Over the weekend, I headed to my sister’s place to catch up with her. I absolutely love playing with my one year and four months old niece, she has started speaking like a tota (parrot) and tries to repeat everything we say. And then, of course, no one can pamper you like an elder sister even though I forgot their wedding anniversary for the second year in a row. She still lets me enter her home and insists that I eat loads of delicious stuff every 10 minutes. No wonder, I lazed off and decided to go back home early Monday morning instead of Sunday evening. We chatted up to 1 in night and then I reluctantly went to sleep. I am so chirpy at night but I wake up like an almost dead fish in the morning.
So when the alarm went off at 6, I got up like a dead fish and left in 10 minutes to start my 30 km drive home. Being winter, it was still pitch dark when I got out and reversed my car. Soon my favorite songs playing, I was congratulating myself for starting early as the roads were nearly empty.
There are a few diversions (very minor I must say) from Noida to Kalindi Kunj due to Metro construction, near the roundabout that has a road going to Greater Noida Expressway. I had to get on the Kalindi Kunj road. In the dark, I read a signboard saying no right turn and kept left.
I reached a well lit road and was a bit confused. I shrugged it off, thinking they have improved the lighting on the road. But the nagging persisted as the road was too wide to be the Kalindi Kunj road. Soon, a signboard (after about 1km) confirmed my doubts. It said Greater Noida X km ahead! I realized that I have taken a wrong turn and hit the Expressway.
Two options flashed through my mind. I could pull distress signal and drive on the wrong side of the almost empty road but I remembered a fatal accident on DND flyaway through the same action for some people and decided against it. I decided to drive ahead and wait for a U-turn. But obviously, they do not design highways for people with my sense of direction. I rarely look at the distance on my dial but I took notice this time. And I was still looking for a U-turn after driving 16 doubt-filled kilometers on the Expressway.
I saw a police vehicle and a few other stranded ones but decided against seeking help, it was still pitch dark and I did not feel overly safe in pulling over as I was alone. Anyway, I can say this much, the expressway is well laid out and you can easily reach the speed of 80km/hour without even noticing it.
So, driving at that speed, I finally notice a small break in the road that could be used for taking a U-turn. Then I started applying breaks and with my Maruti 800, I stopped about 15 meters ahead of the spot. I knew there was no one around for miles, so I reversed my car back to the spot and took that U-turn and started driving all those 16 kms back. Now that I knew I was headed in the right direction, and the highway was completely empty, for the first time in my life, I reached the speed of 100km/hour for about five seconds before going back to the regular 75/80.
After about 50 minutes and 32km of extra ride, I was once again on course. Drove for another hour to reach near my home. And this time they have changed the diversion near Uppal Orchid and ahem, I once again went ahead of the spot where I was to take a turn (I wonder if they are ever going to complete the Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway and stop changing the diversions every few seconds). But this time, just after 150 meters there was a U-turn. After sometime, I reached home, finally.
Husband had a good laugh on my account and I thought I would catch up with sleep for 45 minutes before I start for office. After 45 minutes I decide to call the office to say I am not coming (I could afford to do this because I had not taken an unscheduled leave in ages and there is no teaching right now). When I woke up again it was 2 in the afternoon!
So the lesson learned: Not start when it is dark even on a road I have taken a zillion times, because I am still not sure which turns to take even if there is even a hint of a diversion. How I hate road diversions!