All Aboard Contest

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Hello dear readers!

Here’s a chance to take our relationship to the next level – would you like to go to lunch with me?

I’ve just written a love story that happens on a cruise and would love for you to tell me your amazing travel tales. All you have to do is write your story in the comment box below, along with your email address. 

The writers of the top 10 stories will be taken out to lunch with me! I’m already thrilled – eleven travellers sharing their stories over great food? Sign me up.

For those bloggers who’d like to have their readers participate in this too, do let me know if you’d like to host this widget on your blog!

Can’t wait to hear from you,

Psst: For Mumbai based participants only.


15 thoughts on “All Aboard Contest

  1. The Manral, I loved your book. Feeling a void that it is over and at the same time the Peter-Indrani saga is also petering off. Double void. Ok since I am a blogger too and have many travel tales as you are probably aware, I am inviting myself to your lunch. Read my travel tales on and


  2. My roadtrip from Mumbai to Delhi via Rajasthan covering Udaipur, Jodhpur and Chittorgargh with husband has been the best trip of my life. So much adventure and experience of a lifetime. Knowing the locals, eating the authentic and experiencing all the beauty with my life partner just brought us even closer. You can read more about it on my blog at


  3. Here’s a travel story that’s etched forever:
    I was returning back from Lalitpur in Madhya Pradesh by train. But once at the station I learned the obvious – my train was delayed by an hour. A depraved soul who’d been denied access to civilization, I got busy thumb jabbing my Gorilla glass screen with that sense of joy that comes from finding internet on your phone after an entire week! I seemed to be distracted by very little – and these included a cow jaywalking on the platform (which was a first for me), the need to answer nature’s call and a bent with age beggar lady who seemed to be hovering around me.

    I neither patronise nor shun beggars away because they’re both equally ineffective in achieving the desired result. For a change, however being indifferent wasn’t helping much either (another first for me)! She continued to hover around me and kept muttering. But I couldn’t decipher a word because I was busy pretending to be busy with my phone. It felt a lot like being Woodstock and Snoopy. I tried continuing not to pay her too much heed. I didn’t have to look up to know she was still near me. Her whiff lingered along with her. She wasn’t a bother though until my ears pricked to catch what she’d been muttering.

    “Beti kuch khaane ke liye paise de na!”

    Food. She was begging for money to buy food. I’d had food in my bag because of a Good Samaritan I’d left behind in Pranpur. I dove in and handed her the packed lunch. Her face lit up with a smile and in turn swept aside some of her wrinkles. The silver foil made her curious about what it contained. She looked at me in askance and I answered “Aloo ki sabzi”. It seemed to have met her approval. She sank back on the bench next to me and rummaged through the plastic bag she’d been hauling over her already arched back. Convinced she was going to keep the food, I let her be and went back to giving my phone my undivided attention. But I could sense her watching me. I looked up to find that her gaze was already meeting mine in askance again. This time her question was “Lekin beti ab tum kya khaaogi?”

    I sank back into the bench with my eyes transfixed on the floor.

    Here’s the link to the whole story: iDemythify | Humbled on a Solo Sojourn Through Madhya Pradesh


  4. Kiran, I’m sharing a travel story from my childhood.

    Way back in mid nineties, my folks planned a trip to visit my grandfather who was then posted in Khandwa in MP. It was a small town with nothing much to do / see. After we had been there a few days, my grandfather suggested that we see some interesting places in other nearby cities in MP. He arranged for a grand white Ambassador complete with a driver-cleaner duo to take us around. So my parents, my younger sister and I set off on this trip.

    Leaving very early morning, we went to the temple city of Omkareshwar. After spending the day there, we left for historic city Mandu over 100 km away sometime early evening. Part of the journey passed through the Vindhyas. We kids had loads of fun on this road trip as the road went up and down with some regularity; every peak to trough feeling like a roller coaster.

    This being before the time of travel portals and internet, we did not book ahead. Idea was we would take up rooms once we reached – our usual modus operandi. What we did not factor was that this was new year’s eve. Every, and I mean every, hotel/lodge/dharamshala/ hostel was booked. We must have driven around for hours looking for a place to stay. It was the same at every stop. Dad would go in while we all waited in the car. He would come out shaking his head and on we would go to the next place.

    It was close to midnight when the driver suggested we return to the closest town of Dhar (30+ km away). It would mean going through the entire mountainous region all over again, this time in the middle of the night. It must have been a difficult decision for Dad to make, after all Chambal was not far away, he had his wife and children with him and he was a bit suspicious of the driver’s motive. But it was getting colder and we couldn’t even stay on the road. In the end, we started the return journey.

    The mountains that looked delightful to us during the day looked very spooky to us kids. We would shriek at the smallest provocation – even a large tree or small animal . My Mom, on the other hand, found the meandering journey through moonlit mountains very romantic. At one point, she was even wishing out loud that she hoped that we wouldn’t find a place and the journey would continue. Dad could only look at her as if she had lost her mind.

