2 July 2012 – A fine start
Well rested after a good sleep I was fresh and ready for the 4 am start. The car was to be flagged off from front of the Muthoot branch a short distance away from the hotel where I was staying. The Branch team and Cochin team enthusiastically organized the send off from Kanyakumari. The certification as necessitated by the Limca Book of Records was done by the District Medical Officer. The lady and her assistant were at site well in advance of the start.
I had made a detailed chart of the time I was expected to take to cover the distance between two certification locations. Having had little experience of most of the roads on the planned trip the timings were tentative. However, this was crucial since the authorities for certification had to be in position well before I reached the intended location. The meeting points were well rehearsed with the Muthoot teams across the country over phone and Video Conference. Harish Thampy, the Manager Marketing, was the central point of contact. We were to stay in constant touch over mobile; he in turn would do the needful to ensure personnel at the intended locations. This day was a test of all the background work that had been done. I can say with utmost pride that the support of the Muthoot teams across the entire run during the day was exemplary and I lost no time at all in ensuring the documentation as per the guidelines issued by LBR.
The excellent condition of the road (NH7) right from Kanyakumari to Kurnool ensured that I was ahead of the scheduled time. In fact, when I left Dharmapuri I was almost 2 hours ahead of the intended time. However, the mess of getting in to and out of Bangalore, with heavy traffic to boot, ate away all the gains. The excellent road condition did not come free. Regular tolling booths saw a steady erosion of Rs. 100 notes. By the time I drove into the hotel in Kurnool more than Rs. 800 was spent on tolls. I did not mind that for the nearly 1050 kms drive was hassle free and done in good time. Though there were rains in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli it did not hamper my progress. It gave me immense pleasure to overtake an Express train near Vadipatti, near Dindigul. But the most important factor on the day was the enthusiastic participation of MF teams from Kanyakumari to Kurnool.
I was booked to stay in Kurnool at Hotel Rajavihar, a short diversion from the NH. A large turnout of MF personnel and press interaction kept me up till what I thought should have been bed time. Once I walked into the allotted room I was appalled by its upkeep. I changed three rooms before I decided enough is enough. I had made a poor selection to rest a weary body. Despite placing an order I was not served dinner till 10.30 pm, when I decided that a couple of apples should suffice. When I hit the bed I was in for a greater shock; the bed vibrated. Apparently there was some heavy machinery beneath the room I was in. I tossed and turned around till I no longer could. If it were not for the certification process I would have checked out immediately and left for Hyderabad.