Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by L0dest0ne, Sep 16, 2015.
Eagerly waiting for the travelogue with loads of pictures
Hello friends.. I am really struggling with putting a travelogue in place! There are just too many things to say and not one good way to say it all. Anyway, have made a start. Though not sure it is going the right way. Posting all that I have managed to pen down so far.
Members please note that I mean no offence at all to any community or region in this blog. These are just observations
A Long Road Home
Often an idea takes root in our minds to such effect that it eclipses all others. When this idea finally comes to fruition, the experience is so intense that once it passes, as all things must, we are left empty. Till time fills us again with the rewards of that experience. So it was with our long journey home.
Paroo and I had long dreamt of making the drive from Delhi to Kochi and back. We imagined tracing the monsoon's progress along the country's length and seeing for real the places that flashed by during long flights home. Life's more banal requirements kept us waiting though. Till one evening in August, everything fell in to place - two full weeks of leave.
Human emotions are funny. Where I had expected elation, what we felt was more like mild alarm. A dream was within touching distance and we found that we were not ready. Over the next few days, excitement levels rose and along with it, trepidation. Suddenly driving 6000 km across unknown territory seemed immense. One of those ridiculous ideas that I get from time to time.
Doubts started creeping in. Are we fit enough for this? What if we fall ill? Is it safe? Can the Punto do such a marathon trip? What if there is a major breakdown? How should we prepare? Will we end up driving all day and end up dog-tired? What if we don't enjoy this trip at all? Will our parents sleep well? Will someone have grabbed our parking spot while we are away? Will the Bengaluru Police make us pay Lifetime Tax all over again? Endless, unanswered questions.
We found that the best way to subdue any doubts was to go back to dreaming and to prepare. There were endless, inconclusive discussions on routes to be followed. Reams of printouts of traffic violations in different states, FIAT Service centres everywhere and Trip Advisor fuelled charts of places to halt along all possible highways. The Punto was serviced and equipped as best as she could be. Noble, rugged Hanumanji was reinstated to his place on the dashboard. Who better as your mascot on a cross country jaunt than he who leapt across to Lanka? We could definitely not be blamed for failing to plan.
By the last day, all doubts were gone. It was just torturous anticipation; feverish and impatient. The day could not move quickly enough. In sleep, it was endless white midlines of a highway that ticked the hours by. Rainy, winding roads with trees whizzing past. Flat, windswept roads with mirages in the distance.
It was time to go.
Our modus operandi was simple: start early each day, stick to the NHs and head vaguely South-West towards Kochi. The rest would be made up along the way.
We started early on Rakshabandhan in a swarm of trucks headed for the Delhi border and the permanent logjam at Dharuhera. By evening we planned to halt either by Udaipur’s lakes or nearby Nathdwara, home to one of few temples in North India where Krishna is still worshipped in his dark form. Neither happened.
At 8 p.m., fifteen hours and 1008 adrenaline propelled kilometres later, we found ourselves sipping coffee with some near and dear ones in Anand, Gujarat. The basic template had been laid. Wherever we intended to be in early, we usually trundled in just in time for dinner. On days where we decided to go leisurely, we would comfortably be in before tea.
From Delhi to Udaipur, there are few surprises. Once the trucks thinned out, our company was restricted to pillion riding ladies in colourful saris hurrying to tie Rakhis and goatherds tending to their flocks. Only the stark yellows, oranges and reds of Rajasthani clothing added zest to an otherwise dreary landscape of sparse agricultural land pock marked with industrial estates and the odd hill of the Aravalli. The big surprise was a couple of Japanese restaurants and billboards showing cherubic Japanese children popping up in this dusty plain. Turns out that the Rajasthan government has somehow managed to attract millions of Japanese Yen in SEZs at Neemrana and elsewhere. I wonder whether the Japanese are so badly out of space in their own land. Maybe they just want to take the pollution somewhere else. High rises are springing up alongside the highway at many places. I wonder why they are building high rises where so much space is at hand?
The Aravalli along this stretch from Delhi up to Jaipur and further south to Ajmer has been decimated by human need. Not much respect here for these ancient mountains, now little more than puny hills. It shows in the climate and geography. The desert comes closer every year. The clean and overpriced Kamat's where we stopped for breakfast had fine yellow dust that rose in clouds every time skittish pigeons took off.
The route comes to life only past Udaipur, where the NH8 winds scenically through rocky hillscapes past the occasional water body. The Aravallis are at their highest around here. No surprise then that this region is so different from the rest of Rajasthan. In Dungarpur, the hills have distinct green, bald heads crisscrossed by dark scars. Upon closer examination, the scars are revealed to be fences of dark green cactii, demarcating individual grassy plots and enclosures for mussy off-white sheep. At many places deep grooves on the road give the ride a distinct feel, like wading through slush. The grooves are caused by overloaded trucks ploughing through molten tar on hot summer days.
On the Gujarat side things are better in general: roads are good, everything seems cleaner, dhabas are larger, people friendlier and vegetation fresher. There are numerous large, similar looking temples along the way to Ahmedabad - notably at Shyamlaji and Himmatnagar. Food is everywhere. If food were a religion, then Gujaratis would be certainly its most fervent followers. They eat at home, they eat out, they eat at airports, they eat at temples, they eat while doing business, they eat snacks while waiting for meals - in short, they love to eat.
SMS / Whatsapp disappeared at Ahmedabad. Soon we passed black, burnt up skeletons of buses. All signs of the Patel agitation. Ours must be the only nation where a community of people fight to be termed as backward. With even dominant castes like Patels and Jats now wanting a slice, the reservation system has become a farce. To be fair on them, not many are off the list! This past-its-sell-by-date concept shall live long though for our self-serving political system. Jains, one of our more affluent communities, were placed on the OBC list not so long back based on their low numbers. Yet, numbers other than bank notes & votes sometimes count for nothing.
The superbly laid tarmac of National Expressway-1 from Ahmedabad shredded the last few kilometres to Anand.
(That's all I could manage. Please share if this is headed the right way. Though I am not a writer, I definitely have the Block.)
Fantastic video with brilliant fast music in the background. Fabulous !!!
nice road and performance of car
Thanks for the comments friends
Separate names with a comma.