Monday, June 16, 2014

Though the road's been rocky it sure feels good to me

Journey Begin from Mumbai to Kolkata

To begin with one of the Bob Marley popular quote our journey started like this :
We planned to go to Kolkata from Mumbai only this time via the road on my beloved Ford Figo to attend one of our Bengali Friends Wedding . That would be a good experience, I thought and which it was except for a little catch.......
We had to cover almost 2300 Kms and that too in a one & half day (just remembered the fastest train to Kolkata from Mumbai takes about 28-30 hrs ). There lies the challenge.....
Hence I asked for my co-pilot, our Chauffeur back from Kolkata to come down to Mumbai and assist me accomplish this task.
On “The Day” i.e March 01, we started really late at about 11 pm and our initial plan was 5 am... so there we were running 6 hrs late plus the heavy inter-state traffic and all to manage...
Anyways the journey started and it took almost evening to cross Maharashtra border to Karnataka and that to at average cruising speeds of about 150-160 Kms/hr. Roads were fine till then until we reached Karnataka and all hell loose broke. However we succeeded in crossing the Karnataka border and off to Andhra Pradesh at late evening. The stretch was small but because of the obvious obstacles i.e potholes or it seemed to be more of craters, it took toll of time.
Our initial plan was to cover as much of the journey as possible on day 1. Hence we headed for Hyderabad. Hyderabad I must say from the looks, seemed a wonderful city, however we cruised on to our next destination, i.e. Vijayawada. When we left Hyderabad via the beautiful Hyderabad Ring Road, it was almost 9PM. Tired and exhausted we reached Vijayawada at 12.00 AM.
Vijayawada seems to be a nice place with lots of Historic Temples. But there was one problem… The time we reached, we could not find a decent place to eat and neither one to stay. Plus an added bonus to that was the language which unfortunately I did not understand. So shall we stay or move further ahead (At back of my mind, I have to calculate for the hours we will lose if we rest). It was a hard decision to make, but with advice of my co-pilot, we decided to travel further till we find a good place to rest for the night.
Soon enough we found a Dhaba where we felt good enough to rest and eat. The food consisting of Parantha and Bhurhji (scrambled eggs) seemed to be delicious at 1.30 AM. And as there was peace to my stomach we decided NOT TO HALT FOR THE NIGHT and one will have rest in the car while other will be driving. So there we were headed for our next destination, Vishakhapatnam.
By this time one thing started to bother us and that was the in numerous no of toll gates we have to pass through to and it seemed we have to pass one every 15-20 Kms. It took us longer than we thought and through the silent night reached Vishakhapatnam at dawn. The sight was breath-taking though with the Sun and the beautiful hills surrounding the city. Also it was my time to rest and hence passed the command to my co-pilot.
The rest of the journey went quite normally and we reached crossed the border to Odisha after noon. Bhubaneswar in Odisha seemed to be a busy place and we struggled through the daytime traffic to hit the open roads. Once we hit the open roads, all seemed to be fine except it was not. And the same was evitable as we neared border of West Bengal. The suddenly beautiful open roads seemed to be nightmare as parts of the highway was blocked due to construction of roads and they diverted two way traffic in a single lane.
However finally we crawled into West Bengal border in the evening and behold my joy of achievement, I was literally was not able to remain within the confines of the car. We had a quick tea to hold the moment finishing which we headed for Kolkata (One of my Favourite cities) and finally reached destination at 8.00 PM.
And that took us 35 hrs and more than 55 Toll Plazas to cross, and a varied geographical terrain to the end of a wonderful, adventurous journey of a lifetime.
To be honest the most I had driven prior to this was 400-500 Kms a day, but this, this was something radically different. With unknown, unnamed roads through 5 different states and throughout the night, the experience was one of its kind and would always remain as a kind of achievement to me.
I could not take much of the photos but would love to share whatever I have with me.

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