Sunday, April 10, 2016

13 August 2015 – Cochin to Palghat – Day 1


Perhaps it were these thoughts that set my mind against a formal flag off. A few friends and some family members gathered at Alfa Serene, where I had my flat in Cochin, close to 2 pm. Tyre pressure check, fuelling and car wash had all been done the previous day. Luggage was loaded into the car in the morning with different bags carrying clothes and accoutrements for warm and cold climes. Tent, bio toilet, car spares and such like are now almost permanent fixtures in the car. GK Abraham, my maternal uncle, officially flagged off of the Trans Himalayan Expedition once the emotional goodbyes were made and photos taken.  The 30 day journey that would cover 13,500 km had begun. The expedition per se from Jammu to Tezu would be less than 600o km to be covered in under 15 days. It is over 3500 km from Cochin to Jammu, the start point of the expedition; another 4000 km it would be from Tezu to Cochin. Travel to the start point and from the end point would take nearly 15 days. The distance and the time do not, by themselves, give any idea of the nature of the expedition. When I had returned from the Golden Quadrilateral Expedition in June 2013 I was asked by a Facebook worthy as to what was so significant in setting a record of travelling 6000 km in 88 and half hours with 80 and half hours spent behind the wheel. He said that the distance could be covered in a fraction over a day in the United States of America! This person lived most of his life in India and had relocated to the Big Apple just a few years ago. However, he had sworn allegiance to Uncle Tom and perhaps, out of the new found partnership, he had doubts about the worthiness of such achievements in India!
Idea Cellular had agreed to be the Telecom Partner for the expedition. They provided a 10 GB mobile WiFi hub connection that would be useful in remaining connected while on the move. While I had connected and tested the equipment in the car a few days before I took a detour to the Idea Cellular office for them to affix the sticker of the Company in the Circle office.

It was an incredibly slow crawl to Palghat, undisciplined driving and narrow highways added to the poor progress. However, the brighter side of it was that the crawl helped people read the information on the car and smile and wave their support to the expedition. Halt on the first night was in Palghat, where I have a small house in a rubber plantation, property inherited from my father. 

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