Nepal happened out of the blue! I was hungry for another country (after my visit to Bhutan last year), and Nepal just happened to be the easiest option available from my hometown, Kolkata.
In fact, Nepal does not even feel like a different country. No passport or visa is required to visit the country from India. The roads are as polluted, ill-maintained, and filthy (especially the ones leading from Raxaul to Chitwan) as the ones in India. The cities are as congested as their counterparts in India. Even the language is similar to Hindi. It feels like any random North Indian city, especially like the ones where one finds a lot of temples.
I was part of a group (of 10) that left Howrah via Mithila Express one fine afternoon and reached Raxaul (close to the Bihar-Nepal border) the next morning. The journey to Raxaul was not too difficult. What made me cringe were the roads in Raxaul, Birgunj, and everywhere else in Nepal. In fact, I felt we should have carried our own anti-pollution masks, as the roads were badly polluted and made breathing difficult.