Day 37 – New Delhi to Kanpur

For some reason, I didn’t get a nice sleep.

It wasn’t like I was super excited about getting back on the National Highway 2 knowing fully well it was one of the country’s most used highways by trucks of all sizes. It wasn’t like I was too afraid of somebody since I knew the giant Gols was in the next room scaring away ghosts with his booming voice. It wasn’t like I was bored of the road since I was still raring to go. So it came as a surprise that I had to spend the entire night with my eyes open wondering and wandering about random things in the world. Then the problem struck me.

I had been sleeping my ass off all day yesterday. My eyelids were bored of being closed.

So I opened them wide open and brushed my butt of all the dirt which had collected and picked up my luggage and headed down. In about five minutes, I knew where I had to go. From the fully filthy Delhi, I will head to even more filthy Kanpur. The capital of the leather industry in India, the city is easily the dirtiest I have seen till now. Sounds ominous.

One hour later it was 11 am. And I was still very much in Delhi. I was losing patience and salt water from my skin pores. I was getting nowhere and to think of it, I was looking for the most often used highway out of city. I was crossing junction after junction, overtaking autorickshaw after autorickshaw and was getting absolutely nowhere. Directions from clueless individual after cleless individual led me, after a long circuitous route, to the road which leads one to Faridabad. I was on my way.

It is a hot day. I am sweating like a pig inside the Cramster’s and AGV’s “fully ventilated” structure. The bike feels good. The wheels are racing regularly over 100 kmph on NH2’s flat black tarmac.

First pit stop – Mathura. This one of a kind place, the birthplace of India’s most revered Hindu god, is a very different sort of attraction. Especially Vrindavan. This is where Lord Krishna was supposed to have done his heavenly dance with the ladies of the village. The gardens here are littered with interesting rock structures. Unfortunately I don’t stop here too much longer than a tea break. I have been here before and seen this place from close quarters earlier. Plus, if I am to have even a remote chance of making it to Kanpur, I need to rush.

Second pit stop – Agra. The city housing the monument of love. The Taj Mahal. I don’t think I need to say anything about the city. But I don’t stop here either. It is going to take too much time. And I have seen this place threadbare too.

The highway is beautiful. Flat out black ribbon extending unendingly through the green fields of UP. There is bearable amount of traffic. The air is begining to cool down as I get away from the cities and head deep into the rural areas of UP. The green fields are very alluring. Dhabas (motels) all over the place smelling of nice food. But the wheels keep spinning. I go up to 120 kmph for the first time. It feels stable at the speed but a hint of excess vibration doesn’t allow me to go further. The ride feels good.

I have hit reserve. No cause to worry. I stop at a fuel pump about 10 kilometers ahead. One look at the purse gives me the fright. I have a 120 bucks on me. That means roughly 2.25 litres of fuel. The next ATM is how far away, I have no idea. I buy fuel for a 100 bucks and hope to god I find some money soon. The gods were listening again. I hit Etawah and find a non-functioning ATM. Then a working one. I am on my way again.

Evening in the plains spells trouble. Diwali is approaching and so are the insects which drown themselves in the lights on that night. Insects by the millions. They hit my helmet with such alarming regularity and quantity, I am blinded after about half an hour. Take a look.

By the time I reach Kanpur, it is dark. In that approaching darkness, I see the strangest sight I have seen till now.

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