Memories of my first solo trip

I was going through my Atlas and came across a note tucked in it (picture attached), scribbled during my first solo trip to Nathula in Sikkim via Kolkata.
I had landed in Kolkata for the wedding of Chirantan Roychowdhury, a soft spoken Bengali journalist, in April 2012. This guy (I thought he was shy as he rarely spoke) was my room mate for four weeks during the Defence Correspondent Course (DCC), 2011. I had bothered him a lot, particularly during the mornings when we were required to assemble as early as 7. On several occasions, Chirantan used to get late and was pulled up, all thanks to me.
I decided to go to Kolkata as my father had advised me to never miss a friend’s wedding. My editor was generous to give me leave for 10 days. After the wedding, I had one more week to spare and wanted to make good use of it. That was when I decided to go to Sikkim. The editor of a leading newspaper from Mumbai and my DCC course conductor, Col Nitin Joshi (aka Col Jo), were my guides for the trip. They advised me how to go, places to visit, transportation to take and precautions to be taken.
I knew I would also need medical aid from time to time. Dr. Sangeeta Kamble agreed to help me. While climbing hills, I used to throw up a lot and also experienced pain. She would take my phone calls and offer advice on medicines that I needed to have. Her advice ensured I was fit to travel again.
Every year thereafter, I started taking solo trips and extended my journey by some kilometres/ days. Shortly, I’m going to cross over to another continent for the first time. Wish me luck.


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