How often does it happen that you meet people on the road, make friends with them, have a great time, and the conversation ends with ‘Do let us know when you visit our country’. It sounds great but you know there’s only a slim possibility it would happen. After a couple of such experiences, you make peace with the fact that some amazing people only have a special appearance in your life.
On one of my weekend trip to Jaipur (which was far from being nice), I was trying to distract myself from all that was going wrong in my personal life by indulging in a conversation with other travelers on the hostel terrace. My dorm partner wanted to leave and I dreaded calling it a night. Just then a guy in a deep voice asked ‘Where are you from?’. This was the beginning of a conversation that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. There were four of them, one was sleeping. So, I mostly interacted with three of them. They were from Argentina pronounced it as ‘Arkhantina’. I tried to picture where is it on the map. I had nothing to talk about other than Messi in ‘home country’ category and I didn’t really want to venture into football discussion because I was pretty sure my poor knowledge in the field would leave them shocked. But they managed to keep me engaged anyway.The long conversation did cheer me up. Next day we said our farewells and parted ways. We had no pictures together but wonderful memories. My distressed mind wanted to hold on to them but I had to head back to work and they had to get back on the road.
Following the instructions that had been given to me, I disembark the metro at Echeverría station. I walk a few steps to find a familiar face in the crowd. A face that had given me a smile when I had lost mine one evening in Jaipur. A lovely smile and a warm tight hug later we start walking to my abode in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I had kept in touch with the guys I had met that evening in Jaipur and they were more than helpful during my entire planning stage. From translating my letters in Spanish to suggesting routes they were always there to help.
My interaction with them only made me happier about my decision to come to South America. Meeting them again was one of the highlights of my trip. I’m proud of the hospitality of the Indians but Argentines bowled me over. I found myself teary-eyed on several occasions. I was there for 4 days and during this time I had to worry about nothing. They suggested me all the places I could visit, accompanied me whenever they could, took me to their parties, took me to music shows, shared opinions and views about everything giving me a great insight into their lives. Never during my stay was I ever allowed to use my wallet. They treated me no less than family and I love them no less than that.
My day would often begin with leaving with them in the Subte (Subway), going to places they suggested, then heading back to their office building. They never knew if I’ll still be waiting outside or not but it was my best time of the day so I ensured I reached in time to go back with them. I miss that time even while I write this.
It was soon time to part ways again as my Visa situation does not really give me much time in each country. They sponsored my trip to a place I really wanted to go to as a parting gift and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
These guys I met briefly on a hostel terrace in Jaipur during one of my lowest emotional points in 2016, turned out to be my best blessing from 2016. From not knowing where Argentina is on the map to hitchhiking through it, It was a beautiful journey and these guys are an important reason why.