Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Country Roads….

Never ever say in life – I have seen it all. Worst might just be around the corner.
Having spent my childhood in the state of UP where the word “road” doesn’t exist and having traveled a distance of 250KMs between Banaras and Patna by bus in 13 hours, I thought of suing TOI for steeling a line given by me – “Enough is enough”. But soon I realized what TOI will realize sooner or later – it is never enough.

The client meeting I had gone for was pending for 6 months. Whenever we agreed upon, there were some issues – big-wigs been traveling or famous Bandhs of Kolkata. Else, there were issues of how to travel.
When I said “We can travel by road”, the other party said – “No, Roads are bad”.
I asked, “How bad can they get Sir? I have seen enough of bad roads”.
“It’s beyond your imagination”, was the answer I got.
I took it as a lame excuse to delay the process.

But, this was not an excuse.

When we landed at the station, we were taken to the mines from the hotel. It was a 20KM journey traveled in 1 hour and roads WERE bad.

But the reality unfolded next day when we were going to visit the plant at a 22 KM distance.

When I asked the person assisting us - “Why do we only see the Baleros and Scorpios here?”, “Other cannot survive here. Even they last less than 50% of their life time.” is the reply I got.

I was told that the 75% of that 22Km road was newly built and the journey won’t be impossible. So I went off to sleep in expectation of a nice smooth ride for most part.

Slowly, the ride started getting bumpier. I tried to put myself to sleep and closed my eyes. It didn’t help though as my fragile body was jumping up & down, right & left all the time – hitting the front seat, hitting the roof, hitting everything which came with in 2 feet distance from me. Thank god I didn’t fell into driver’s lap.

Whenever I opened my eyes, I saw blurred saffron color – “Too much of BJP supporter you are” I told myself. But actually, being an iron ore belt, it was iron ore flying everywhere. So much of iron ore that I am sure that hemoglobin level of my blood would surely have crossed 20 in last 2 days.

But I kept my eyes closed and started forced my self into the rosy world of daydreaming. It was a beautiful world with me traveling across a jungle and sailing on the water. WOW!!!

DAMN!!! As I opened my eyes I realized that we were actually crossing a small lake on our vehicle. Suddenly I realized that we were never traveling on a road. We were passing through a jungle where driver drove the vehicle whenever he saw some drivable space between two trees. Now also, he wasn’t crossing the lake in a straight line but in an L shape as only this L shape could get him to a drivable space between two trees at the other end.

As soon as the lake test was over, we were staring at a 4 feet wide moat. Our maverick driver was preparing to get us through that moat also – he must have seen those fancy ads.

“Sir, sit tightly. Give me a minute”
“Are you crazy? Take some other route”
“Wait sir. I crossed it yesterday”
“NO” all of us cried.

Finally he took some other route and we traveled the 22 KM journey in little over 2 hours.
Generally a plant visit is something you would like to wrap up as soon as possible but not here. We were scared of taking the same route again. Quite Mumbai like feeling where you want to delay going back home as the orgasmic pleasure in Mumbai locals play a great deterrent.

We did come back from a longer but better route in 2 hours.

Well, the fun didn’t end there. As we were winding off the meeting, we were informed that we were sitting in a naxal-affected area. While coming back from dinner, we saw some 10-12 guys (age range – 18-25 years) boarding a jeep with the AK -47s and AK -56s, which most senior police officers can only dream to possess. Or may be they were the policemen.

While traveling back, we nearly missed a gang war as we saw 15-20 guys with lathi-dandas and waiting for their target. The road from hotel to station was not as bad as we were told and we traveled 22 KMs in 45 minutes. But considering the build up before it, the darkness and it crossing through a jungle, it was surely one of the scariest I have seen.

My flight is still sometime away and I hope that the country – air and road will take me home.

But again, never ever say in life – I have seen it all. Worst might just be around the corner.


Dreamer said...

stop cribbing and start working

Vibhash Prakash Awasthi said...

@ dreamer....may be thn i will get promoted like u

Spiff said...

@ I hv been to better places

Yayaver said...

pothole free roads are no where in up and u can not expect it in democratically elected communist regime of 37 years....

Sunil said...

and you're working on credit ratings of this plant..? :)