YATRA - HAPPY TRAVELLERS ON SANTA'S RAIL-GADI


YATRA
YATRA

The letter read. I got it couple of days ago. It was from Santa himself, unbelievable! I checked the postal stamp - it said "North Pole". I was amazed. Santa had written to me himself, yearning for me to join him and give him some company. The person who filled our lives with so much joy and fun was feeling lonely up there and needed me, I was so touched. But how on earth do I reach the North Pole? Even Yatra, India's premium online travel services hadn't yet started their services to North.Pole. So, it was really impossible, no matter how much I wanted to fulfil Santa's wishes. The phone rang just then.
"Ho ho ho, ho ho ho," there was a cheerful, lofty voice on the other end.
"Hello, who is this?" I asked.
"Ho ho ho...," it replied playfully.
"Come on now, who's this? Can't keep doing ho ho ho for lifetime now, can we?" I was getting impatient, thinking someone was doing some prank on me.
"Ho ho ho...This is your Santa uncle. 'Ho ho ho' is how we do our 'hello' and greet over here ND!" came the reply from a jovial male voice, which sounded very warm and affectionate.
"Come again?" Did I hear it right? Who did he say he was?
"Santa....," he cleared his throat and said again, "Santa Claus ji, from North Pole. You got my letter few days back, didn't you? I know you've read it too, ho ho ho... I want to know what you've decided?"
YATRA
HO HO HO - And one day Santa Called! ;-)

Oh! So Santa had started calling me up too now, I thought a while. Yes, I've been reading his letter every now and then. I think I owed him a visit after all the goodies that he's been sending me every year since my childhood days. And I knew instinctively that he'd continue doing the same for my children, grandchildren and all the coming generations too. He was my idol after all.
"Ho ho ho...ahem ahem ho ho ho... Are you there, ND?" Santa prompted, shaking me out of my meandering thoughts.
"Yes Santa, I've been thinking about the same too. I so wanna come, but how? There's no travel services to the N.Pole by any travel agents that I know of." I was disappointed that I might not be able to make it after all. But I was so glad that Santa had called me up himself. I simply loved it and was quite flattered.

'Ho ho ho...is that all worrying you, my dear? How do you think I reach you every year, without any travel services? Think think...ho ho ho... Don't worry about it. I'll send over my special carriage and you'll be up here in a jiffy, ho ho ho...," Santa said cheerfully, raising my dwindling hopes up. Was he suggesting his reindeer-pulled sleigh? Wow, that would be so fantastic, to travel in Santa's own sleigh. I was getting too excited now. But will it fit us all, 'cos I wanted to take my whole family too!
"Ho ho ho...I know what you are thinking ND, ho ho ho. Don't you worry, it'll fit all whom you can think of. I'll add extra carriages on it, ho ho ho..!" Santa seems to have already solved my doubt. "So, this Sunday you all shall come, right?" Santa seemed just as excited as I was. "Also I have something very important to share, which you shall find out when you reach here!"
Oh Yes!! I couldn't believe my luck. I wanted to know what important thing Santa wanted to share and simply couldn't wait for Sunday, which gladly came soon enough.

"Where on earth are you taking us, ND?" my cousin grumbled as I dragged my whole family to the deserted maidan behind our house, where Santa had instructed his carriage would be waiting for us. Everyone was skeptical about my intentions as I didn't fully explain to them about my plans. I had simply asked them to do little packing for the fortnight and follow me. Which they were doing now i.e following me, in the dark night under full moon glow, with crickets humming in the background. "Come on tell us ND. This suspense is killing us. It better be good," the others chirped behind me impatiently.
"Soon, you'll find out soon," I quipped back, as we finally reached the maidan gates.

