Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Bullet

A Hilarious clip that i saw somewhere on Youtube a few months ago... been hunting the movie since! hope you like it...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BN to Hampi?!!

You know it’s kinda difficult to try and sleep by 10:30pm and then wakeup by 3:15am!

Well, this was our plight if we wanted to make to the meeting point near Forum at 0400hrs that chilly Friday morning. We were going for the annual meet of Bike Nomads, one of the biker clubs that I’m part of… funny thing here is that this is one of those clubs that is not bike specific! So doesn’t matter if you have a 100cc chotu bike or a 500ccbull; if you have the passion for touring and biking, you can join in!

I was overly excited about this particular ride… main reason being that this would the first ‘long ride’ that we’ll be doing together (read more than 300kms in a day) and secondly, we never had been to Hampi, those of you who know me and ‘my better half’ would know that she is a big fan of history, archeology and the arts in general; so this would’ve been the best place for us to go for the weekend. The wifey and I had started preparations for it since a long time! A lot of physical workout and training for our endurance and stamina was going on. I took the RedEye to the mechanics and got her completely serviced to ensure that I don’t face any major showdowns for the ride.

I met the bikers from the Bangalore BN chapter a couple weeks before the ride and found out that none of them had a bull! They all were plastic riders! This brought the first question in my mind; do I really want to ride with the plastic crowd? I’ll get back to what I think now later… a total of 11 bikes were scheduled to leave Bangalore at around 5am on Friday the 23rd of November… this group also included a few newbie bikers who hadn’t done a single ‘long ride’ and some of the veteran bikers who had done enough to earn good ‘bragging rights’

Cut to morning of 23rd

I turnoff the alarm at 0315 (my special alarm theme for that day was ‘gonna fly now’ out of the movie Rocky) look around the room, the gleam of the night light and a few flickering lights on the laptop and modem made our bedroom look real cozy! I wanted to pull the sheets over my head and go back to my la-la land as soon as I could. But I roused my sleepy brain and asked my body to move, to get out of the bed and turn on the geyser, walked around the house once completely aimless trying to figure out why was I up so early, practically in the middle of the night? And then it dawned… we were supposed to meet in the next one hours’ time with the other BNers! I woke the wife up, she was strangely relatively calmer and focused when she woke up. We hurriedly freshened up, dressed, had some coffee, did a final check on the luggage that was packed the previous evening and stepped out. This was the first time that I was putting the saddle bags on my bike, was slightly confusing… but once I figured the front from the back, it sat on the bike like a charm and we were all set to roll!

This was the first time, both of us were riding through the area at this hour… forum was strangely only 10minutes away on the empty roads! When we reached there, the scene was awesome! There were already 7bikes waiting there and all the riders looked eager to ride, here I met Aditya who was the only other biker from Bangalore riding with his spouse, met Sapna and found out that it was her second longish ride with Adi… we waited for Prassanna till 0440 but he didn’t show up, finally I called him and we decided that he’ll catch-up at the second regroup point at Nelmangla.

I was the point rider from this point till Nelamangla where we were to meet Vaas, Aashish, Kaapi and the others… by the time we reached Nelmangla, it was already 0530, 15minutes late from our originally decided departure time. Vaas and Chamolibhai are the guys who I would call punctual; they were already there and had finished their first rounds of chai. We all ordered our chais, ciggys and other stuff… other riders rolled in by 6ish and we finally rolled out by 0630, already over an hour late…

What can I say for the roads? Amazingly smooth! As they say in Hindi – Makhkhan! Pretty picturesque, almost a straight line and no bumps at all! We all averaged pretty decent speeds and stopped post a town called Sira for our breakfast, the small dhaba there was just right, the only things available were idli and dosa. We all ordered our options, did a small photo-op there and rolled again… the next stop was Chitradurga. And this ended our ‘good, smooth’ roads… the road from here was almost nonexistent; I guess Karnataka has this specialty, after every good stretch of the road they put an equally pathetic stretch so that you can appreciate the good roads. We gazed at hundreds of windmills and rode on, onto the really bad roads. This stretch was just sad.

