We started at 7.30am on Sunday in the Fiat Uno. There were five of us – Avimanyu, his father, Avimanyu's friend – Tanay, me and the driver. Oh! I forgot Captain! - The pet dog of my friend. Soon we hit the NH2. The highway was a makeover of the earlier Grand Trunk Road. The road had been expanded to four lanes and re-concretized few years back as part of Golden Quadrilateral Project giving it a modern look.
As we raced forward the beautiful greeneries beside the roads soothed our eyes. The sky was partly overcast. Sometimes it also drizzled. The temperature was within comfort level. We saw cattle grazing in the grassy fields. They're mostly cows, buffalos and goats. But some of them found it more suitable to graze right on the road much to the discomfort and hazard of the driver! In some stretches of the road there were wire fencing to keep the animals off the road but this was not consistent leaving the cattle and the passengers to each other's mercy.
As we entered the industrial belt of Durgapur the greeneries gave way to barren uncultivable land. We saw giant chimneys belching white fume forming a cone into the atmosphere. The Durgapur Steel Plant is one of the big factories in the area. There were many small ancillary factories dotting the two sides of the road. The big complex awe-inspiring machineries stood as a conviction of man's progress and power. The factories reminded me of the fight of the protagonist of Ayn Rand's book Atlas Shrugged, Mr. Hank Rearden, to protect his superior Rearden Steel from the Govt. looters. The story of Rand is still relevant today. Many factories around this place had been closed down in the recent past leaving thousands of workers jobless thanks to Government's aka political party's fallacy and highhandedness.
We touched past Raniganj and Asansol to reach our destination at 10 am. We entered the dam from the state of Jharkhand. It caused a lot of flutter among us as the mobile connections were switched to roaming mode and we were paying even for receiving calls. The place was well-kept – not every dirty as many a places of this kind happen to be. We had snacks there and ventured into boat riding on the cool green water of the dam. The dam was dotted with small rocky islands. At that time the water level was not high enough. The boatman took us to one of the islands around 1.5 KM away from the shore. I saw the sluice gates of the dam from the distance. There were only few boats around. The boatman told us that the winter was the season for the visitors to come here. They come here for picnic. During December-January this place teems with people.We got down at the island. It had a canopy of small trees. The bottom was rocky. We heard continuous melodious chatter of different birds coming from the wood. Few more islands were visible in the distance from there. We took some photographs. Tanay posed (for a photo shoot) with the look of a great thinker, but his trendy T-Shirt gave it away. We noticed a speed boat cutting waves across the water. Captain had had good time wading through the cool water but to everybody's dismay it chose the dirty water gathered at the bottom of the boat to quench its thirst!We got back to the shore and strolled around the area for some time. We went close to the gates and tried to figure out how they operate. The gates are opened at specific times. Photography is prohibited around the gate. We heard that there was a small hydro-electric plant but could not locate it.We got into the car and went along the bank of the dam. Our next stop was at the Kalyaneshari temple. It was one of the 51Piths. We watched the temple from outside. There was a narrow water-flow beside the temple.It was 1 pm. We left for Burdwan. The temperature soared little causing some discomfort. But the wind generated by the motion of the car was at our rescue. We halted at Darjeeling More near Panagarh for lunch. We reached home at 3.30pm to be welcomed by a heavy spell of pre-monsoon rain!