Heres the problem:
To go from Varanasi -> Chennai will take over 36 hours. You leave at 5PM on day one, and arrive in the morning on day three. Worse, there are only two trains a week, and so it's really really not convenient - esp. when i'm running out of time.
The solution: Another airplane ticket.
Thats right. I now have _3_ different journeys booked on Air Deccan.
The current plan is as follows (unless I change my mind / and or oversleep tomorrow):
1. Take a 12 hour day bus to Kullu tomorrow.
2. Spend at least a week in the Parvati valley, and maybe a day or two in Manali.
3. On or around the 18th of Feb (in one week), I travel by bus from Manali to Delhi (probably overnight).
4. I'll spend as little time as humanly possible in Delhi, and jump on the first train/bus to Varanasi. Putting me in Varanasi on the evening of the 19th, or the morning of the 20th.
5. Hang out in Varanasi for a week or so. Either I take a night bus/train on the 27th, or a early morning one on the 28th - but in either case, I arrive in Calcutta on the eastern coast of India in time to take a late evening flight from calcutta to Chennai (arriving at 11:30PM).
6. I'll probably spend the night sleeping in the airport, as there is no sense in getting a room in town for just a few hours. I have a 6AM flight on the 1st of March from Chennai-> Port Blair, Andamans.
7. I hang out in the andamans for a month, fly back to chennai (early morning flight), spend the day in Chennai (shopping?), before I take an evening flight from Chennai-> Bombay, and then 2 hours later, Bombay->Bangkok.
I have to figure out how to get from BKK to Laos.. thats the next task.
The Deccan flights are starting to add up. In particular, the Calcutta->Chennai flight is costing me about 75 bucks, but to avoid 2 night busses, or having to arrive in Chennai 3 days early, this is worth it.
Plus, by flying solely on deccan, I probably have a bit more protection. I.e. If I miss my Andaman flight because of a mishap in Calcutta, they'll probably change my flights for free. At least, I hope it works out that way.