing what he truly wanted for himself, he somehow managed to really inspire us.
We shared stories and tips on writing while discussing about all the amazing places he’s been to and festivals he has seen. We also ended up chatting till 1AM and were left totally intrigued by his experiences. What I also found interesting was the fact that he’d lived in Zostel Rishikesh for a lot of days and would shift his room everyday since he didn’t have a booking. And on days when the rooms were all full, he’d crash in the common room. Yes, that’s a great option for backpackers. Zostel allows travelers to crash in the common area for free!! Cool, right?
We thought we’d get to enjoy this enthu blogger’s company for one more night but that wasn’t the case.
3rd Night: Next came this good looking young law student from Delhi who’d biked his way to Rishikesh all by himself and was making the most of his solo trip. He began talking to us and we really didn’t realize when we went from acquaintances to friends. We ate dinner together and spoke till 2AM that night before we just couldn’t keep our eyes open. We also had breakfast together and almost got to know everything about each other, in fact we got so friendly that we ended up taking some really crazy pictures. It’s surprising how human connections are built.
These men were such good company that that every time I think of Rishikesh I’ll remember my amazing roomies! Such a brilliant experience of living with strangers and one that I truly needed.
If you found my experience interesting, maybe next time you should try a hostel too.