Last night before sleeping, we had checked the distance of the beach from our hotel and it was not far. Hardly a minute’s drive. So it was not going to be a much task for us. Visakhapatnam has one of the most beautiful beaches to be seen. The beach which we were going to visit had a vast frontal area.
We got up sharply at 5 am and got fresh within 15-20 minutes. At around 5:30 am, we left the hotel and headed towards the beach which was almost a straight line on the map.
The night before, we decided to explore the city until noon and then leave for Bhubaneshwar. I had some errands to be carried out in the city before we left. First of all, we all wanted to witness the magnificent coastline. Second, when we used to stay here, my mom and dad had many friends and it was my responsibility to locate one of them. I knew the address but it was more than 20 yrs old. I doubted where the person was staying there. Their full name was not known. My mom and dad used to call him (the person whom I was looking for) ‘Visu Rao’. Mom had forgotten. It was my job to find him and re-connect with my family. Third, I wanted to visit the hospital where I was born. The name was “INHS Kalyani”. And lastly, there was this temple situated atop a hill where we used to go often. And so, I decided to re-visit again.
We reached the beach first in no time. But, we were really disappointed as we would not be able to witness the sunrise and the sky was full of clouds. They were thick and grey and were all over. We were completely taken by surprise. But, we decided to make most of the moment.
For a moment, we just sat on the steps and watched as the waves lashed the shore. It was 2nd Oct, Gandhi Jayanti, and so a large number of the crowd had turned up at the beach. There was some kind of function going on with school children everywhere. The event was of the ‘Clean India Movement’. Everyone was seen cleaning the beach and picking up the plastic and unwanted stuff which was polluting the beauty of the beach.
We took a stroll along the beach line walking down the road and then returned to where our bikes had been parked. We then went to a nearby tea shop for our morning dose.
We also saw South African cricket team as they were heading towards the stadium for their Day 3 of the ongoing test match against India. We even saw the big ‘fan’ (Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary) of Sachin Tendulkar, all painted and carrying an Indian flag and marching along the road in front of us. We decided to have a photograph with him but, suddenly in that moment, he was escorted by someone in his car.
After our tea, we went to the address given to me by Mom where I had to locate the person. I was in mixed minds about locating this person. At one point, I was excited that my parents will reunite with a long lost friend (Before the trip had started, I tried searching him on social media but, was unable to locate) and on the other, I had the dull feeling that he may no longer be staying at the address.
We reached the place with the help of Google maps. The address was located in the ‘Quarters’. That ‘term’ is usually denoted for the residential houses which people serving in Govt jobs get. When we reached there, there was complete silence all around. It was still early in the morning and being a national holiday, there was not much of a hustle and bustle.
One more clue which I had got that he used to stay in ‘C1’ or ‘1C’ building. Whether ‘C’ came first or last was not known. It had been a quarter of a century and parents had almost forgotten. So, here I was looking for both houses ‘C1’ and ‘1C’. With high hopes, I entered via a gate, parking my bike outside. CSK sir was waiting outside while I took Kartik along with me.
We enquired right after entering, to which we were told that the house which we were looking for was on the other side but through another gate. We listened to them and then went to the other gate. Parking our bikes again, we both went inside. We asked a person staying in the ground floor of the building right after the gate about whether such a person still lived here or where ‘1C’ or ‘C1’ building was. He told that he didn’t know. And so, we went further inside. Almost no was seen outside the homes and it looked like the quarters had been long deserted. Again, we asked a bunch of children playing around but they too were unaware. The language was a big problem as Hindi was not being spoken up to the mark and English was broken.
We went further deep inside and found a security guard. He pointed to a house where the oldest tenant of the quarter stayed. The guard told us to enquire with him. When we approached the person he murmured something in Telugu which we could not understand and he was also in a hurry to go somewhere.
Like this, we spent almost an hour roaming here and there, going through each and every house but no luck. We even located both ‘C1’ and ‘1C’ house, but the people staying there were different. And also, they didn’t had any info on him. There were also some ‘C’ blocks which were abandoned long ago and I suspected that the person might have been staying here before they were abandoned. Finally, I gave up and started walking back to my bike. On our way, we found one old man to whom we enquired about the person. He also told that he did not have any clue though he was staying there from last 15 yrs. There was also no records kept at the ‘Quarter office’ with the help of which we could trace the person. But the person told me that such records might be available in the main Govt office. We exchanged numbers and told him that I will soon contact with more details. With that we exited the quarters and went towards our next destination which was the ‘Madhavadhara Temple’.
We visited the temple just to get a feel of it and after that we started our journey back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped for having breakfast. The time was 9:25 am.