    Eventually, sometime after 2 am we reached Dhar and we found, for once, Dad coming out of a hotel smiling. We had scored the last two rooms !! It was a very small basic hotel, ordinarily we wouldn’t have dreamed of staying in. But that day, it seemed like Tajmahal to us. We checked in and crashed right away.

    In the morning, the hotel manager helped us make reservations in Mandu for that night. For the rest of the trip we ensured that we knew where we would be staying ahead of time.

    It’s been 20 years, but Dad never goes out of town without first confirming the reservations. As for me, I’ve once spent the night on the road in middle of mountains and snow leopards, but that’s another story for another day. Hope I get to share that with you **nudge nudge**wink wink**


  5. The story of All Aboard is so intricate yet so simple in all its details. I enjoyed every bit of it.
    My most favourite travel memory is from one of my trips to Ladakh. It was a typical tourist one, this one, travelling with Mom and her best friend. We were to do a day trip to Pan Gong Tso Lake and head back by noon. But the magic of adventure was just around the curve. Before we reached the lake, en route we crossed a little rivulet, popularly called the Pagla Nala.

    We were blissfully unaware of why it is called so and went on to the lake. The landscapes around Pan Gong Tso are magical, with water so blue yet so clean, we could see the bottom of the lake even near the deep end. We enjoyed basking under the azure blue sky and the peace and quiet was enchanting to say the least. When it was time to head back, we hopped into the car and drove towards the nala.

    Only, the nala wasn’t there any more. It had become a raging river! There was no way we could cross that river without being flown across all the way to the neighboring country. The only choice we had was to camp by the lake overnight. So we headed back to the lake and were lucky to find a little cottage where a man served us maggi and chai, gave us a dozen blankets and space in his cottage to rest for the night.

    The magic of that star studded night sky, the formations of the milky way and its reflection in the lake – that is an image deeply etched in my mind’s eye forever. This was in the year 2004, the three of us were the only tourists at the banks of the lake that night and I couldn’t have asked for a better adventure. In all my 10 years of travelling around the world, this is one of my most magical travel memories 🙂


  6. Hi Kiran, I haven’t read your book yet but there’s something about travel and romance.

    Here I remember a sweet story about a boy from Zimbabwe who meets a girl from Hong Kong in the swimming pool in Dubai. They met at the swim up bar ordering their drinks and smiled at each other. He said Hello and she smiled. He said are you staying at the hotel too? And she nodded shyly. They introduced themselves and told each other where they were from. He was visiting with his sister and brother in law. They insisted he come along for some fun after he separated from his wife as he was recovering from Cancer. She was in town settling with her husband on their divorce. Two young people who were both healing from marriages that didn’t have the happily ever after ending as they imagined. Instantly they found a common connection and a person in each other outside their inner circles who could relate to the feelings and the emotions they were going through. It was a strange comforting bond. They chatted all day over cocktails and watched the sunset. He reached out to hold her hand and she let him. It was simple and sweet almost childlike. The setting was so beautiful with the stars up in the sky and the cool sea breeze. Suddenly he heard a call and had to run as he had an evening tour booked and insisted they meet the next day and go the water park together. She said goodbye and agreed. They met the next day and went to water park together. She had never been and had no idea what to expect. They started out and decided to do one activity after the next leaving the scary slide last. They had a great day in the water rides, splashing, laughing, just having fun like little kids in the water – a day without a thought about their problems a day off from life. Finally they reached the gigantic water slide, it was the largest water slide outside North America, the main attraction standing at high at 105 feet at a speed of 80km/h. He was so excited and you could see his eyes dancing and she petrified having never done anything so adventurous before. They were at the top she didn’t know what to do. He sensed her hesitation, looked at her and said do it for me just enjoy the ride. And without thinking twice she lay down, arms crossed and went. It was probably the longest 7 seconds of her life feeling almost airborne for two but she reached the bottom. She was screaming, yelling, laughing, crying all at the same time. She couldn’t believe she had done something so amazing. It was an experience of a lifetime that too just on the word of a stranger she had just met. He was there by her side a minute later. They hugged, they laughed and they shared a moment. A moment of happiness and bliss. They spent the rest of the evening splashing around and having a great time. They were both leaving the next day and when the water park closed they returned back to the hotel. His flight was in a few hours and he had to check out and leave so they had no choice but to say goodbye. They shared a hug, exchanged details but knowing that they may never meet again.
    Both went home, they tried and spoke once or twice. He asking her to visit him as he couldn’t travel out – there were issues at his end, his health wasn’t good either. She was busy with work and her social committments. Eventually the calls stopped and there was no contact with each other.

    They never did meet again but she still remembers with a smile that lovely boy thanks to whom she had the most memorable experience of doing something adventurous for the first time.


  7. And the winners are: Shunali Shroff

    Parimita Chakravorty

    The Desi Vagabond


    Ruchita Dar Shah


    Diipti Jhangiani

    Anju @TravelingNoodles

    and from twitter




    A couple of more names to be announced, so hold on to that breath.

    Congratulations all.
    Mail me at and I will send you time, date and venue details. Looking forward to meeting you.


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