In sheer desperation as the driving day was prolonging with no hope of reaching Kolkata I wanted to find out alternatives. I was well and truly at my wits end. I reached out to Thulasiram in Visakhapatnam, who connected me to his friend who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area. He expertly guided me through the main roads and state roads till I hit the National Highway 2. His expertise stemmed from his professional engagements – he works with the Excise department. He suggested that it would be better if I halted in Kolaghat and suggested a small hotel too. Well past midnight I mercifully reached the Sher-e-Punjab at Kolaghat. An ordeal of over 20 hours had come to an end. Imagine 20 stressful hours behind the wheel to cover 650 km with hardly any rest in between.
The room at the Sher-e-Punjab was basic but worth the price. The restaurant attached to the hotel was doing brisk business even past the midnight hour. After ensuring that the car is parked safely I had a small snack and hit the sack.