Finally we made it to Hospet and Hampi was just 15-20 kms away… by now, the bad roads had started taking their toll and most of us started feeling tired. The hotel looked like heaven when we pulled in the parking lot. All I wanted to do was just crash. Sleep for a while and then decide on what next…

The Bangalore crowd was the first to reach Hampi, we were expecting people now from Bombay, Pune and Hyderabad… on and a few unannounced riders from different locations. While the couples rested in the hotel, the bachelors and the enthu-cutlets went out for a short ride around Hampi to just explore the place… I somehow couldn’t sleep so after a while I stepped out in the foyer of the hotel to find Vaas chatting with a gentleman who smoked two cigarettes back-to-back… on getting introduced I realized that this guy was GR, the most witty, punny and soft spoken gent I’ve ever met! I just turned into a big fan of this chap when I realized that he is almost 40 and rode nonstop from Hyderabad to Hampi (not even bio-breaks!)

The second set of riders to turn up was Doc. Arnob and Prasad Themkar; these two also had done an almost nonstop ride from Bombay to Hampi… after they freshened up and came to the dining area, I discovered that Doc also is a very witty and jovial person! And Prasad was a ‘well built’ well mannered guy. I was actually realized that I was smiling more and more and my apprehensions were turning into dust as the people I got to meet were all much better than what I was expecting! Usually bikers are thought of as the typical of loud-mouthed, unruly and arrogant people, but here is a crowd of really nice, well mannered and genuine people!

While sitting and chatting, Doc. Prithvi Raval turned up… I must say that Doc is older that my dad! But his spirit for biking is just amazing! a very nice guy to know… I actually had heard a lot about him whenever I talked to rocky’da about the other bikers he knew and the ones he would recommend for me to know. We ordered dinner and sat in a nice big group in the chilly evening, having our dinner and sharing stories about names, tattoos, bikes, places to visit and almost everything under the sun!

We retired by around 11pm as Saturday was supposed to be a long day… woke up at around 7ish, got dressed and stepped out to have our breakfast. Strangely the wife hadn’t complained about anything and I could see that she also was enjoying our stay here, in the dining room we met Capt. Nandu Chitnis, the ‘ageless biker’ as we know him, he is I guess in his late 50s, a person with an enormous passion for a lot of things in life, who rode to Leh-Ladakh this July with his wife; that too on an avvy!!! I met him and instantly became an avid fan. I would want to be something like him when I grow old.

Slowly the other Pune, Bby people started pouring out in the dining room, another round of introductions, more amazing people introduced to each other and all I could think was WOW! So many people at one place, all here just to make sure that they turn up for the annual meet and all respecting each other so much! Amazing!!!

By the time we actually stepped out of the hotel, it was pretty late… so the whole ‘guided tour’ plan got chucked and we decided to see only the famous places at Hampi… we rode around the ruins, looking at whatever we could and whatever our brains could digest… there is just SO MUCH to see! By around 1330 we decided to break for lunch and meet again at 3ish at the hotel for our photo-ops… we all split into groups for lunch and my group was Capt & wife, Adi & sapna, Vibhu & Anu, Nav and 2 of us (my wife and I) we went into the by lanes of the Hampi bazaar looking for a specific place that Capt had talked about… it was a nice shack sorta place, good music, good ambience and only 2 people running it. When all of us started ordering for stuff the guys panicked… we actually waited almost 2 hours for the lunch (which could’ve been better) but by this time we were already late and had to rush back to the hotel.

Imagine 40 riders and over 25 bikes in one place!!! We clicked a few ‘formation parking’ photos at the hotel and then all of us left for the Vithalla temple; it was THE PLACE you come for at Hampi. It’s a huge, magnificent structure… a whole stone-pillared market place; musical pillars in the temple, a whole stone chariot in the compound… just breathtaking! We clicked some more pictures here.

