Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shay Day

got this email in my junk folder... almost deleted it but then thought, what the hell? let's just read it... the story was so interesting and inspiring that i almost cried... read on if you have time...

Two Choices

What would you do? You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:
1. Delete
2. Forward

May your day, make it a Shay Day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

interesting tag

I got tagged by –XH- for this. This is a meme, but a little bit interesting and different. There are 10 points/questions, and you are supposed to elaborate on each point. My responses to everything…

1) It is important to be liked by others: only if you really care about the ‘others’ I usually behave like an uptight prick (according to most people) and still manage to make enough ‘good friends’ that I wouldn’t even think about this question. People are perceptive and perceptions are always different… so bottom line should be “to hell with ‘people’ if the ones who matter to me like me as much as I do them, its all okay” :D

2) Obedience is a virtue: what is obedience? – lemme do a word search…
o•be•di•ence [oh-bee-dee-uh-ns]
1. The state or quality of being obedient.
2. The act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members.
3. A sphere of authority or jurisdiction, esp. ecclesiastical.
4. Chiefly Ecclesiastical.
a. Conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious superior, esp. on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.
b. The rule or authority that exacts such conformance.

Honestly, after the meaning put right there I still am kinda confused about the whole ‘obedience’ funda… yaar, obey the rules/norms/principles/etc that your want to ONLY IF U BELIEVE IN THEM! If you don’t know why you do something, but still keep on doing it, what’s the fun of being an individual (in-duh-vidual)? So the honest answer from me to this will be do it if you wanna, but then don’t be a rebel just because you are a cheapass wannabe rebel :p and don’t be submissive to everything that gets thrown your way too!

3) People are not malicious but they become so because of bad experiences or circumstances: line up all those malicious buggers and shoot them in the #$%$@#
Who am I to judge people to be malicious? This is a very classic scenario that I and my wifey go through almost every day, she thinks that the world is a very nice/safe/lovely place and the people here are like angels without their halos… I on the other hand, believe that the world is full of creeps and wannabes who are out there to hurt me and the ones I care about and I’m gonna hunt down each one of those runts and kick their happiness outta their butts… there, you figure it out now… ain’t it a very perceptive subject.
The proper statement here should’ve been “you find people malicious coz you’ve gone through some really ugly shit and some really tough times in your life and now you think that everyone else here is nothing more but a creep who should be castigated.”

4) Education broadens our view and makes people more humane: agree to it to a little bit… some of the things we study in schools do help us when we grow older, not the E=MC2 funda though… but making people humane? Nah, I don’t think so… we’ll be human ONLY if we decide to put whatever we studied as kids into action, in real life. Otherwise, this is just a world of some really well-educated monkeys and donkeys ;)

5) People who have no money troubles are happier: SAYS WHO? Just because they don’t have money problems doesn’t mean that they don’t have any other problems… its human nature to keep their minds clouded with worries and problems, if we have a very long spell of happiness, we start worrying about the impending doom and about the BAD that’s gonna happen very soon :p and trust me, it does happen.

6) As people get older they get wiser: I’ve read a very interesting bumper sticker on a friend’s car “Growing OLD is mandatory but Growing UP is optional” yeah, I do agree that old age does bring a lot of experience in life but how many of the people that you know actually use those experiences to enhance their lifestyle? And there is always the funda of ‘generation gap’ strangely everything our grandparents tell us about is usually outdated or absurd (I consciously listen to my grampa now every time I meet him, dunno how long he’s got to share his experiences with me)

7) You can live on love and fresh air: is it? Try doing it only once, just for one day! Know what? Valentines Day is just round the corner, why don’t you try and spend the whole day in your beloved’s arms without food or water… just live on all the LOVE and FRESH AIR you can get! Muahhhahhhahha
Even though I’m married and I absolutely love my wife so much that I’ve got her name tattooed across my heart, I wouldn’t survive only on love and fresh air! I’m practical and I’m human… next question!

8) There is a celestial guardian angel looking after each one of us: STRONGLY AGREE! I am a strong believer of ‘guardian angels’ and I’m sure I got a few of them hovering right over my head to look after me… otherwise how can I explain my completely ‘uneventful ride home’? Something or somebody does look after me.