"What's that?" My sister called out, pointing ahead of us. A huge, long giant toy-train stood in the middle of the maidan, which blinked of shiny colourful lights and lanterns. Ribbons and balloons hung too on both it's insides and out, and soft music wafted from inside it. It looked straight out of the comic books. Santa's Rail-Gadi, I thought to myself in wonder, though I was expecting some reindeers too in the front. But there weren't any. Must be electronic, I mused. Santa was getting updated with modern technology too, I was impressed.
"Are we travelling in this, are you serious?" My sister pulled her nose suspiciously. A huge notice was stuck on the train's main door, that said, "WELCOME ABOARD THE SANTA RAIL-GADI ~ Love Santa"

YATRA

Just what I thought. I started ushering the rest inside the train. "Just trust me guys, this is the trip of a lifetime. North Pole here we come!" I managed to push everyone inside along with their bag and baggages, while their mouths were still wide open and gaping like gold-fish. Nonetheless, they did as I told them. After all, they're my sweet loving family - they'd do anything to make me happy :-)
Once all were inside, the train shook a little before it started to slowly move. WooHoo!I thought, as it then took a long turn around the whole oval-shaped maidan. The others rushed to the windows to see what was happening. After taking two more similar rounds, the Santa Rail-Gadi then gained momentum and suddenly lifted itself off the ground and we were to our surprise all flying in the air, speeding through the clouds. My family were awestruck with the happenings, barely believing what was going on. Our journey to the North Pole had begun. Yippeeee!!
YATRA
After taking 3 rounds in the maidan, our Santa Rail-Gadi started flying and soon we were off to N.Pole, Santa's Abode :-)

Across hills, valleys and oceans, leaving the earth far below, our Santa Rail-Gadi was speeding its way up to the North.Pole. We could see snow clad mountains glistening in the moonlit night below and the starlit skies merely inches above us. After some time, my huge family slowly relaxed and started settling down. The ladies took out their crochet sets to knit and gossip, the tiny ones started to play with the toys Santa had filled up the train with, while the men folk sat on the bar and drank. My sister chose a novel to read, while my cousins played games of carom and chess. There was lot of food too in the train's pantry, in case anyone got hungry. Santa had thought of everything. I meanwhile, went to the front end of the coach where there was a mock cockpit. Of course, the train ran automatic. As I sat to enjoy the view from the pilot seat, I noticed a big red envelope. I opened and it read, "Thank you so much for coming, see you soon ~ Love Santa"

YATRA

We had been travelling for some time now. I was simply enjoying the unbelievable view outside. We had already crossed many countries far below, as I noticed the Great Wall of China pass by, which was prominently visible from above. There was a movement behind, where I sat. I looked around, my sister was standing by the door.
"Its all for real isn't it?" she asked, slowly approaching me.
"Of course, it is," I replied, "Come sit here." She sat next to me in the spacious pilot seat, and I finally told her about the recent happenings. How Santa had written to me personally and had even called me up too, asking me to join him.
"I'm so glad we are doing this for Santa," she finally said. After all Santa was her idol too, and was idol to so many children around the globe.
"Oh look!" she exclaimed excitedly after a while, pointing out to glimmering lights far below. "Are we there already?"
We both looked down. There were indeed lights flickering amidst the thick snow, and the train had slowed down a bit as well. It was hovering in the skies gently now, circling the area. Pretty lights and cottages were slowly becoming visible. They were dotted all over, making a beautiful sight. The place looked like a fairy-land.
"It seems we are," I said, noticing a big, bright sign-board that read : 'WELCOME TO NORTH POLE - SANTA'S ABODE'

YATRA

Much to my surprise Santa wasn't all alone it seemed. Cos' as soon as we landed in Santa-land, we were greeted excitedly with garlands and 'namastes' by Santa's polite and well-behaved friendly staff. There were other guests too we saw, who were travelling up the North Pole. It seemed Santa had invited many, across nations, to give him company. Some of them looked from outer space too, with antennas on their heads and strange facial features. ( I guess Santa Claus travelled to other planets too, gifting them goodies during Christmas. He was truly a Universal Santa! ). The whole atmosphere of that place was radiating with happiness, cheer and laughter.
We all were then ushered to our guest cottages to unwind from our whirlwind trip. The cottages were comfortable and looked so pretty, I wished we had similar ones back in Bombay. I was waiting to see Santa, who we were told, would join us all at the grand ball hall at dinner.

After an hour or so after we were fully rested, Santa's staff brought some beautiful costumes for all of us. My family excitedly started going through them. Some were historical, some feathery and some weird masquerade types. It was a costume ball we were told, so all of us got busy choosing our dresses, props and make-ups. And soon we were ready to rock! The hall was a huge one, where everyone had gathered, dressed up in their fine costumes and were talking, greeting and chattering amongst each other, animatedly. There was food in one corner and music played by live musicians in another. Some of the guests were dancing too on the floor, while the younger ones ran about playing hide & seek. It was just lovely. I looked around for Santa.

