Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dec 26: Bihar, here I come(part 1 of 2)

Got up lazily, packed up and realized that my gloves are missing (the
one I use to save my hands from cold). Not sure where I left it.

Was off riding on my bike at 6:15. Today's target was Purnea, more
than 160 kms away. A long ride indeed. Today, I'd get my first taste
of Bihar. True, I've been meeting many Biharis all over the
north-east, but being surrounded by Biharis would be much different
compared to meeting the odd Bihari, or so I felt!

Honestly, nothing interesting hapened till about evening. I had
ridden about 140kms by that time
(Siliguri-Islampur-Kishanganj-Dalkhola). The highway passes through
Kishanganj(in Bihar) but then continues back in West Bengal. Across
the highway sits Bihar, so near and yet so far, for more than 40kms!
After Dalkhola, I was well and truly inside Bihar. The highway
worsened all of a sudden, and I told myself, 'surely highway road
repairs have nothing to do with Bihar'. The 4 lane highway gets patchy
in places as it still under construction.

Biharis seem to have a way of being hospitable, without being obvious.
In one case, a Bihari paid for my tea see quietly and discreetly that
I didn't even realize it!

The fun started at 5:30, when it got dark. After my tea, I fixed the
headlight. I still had more than 20kms to ride. This would be an
extreme first day in Bihar – riding in the night. I've been advised
not to do so by Praveen (a Bihari colleague in office), and the West
Bengal police. But here I am, still doing it!

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