Allahbad to Chitrakoot
So on day 4 speculating an ecstatic reaction, I asked my mother, “how does it feel since it’s your fourth day on the HIGHWAY…”
and she responded- “koi feeling hi nahi hai. roz unpack karte hain, raat ko phir se pack karte hain aur subah nikal padte hain.”
(There is no ‘feeling’. We just unpack everyday, pack it all up again in the night and then hit the road the next morning…)
Travelling is no fulfilling of a utopic dream and definitely there is no easy road to instant gratification. There are bound to be disagreements, dissatisfaction and drama…As they travel from big cities to smaller towns their journey takes unforeseen twists and turns. On day 4 they left the city of Allahbad at 8:00 in the morning and managed to reach their destination- Chitrakoot only by 12:30 p.m-distance of mere 131.4 kms on NH 76 covered in more than 4 hours. They took the wrong route where the road was badly damaged, ended up driving through a village- Naari Bari and then drove back on the same road for about 30 kms to get to the right route.
Due to the delay they got to spend most of the afternoon with a very fine and a knowledgeable local lady: Mrs. Sita Pandey, and she didn’t have any hesitations sharing a part of her knowledge, which had them engrossed and entertained for almost 2 hours, on- how a ‘rishta’ with a recently annointed IAS officer is cracked, almost as competitive as cracking IIT- JEE for many many many prospective ladki- vaalas queuing up everyday, for several days, to book the perfect husband for their daughter; the current ‘rate- card’ for an IAS officer or for a software- engineer in town; marrying off her 3 daughters and making no demands from her recently wedded daughter-in-law; being ok with the son and his wife moving out of town… as she too, after all, came back to the town, from a bigger city- Jhansi, only post- retirement!
After this unplanned but very engaging rendezvous they moved towards Annapurna Bhojanalay for lunch, where they had sumptuous Indian thaali and then on received a grand welcome, by Dr. Nand Lal Shukla (close friend of a close friend), Principal, Post- Graduate College, Banda- a nearby town. He came all the way to receive them and arranged for their accommodation at the local Tourist Bungalow.
A very tiring and exhaustive day concluded with rekindling of spirits at the sandhya aarti at Ramghat on the banks of the local river- Mandakini.
Many thanks and heartfelt gratitude to: Mr. Naresh Bahl for organizing and arranging their stays across U.P. (Ferozabad, Kanpur and Allahbad), Mr. Ajay Bhalla and Dr. Nand Lal Shukla for coordinating their stay at Chitrakoot.