01-May-2002 -- The idea about this confluence thing came from Guenter. He was visiting our company to say goodbye to the project team at Satyam Computers and asked us if somebody would like to join. Chandra, Anupam and me thought that this would be an interesting venture into the heart of rural India and we decided to join the trip.
We started on the 1st of May, just as the sun rays were peeping out from behind the clouds. It was 6:30 a.m. We went to Punjagutta crossing and waited for the final member of the team to join us. Anupam was supposed to meet us with his car -- the same that was to take us to the point. While we waited we watched the early morning activities -- newspaper wallahs sorting out the papers and distributing them amongst themselves according to their territories. Anupam came in a couple of minutes and we were off.
As we only had a very high level map with us – the good ones are somehow difficult to get – the idea was to move along the highway in direction to Bangalore until our GPS would direct us in a right angle away. Our first point of reference was some 50kms away from Hyderabad -- a place called Balangnar. We reached there by about 8:30 a.m. and started to ask the locals about off track roads. The people were quite curious what we are doing and thought all that we were some kind of developers, looking for investment possibilities. We got a hint about some roads and we started looking for the place where we needed to turn off from the highway. As per plan we focused on the GPS rather than the map. We were sure it was to the right of the highway, but had to pass the exact spot before we realized that we were getting further away from the confluence and so had to turn back.
More or less at the branch off point, we found a mud track leading to the right of the highway and started off on it. At this moment our distance was still some 20 kms. About 4 kms down we came across a small village and stopped to ask for directions, some landmarks, etc. We also realized that the road was not suitable for the car that we came in and so hired a "jeep". Here Chandra with his perfect knowledge of the local slang and his natural authority was a great help and the negotiations went over smooth. It was a good thing we did that, because the road just got worse and in the car we would have been much slower as also the car would have got ruined. Of course, halfway through even the "jeep" gave us a bit of a fright by beginning to stop every now and then, but it lasted our entire journey.
We had still to go about 15 kms inside as per the GPS. It was a pretty bad road, rocky and uneven, sometimes no road at all, with nothing but shrubbery all around. Thanks to the GPS directions we more or less went in the correct direction and did not have to turn back at any point. On at least 2 occasions we had to take a guess and take the right or the left fork, resigned to the fact that it may lead us further away and we may have to come back and take the other fork. However, both times our gut-feeling proved right and we were on the right track -- getting closer to the confluence each time. On the way we stopped at a small village to beat the heat with some water and grab a few biscuits -- we had had no breakfast due to our early start.
We got to the confluence point at around. 10:15 a.m. - it was only about ten meters away from the "road" we were on, right in the middle of a field, surrounded by bushes. We did all the documenting and tried to explain to our driver and his team what we were doing and about the beauty of the point.
After 15 minutes we left the place and drove back with only one breakdown – the clutch of the car got worser by the minute – where we had to push the car up some ascendance. As it was now about mid day the sun was straight up and it got hotter and hotter in the jeep. So, when arriving in the village and changing into our own car with AC we were happy, happy about reaching the point and happy about the coolness.