Post demonetization trip to Pushkar Fair

Yogesh Sarkar


I love Pushkar Camel Fair, I love the vibe of the place, the crowd, endless photography opportunities and the delicious food.

During our trip to Prashar Lake, RD and I made a plan to visit Pushkar Camel Fair. Then in mid-September, we finalised it and I booked rooms Pink Floyd Café through Goibibo for a princely sum of Rs. 419 per room, that too at the peak of the fair. I was supposed to confirm our booking with Pink Floyd Café, but I never did.

In late October, AS and I made a plan to visit Mukteshwar in the first week of November. I was supposed to come back from Mukteshwar on 8th and then leave for Pushkar Camel Fair on the 11th.

Everything was going according to the plan, and I managed to reach Delhi on 8th morning.

However, in the evening, Prime Minister of India, Mr Narender Modi announced his plans to scrap Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes from midnight and he also announced banks would remain closed on 9th and ATMs won’t be operational till 11th.

In our home, we had around Rs. 9,500. Out of which, Rs. 8,500 was in Rs. 500 notes. Even the Rs. 3,000 I had withdrawn from ATM yesterday in Uttarakhand, consisted entirely of Rs. 500 notes.

Turned out, RD didn’t have many Rs. 100 notes either. Next day, my friends who were in Pushkar at that time started reporting of hardships being faced by travellers. Because not many businesses were willing to accept the old and now, defunct notes.

To make matters worse, when I called Pink Floyd Café to confirm our booking. They informed me, they had stopped taking a booking from Goibibo. Thankfully, this situation was resolved swiftly by customer care team of Goibibo, who booked me in another hotel and even upgraded our rooms free of cost.

After this, there was a lot of confusion, RD and I thought of cancelling the trip and then thought about heading somewhere else. In the end, we decided to book our bus tickets to Pushkar and go with the flow.

Eventually, on 11th my sister was able to withdraw Rs. 2,000 from an ATM near her office. While I returned empty handed from numerous other ATMs.

However, I couldn’t take all of the money with me. Daily household expenses had to be met, while I was away. I was also no longer in the mood for photography, I just wanted to chill and enjoy all the delicious cuisine in Pushkar.

This trip to Pushkar was turning out to be fairly different from earlier ones and had started on a bad foot. I knew I would be fine, once I reached Pushkar. But at the moment, everything was going awry.

Nonetheless, I packed my camera bag to the brim with my camera equipment. And had Rs. 1,300 in my purse for the entire trip. Hoping, I might be able to withdraw some money from an ATM in Pushkar.
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Yogesh Sarkar

11th November 2016, Delhi to Pushkar

RD was traveling back to Delhi from her hometown and reached Delhi late in the afternoon. Our bus was scheduled to leave at 10:45pm and we decided to meet at McDonalds Kashmere Gate.

I decided to start a little early from home and took Uber.

Uber driver started singing praises about this move by the PM to demonetize Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. Happy with the fact that those with black money would now have to suffer. Then he started telling me about his good luck, that he had deposited 7 lakh rupees he had received, into various bank accounts (he claimed to have an account in all the banks in his area), just a couple of days before the announcement.

Then he started telling me about his hope of coming across a pile of cash dumped by someone hoarding black money. And his plan to get it all deposited into the bank accounts of his family, friends and friends of friends.

After the entertaining and enlighting conversation, it was time to bid farewell to him and walk into McDonalds outlet.

I called RD to check where she was, turned out, she had just started from home. Now there was a chance, that she might be late for the bus.

All I could do at that moment was to satisfy my hunger pangs, and I did exactly that.


Around 10:15pm, I decided to go inside the Inter State Bus Terminal and locate the boarding point. Hoping, RD would be able to reach here in time.

At 10:35pm, she finally made it.

However, our bus was nowhere to be seen!

Time for the scheduled departure came and went and there was no sign of the bus. Information kiosk of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation was clueless and guessed, it might have gotten stuck in traffic.

Eventually, after 25 minutes, they told us, our bus wasn’t coming and if we wanted, we could board the express bus to Ajmer (we had tickets for the semi-deluxe bus) or go home! Forget about getting a refund, RSRTC staff was behaving as if they were doing us a great favor by letting us board a cheaper bus to Ajmer and then another one to Pushkar from there.

A testament to rudeness was the point when one of the ladies decided to call Delhi Police and complain about these chaps. Of course, cops didn’t do much. Calling up RSRTC helpline didn’t help either, all they could do, was suggest me to file a written complaint at Ajmer depot, requesting a refund of the difference between the cost of tickets.

Left with no option, we had to board this bus to Ajmer.


An hour later, our journey began.

RD was dead tired, after traveling all day and then this drama. She fell asleep quickly on the uncomfortable seat of the RSRTC bus, as we slowly drove towards Jaipur.

Around 3am we stopped at a small roadside dhaba for tea. The weather had turned cold and even the tasteless tea felt good and provided some relief.


Both of us had been sick for a past few days and had sore throats and cold. Now air rushing in from closed windows was making life difficult, especially for RD. I decided to capitalize on the situation and offered her my aisle seat, which was less windy. In return, I got my favorite window seat.

Around 5:45 we reached Jaipur, almost 6 hours after we had left from Delhi. Jaipur bus depot was buzzing with activity.


After around half an hour and filling up all the seats, the bus started for Ajmer.

Once we got on the smooth Jaipur – Kishangarh Expressway, I too dozed off for a while. And when I woke up, we were at the end of expressway.

By 8:30am we reached Ajmer and from there, we were asked to board a local bus heading for Pushkar.


We got seats on the rear bench, but it was a small ride and RD was too sleepy to even pay attention to the discomfort and slept for most of the journey.

Once we entered the familiar surroundings of Pushkar and were stopped at the first checkpost, RD woke up. The bus turned from the main road to a small one leading to the bus depot and there, I noticed Hotel Shubham Palace. It wasn’t too far from the bus stand and looked decent from the outside.

Since we had reached Pushkar couple of hours before our check-in time, I initially thought about heading to a café and hanging out there for a couple of hours. Then RD suggested, that we call the hotel and check with them, whether or not we can check in early.

I did exactly that and hotel manager agreed. When we went there, there was someone else in the process of checking out. So they gave us a small room on the first floor to freshen up, while our rooms were prepared.

Around 12:30pm we got our rooms. It got a 3 bed AC room, that had cost me Rs. 419. All thanks to Pink Floyd not accepting our booking and Goibibo upgrading us to better rooms.




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