I was roughly 14 when I saw the movie An Evening in Paris, in which the flamboyant Shammi Kapoor was trying to seduce the sexy Sharmila Tagore on the roads of PARIS. It was the first time when I saw the spectacular Eiffel tower and immediately fell in love with it. I am not a connoisseur of art, so won’t be able to explain the structure in depth. It was just the beginning of the love story between me and Paris. The urge to visit Paris was increasing day by day. The more I watched the romantic Hollywood or Hindi movies (many of which featured Paris) the more I wanted to visit Paris. Then when my friends posted their selfies with the Eiffel the desire just grew. Last year, I did get a chance to visit Paris however; I missed due to personal reasons.
So finally this year I booked my flight from Amsterdam to Paris. I was elated; I didn’t even check for other cheaper options, I just booked the tickets. I started counting the days. I was leaving for Paris on a Friday so that I would have had a weekend to roam around the city (and I thought that would be enough- Mistake1-Paris/ any city in 1.5 days worst idea ever)
“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”
― Andy Warhol
I didn’t plan this trip, didn’t see the suggestions from the travellers. I also ignored the tips given by my colleagues before visiting Paris. (Mistake-2 Always have a rough travel plan before visiting any city) I thought I just have to see the Eiffel tower, visit the Louvre (to get a selfie clicked with Monalisa), drink French wine and buy some souvenirs.
I should thank that gentle man whom I met in a train and who told me what to do and what to avoid in 1.5 day in Paris. He was very friendly and made a detailed plan for me. He also told me to be aware of the thugs who are common near the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel tower. I have travelled so much and nothing has gone wrong ever so I was confident that such nasty things will never happen to me. (Mistake-3 Overconfidence)
So, the next Saturday morning I was dressed up in a black netted sexy dress. As sneakers wouldn’t have brought grace to my dress I chose to wear heels (Mistake-4-Avoid wearing heels you will end up having sore legs). I had a few dollars with me, so I thought of converting them in euros at one of the Travelex near the Arc of Triomphe. I was carrying a sling bag, a DSLR and a city map. As soon as I exchanged the money, I counted them and kept inside my wallet (which had all my credit cards, DL, Pan Card). (Mistake-5 Never keep your cards and cash in the same bag, avoid the use of sling bag when traveling, never ever carry identity cards other than passport outside your country).
Here I was in front of the most classy shops in the world LV, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Michel Kors, Prada, Mango, Zara etc.(the list was endless) I entered LVs’ shop as the gentleman whom I met in the train had suggested that the shop looks like a museum. Visiting LV was once in a life time experience, the shop was ravishing and expensive. The cheapest bag was around 300 Euros, I was awestruck. I never felt so poor in my life as I did standing inside that 3 storeyed LV shop.
As it was morning time and I was hungry, I thought of visiting a bakery to eat some macarons. I asked the lady to pack some for me and when I went at the billing counter I realized I had no money. I had all my credit and debit cards in the wallet, I tried to search the wallet in the shop but I failed. I didn’t lose it, it was stolen. I realised that my wallet was stolen but when, where and how. I didn’t have the answer to these questions.
I immediately dialled the phone banking numbers and blocked all my cards. Luckily, I had snapshots of all my cards on my email and also had the bank customer care numbers in my phonebook. I went to the police station and filed a complaint. When all this was happening I couldn’t resist staring at the hot French Policemen. I was so tempted to take the number of the police who was investigating my case, but was scared of getting in to jail for harassing him: P. After filing the complaint I called my mom and narrated the whole incident. I also called PJ (Prakash Joshi) being my 4 a.m. friend whom I can call anytime for anything. Then I called my boss and one of colleague whose bag was also stolen in Paris. I was disheartened; I didn’t want to eat or drink but still wanted to see the Eiffel. (I borrowed money from my colleague who was also visiting Paris)
After the Louvre I thought of visiting the Eiffel in the late evening with the lights lit. I wished to take the Seine river ride at night to see the enchanting Paris at night. I was so tired that I couldn’t walk even a little (thanks to the heels) so thought of taking a rickshaw. At one of the traffic signals we stopped and I saw the Eiffel. I got so excited that I started shouting out with joy; I almost forgot that I was broke, Why not!! Finally I was in front of the structure that symbolises Paris. I was in front of the structure that I loved since I was 14. In my excitement I didn’t realise that the rider riding the rickshaw lost his concentration and hit a BMW in front of us and I fell down the rickshaw. I got hurt. I was kneeling down in front of the Eiffel (my love) My excitement was gone, my knees were bleeding, my dress was ripped, with tears in my eyes and no money… here I was in front of Eiffel. That was the moment when I felt that Eiffel was nothing but a drilling rig mast!!!