Route : Nainital - Haldwani - Rampur - Barielly - Lucknow - Raebarielly -
Distance covered: 585 Kms.
Place of Stay on 29.05.2009: Residence of Nirnimesh's Bindi Didi
By each passing day things were getting more challenging. The drive from Nainital to Allahabad was the first real test of our driving skills. As if the sheer enormity of the distance was not challenging enough, mother nature lashed her fury in full force. On the way, we experienced the heaviest rainfall of our lives, more of it a bit later.
We started from Nainital on 28.5.2009 at 11.30 am. Our Moghul of the Mountains drove us down from the mountains of Nainital to the plains of Barielly. Thereafter, Bunty took over to drive us around the hindi heartland. Surprisingly, he was safe and fast, so unlike Bunty. It was a fascinating journey. We witnessed the legendary Barielly ka Bazar where the most famous jhumka was dropped. We also went through the bastion of Raibarielly. Really felt anguished to see the poverty and helplessness of the constituency of the most powerful family of the Indian politics. Life is so full of contradictions. A diversion at Sitapur saved us the agony of visiting Pilibhit and witnessing the sad face of our great democracy helplessly seeing communalism in the seat of power.
Before Bunty starts accusing me of regional bias (he already thinks that I am Raj Thakrey's agent in Delhi) I must shift to some more interesting topic and that has to be Sitapur. I, the underdog of the trip, in terms of driving took over from Bunty from Sahajahanpur. It was first time I was driving Bunty's car. Every one was tensed and skeptical, but within few kilometres, I was successful in removing their fears and was also privileged to get a rare word of appreciation from our expert. However, mother nature, it seemed, wanted me to prove my credentials beyond reasonable doubt and not merely beyond the preponderance of probabilities. Her most trusted Lieutenants - rain, wind and lightning were dispatched in full force. It seemed they had come with the sole intention of ruining my reputation as a driver. The rain gods brought my visibility to near zero, the lightning on and off gave threats and the wind seemed to have decided to take us along with it. However, the men and the machine prevailed and battling through we reached Lucknow hoping to relish on famous Tunda Kebabs. But our battle with the rain gods took a bit longer and Mr. Tnuda had packed up by then.
With the slight feeling of the disappointment but with the an overwhelming sense of purpose, we decided to move on to Allahabad and we were there at 4 am.
Allahabad greeted us with a spectacular view of the magnificiently illuminated High Court. The view was worth 13 hrs. drive if not more. Though the view ligthened up our spirits, our bodies bodies had given up by then and the sleep godess obliged without much persuasion. After a good nap, we got up only to be willing recipient of the hospitality of the Tripathy family. After relishing on the delicacies served by Bindi Didi, we proceeded to visit the High Court.
The grandness and elegance of the building of the High Court was typically the one which is associated with the British structures and the poor maintenance and lack of sense of cleanliness was so typically Indian. The Allahabad High Court is the bigeest High Court of India and presently has a strength of 160 judges presided over by Hon'ble Mr Chief Justice C. K. Prasad.
After visiting the Chief Justice's court which happened to be adourned by our friend, Ardhgendu's father, we returned back to the Tripathi household with a reosolve to start our journey for Patna. Not unexpectedly, we met with lot of resistance, our training as a lawyers came in handy and we were successful in meeting all the attempots of staying at Allahabad at night. However, the Tripathis pulled the aces up their sleeves. We were educated as to how it was dangerous to travel at night in Bihar. Nisha Bhabhi who happens to be from Bihar spiced it up by narrating the incidents of how her family memebers were kidnapped for ransom. The authenticity of these stories still remains doubtful but they served the purpose. We decided to halt at Allahabad that night. We could see the pleasure on the faces of the Tripathis of achieving asn impossible feat of convincing three lawyers. After the decision was made, a wave of happiness filled the Tripathi household and that smile on their faces was the real reason which held us back in Allahabad than anything else. After the celebration, we retired to bed at about 1 pm. with a steely resolve to start our journey to Patna at 4 am in the morning.
(Authored by Amol Chitale)