Three of my batchmates hold senior positions in North Western Railway with its headquarters in Jaipur. Of them, Deepak Chhabra, is the most active on social media. Hence, locating him is easy, which I did for the rest house room in Ajmer. He obliged without a demur and here I was getting ready to leave for Chandigarh on the penultimate day of reaching my starting block. Despite the obvious discomfort I felt in the rest house I rested well and was fresh in the morning to take on the 654 km drive to Chandigarh via Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Neemrana and Rohtak. I negotiated the fairly good road, albeit with some rough patches, in eight and half hours.
Raveesh Nandan, a Facebook friend, had been tracking my movement since departure from Cochin. He had requested a meeting in Chandigarh. He came to the ORH with his wife, Gargi, and their pretty doll-like daughter, Lakshmi. He works for a pharma company in the Baddi industrial estate and has been resident there for nearly a decade. They go to Kerala either to attend functions or for emergencies. He took a keen interest in the travels I had done and we spent quite a bit of time chatting about the expeditions to London and Singapore. It was also quite informative to know about the thriving market for used cars. Luxury cars are often available at deep discounts because of the craze to ‘own the latest’. It was interesting also to learn about the proactive support provided by the RTO at the designated ‘car exchange’ market where ‘NOC’ is provided on the same day so that registration of cars in the state to which it is taken is done without any hassle.