9) All living beings reincarnate: They do? In that case I’ll be a dog in my next life and you will be a fire-hydrant :p
I’m still trying to run out of my current life so will not even want to think about the ‘reincarnation’ part…

10) Heaven and Hell are places you go to after death: Heaven and Hell are places right here on this planet and you’ll go through them in this lifetime! You don’t need to wait till you are dead to experience the joys of both :D
My dad has taught me a very important thing in life, we make our heavens and hells here in this lifetime, and we get to experience them in bits and pieces…
If you are living an honest life (honest means, being true ONLY to yourself) and not hurting others deliberately, you’ll live the life very happily and you’ll get to see more pieces of the ‘heaven’ here…
And if you try to cross me, ‘I’ll give you all the hell you want’ :p heh heh heh

Anyways, this was fun to write, but, there should’ve been a disclaimer onto the questions (relates to only situations in a perfect world, under perfect circumstances) I don’t know who all frequent my blog so if you find the questions interesting and if you want to come-up with your own version of answers, be my guest and tag yourself  just notify me once you do it so that I can read your answers too! :D


Monday, January 28, 2008


Last Thursday was a very busy morning, we had woken up earlier than out scheduled time since both the wifey and I had decided that we’ll start our new workout regime once again! Went for a nice little jog in the park next to our house, came back just to realize that we are running late now.

A quick shower, some breakfast and hop on the bike to start the grueling day.

Since we were slightly late, the traffic had started picking up on the roads and I noticed that the amount of the ‘idiot commuters’ had increased relatively… those who are still new to the idea of ‘idiot commuters’ lemme give a bit of gyan; these are the people who will ride/drive anywhere on the roads (this includes pavements, gutter lids and other pedestrians’ feet) they will try and put their vehicle in the smallest gap available in the traffic… anyways, because of these ‘idiot commuters’ I had to be extra cautious and extra calm since wife was still pillion.

Dropped her at her destination and took off towards my office… the traffic in Bangalore is like an anthill after rains… everyone is running around crazy, everyone is in a hurry and everyone thinks that everyone else on the road are idiots. So I was one amongst the few thousand idiots on the roads, listening to music on my cell-phone and trying to be as careful and calm as I could. I was happy that I was avoiding most of the idiots around and keeping a pretty decent gap on all the sides for my bike.

Suddenly all the traffic came to a bottleneck… there were two BMTC busses racing each other on the really jam-packed road. The busses looked like giant caterpillars bursting at the seams with loads and loads of passengers. The drivers ‘saale Schumacher ki aulaad’ were all over the road and I kept my distance way behind them looking at the sheer stupidity happening on the road.

At the signal the busses stopped neck to neck and the drivers looking at each other like the drivers on a drag-strip. But this ain’t any strip! This is the main roads in an overly populated town! Anyways, I slowly rolled ahead of them with the movement of the smaller vehicles and got in front of them, the signal went green and whoosh both of the maniacs were at it again! I tried to be as far from them as I could, one of the busses shot past me like a loose cannonball! I was worried now and wanted to stay as far as I could… I was almost riding on the divider of the road, when boom! One of the bus drivers knocked the bike from the back… I fishtailed out of balance and crashed on the bloody tarmac!

Thank god for all the crash guards I had put of the bull… I was pinned under the bike but the weight was not directly on me and I wasn’t hurt too bad, also the protective gloves and the helmet ensured that all my important parts are still safe and in working condition… I ended with a slightly busted knee and a lot of rage in the brain! (just wanted to pull that god$%$^$%^ effin driver out of his effin buss and kick his effin eff off…

The cops arrived at the scene almost immediately (hoping to fleece some poor bugger) I got up and screamed at them for the horrendous behavior of the bus drivers and shouted again in general to vent off some steam… the cops realized that I’d be a tough nut to crack to fleece they consoled me a bit, pulled the bus driver away and asked him to scoot… by the time I realized what was happening, the inspector (or whoever he was) came up to me and told me that I’m obstructing traffic flow and I should get the eff outta there, if I want to lodge a complaint I should very well go to the police station 3-4 kilometers away from there and do so…

I was getting too late for work and I’ve learnt out of my so many years of experience on the roads here that nothing works better than, beating up the bugger who hurt you and roll out of there…

I took the bike to Saleem to check if there was any major damage… nothing much, just a bent crash guard and some more scrape marks on the sides… the bike was A-okay… from there I went to the office to meet my doc and see if I had any major damage… she checked, put some iodine and almost made me cry of the pain and then said that everything is okay, I might have some swelling for a couple days and that it might hurt for a while…

The day went on… I limped for 2 days and then am back to normal… but somewhere I’m also thinking;

Will we ever have roads with ‘responsible’ commuters on them? Will the public transport actually be avant-garde? Will the cops actually learn to be more courteous and give respect to people?

