The Long Drive: Episode 1

I haven’t slept very well. Perhaps it was the excitement. I have never driven more than 500-odd kilometres in a day. This one is going to be more than 700. The last time I tried something closer, we were stuck in a traffic jam for a few hours. In the night; we slept in the car. Am I unable to sleep because I remember that?

The road today is well-known and often travelled. Almost all of it is a Dual Carriageway and three-fourths of my drive is on the Golden Quadrilateral. After Hubli, I am not sure what’s in store for me. The place I am supposed to reach, is not even on Google Maps. I feel quite comfortable about driving till Hubli. The adventure, I suppose, will start when I take left after Hubli.

It’s almost one in the morning, and I still do not feel sleepy. I have been planning this for the last three months. Routes on Google maps, asking for feedback on Twitter, tips from friends who have recently been to Rajasthan and the like. And after three months of rigorous planning, I have a completely new plan – in the opposite direction. We are going to South India, instead of the North. And I am now wondering, how I got this route and the locations in place in one week. Perhaps, that’s the reason why I don’t feel sleepy. I am surprised wide awake.

These thoughts go on, they occupy every crevice in my mind nudging their way back and forth to my attention. And I am still not asleep.

“It’s already 4:30,” she says, “you said we’d have to get out by 5:30.”

I wake up, and that seems to be proof enough that I did get some sleep. All my thoughts, who had slept with me, wake up with me. The excitement buzzes in my head. I take a minute for the buzz to settle.

We are ten minutes late. It’s 5:40am on the 23rd of December 2011.

We are off.

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