My trip was great, I learned a lot, and I saw parts of the country I would otherwise never have seen.
Here is a short description of my trip in brief, short owing to my laziness.
Started off on the 15 morning flight to Kolkata, and straightaway disaster struck when I forgot to carry my cell along with me. I personally would like to put the blame squarely on the alignment of the stars in the heavens at that fateful moment when I left for the airport, although I am sure no one will buy that. pffttt!!!!!
I was impressed by the new airport, well... impressed enough to do that gay looking head tilt thing which is often accompanied by the pulling down of your lips and a lifting of the eyebrows. aarghh! you know what I am talking about.
Kolkata airport on the other hand looks like a bus terminal, like how the old Bombay airport used to look. giving you a first hand experience of what a person suffering from claustrophobia might feel like; enclosed in a box. I took a pre-paid taxi to Howrah junction, and the taxi driver coolly dumped me at the edge of the Ganges (they call it 'hoogly' there) and ordered me to take a ferry to the other side.
"You! take the ferry, I can't come till Howrah" he seemed to say.
Not pictured: a safe and stable means of transportation.
Howrah Jn. is right across the ferry 'stop' and is a huge station with absolutely no one to tell you where your train will arrive. There are 20+ platforms and a road runs right through it. The electronic display then showed that my train would arrive on platform 11, it finally arrived on platform 10.
I reached Jasidih at 11 in the night, and there were almost 2000 devotees of some temple at the station waiting to go home, they had taken over the station filling every inch of available space with their bodies and bags and filling every cubic inch of air with the sweet, sweet smell of pure, grade 1 hash, alas, I had no time to ask one of them for a drag.
Note the absence of our hash smokers.
Then we had a 4 hour ride to Dumka where I was to stay. Dumka is about 65 kilometers away from jasidih, but the road is awful, hence the absurd traveling time. I was greeted by the Trust members and we sat in a Maruti omni for the trip to Dumka.
I was scared out of my wits:
The driver was drunk, and unaware of the speed limit.
The driver was under the impressin that he was in the US and hence insisted on driving on the right the whole way to Dumka.
The omni is notoriously unstable.
There were no street lights at all.
There were no Policemen about.
And not to mention the naxals.
The people might not even have know what a hospital was.
The trust members looked like they were the 'molesting' types.
The only saving grace was
Somewhere along the way it started, dark heavy clouds, the kind of I have never seen before, started moving in from the direction we were traveling in. Relative velocity meant that the clouds looked like they were using rockets to get to us, quicker. What surprised me about the clouds however, was their thickness. They completely blocked out the moon. Nothing shined through. And, they covered the whole sky; plunging us into darkness, and then of course; it started raining as if it were the end of the world.
Scary as hell.
After 4 excruciating hours of sheer panic and the muttering of fervent prayers promising a cessation of smoking on my behalf, we reached Dumka and in a single piece, that too.
The relief; Thank you Jesus!
So here I was in the middle of nowhere, just earlier in the day I was at home, in Hyderabad, familiar ground, my territory. Life is inscrutable isn't it ?
The street that greeted me that night.
Note: This is the main street in Dumka.
That was day 1.