We were up early. It was to be a busy day and it had all been meticulously planned the day before.
The booked taxi arrived on time at 10am to take Bobby, Shelin and Vijay to Saveetha Hospital. I made my way to the IT department and setup to work. Rahim and Satinder had thouroughly cleaned the inside of the Wa;lkmobile and were popping to the market to by vegetable and see if they could source some fruit.
I was happy that I could upload a lot of data and preserve out mobile data quota but reality turned out to be far from ideal. The Saveetha network or the route the upload was taking was mind numbingly slow. It might have been due to the influx of students since the college had fully opened for the first time in nearly a month. The reason was not clear. What was clear was the fact I was not going to get as much done as I had hoped.
Two hours came and went very fast. Everyone was back from the hospital so I made my way to the guest house.
The doctors were very thorough with Bobby and the x-rays taken revealed that although the fracture had not fully healed, it was healing. Bobby could walk on it but should slowly ramp up and take it very easy for the first couple of weeks.
Now those of you that have been reading regularly will note the problems I had obtaining a gas cylinder near the start of the walk. In the end we managed to get a commercial one which is much larger than domestic ones at 19kg. The only problem is they’re only available commercially. I asked Vijay to contact their cafeteria. They replied saying that there are three gas suppliers in India and they use the one called Indane. If our cylider was an Indane one, they could sell us one and take our empty cylinder away.
I looked at opur cylinder which looked pretty battered and had no markings. All I could see was a little blue paint here and there. In the end, a staff member from the cafeteria arrived, took one look at our cylinder and told us we were lucky … it was from Indane! I was so relieved and he had a replacement for us within the hour.
We made our way out of the campus which was now bustling with students, onto the main road and on our way to the bank. Luckily I had checked with the bank in advance and they had told me they did not process transactions after 2pm. I knew we might get late and had made special provision for us to be seen after that time.
By the time we left the bank it was 4pm. Shelin was very quiet at we made our way towards her drop off point at the bus garage. Whe we got there she said a tearful goodbye to Bobby. Satinder and I helped her with her bags and saw her on her way.
The position I had marked at our start location was on top of a flyover and was way too dangerous. I asked Rahim to carry on driving until it was safe.
I looked out of the window at the heavy traffic and noticed white powder scattered on the sides of the road like some sort of urban icing sugar.However I knew is was anti bacterial powder which had been scattered on the ground in areas where raw sewage had made its way. The dirt had now dried out and the dust in air churned up by the passing traffic must be thick with all manner of nasties. I closed all the windows and while Bobby relaxed with his eyes closed, I waited until we had passed all of the traffic and there was no dust hanging in the air.
I told Bobby that we were ready. The time was 5pm and I knew we would only walk for 1 hr. What I didn’t know was Bobby’s pace.
We started slowly and when the hour was up, Bobby had covered 3km with little discomfort. He wanted to walk a little more but this was the limit I had set and we parked at the side of the road for the night.
I went to sleep thinking of the full day of walking ahead.