Thoughts of family and friends on New Years Day ran through our minds as we started our walk in the darkness of the early morning.
We were greeted by a Saksham representative who very kindly gave us some bottled water and masala dosa with idli for breakfast.
Bobby rested for a while then continue and further along the highway we were greeted by a mixture of older and younger Saksham members who help a banner ahead of Bobby as he walked.
The road started to become busy and a little further, another group of Saksham members had gathered to place a flower garland around Bobby’s neck.
By the time we were ready to start again, we noticed the busy junction ahead of us and felt a little sad knowing that if all had been well, we would have been walking straight toward the state of Odisha then on to Kolkata.
Unfortunately due to Bobby’s foot and the subsequent reduction in his walking pace, the new route could not accommodate West Bengal and would instead cut through the centre of India.
The roads we had become used to for so long were two to three lanes wide on either side but those were national highways and we had now turned onto a state highway which was one lane in either direction with no central reservation.
The route from the junction was busy and extremely noisy with truck horns ringing in your ears and the dust blowing on your face.
I was doing my best to shield Bobby from the constant stream of large and small vehicles that wished to occupy the space he was walking in.
Thankfully the road quietened down after a few kilometres as the surrounding became more rural. There were lines of trees standing tall and resolute on either side of the road providing us with lovely shade.
As we walked we noticed the ornate roof line of a large building in the distance. As we neared it, we noticed that is was pure white and almost palatial in appearance. Bobby and I guessed whether it was a large temple or some religious institution but when we passed, we were amazed and surprised to find out it was the SSN Engineering College!
As we passed the college, we kept glancing back to gaze and its wondrous architecture and could only imagine how it must feel like to study there.
We found a shady tree to park under for the next break and by the evening we luckily found an obliging, small petrol station to stop at for the night.
Water was in short supply in this area but Rahim managed to bribe the night staff with some extra food that he cooked and we were able to fill the Walkmobile’s large overhead tank and our portable water cans.
The sun quietly set and gave way to a cool night.
I slept dreaming of white palaces.