28-Jan-2010 -- I was called to Lucknow for a couple of days. There was a death in the family, I had to attend the post funeral rites. The train from Bhubaneswar reached Kanpur at dawn, the fog was thick, hanging low, and visibility was just about 50 metres. Much against our wishes we made the onward journey to Lucknow, crawling with headlights and blinkers all on. The 80 Kms took us a good three hours. The winter was at its peak, temperatures below the 6 Degree mark.
I had the whole day to myself, and to cheer up the kids who had just lost a loving grandfather, I decided to take them all on a confluence hunt. By now I had been badly hit by “confleunza”, the malady which made me hunt for the nearest confluence whenever and wherever I took a trip. I had done half a dozen CP visits in the last three months, all in different states. I had earlier located the nearest CP from Lucknow, and on Google earth it had seemed fairly an easy one. It was a still a virgin CP; no one had visited it despite its proximity and easy accessibility.
We hired an Auto Rickshaw, as the place was not very far. I along with five bewildered children in tow took the National Highway 24 out of the city. On our drive out of town we passed the old monuments of Lucknow, and very soon were we were in the countryside.
The CP lay around 3 kms west of the village of Bheta, but our reference point was to be a big village called Bakshi ka Talab which was on the highway. We turned right after the village and hit a dirt road which meandered around the fields sown with colorful green and yellow crops.
Most of the fields had been sown with mustard and it was one of the prettiest sights I had seen. The fields of mustard greens had almost “gone to seed,” their jaunty little flowers creating a yellow meadow. Passion yellow was how the colour should be described. The fields were a vast yellow expanse, inescapable, unending and all pervasive. The sea of yellow threatened to drown us in its brilliant, euphoric hue. The yellow colour signifies prosperity, well being and fertility and is intrinsically tied up with Indian culture. The festival of Basant Panchami would soon be celebrated to mark the advent of spring season , and the celebrations would be marked by people dressing up in yellow.
We drove on for five kilometers, the puzzled Auto driver kept asking me where I wanted to go. I was following the Garmin Nav Arrow, which was dancing about like crazy, pointing straight and then swinging wildly as the road twisted and turned. There was an Indian Air Force base nearby and we could see and hear the supersonic Mig 25 fighters zoom over as they flew their morning sorties. The cool and crisp morning air was invigorating; the kids were all impatient wanting to know where we were headed too. The smallest one had formed an idea that it was a trip to the zoo and wanted to know what animals she would see. Very soon the Garmin beeped the proximity to the CP, and we stopped the Auto and alighted amidst the fields.
The CP was just about 75 metres from the asphalt road. We walked on the small path which separated the fields. There were a crop of sweet peas, across which lay the mustard field, the stalks sashaying in the light breeze. The winter wheat crop had been sown in the adjoining field and these different hues of green were soothing to the eyes. The kids were all excited and had to be restrained, I did not want to do any damage to the sown crops.
The sky was clear blue, we got an excellent reception from eleven of the sats. I trod gingerly and with the help of Siddhant, soon located the exact point. It took just about five minutes to get the zeroes in place. The accuracy was just six metres.
The CP was in the fields owned by two brothers Ram Chander and Shyam Sunder of the nearby village of Thakuramau. Their mother was in the adjoining fields and she welcomed us to the village, an offer we had to turn down reluctantly as the Auto driver was getting impatient. We took the mandatory photos, the descriptions are as follows:
East of the CP was the field sown with wheat. The Indo-Gangetic plains form the most important wheat area in India. The cool winters and the hot summers are very conducive to a good crop. The wheat stalks were already a foot high, the field was irrigated and under water.
West of the CP was the field of sweet peas. The purple flowers would soon transform into the crisp pea pods. In the distant were electric pylons carrying power to the city of Lucknow.
North of the CP the yellow mustard field stretched to the horizon. The mustard stalks were nearly four feet high, and the greens would yield good revenue for the farmers. The mustard field was fringed with tall eucalyptus trees.
South of the CP lat a thickly wooded copse of mango trees, across the road that we had taken. I gathered that the road was a border of the two districts of Barabanki and Lucknow.
We spent some time at the place, taking a walk along the road. The mustard fields were really enchanting. I wished we could have packed some lunch and had a picnic, the kids were feeling hungry.
We returned to Lucknow by a shorter route, crossing the Gomti River. Another Indian state knocked off my list.