Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Long Walk

The swim refreshed him. It had become a habit, no matter which season, he would religiously take a plunge in the pool and swim for an hour. To quench the hunger he walked with Prasad to NN. Munching on a cream roll they talked about another crazy idea. The cycle trip sounded too simple and what could be more impressive than walking to Mumbai.

The idea was set and they planned the walk. Food to carry, medicine etc. Girish handed a bottle of Sloan’s linment balm.

He was working in a design department as inpart trainee. He had a chip conveyor design to finish but the anxiety of starting the walk kept the thoughts off the design. He sneaked out of the office at 3PM and Prasad was all ready. They quickly packed the food and one set of extra clothes and started to walk.

They debated about the actual distance. Was it 175 kms or more. They walked nonstop to Nigadi from Pimpri hostel. Soon found their pace to be 6kms and hour.

They crossed Dehu road and the slow climb to Talegoan . He could feel the strain of the walk.

They crossed Kamshet. He sank into a heap of construction sand completely exhausted. They took of the shoes and applied the liniment on their aching feet. It was now very dark and they had to shine their torches. The only sound was that of the wind and the roaring trucks.

Something glistened under the fading beam. Oh! It’s just a squashed snake. Lucky, he didn’t step on it. At the thought he shone the torch further. There was another long one, alive wriggling on the road, October heat perhaps.

It dawned on them that they had never considered snakes. With a dim torch it there was big chance of stepping on one. They were at the outskirts of Lonavla. They had walked 50 kms and were very tired. They decided to take a long rest.

Prasad was in deep sleep soon and he shivered as wind grew and the sweat cooled.
He could not sleep at all.

After an hour he woke up Prasad. They realized that it was better, if they got a ride to Khopoli. They could always continue early morning. Trucks rolled by, unwavered to their waving hands. It was almost 4AM. Finally one driver took mercy. As they clambered into the warm cabin, they immediately dozed off in deep slumber.

“Khopoli”..

“hmmmmmmmmmm”

“How long are you going”

“Goa”

He discussed with Prasad. Both weighed if they should rather drop off at Panvel?

Most of the ill decisions are taken when half awake or improper rest.

The driver was OK. They dosed off again.

They got off at the goa highway crossing. As the sun rose higher, the pains from the past day elevated. The liniment had done damage. It caused bad blisters on his feet and the friction with the canvas shoes made the walk more painful. They moved along the creek near Panvel and the heat was unbearable. They poured water inside their shoes. Squeaked at every step but effectively cooled down.

He could see butterflies flutter by and collapse on the road due to the heat.

By noon, they reached the London Pilsner factory near Juinagar and there they decided to call it off.

Since the last evening, they had covered a distance of 70 kms by walk. Well some achievement at age of 17.