(Image Courtesy: Harshad Sharma)

After the photo-op we descended to the TungaBhadra river, dipped our feet in the cool, clean water and just sat there till the sun set… from here we decided to go towards the TB canal and click some more pictures… but only 4 bikes made it till there, the others apparently lost their way and headed back to the hotel… the canal in the full moon light looked very eerie and a bit spooky. We didn’t spend too much time here, went back to the hotel and found everyone waiting there.

Now was the most interesting part of the meet. The ‘introduction’ round, I know, I know you’ll be thinking what’s so funny about the intros? The twist here was that one person stands up and the others were supposed to introduce him; now imagine you are standing there and people all around are passing comments for you, both good and bad! :-) was a gun session after which Doc. Raval pulled out the BN stickers from his bag… now we all BNers have a BN sticker on our bikes, helmets and for some even their cigarette packets! (Yes, Mayank from Sangli actually smokes BN brand ciggys now) after all this followed the dinner which was strangely tasting better than the previous evening’s

A desperate attempt for a campfire was next; but after around 20 minutes of pouring kerosene and Petrol out of Mayank’s bullet we realized that the wood was just too wet to light. We all said our good nights; Sunday morning people had to head back to their own destinations…. Bombay, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore. We all said our goodnights and goodbyes and retired into our rooms, the single junta had a grand drinking binge (which I was kept out of)

Sunday morning came too early! We had decided to meet sharp at 8 in the parking lot so that we can roll out by 8:30… guess what? The people showed up only after 9! Then some of the junta suggested that instead of riding straight to Bangalore we should do a detour to the TB Dam and spend some time there… after too many protests I had to give in and ride to the damn dam… this pushed our departure quite a bit and we could get out on the highway only after 1230! This was scary for me… well; honestly, I am very scared of riding into the nights and always make a point of either reaching my destination by nightfall or stopover wherever I can. But NO RIDING IN THE DARK! Now, all my fears were coming to surface and I pushed my bike and the others to ride as fast as we could…

The lunch stop was at chitradurga, and I told Vaas that we now have to follow discipline in riding and take a break ONLY after at least 1hour of riding… he agreed to this and we pushed off towards Bangalore. But, darkness came too soon and we did ride pretty much in the dark for a long while, by now the order or the formation of the bikers was getting broken and we were into really small groups of 2-3 I was with Chamolibhai and Gaurav… we stopped only at Nelmangla, had a chai and started towards Bangalore again, after almost 2 hours we reached home at around 9pm. Tired, with sore bums and just wanting to crash.

Must say the wifey was pretty strong all through, she had a bit of tonsillitis before we started which got really aggravated and coupled with a bad cold, but she stayed pretty strong all though. Just made me fall in love with her all over again.

And another point that I’d make here is that bikers are not made by metal or plastic but only by the passion and drive that they have… I saw people ride 150cc pulsars, to 220ccZmas to 180cc Avvy cruisers; and all I could understand is that they all share a similar passion fro biking.

I liked it! Gave me a new direction to think and appreciate people the way they are…

Anyways, this post is long enough and I’ll signoff for now…

The pictures of the meet are here:

Capt. Chitnis ka album
Mayank's Pictures
Sameer's Pics
Vibhu (moderator's view)
Harshad Sharma - superb pics!

And my album!


a closeup of yours truly clicked by his very talented wifey... cheers to her!

Monday, November 19, 2007

IronButt - officially :)

“Dude, are you awake or did you decide to chicken out?”
“Its only 5:40 yaar, we are meeting at 6:30 right? Tell me where”
“At the junction of Outer ring-road and Mysore road”
“thik hai, will be there… C ya”

This is a conversation that happened really early on the last Saturday, and I’m wondering how would it have felt, if I backed out of this ride???

