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Day 62: Gangtok To Siliguri

I had planeed a maximum of 4 days in Sikkim. This is the smallest state in India. And guess what, I stayed here the longest. I stayed here for 10 full days. Yes, even J&K barely lasted that long. And that is 50 times bigger than Sikkim. Probably more. I scanned the very ends of the place. Extreme points where one could go on wheels. Two wheels. Two untracked wheels (if I had wheels with tracks like tanks, I would definitely have gone further). And it was great.

I take back some great memories from this tiny little place. Gurudongmer Lake was absolutely the best place I have had to ride to. The road to Gurudongmer was the worst I had to ride to. Nathula was the most protected place I went to. And I saw the Chinese there – in India! Sikkim had the most welcoming and nice people. Even more than Ladakh. I met someone who has completed four India tours on bike. And guess what? I am going to have a nice Bengali lunch at him home tomorrow. I came across the most efficient government in the country. And now it is over.

I sat in my bed all day thinking about where my next journey would be. North east India was on the plate but I have serious doubts about it now. The thing is this. There are certain operational issues. Roads in Arunachal have been washed out due to flash floods. So journey to Tawang / Bomdila / Ziro / Itanagar is highly unlikely right now.

But the more important point is at some level I am tired. No, not physically. More emotionally. I have been alone all this while. And even though I considered myself capable of staying on my own, this total and absolute loneliness has been difficult. I am not giving up on the trip. Just don’t feel like going to the mountains and jungles of north east right now. I am not giving up on north east either. I WILL COME BACK. Someday.

So right now it is heading to south India. I will cross through Orissa, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh before hitting the eastern coast. Then will largely follow the east coast down to Kanyakumari and then turn northwards towards Mumbai through mystic Kerala, awesome Karnataka, forever Goa and quintessential Maharashtra (man, I should be in the tourism industry).

I left Gangtok finally. At 5 in the evening. Rode in the dark on the mountain roads (which is quite a headrush) to Siliguri, 100 kilomters away. I met up with Sanjib Paul, the gentleman I had mentioned earlier. He had completed 4 all India bike tours and is planning a world tour soon. I am supposed to go to his home tomorrow for lunch and the rest of the day for bike servicing and going to interesting places around the city with Sanjib. Looks like a nice day being lined up. He and his friend (who also is quite well traveled) are suggesting me out of the way places to visit in the rest of the country.

So that’s the deal. I am in Siliguri.

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