Too many questions that I guess have no answers…

Well, let’s learn to be one amongst them… WHATEVER!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

wannabe LOSER!

BMI = 29… OMG!!!

Darn, shoot, $%$%^$@, FDW#$#$#%%^, idiot!

I can’t curse myself enough… after getting married and staying in shape for a few months; we suddenly started slipping in our small haven of happiness and eating and started gobbling up all the junk we could lay our hands on.

During my last visit home, I’ve eaten so much! I remember chomping down 500gms of kulfi all alone in just one sitting! Those pizzas I devoured at Choice! Darn, what was I thinking? The wifey tried to stop me a couple times but I didn’t listen to her… even my usual snacking at home was handfuls of cashews and almonds.

I had started feeling a bit heavy around the waist since we returned back but I didn’t pay it too much heed, I kept on my gastronomical expressions and experiences till yesterday, I had to go and donate some blood for a friend’s wife’s operation… I walk into the blood bank feeling like a macho hero and tell them about the donation thingy, he asks me my height and weight, I knew the height so promptly told him the figure feeling really tall and big and strong! Next, he asks my weight and I being a dumb smartass that I am, told him that I’m not sure about the latest number, why don’t we check it? He asks me to step on the scale and BOOM! I was shot down from my glory flight to the pits of weight and being heavy… I knew that I was overweight but didn’t have any idea on how heavy I had become.

I kept the number in mind and did a BMI calculation on one of the websites with my height and weight figures. All hell broke loose… my BMI is 29 (almost obese!) I got so paranoid about this… I’ve decided that I’ll cut down all the crap that I eat. Now onwards it’s gonna be a healthy, non-fat and fast diet. Only salads and healthy stuff will go down this gullet unless I don’t get back in a decent shape. I have to get rid of aver 20 kilos now and this time I will not stop till I lose it…

For once in my life, I want to be a proud loser.

Please pray to god that I get through this ordeal at the earliest.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Coming home was never so much fun!

This was the first time when I rolled the RedEye in the compound of our Ashima apartment in Ahmedabad… this was around 22:30 on December 23, 07. My parents had no clue that I was going to ride all the way from B’lore to Abad (they in fact were expecting me to step out of the airport the next evening) thanks to the changed looks that I developed overtime (courtesy wifey) my mum didn’t even know who this guy with long curly hair and a goatee was! I had to actually convince my parents that it was actually me and that I had ridden all the way from Bangalore in 2 days.

Oh JOY! Papaji threatened that if I was any younger and living with them, I would’ve been grounded by now for doing such ‘insane heroics’ he and mumma actually reprimanded the wifey for letting me ‘do such stupid stunts’ thankfully she was brave, bold and smart enough to keep her feet down and talk some sense back to them… after around 2 hours of arguments, discussions, consolations and making-ups they accepted the facts and came to terms that their little boy has finally decided to grow older, a bit grown up but still does the childish insanities :D we all finally slept happy, they happy to see their son after almost a year, the wifey happy to have her hubby back and me just happy to be back ‘home’! To get a decent bed after over 40hours of being on the roads and one heck of a saddle-sore ride…

The next morning all charged and renewed! Mumma and the wifey had a prior appointment scheduled with their beautician so I was all free to do nothing! I called up the local RE showroom in Ahmedabad and scheduled myself an impromptu appointment with the mechanic there to get RedEye’s few knick-knacks fixed. When I reached there I realized that there were only 3 mechs, one supervisor and the store owner there! I mean c’mon! Here in B’lore even the small mech has 3 helpers… but who cares as long as I get my things done? The people there were mighty impressed to see RedEye, she is a BIG & LOUD bike, those of you who haven’t seen her in real life, lemme tell you a few interesting things that you might notice about her… she’s got a monster 20L tank (almost double of the stock tank) a ‘Goldie’ exhaust (which means that the firing is louder and more meatier) she’s got 2 extra auxiliary head lamps, extra horns so basically my bike is bigger, louder, brighter and makes more noise on road to grab attention.

