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On a memorable road trip

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

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Day 3 : We woke up early by 5:30 AM, fully recharged then we made an interesting discovery for ourselves, the place we spend the night was the final resting place of Buddha, Kushinagar. All the resorts and hotels primarily catered for the pilgrims, mostly were foreigners. We had to approach the Hotel again to use their wash rooms that’s when we met the manager, he was pretty apologetic when he figured out that we spend the night in the vehicle. He was more than obliged to let us use his room and not willing to charge for it, in our exit we did manage to have him a charge for the service.
We were back on the road by 6 AM, intended to stop for breakfast by 8 AM. As soon we entered Bihar the road conditions started to deteriorate. It was blessing in disguise for us not continuing the previous night. As we were driving by the broken patch we noticed at a distance a group of boys wielding bamboos sticks and logs were trying to stop vehicles. The vehicle in front of us without heeding the group just drove past by, it took us sometime to realise what was happening , then our instincts was to do exactly what the vehicle in front of us did. The Vehicle in front of us zoomed off while we were trying to figure out what just happened - it was an attempt to rob us. We were very weary of the road by now , being alerted by just a sight of people at distance. That drive through the patch was straining. After around 15 kms of the encounter we got a sight of similar group of people but this time they managed to stop a vehicle unfortunately it was our guiding vehicle. The 5-6 boys were trying to break into the car - we can only imagine the plights of the poor passengers. We noticed the boys made an attempt to stop us , by coming right in front of us - wielding their logs and bamboos. Being alert paid us, we were at a high momentum and completely averted them by going off the road. One of them ran towards us and only could manage to hit our car’s Bull guard. We raced off, at the commotion we realized our guiding vehicle could also manage to escape and manage to catch up with us. From thereon it was kind of symbiotic relationship that we formed, covering for each other throughout, though not a word spoken or gesture made but we knew that we are covering for each other. We came across similar groups twice but they were not as aggressive as the last encounter and we manage to slip pass from them – mastered the trick by then.
Later after crossing Gopalganj the road started to improve, we kept on driving and we were not comfortable to stop for breakfast. The change in the landscape was prominent, more thatch and muds, lot of weeds growth along the road. It was usual sight for locals using the designated area for the divider to answer nature’s call, that area play an important role to the local’s lives and they made good use of it – recreation area, grazing their livestock, Paddy storage etc. you just name it! This new experience had started to wear out the unpleasant experience that we just had , by 10:30 AM we reached the first toll of the day; that spot looked safe for us to stop and cook breakfast. This time we choose to cook inside the car  , ready to take off given an unpleasant situation. We successfully made a lovely brunch, we call it hunter’s meal – Sardine, Egg Scamble and corn chips! With some ginger tea. Being comfortable with the surrounding we prepared some more tea for the road and managed to clean up our dishes with our backup water.
With our bellies full we were off on the road again. The “utility area” aka the divider made us feel very weary, because people would just bolt out without heeding the traffic. There were countless livestock left to graze there and the road kills were numerous too, it become a very usual sight. We drove very cautiously maintained a distance from the divider to avoid a situation. We made another stop after crossing River Gandak, the river surrounded by huge dykes and the sight of the wet lands was just amazing. We couldn’t resisting the urge of stopping there, sipping our tea we were just admiring the wetlands the variety of birds that inhabited it, as far as we could see there were no human inhabitation along the dyke.
We reached Punia by 1 pm, stopped for tea again , right at the junction where NH27 takes a diversion left to Siliguri. This time we opted to buy tea from a dhaba, it was by far the best tea we tasted in our entire trip since we started from Mumbai, we liked it so much that we took some for the road too. A couple of kms from the Dhaba, our worst fear came true and despite being so careful, a lamb got run over by our car. The sight kept on playing in our heads , we couldn’t get over it, there was very little we could have done and had strong urge to stop but the dynamics of that area is known to be hostile and hence we opted to continue on.
We came across endless open paddy fields and we started enjoying the journey once again. We entered West Bengal by 3 and by 5 pm we were passing through a narrowest region of India also known as “the chicken neck” of India. Demographically it appeared to be most diverse society, a very interesting mix of Aryans, Dravidians and  Mongoloits feautures.
    Both in Bihar as well as in West Bengal we notice the Idols in Kali Puja Pandals had a fair complexion, a complete contrast to what we have known Goddess Kali who is of tenth complexion, we kept wondering. By 5:15 PM it was already getting dark and clubbed with the narrow road with mostly broken patches had really slowed us down. The entire route was very busy overtaking needed extra nerve, only few who dared would aggressively overtake. With our adrenaline in high , we did attempt but weren’