Since the time that the wife had planned a one week ‘work trip’ to Ahmedabad, I’ve been itching to do a ride that was a bit longer than my usual 300kms a day day-rides. And I was clear that I don’t want to do a BIG group ride also, something sort of a cannonball run with a few bulleteers that I like to ride with. Sadly, all of them were either busy or didn’t want to join in and one of my old colleagues who I had lost touch with for over 3 years suddenly popped out of the past and said that he also wants to ride! My first reaction was, “what the hell? I don’t even ‘know’ this guy any more and he suddenly comes out of the blue suggesting that we ride together?” but, then slowly the saner me started taking over and said that boss, you didn’t ‘know’ him then also… just ride with him and see if you like the company and if he is a prospective member for one of your bike-clubs. I agreed.

Honestly, I was slightly impressed with his preparations for the ride and his enthusiasm! He actually went and got his tyre changed, his battery recharged before the D’day!!! The day for the ride was decided; we were to do a ‘iron-butt’ ride on 17th November (a Saturday) all the way to BR Hills and back… a ride of little over 500kms in a day.

We met on the Mysore road (I was late by 7-8 minutes) around 6:40am, his first reaction to see me on the bike was somewhere between a WOW and WTF… as usual, I was all prepped in my riding gear from top to bottom, the only thing missing still is a decent pair of riding boots… hopefully I’ll get them too! And he was in his denim jacket and jeans without even a pair of gloves!!!

Well, we started the ride, since it was still relatively early in the day, the traffic hadn’t picked up and we could do pretty good speeds! This is one of my favorite roads to ride on, smooth 4lane well tarred blacktop with enough visual consolations. Our first pit-stop was Kamat’s for a light breakfast and coffee… strangely, Kamat popped into the view even before I actually started the feel of the ride… we pulled over just to find a full house! The whole place was jam packed! We negotiated ourselves a table for 2 after buttering the head waiter there… breakfast was the usual Kamat junk, idlis made in the banana leaf and vada.

After the breakfast and a brief break we started again, the destination now was mysore-nanjangud… the roads were not too dense with traffic and we could manage pretty good bursts of speed well over 100 (sheer pleasure!) Mysore was in sight pretty soon… we were supposed to take the Mysore ring-road towards Nanjangud but I guess I was too focused on the speeding and forgot to take the turn… after around 2 kms inside the city Raam appeared in my RVM frantically flashing his head-light and honking like crazy, I slowed and he said that we were to take the other road for Nanjangud! Darn, took a U-turn and got onto the ring-road. This road is amazing! I straight smooth piece of road with lush greenery on both the sides… looks like a road leading to the horizon, into the unknown… the ring-road soon turned off into a 2lane highway, this was a decent road, not too bad and nothing too good… traffic had started picking up and we had to brake often to dodge crazy maniacs in their four-wheeled coffins… just before Nanjangud we saw a detour off towards BR Hills and decided to venture this road, this was our first big mistake of the day… the detour turned from a decent 2lane road into a stretch of sand, gravel and rocks… since I was solo and I was too enthused to show off, I stood up on the foot pegs of the bike and kept on ripping on the almost off-road ride, the bike took too much punishment here… after a while the road evened out to a smoother terrain and we decided to take a butt break as soon as we spot a chaiwallah. I guess god was on our side during that part of the day coz as soon as I decided to stop, I noticed a pretty decent dhaba on the road, we pulled into the dhaba and asked for some chai, I also had to update the wifey that I have been safe and in one piece till now… made the quick call and had chai, in fact the chai was soo tasty that we had one more round of it, we noticed some tame ducks and turkeys at the dhaba so played with them for a while. The dhaba owner seemed to be a pretty enthu cutlet! Maybe our dressing and the funny looking bikes aroused his curiosity; so he started talking to Raam in Kannada, I didn’t understand what they talked apart from who are you, where are you from, what are you doing here and why is the other bloke dressed in such funny costume? I tried to pitch in the conversation with my limited knowledge of the language but to no avail, my mate told me that the dhaba guy has suggested a different, much better and scenic route to the place, I was pretty impressed! But alas, this guy told me that we should stick to our predecided route and shouldn’t go any other way. Foiled, this is not the adventure of biking! This is not the motorcycling spirit! How can you keep going on and on over the overly trodden roads? Where is the fun of riding through uncharted territory? Phooey…