Anyways, the mech felt very happy to work on a bike that had traveled almost 1650kms without a single glitch in only 2 days which included enuff pit stops and a night-halt at Pune. I was given special treatment there and I felt so happy! After everything was done, they didn’t charge me a penny for whatever they did! Wow! Now this is what we call good customer support :D

Came back home and had some amazing ‘mumma made’ lunch at home, dozed off in the afternoon for a while and just lazed the day around… all the days that followed were full of lazing around, socializing, driving around in papaji’s car and having a ball at home!

One of those days we did a day trip to Rajkot. Left pretty early from A’bad to make sure that we don’t face too much of the gujarati heat. I was still in my biker mindset when I sat in the car; I have sort of decided that for any ride longer than 200kms we should stop only after 100kms. Papaji was not very happy with this idea coz he likes to stop at almost all the roadside dhabas and try the different food there, he is one absolute foodie and I guess I get my taste buds and passion for food :D we reached Rajkot pretty well in time! The first stop here was to meet Dilip uncle, he runs the ‘Prakruti parivar’ (nature family) and has a great knowledge about animals… we started talking about keeping pets at home and he suggested we get a pair of tortoises, and then told us so much about almost all the animals (and birds and reptiles) that we can keep at our Bangalore home as pets. From here we went out to meet Jaleshbhai (the guy who has an amazing toy store and now also a great bakery) saw his progress in life, felt very happy talking to him and moved on to Omkarbhai’s place, I was thrilled to finally meet his sweet dog Mary… also saw his collection of lovebirds and his tortoises… this made me realize how much both the wifey and I miss a pet in our life and that unless something about our long-term plans is finalized we wouldn’t be able to get anything :(

The day progressed into evening and then slowly started slipping in the night, we had a long way to travel before we hit the sack so around 8ish in the evening we finally headed back towards Ahmedabad, we again were making good time, but the endless lines of trucks and their blazing highbeams made the drive pretty uncomfortable, besides I was feeling a bit tired and sleepy. We stopped for dinner at a hotel, had some khichadi-kadhi (which by-the-way could’ve well been a dog’s dinner) and rolled out, just as we got on the road the car started handling weird and we discovered a puncture in one of the front tires. Thankfully we were close to a puncture repair shop and the whole episode got over in around 30minutes without any major repercussions. We started back again and now the road just seemed unending! The wifey offered to drive the rest of the way, I happily agreed and swapped seats with her… we reached home and just crashed out, what a day!

One more highlights of my stay home this time was the 2 different sets of puppies we had in the society, one set of five pups near the main gate and the second set of 3 in the back garden. I played so much with them!!! Most of my conscious time was spent with the pups and by the time I left, they actually recognized every time I stepped out of the house :)

I was supposed to ride back to Bangalore, leave on the morning of January 2 and reach home by late 4th or early 5th but I had so much fun this time at home that I just didn’t feel like going away or getting back from home. Finally I agreed to papaji’s plan of putting RedEye on a transporter’s truck and staying back a couple days so that I can fly back with the wifey on 5th. This was a relief for all of us! My parents didn’t want me to ride back coz “its too dangerous and something might happen to me” , the wifey wanted to spend more time with me in Ahmedabad and just wanted to revisit a few of the places we dated at in A’bad before our wedding, and finally I didn’t want to ride the same way again back, if I was riding I wanted to do a non-stopper all the way to B’lore but I realized that it would’ve been a blind-man’s bluff and both the bike and I would’ve taken a huge toll, which I was not sure about taking…

Anyways, I finally left Ahmedabad in a jet-plane on the 5th morning and got back to B’lore, after coming back I had to wait a grueling 6days before I actually got the bike back in my hands, she came back in a very bad state, the lamps were busted, there were major scratches on the fenders and tank and she just had gotten too dirty to recognize! I took her to the mech and kept her there for 3days, finally she got revived and she roared back on the roads of Bangalore… as they say in Hindi, ‘ant bhala to sab bhala’

Honestly, after this trip, I’ve decided that I need to get back to Ahmedabad, am done living alone here, we can do with some ‘family warmth’ both the wifey and I are keen on moving back ‘home’ now… pray for us that we finally find a way back home :D


Monday, January 07, 2008

Chasing horizons

‘Just Ride’ this was the catchphrase I learnt on my last Hampi ride with the wifey… we had rode with the Bike Nomads for their fifth annual meet and I got to meet a lot of different bikers who ride just for the passion of biking… nothing to prove, no wars to fight, no revolutions to lead, no lives to change... just the joy of the ride.

