Anup told me that the trip to Guwahati can be done in 10 hours. I did not consider this possible as I had taken 5 hours from Guwahati to Shillong and a further 9 hours from Shillong to Karimganj. I set myself a target of 12 hours to reach Guwahati from Silchar, considering that the road condition for the most part of the journey is very, very bad. Starting off before 5 am, in blinding misty conditions, the weather cleared soon; the road condition remained awful. My tolerance level for bad roads has risen considerably after experiencing the road in Manipur. I do not yet know if I will experience worse road conditions. I guess not. I heard, in Shillong, that a Japanese tourist had recently done the Ngopa to Imphal trip in a Sumo. After completing the trip he called a press conference in Imphal and declared the Ngopa-Churachandpur-Imphal road as the worst in the whole world! Therefore, it is comforting to know that better days are here again.
Talking about rising tolerance level for bad roads I am reminded of what my father had told me about ‘bosses’. I was fortunate, in almost every job I held, to have extremely good bosses (with exceptions, of course); ones that tolerated me! When I came across a ‘deviant’ I discussed him with my father. He told me then that one must experience a bad boss to appreciate how good a good boss is. So very true of roads too – unless you experience the really bad roads you will not appreciate the good roads.
For practicing Catholics it is mandated that one must confess and receive communion at least once a year. The emphasis is on cleansing oneself spiritually. Part of the cleansing process is the preparation for confession, the actual confession, the Act of Contrition and penance. The penitential act is normally a set of prayers or some such which the priest who confesses you deems appropriate. I have a suggestion for the Catholic Church. The form of penance should be drastically revised. For ‘mortal sins’, the perpetrator should be asked to drive a Maruti Swift from Khawkhon to Sinjawl (on the Ngopa-Churachandpur section) road at 25 kmph without any assistance. The more heinous the sins the more number of trips he/she should be asked to do. For the perpetrators of ‘venal sins’ similar ‘treatment’ on the Kalain to Digorikhal (on the Silchar-Umkiang section) road is suggested. If the suggestion is accepted and implemented by the Church, I am sure that either the number of sinners will reduce or the roads will improve. In all probability, the latter will happen, for sin is as old as Adam!
Despite the hold ups in Shillong and other places I made it to Guwahati in about 10 hours. The Shillong to Guwahati stretch helped me save time with sparse traffic and good road condition. On the way I dropped in at the Service Station and made a booking for tomorrow morning. The service manager wanted a full day for the vehicle at the garage. After reconfirmation of the servicing schedule I will reschedule my journey ahead. Tentatively, I have decided to drastically prune the Assam and Arunachal drive to catch up lost time.