5th July, 2008.
Route: Bangalore – Delhi – Chandigarh.
Distance covered: 2298 km's.
The day started quite early; surprisingly the cab driver was at our place even before our alarm rang. Got ready, picked up Manoj and then Sudhakar on the way. Manoj had forgotten his bike’s papers so went back to his house again and then left straight to the airport.
The journey looked predictable and comfortable, little we knew that time that it will take a lot longer. We reached Delhi sharp at 10.00 am and were out of airport by 10.30am. The flight was comfortable, the journey pleasant and on time, as always with Jet airways. Took a pre-paid taxi to the nearest Metro station, Dwarka sector 11. The Metro station is surprisingly very clean and well maintained. We were to board metro till ISBT; it involved change of metro at ‘Rajiv Chowk’ or as previously known ‘Cannaught Place’. The journey by Metro took longer than expected, reached ISBT by 1.00 pm.
There was some confusion over whether we would get VOLVO to Chandigarh or not. One could observe a typical Govt.. attitude especially at the Punjab and Haryana roadways booking counters at Delhi ISBT. The guys were literally sleeping at the enquiry counters and they themselves were not aware whether VOLVO to Chandigarh would come or not. Their only answer was to wait and watch; thankfully bus arrived by and left promptly at 1.30pm. We were to know later that there is only one Volvo that runs and it is not actually a Volvo but a look-alike, and it had not been operational for past 2 days because of breakdown.
Reached Chandigarh by 7.00 pm. Shantanu, Manoj and Sudhakar checked-into the hotel in sector 17C. The hotel was worthless for the price paid. Rushed around Chandigarh to buy a Helmet, and woodlands shoes. It seems market in Chandigarh closes by 8.00pm.
Got a call from my Aunt, who had been to Laddakh few weeks before; she and parents strongly objected going on bike trip to Laddakh. Convincing them was a tough job and to add to the problems the phone battery died in between. Worst, access to any contact was lost because of the died battery. For the first time the realization of our reliance on the cell phones hit me; the address book, the phone numbers, appointments, notes and what not; everything came to a halt. Went back to Shantanu’s hotel, charged cell phone for 5 minutes, wrote all important contact numbers in a diary and then proceeded back to collect the bikes.
It certainly looked easy and quick to collect bikes from the courier company, but it wasn’t; almost another 3 hours, to be precise 23.55, to take bikes out of the premises. What looked trivial things like unpacking bikes, getting petrol from the nearest petrol bunk, starting the bikes, finding that one of the bike’s key is comfortably in the bags at the hotel and getting that key back took eternity.
Madhavi’s cousin had been waiting patiently for us for dinner, which was really late and we had to leave early morning at 5.30 from their place.