During this meet I decided that I also want to do a solo long ride and see how it feels to be all alone on the roads chasing the horizons, witnessing the changing landscapes and feeling all the thoughts blow out of your hair in the wind… I wanted to RIDE!

The thought had been in my mind since a while; all I needed was a bit of motivation and push in the right direction from a few guys to get me going. I decided that I’ll ride from Bangalore to Ahmedabad and back for the Christmas and New Year holidays that I had applied for.

Planning and preparation for the same started almost immediately! Got spare cables for the bike, spare tube for the tires, a little bit of tools (most of the tools were borrowed from friends) puncture repair fluids, balaclavas, spare visors for the helmet, and a few other small things) all of my biker buddies here at Bangalore and in other locations like Pune, Bombay and other parts of the country who knew about my plans were really excited about the whole thing and kept me really motivated and charged for the ride. The last minute preps included an oil change for the bull’s engine, checking of all the wiring, tightening all the nuts bolts and screws and getting the monster tank filled to the top!

The last two days before the ride were the most painful for me; I was too excited and couldn’t calm down at all! My spirit was itching to cover all the roads that I can. On Friday I dropped the wife to the airport (she was traveling the ‘sane way’) saw the ridiculously long line at the check-in counter and told her that I’ll be in touch once I hit the road. We said so long and I went back for my final packing and preparations. The saddlebags were packed, tank bag had enough food, fanny-pack filled with the necessaries and my riding gear was laid out for the early morning ride. Once satisfied with the packing and preps I crashed thinking that I’ll wake up at 3am, get ready and ride out by 4am.

Next morning!

Awoke by 4:30am, (darn this is late!) by the time I showered, dressed and set out, it was already 5:45… I was kinda worried that I might not make my time if I started so late! But then the words of a veteran biker echoed in my head “ride for the joy of it… don’t set too optimistic goals… you can stop whenever you want, wherever you want!” I finally rode out ‘dressed to the tooth’ at 5:45am on December 22. Strangely the roads were relatively empty (thank god for the winter mornings) I reached out on the NH4 highway by 6:15ish and then let the bull rip for a while… both the biker and the bike were fresh and prepared for a long run for the day! Amazingly, since I was solo, the bike reached 100kmph easily and I couldn’t even feel it! My first stop was around 100kms from B’lore the morning chill had set in, a faint light on the horizons I clicked a solitary picture from my phone-cam, drank some of the mango juice I was carrying and started again.

First pit stop was the Reliance A1 Plaza at Chitradurga (around 166kms from B’lore) when I pulled in the plaza it was already quite crowded but being a solitary guy you find a place to sit pretty easily! I ordered a nice south Indian breakfast of Idli-Vada and some freshly brewed filter coffee… the junta there had some kids with them and the kids were the friendliest people I saw there! All of them lined up around me and started asking questions one of them I still remember (we going to Bangalore, you go where?) (Are you India?) heh heh, was really funny and cute, I finished my breakfast quick and rolled out again.

From Chitradurga I rode straight to Davangere, the road is one straight stretch with a few potholes and very few craters, I could maintain pretty decent speeds, crossed Davangere in a flash and then the road just started turning from good to bad and bad to worse! Almost one hundred kilometers of sand, dust, dirt and no roads! But as I’ve learnt from my numerous rides in Karnataka, every stretch of bad road eventually ends and gives way to a nice well carpeted good tar road. By the time I reached Hubli-Dharwad, the road conditions had come back to normal and then improved again! My stop here was a very smallish chai and sootha break. By now, the muscles in my butt and my hamstrings had started a bit of tingling… not serious pain yet but yeah, the seat did feel as if it was on fire! