Outstanding Story - Senior Category
“A Tour to India” is one of the outstanding stories of the second biannual International Short Story Contest 2017 written by Muzavar Ashfaq Ali Baig, India.
A Tour to India
As soon as John came home from his office, he noticed Jazz engrossed in video games. “Would you like to go on a tour to India?”, John asked bringing Jazz back to the world with a single question. For a moment Jazz could only stare back at John.
“I would love to!” Jazz exclaimed after sometime, “But, how did you come up with this thought?’’
“Actually I got an offer to tour the southern part of India for a whole week, so I thought why not?” answered John.
“When are we leaving?’’ Jazz threw the next question.
“Tomorrow; so go and get on with your packing”
Even packing the whole evening couldn’t tire Jazz out. He lay wide awake at night; the excitement to tour India restricted him from closing his eye lids.
Next morning, they both got ready and were off to the airport. They landed in the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport of Hyderabad a day later.
“Look, there are Indian people here to welcome us!”, John exclaimed. The sight made Jazz go crazy with happiness. “We will go to the hotel first, fresh up, then tour Hyderabad.’’ John instructed Jazz.
When they reached the hotel, the management welcomed them traditionally, displaying the beautiful Indian culture.
John and Jazz were amazed by the hospitality of the people they met.
After quickly freshening up, they excitedly left to tour the wonderful places in Hyderabad.
“The first place I want to visit is the famous Charminar.” declared Jazz.
“So Charminar it is”, agreed John.
“The touring guide was so talented! He made us understand the history behind the construction of the great mosque so effortlessly” John said after they toured Charminar.
When noon came, they were starving. Taking the aid of some random Hyderabadi people, they reached the nearest restaurant. “What did you order?” John asked Jazz curiously.
“A traditional dish that was introduced 100 years ago during the reign of great kings”, was the reply.
When John had the first morsel of the delicacy, he couldn’t help but moan, “This tastes wonderful! I’ve never tasted something as tasty as this.”
After a hearty meal, the duo visited the Golconda fort.
"I am so tired. I can’t walk anymore. Let’s get back to the hotel, have our dinner and sleep” Jazz suggested.
“Yeah! You are right, let’s go. I’m tired too.” agreed John.
The next morning, John ordered traditional South Indian food.
“What is this?” asked Jazz loving the taste.
“This is traditional South Indian food.”
“Wow! What is its name?”
After visiting all the other places in Hyderabad, John told Jazz to pack his bags yet again.
“But, why? Where are we going?” asked Jazz.
“We are going to the other southern state in India” replied John.
“Great!” Jazz happily got on with his packing.
But his happiness was short-lived. “Where is my passport?’’ he shouted worriedly.
“Let’s search” Jazz advised and they started searching everywhere in the hotel as well as the lobby. Unfortunately, the passport wasn’t found.
They called the police of Hyderabad and explained them everything that had happened. The police inspector in turn called the passport office and explained the same.
Since the saying “ATIDHI-DEVO-BHAVA” which means “Guest is God” is very well followed in India, the police advised the duo to enjoy their tour and not to worry about the passport. They also promised to find the passport before John and Jazz left the country.
Feeling relieved, the duo decided to continue their tour and left for the neighboring state-Karnataka.
“Jazz look, there is greenery everywhere around us!” exclaimed John.
“Where are we?”, Jazz asked unable to keep up with the names of places.
“We are in a city named Bangalore. It is famous for gardens.” explained John.
They decided to check-in to a hotel, have dinner and hit the hay.
“Let’s go see the famous garden of Bangalore tomorrow morning.” John suggested.
“Okay. What is the name of the garden?”
“Lal-Bagh.” replied John.
The next day, when they reached the garden, all they could see was only greenery, lakes, fountains, everything made up of flowers and nature.
“Oh my God!” they exclaimed unanimously seeing the nature and the weather of the green city. They were surprised by the culture and tradition of Karnataka state. After their tour to Lal-Bagh, Jazz asked “Where we are going now?”
“To the Bannerghatta National Park.” grinned John.
The first animal they saw as they got into the park was the National animal of India, Tiger.
After touring the whole park, they went back to the hotel and decided to call the inspector. He told them to get back to Hyderabad if they’re done touring Bangalore.
The very next morning they reached Hyderabad and went straight to the police station.
The police handed over the passport to Jazz who was elated to have it back.
“Where did you find it, sir?” Jazz enquired.
“You dropped it at the Airport while getting into your vehicle.”
“Aah! I’m so sorry and thank you for taking the trouble of finding the passport. Without this, I wouldn’t be able to go back to my place.”
“It’s okay and it is my duty to serve the people in our nation.” the inspector smiled, “Thank you for visiting our beautiful country”, he added.
“The pleasure is all ours” replied John.
After leaving the police station, they decided to continue their tour.
With the week ended, they left with only happy memories of the country and a promise to tour the Northern part whenever they got a chance.