And it turns out that the road we took kept turning from okay to bad and from bad to worse… in most of the parts, the road was completely nonexistent, but we kept going on… finally we reached the KGudi forest check post, the first thing the security guard at the gate insisted was that I turnoff my headlamp! I told him that I know it’s on and I’m comfortable riding when its on even at noon, but he insisted! One more phooey here… I turned it off, signed our names in the register, the forest officer appeared out of nowhere while we were writing in the register and picked up a conversation, again the same, where are you from? Where are you off? Why did you ride all the way when you can get a decent state transport bus? Why is this bloke dressed in such funny clothes? This was the limit for me! I started riding into the forest while Raam was still talking to the forest guard, taking this as a cue; Raam also rolled off… this was one scenic piece of land! Almost 4kms of straight road running through the jungle into the hills up ahead!

Well, the road did lead into the mountains also and we rode through some of the worst twisties I’ve ever seen! Really bad road, crater sized potholes on the road and we riding here trying to negotiate the potholes and making sure that we don’t ride off the edge of the road into the forest below! After around 20kms of riding into the jungle brought us to another check-post and this time I switched off the headlamp even before we reach there, the guard again asked the same questions that I was so familiar with, Raam was patient enough to answer all of them… after riding through this second check-post, I noticed the jungle lodges board. This just brought back memories of the time I spent in February, the 3 days I spent with the wifey for our honeymoon! I thought of stopping by and saying hi to Nahar who is a good fried and the manager of the KGudi resort. I rode into the familiar yet almost forgotten trail towards the resort. And what surprise! Nahar was sitting there in the sun along with Anant who was here when we had come for the honeymoon… what a bloody pleasant surprise! We sat there chatted for a long time, Nahar was more than kind to offer us lunch which we readily agreed to (heh heh, who would say not to free food?) after the nice food and some more chatting, we started on our way back around 14:40… Nahar suggested we take the route through the jungle past BR Hills and ride towards a town called Yellandur for our way back, after Yellandur there apparently are 2 different routes for Bangalore.

We bid adieu to Nahar, His wife, to Anant, to Vikrant and to KGudi (with a silent promise in my mind to return back soon!) the start for the way back was overly shaky the forest department had started working on the roads and forgotten about it, so the whole patch of the road was dug-up but we managed to ride through it… a few kilometers later… HEAVEN! Smooth tarmac, single lane road, lush cool forest on both sides! And amazing twisties! We spotted some chital, wild dogs and a few mongooses on the way… this patch of the road got over in a flash and we were at the final check-post to signoff and bid the place goodbye…

After getting out of the forest, we took the ‘immediate right’ turn towards Yellandur, the road was again not too good and not too bad, I guess I had gotten used to the bad patches of the road by this time after over 50kms of ‘almost’ offroading. Through Yellandur we were to reach Malavalli but in the spirit of riding we missed the turn that we were supposed to take… eventually after 20-25kms we realized that we are going ‘wrong way’ turned back again and got on the proper route to reach Malavalli. Malavalli brought us two routes to Bangalore one was via Maddur, on the Mysore highway again and back to Bangalore, the other was via Kanakpura into Bangalore… dunno if both of us had lost our marbles at that moment of time… we decided to go through the Kanakpura road, BIG MISTAKE! The road was nonexistent, complete butt-breaking offroading adventure for over 20kms, stopped for chai and to loosen the taut and aching joints, checked with the chaiwallah how long will the bad road last and he happily smiling said “saar, 18 more kms” darn, I hated my life at that moment! I was so frustrated with the bone jangling ride by now that I was begging for a ‘normal’ road… after a few kilometers the road conditions finally improved a bit, instead of the dirt offroad, we had a patchy road with a generous proportion of potholes… after bouncing off so many bumps and crossing over crater sized potholes my bike’s rear end had started giving issues… the tail light and rear indicators didn’t work, the tyre started wobbling like crazy and the air-pressure was almost nil! But the ride was still on!!!

