Since I am travelling again, my internet time has decreased and with it my blogging time. As Amy says, for someone who dislikes travelling as much as I do, it is indeed amazing the amount of it that I end up doing!! Well, back to our adventure from Shillong to Ludhiana. After we reached Asansol, and hit the Golden Quadrilateral, our journey changed complexion completely. First of all, the roads were excellent. It was a four-laned highway for the most part and though there were the occassional craters and other confounders, they were few and far between. Then the Old Reliable, which until this point (as The Black Mamba noted in a comment) had been behaving more like an Old Unreliable, finally got used to the idea that however much she protested, the journey was going to go on. And once she accepted this fact, she behaved beautifully and except for the battlefield masquerading as her bumper, may have passed for a new car! And the best part was that after all the excitement of the initial part of the journey, Amy and me had some uninterrupted time to spend together without worrying about the car or the road, which of course had been the main purpose of the journey. That was oh-so-sweet...
I have bored you enough with these seemingly never-ending chronicles and so, this one will be short. Travelling through Jharkhand was bittersweet for me - all the wonderful memories of my 2 odd years there came rushing back. We stopped for chai and I heard once again the lilting, singsong Bhojpuri that is so very different from most of the other, harsher, North Indian dialects of Hindi. We talked about the many people I had encountered during the time at Satbarwa and prayed specially for many of them. Some still remain at Nav Jiwan Hospital, Tumbagara, serving God in one of the poorest areas of our country (Palamu district was one of the 20 poorest districts when I worked there and I doubt much has changed!). Others have moved far and wide to various corners of our country and the world. Our paths crossed for a short time, but the influence and friendship will last a lifetime and beyond.
The landscape of Bihar and Jharkhand was obviously different from the green of Assam and Bengal - the base colour here was brown, with green trees interspersed between. But recently, there has been some rain in Satbarwa we hear - and thank God with all the poor farmers.
Then we were in the great state of Uttar Pradesh, where we stopped in the temple town of Varanasi at a picturesque roadside motel for lunch.
A picture of a solar powered traffic-signal that we saw in UP - to go with the earlier pictures of pollution!
Since we had thrown in our front room cushions at the last minute, I used them to make myself comfortable! And on the good roads it really felt like I was in a throne!!
By evening we had reached Fatehpur, home of our dear friends Drs. Sujith and Sunitha. Though they were not at home, they had offered to let us stay there and there were even some patients to be seen that night!! Then it was on to Ludhiana, with a stop-over at Delhi with the Abrahams, whose house is now becoming something of a second-home considering the number of times we have stayed there in the last 2 months! The loving hospitality and stimulating conversations make it difficult to leave and it was a really late start on the final day. But we made it at last, steaming in to Ludhiana 6 days, 9 states and 3023 kilometers after we had set out from Shillong. It was a wonderful adventure, one that we would not have missed for the world. We have some great memories and can testify again to God's faithfulness and protection on the long, long road! And sure, we would do it again, and that, as they say, will be another story!!
As Suneeta suggested, I have put in maps for all the posts. And this is the final story.
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Use + and - to zoom in and out and the mouse to toggle. Thanks Google maps! And thanks Suneeta - these do make a difference!
P.S. For those who are planning this trip, it would be possible to do Fatehpur to Ludhiana in one day, but wanted to meet friends in Delhi and so took it easy. Also, Siliguri to Asansol is a one-day trip. Shillong to Siliguri is tough, but Guwahati-Siliguri is possible. So, if well planned with no unexpected adventures or car troubles, this could be a peaceful 4 day trip give or take half a day.