A loud 'GONG' went just then, and finally Santa Claus made his appearance. He was dressed in his typical red coat dress with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and a black leather belt was tied around his round pot-bellied waist. He had his Santa hat too of the same red/white colour. His beard was long curly, milky white and cheeks round pink. He wore tiny gold-framed specks as well, that was perched low on his long nose. Wow, this was the real Santa Claus we all were seeing finally, live! He gestured us all to sit comfortably.

"I welcome you all to North Pole, Santa's abode," he began, "Its not always filled with so much life that you see now. I was indeed feeling lonely and decided to invite you all up here. The staff that you see are volunteers only. After you all leave, I'll indeed be lonely again. But lets not think that right now, shall we. I invited you all to have some fun-time here and really enjoy yourselves. I also wanted to share some news and concerns which I want you all to carry back to your respective nations."
This was getting interesting. Everyone was listening attentively to what Santa had to say. He continued, "this Santa-land that you see is on floating ice. It is very thick but it is fast melting. This wasn't the case always. Only since last couple of years, due to global warming, the situation has become alarming. If this Santa-land melts further, there'll be massive floods in rest of the world. So, I want you all to plead to your governments to stop exploiting nature any more. This melting will not only make me homeless, it has already started causing havoc to the polar wildlife habitat, not to mention the catastrophe that will eventually bring you all. So, urgent care is direly needed. Now, on to a more happier piece of news. I was told that many of your countries do not have travel services to the N.Pole for the general public. So, I'd like to tie up with travel-services like Yatra and offer my exclusive services of the Santa Rail-Gadi which you all experienced while coming up here, so that all of you may visit me more often." Everyone cheered at that, raising a toast.

YATRA

"This place is very unique. The sun do not set for 6 months during summers, and its completely dark during winters. In Santa-land, we also have an under-ice resort where you all can observe some really rare species of life, from where the rest originally evolved. There is unlimited food and games for all of you to enjoy. Make yourselves at home and have a gala time." Everyone clapped and cheered again. Soon after Santa's speech was over, music played and everyone danced around the huge ball-room. Santa greeted each of his guests personally and saw to it that we all were well looked after by his attentive staff.

The rest of the days were pure fun. We explored all of Santa-land, watched dreamily the mid-night sun, visited the Santa penguin igloos and Santa museums. We ate, played and danced merrily during daytime and gathered around the fireplace cozily at nights for story times. Santa too joined us and told stories of his various trips. On our last day at Santa-land before leaving, I got a message that Santa had called for me. He was sitting in his work-shop where he makes all his toys himself, that he goes around gifting during Christmas.
"Come ND! Did you enjoy your stay here?" he asked.
"Oh yes," I replied, "this has been the most memorable and happiest trip I ever made in my entire life. My whole family has enjoyed too."
"I'm so glad," Santa smiled at me, "I'm also more than delighted to have you all up here. I hope you got the two messages clearly, that I shared earlier."
"Oh yes indeed. I'll definitely let my countrymen know the danger Santa-land is facing due to global warming and how it'll affect us too. And yes, I'll forward your message to Yatra as well. A trip on the Santa Rail-Gadi definitely make us all HAPPY TRAVELLERS!"

That night, the Santa Rail-Gadi brought us all back to our home after emotional bye-byes to Santa, his staff and all other guests. Our journey to the North.Pole thus finally ended, but the memories shall remain forever :-) HO HO HO... ho ho ho...
~~~o~~~

❤❀❤
YATRAYATRA

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16 comments:

  1. Dreamy ride! Best of luck Nandini!

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  2. Aww.... That was one lovely read dear. All the best ;D

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  3. ahan, so this christmas, one Mr. Claus will be busy chartering out an itinerary to the poles :P

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  4. Interesting thought... all the best!

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  5. I also want a ride on the Santa Rail Gaadi!!! :)
    Loved the imagination! I was planning to write about a visit to the Santa-Land too! But, it would have been matter-of-fact and not such a colourful fairy-tale! :)

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    Replies
    1. thanks for reading @Anita

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  6. wow
    you have quite a colorful imagination !
    all the best ,

    http://idontsharedesserts.blogspot.in/

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  7. Hmmm... this is another place that must be quite an exciting place to go to for a vacation... thanks for writing this post.

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

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