After attending the early morning Sunday service at the St Joseph’s Church a small gathering at home feasted on the appams, puttu and egg roast that Satheesh, my brother, had organized. Apart from the usual suspects of Satheesh and his wife, Niba, Ummachan and Mathew, the farewell party included Beena, Ajay and my Uncle, MK George, who had played a critical role in the sponsorship of the Muthoot Group. The branded car looked magnificent and was an eye catcher. A few photographs and goodbyes later I rolled the car out of Alfa Serene on to the road for Kanyakumari. I had hit the roads once again on a longish trip by car after the All-India trip last year. However, there are two differences on this occasion, namely that the car is owned by me and that I am sponsored by the Muthoor Group.
Even on a Sunday the two laned NH47 was quite busy. I wondered if the narrow, pot holed roads on the Ernakulam-Trivandrum highway mirrored the Keralite mindset. Instead of the police concentrating on checking speed on the NH I feel that they should concentrate on educating those behind the wheels and checking rash and negligent driving. Besides, it should be the prime responsibility of the authorities to maintain the roads in good condition. Two vehicles in front of me were involved in an accident near Kayamkulam that could only be attributed to poor road condition. It is also ironic that politicians and high officials dart in and out of city traffic and on the highway at speeds higher than that prescribed while the ‘aam admi’ is subjected to laser guns and fined. These higher worthies should reflect on the fact that they would get nowhere on the roads in Kerala if they were to be without escorts and pilots and screeching sirens.
I got on to the Kanyakumari highway using the byepass road to Kovalam and Poovar. This saved me time by avoiding the busy stretches of Neyyatinkara and Balaramapuram. I had made arrangements to stay in Hotel Shingaar in Kanyakumari. After checking in to the Hotel I met up with the Muthoot team that had come for the send off. Shaibu and his young team members had come in advance to identify a gazette officer to certify the start and to organize the flag off. In the evening we went to the sunset point only to be disappointed by the shy sun that refused to come out from behind a thick veil of clouds. Later we did a reconnaissance of the exit road that would put me on the highway to Tirunelveli. The hour was approaching and the adrenaline was in full flow.