Friday, June 5, 2015

The convoy

After yet another hearty and leaf-filled meal at the Samuha office near Devadurga, a debriefing was in order to bring the two-day visit to a close. Then our convoy set out, passing towns along the way with celebrations of the newly elected political party in the region.
After yet another hearty and leaf-filled meal at the Samuha office near Devadurga, a debriefing was in order to bring the two-day visit to a close.

The debriefing was essential to the visit - it put the field visits into perspective and provided a suitable space for feedback.

The convoy set out toward Hospet by 2:45 p.m. amid fond waves of goodbye from the organizers. Once on the road, favorable seating positions were taken up, which soon turned into rather unnatural poses in the quest to find a couple of hours of sleep.

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The highways and streets of every village, be it Jalahalli or Chinchodi, were brimming with supporters of the newly elected political party in the region. Pink and purple holi colors were smeared on a good number of howling and elated citizens, adding vibrancy to an otherwise dull and dusty surrounding.

Just past the crossing over the Krishna river on the outskirts of the comparatively big town of Lingsugur were two woofer-ridden autos providing a considerable amount of base to their victory. Brown was beginning to be replaced by green in the landscape - a good sign indeed.

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As the four Tata Sumo's drove past Kasabalingsur, the sun had begun to wane and a new wave of exhaustion crept in. The drivers also seemed to lose impetus in their mission to lead the pack.

Two cars headed toward the Samuha establishment at Kanakagiri - one with the purpose of picking up an instructor, the other in search of safe havens for the desperate restroom-seeker - and two headed directly to Hospet. The unspoken competition to win the race had well and truly ended.

Three weeks of the "true" Indian experience had not prepared us for what happened next. At Gangavathi, easily the biggest town that had gone by thus far, the vehicles were welcomed/hoarded by supporters of the victorious party. Handshakes came flying in through the windows as the cars came to a near standstill.

The most intriguing moment in this particular series of events would easily be getting snapped up by the press. News coverage for the study abroad program: check!

A good number of phone calls and a few wrong turns later, the entire convoy reached its destination: Hampi International Hotel. The smiles and sighs of relief were apparent as we entered our rooms. They had soap, toilet paper, and a roof.

You'd made it, Channy.

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