In the year 1999 as part of an official visit visited Nagpur.It is interesting to note that the city of Nagpur is almost at the centre of India and also a centre of Gravity.Buses take 24 hours to reach Nagpur from Bangalore which must have come down by few hours now and most trains proceeding towards North India traverse through this city.I had a brush with this city staying there for nearly a day and was a worthwhile exercise.
The journey I made to Nagpur was not from Bangalore but from Mumbai to meet someone whom I dont fully recollect on Cement Road in Nagpur. I booked a bus ticket on Chintamani travels and was at the bus stand Shrdi Sai Mandir in Chembur at 5:00 PM and the bus came on time pulling towards Thane and the view from the bus of the world around was one of excitement.
The next major stop was supposed to be Aurangabad which we reached early in the morning with the tyre of the bus going flat almost twice. In the first instance the flat tyre in some forlorn and isolated stretch of the road and I being the inquisitive variety got down from the bus to see the procedure underway.A large tyre dumped from the top of the bus and the fitment taking more than half an hour.On the way to Aurangabad I saw a sign-board en-route pointing towards Nashik.
I had my breakfast in Aurangabad...People here speak Marathi and many dont follow hindi and communicating with the local populace is an effort.This part of India is very beautiful and you see part of the gigantic Vindhya Sathpuri mountains and somewhere in some deep village the bus stops for lunch sidelined by a mammoth single hill fully green glorifying the natural vegetation that India has. I started off at 5 in the evening and was dumped at a place called Yavatmal instead of Nagpur at 10 pm the following day..WAH CHINTAMANI TRAVELS...the tyre going flat on one more occasion..and the Conductor told me that another local bus would ferry me from Yavatmal to Nagpur.I was fully asleep on the new bus and only awake when I reached Nagput at 2 AM what a god forsaken time to reach a new place previously unknown. Checking into a hotel room went searching for food and had some fill at a roadside outlet today called street food.NAGPUR did not keep me hungry at 2 in the morning..there was a more than reasonable street joint.
The next day I met the person concerned on Cement road and thereafter went to VNIT Nagpur.Surprisingly I found VNIT in the town limits itself. It used to be called VISHVESHWARIAH REGIONAL ENGINEERING COLLEGE AND NOW CALLED VISHVESHWARIAH NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY.It is nice to know that the Government of Maharashtra reveres statesman Vishveshwariah who actually belongs to Karnataka state.Sir M Vishveshwariah studied engineering in Pune and the credit for grooming him must go to the modern state of Maharashtra.I met a student of VNIT whose name I dont recollect who conducted me through the campus largely pleased to know I was an alumnus of Calicut NIT.
What happenned next is amusing.I wanted to book a ticket back to Bangalore = but none of the private bus operators have heard the name Bangalore. I was baffled and felt stuck.Someone told me to go to the state bus stand and found some more enlightened people who told me that there is no direct bus from here to Bangalore but one can make way through Hyderabad.I quickly booked a ticket by the 6PM bus to Hyderabad and was at the bus stand half an hour before and seeing an APSRTC bus in the bus stand gave me a sense of certainty in an otherwise unknown land.It takes 12 hours to reach Hyderabad from Nagpur and another 12 hours from Hyderabad to Bangalore and the journey that started in Mumbai reaching a logical conclusion.
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