I woke up leisurely since I did not have anything urgent at hand to complete. The social media updates had been done and the documentation were all up to date. After a luxurious shower I went to the restaurant and had a filling breakfast. With all that done I remembered that I had not paid for the stay in the ORH in Mussoorie that was on contract with the hotel. I took an auto to the Dehra Dun railway station. All the officials were busy with the inspection of a senior officer. I met the Station Manager on the platform and stated my intention of visiting there. He deputed one of his minions and asked me to make the payment in the office of the SMR. I did not have to wait very long to complete the formalities. This despite the fact that what was being done was against rules in force. Payment for the ORH was to be done in advance and the receipt produced at the time of check in. in this case I was making the payment after checking out. However, all formalities were done smoothly. I was also made to have a cup of tea while waiting for the documentation to be done.
I took some time to go around the station building out of sheer nostalgia. It was at this station that I had arrived on 1 September 1981 as a ‘fresher’ to join the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. During the train journey from Delhi I had made a few friends who were also on their way to the Academy as probationers. After disembarking from the train we were directed to large buses that took us on the fairy tale drive to Mussoorie. We had stoppeden route for a cup of tea and the nippy air had made me pull my summer clothing closer to keep warm. Those three months in Mussoorie had been sublime.
Back in the hotel I had lunch and checked up on the situation in Nepal. Apparently things were going from bad to worse as per fresh inputs. The entry via Ruxaul was also ruled out. I could try to get into Nepal via Sonauli, which would require major re-routing vis-à-vis the route laid out by Limca Book of Records. I spoke to the Associate Editor of LBR and appraised him of the situation I was facing. He was very supportive and requested that I maintain proper supporting documents to justify the re-route. That was a major tension off my back. The Bhagat Ford team assured me that the car would be ready by late evening. I took the remaining spare time to decide the revised route. Later in the evening I decided to head for Sonauli via Haridwar and Bareilly with a break overnight at Lucknow. I also made arrangements for accommodation in the ORH in Lucknow. The idea was to somehow get to a border post of Nepal, assess the situation first hand and thereafter decide what to do.
As I was finalising plans for the next two days I got a call from Bhagat Ford informing me that the work on the car would be completed in a short while. The team in Bhagat Ford did the star turn today. A complete overhaul of the Champion was done and she was ready now to take on the toughest road conditions. I felt extremely grateful to Gopeshwar Sharma, TrilokDhumka, Rajesh and their 'ever smiling' crew for the excellent turnout of the car. I considered their work a commitment of RakshaBandhan to a Ford brethren, it being the auspicious day of the same. Gopeshwar and Trilok affixed sticker on Uttarakhand before I paid the bills, including the towage, and left for the hotel.