This Puja vacation, I had been to Arunachal Pradesh, known as the land of darkness. If one has not been to the Howrah station this Puja, he would not know the horrors that he had to face if he had gone there. In normal circumstances, it takes an hour at a maximum to reach Howrah station from my house. That day, it took us almost three hours. The scheduled departure of the train was at a quarter to three in the afternoon. With two minutes in hand, we found ourselves urging the driver to go fast atop Howrah Bridge. To make things worse, it started to rain heavily. We almost waded our way through the people and the water that had overflowed into the station into the platform five minutes after the scheduled departure of the train. We had expected that the train had left and came almost without hope into the platform. We were greeted by some shocking news, that none of us had ever dreamt of. The train could not come in before evening due to the water that had flowed into the car shed. With no options left, we settled down on the platform floor for four hours amidst buzzing people and an endless ocean of dirty water.
The next big mishap occurred in Assam. I woke up the morning of 10th October looking forward to a ten-hour journey from Tezpur to a forest bungalow in a place called Miao. All of us were looking for an adventure in the forest later that day. If we just knew that we were to have a real adventure, quite of a different type later in the day. The journey started off well, with sweet memories of a delicious breakfast. The first troubles showed up when a ten-year-old boy of our group started vomiting. We carried on hoping for the best. It is necessary to state here that our driver was not very familiar with the roads outside Assam. We had entered Arunachal Pradesh. The roads were bumpy and rocky. However, the guide map that we had stated that roads would be quite good. That was the base of our suspicions. We saw a river in front of us after a while. It was apparent that we had come on the wrong road.
The people would see a car whooshing past at about dusk as if it was a jet fighter plane. We raced past many places till we had gone up to 20 kilometers. Darkness was falling fast and we had a long distance to cover. Everybody knows that it is not a good feeling to drive through jungles in the darkness of the night. Putting up at a wayside inn was impossible; there were no inns for a thousand miles. The ten-year-old boy had become quite a regular performer now.
The road went on, it seemed as if we were going on a never-ending journey. As told by Robert Frost- The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Only, for me, the woods were dark and not lovely at all. It all had a sinister feeling about it. And I had many promises of a safe return to my family. The safe return was doubtful. And, of course it was apparent that I had many miles to go before I could sleep.
The daylong frightening journey ended at night, about 9 o clock, leaving us terrified of long journeys by car.