Darkness came too early! Just to remind us that the battery work that Raam had gotten on his bike didn’t work. Result? His headlamp was dimmer than a candle. So I had to cut my speed, and make sure that he is almost tailgating me and riding off my bull’s headlights… wasn’t I happy for putting those auxiliary headlamps that illuminated the way ahead? The speed that we had maintained throughout the day had drastically reduced to 50-60kmph here also the heavy vehicles wanted to showoff their brighter and much better headlamps to they blinded us almost running us over… anyhow we reached Kanakpura missing a lot of turns on the way and taking the longest route back to Bangalore. The journey was not over yet!

Slowly, painstakingly we finally managed to reach into Bangalore, I stopped at a gas-station to get my tyres inflated and some gas in the tank… Raam missed looking me turning into the gas-station and kept riding on… we got lost again! He was on some road and I was somewhere else! Coordinated where to meet in Bangalore via cell-phone (don’t I love technology?) and I started into the town alone. My brain had gone numb of the excessively long ride and most of my joints were actually screaming for some rest coz of so much offroading adventures. Thinking of going home soon, I took a wrong turn and got lost in Bangalore!!! This was the final straw for me… I couldn’t believe that I actually managed to take a wrong turn and instead of going to south Bangalore I was bouncing around the streets of east Bangalore… thankfully I managed to reach BTM after 1hour in the city! Found Raam there, had some dinner (sorry guys, I was so tired that I don’t remember what I ate) reached home, parked the bike, she looked like a wounded soldier; tired, bloody, messy and broken down.

This was the butt-breaking, ironbutt ride that I had, over 540kms in a day and over 200kms of really bad roads managed. I was tired, sleepy and aching, but I was proud that I could ride ‘alone’ when I had to. I was satisfied that I rode so much and I saw so many good sights on the way. I was glad that I did what I had been thinking since over a month finally happened.

Finally I earned myself some bragging rights of riding so long in a day and over such varied terrain… I have earned my smirk for this one ride :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


These are the feet that walked into my life... walked all over me and changed who i used to be (for the better!)

ain't i glad that they walked to me???

Without her…

Warning: the below post is written under a spasm of loneliness and has more mush than recommended to ‘normal’ people; read at your own risk! I am not responsible if you lose your mind and start ripping your hair out by the time you reach the end of this post.

You know it’s really boring to wake up all alone in the morning!

I keep telling myself that its just a matter of one week and she will be back even before I realize that she’s gone; but somehow every evening when I unlock the door and step into the apartment, I realize that life itself has completely disappeared from here! The ‘lively’ ‘warm’ and ‘loving’ home suddenly has transformed into a cold, crummy, chilly and lonely place.
Funny part is that I was so used to my loneliness, my solitude, ‘my space’ just a year back... and now suddenly I got so used to being with this stranger who has become the most important piece of my whole existence!

I actually stay in bed in the mornings instead of jumping off to make the honey-lemon concoction and starting my workouts… I haven’t worked out in a week… when I felt too guilty about not taking care of my body, I wrapped that heating belt around my waist and sat like a lump of lard for an hour hoping that it’s gonna eat up all the flab from my body.
Is it possible that a person you didn’t even know existed, becomes so important in less than a year’s time? I mean, I always said that I need to ‘know’ the person before I decide to spend my life with her and here I’m brooding my heart out missing this girl I just met less than a year ago.
Well, all I can say is ‘I miss you’

Living my life off dreams,
Enjoying every moment just with my whims
Taking people for granted was acceptable
Even the loser drunkard next door was respectable…

I met you, and life took a u-turn
I don’t have that cruel glint in my eyes
And I don’t sit and say, burn-baby-burn

Smiles started coming easy
Life found a reason
My creativity had fled
Now I have a better vision

You are the reason
The reason to smile,
The reason to live
Just for a longer while…

I miss you,
I miss you bad…
Never felt so forlorn
Now I’m lonely and sad.

Come back to me,
Bring me back to life
Let’s smile together again
Come back my loving wife…

… I miss you