I also wanted to visit my birth hospital but we were really pressed against time and also it was quite far away from our current location. And so, in all, it decided to let it go and instead march for the hotel and get ready for our today’s ride to Bhubaneshwar.
At around 11: 15 pm we left the hotel and hit the road. As usual, it was hot and humid and we had to bear the city traffic till we exited the city.
The roads were superb and the we were just rolling with the wind. The weather was cloudy but there didn’t seemed any possibility of rain ahead.
We were feeling hungry and also it was late in the day and so we stopped by a road side ‘Dhaba’ to grab lunch. This ‘Dhaba’ was suggested by one of the petrol bunk guys some kms before when we had stopped for refueling.
Moments later after we hit the road again, the clouds really started to assemble together and it looked like it was going to rain any time soon and that’s what exactly happened. We could hear the light thunders from the sky above.
After riding for a some kms it did start to rain but it was not that intense. A level just above drizzling, you can say. I took a calculated risk by looking above and noting the location of the dark clouds and compared it with where we were heading. It was just going to be a temporary affair and not like a heavy downpour and so I pushed on. CSK Sir and Kartik stopped behind to pull over their rainy covers.
We regrouped again at the next toll plaza where we also took a small 5 mins break. That 10 mins of rain had really changed the scenery all around. The weather was cool now and it wasn’t raining at all. Soft wind was blowing and it only made us feel better about it. On top of that, the lush green paddy fields all around just complemented the scene. We took some pics and then moved ahead.
We knew where we were going to stay today in Bhubaneshwar. It was my social media friend Shashi with whom we were going to stay. He works in Railway and was going to book a railway guest house for us. I had sent him our live location with which he was tracking us.
It was dark by 6:30 pm and we still had many kms to go. The roads were good but there was a worry factor added which we did not face till now. Cows! Yes, cows were seen randomly sitting on the road and ruminating leisurely. Most of them where white in colour which was easily noticeable but some were black and this is where the real problem was going to start.
We decided to ride in parallel so that we could put more light on the road and in that way we would benefit each other. We were still maintaining our speed of 75-80 km/ hr. We took our last tea break of the day where we had sudden change of plan. Instead of heading towards Bhubaneshwar, we decided to end the day in Puri. We, anyways had intentions to visit Puri and so we decided to cover it first and then head towards Bhubaneshwar. In this way, we didn’t had to travel to Puri from Bhubaneshwar and then again come back.
I had informed this to Shashi about our change of plans and he happily obliged. On top of that, he managed to book a railway guest house for us in Puri and sent us the location. We re-routed the map and then head towards Puri.
We were riding in the dark and missed to notice the Chilika lake (largest coastal lagoon in India and 2nd in the world) which was right besides us. After some time, we diverted off from the main highway at Nirakarpur and Puri was still 50 kms more to go.
As soon as we entered the small narrow roads from the main highway, we were taken by surprise by the construction of the road. It was mix of cement and normal non-asphalt roads but it didn’t had normal 1 speed breaker but instead, it had 10 speed breakers in a row. This really jolted us when we went over them. At some point, we used to slow down but we soon realized that these were there all over till Puri and now we were either cutting it off by going from the sides or if that was not possible then we were simply standing when our bikes went over them.
Mental fatigue had started to creep-in riding on this road. We were all longing for this road to end but somehow it wasn’t the case. I was dying literally to get to the rest house and was counting each and every 100 mtrs we pushed.
The count remaining came down to 40 and then 30 and then 20’s. The last 15 kms was the toughest part. Finally, at around 6 kms left for the destination, we hit the good patch of the road and it was this road which came directly from Bhubaneshwar. After criss-crossing through narrow lanes of Puri, finally we came to our location.
A big guest house facing the beach and the east coast reserved for Railway officers and their relatives. The guest house was booked in the name of my friend’s friend and the guest house people greeted us when we arrived at the entrance. The time was around 9:45 am.
They helped us getting all our luggage all the way up till the 3rd floor. Upon entering the house we were really taken back by its sheer size. The house had been booked for 3 people but it looked like around 15 people could stay comfortably. We just marveled at the space and thanked my friend for the 11th hour support. We didn’t had to pay anything and the food was subsidized.
After all the luggage had been shifted to the room we got fresh and were ready to take in the dinner. The dinner was finished as told by the caretakers but somehow they managed to bring us food. And so, we had mix vegetables ‘subji’ along with roti, daal and rice.
We slept around 11 pm. Tomorrow, it was going to be a relaxing day for us. We were going to visit Puri and the Konark temples first thing in the morning. Knowing that these temples are quite famous among the visitors and to escape the huge crowd, we planned quite early to reach there at the Puri temple and take the blessings. We set the target of reaching the Puri temple at around 8 am.