When the roads took a toll.
A surprise that lasted over 600 kms and beyond 12hrs. Two travelers took off one long weekend to the east coast of Indian sub-continent. The destination was Pondicherry. Oh, the drive. Pits were deep, the bumps took a leap and yet they cruised to reach the erstwhile french colony.
The peaceful retreat at "Quiet", an Auroville beach stay made 2 days of the holiday as splendid as it could get. The return was another story.
The destination was just 253 kms away. They had 24hrs in hand. The two decided to visit "Mahabalipuram" and then return back. The East-Coast-Road drive was mesmerizing. Narrow but a great road, outlined on both sides by plush-green trees. The drive took 90 minutes. Another stretch of the Bay-of-Bengal beach line but a lot more scenic(w.r.t the commercialised beach line of Puducherry). After spending around an hour at the spot and a late lunch, they decided to head back 'home'. Home is Bangalore, Karnataka. The distance (technically) was around 300 kms. So, the estimated time of reaching was 11PM.
Map : Mahabalipura - Chengalpettu-Vellore-Krishnagiri-Hosur
It was all fine. They were in Chengalpett. But sometime around that stretch, things were hazing out. Sun was setting.There was a busy town to cross. Lots of hustle-bustle later, they suddenly were not sure of where they were headed. An aimless straight line drive later, there was a halt at a "toll" booth.
There they saw, the horror in front of their eyes. A big green monstrous board with evil letters in white which read, OMFG
"CHENNAI - 81Kms"
For a second, it seemed like a nightmare. But it was reality. Reality of time spent on the wrong roads, navigating in the wrong direction and of course at the worst hour. Time was close to 8 and they were further away from their destination.
And before hitting "Tambaram" (which was the only spot from where they could get back on track), they passed through another "toll" booth. After hours of going round and round, they were finally on the "path" at around 11.
11PM , distance - 354Kms.
Sleepless for almost 15hrs now; continuous driving and the surprise of an extra roadtrip!
It was a race to survival. Race to life. Race to conquer sleep!
The 5 hours of driving after 11PM comprised at least 7 toll booths and 15Kms of blind driving. The most horrifying part was when the fine lines between the five elements of earth started to blur. The sky was merging with earth and it looked like it was becoming water and light was illuminating the miraculous phenomenon. And we, the travelers were cruising through space.
12 hours later, they were back home and had just one thing to say,
Yeah baby, we are alive!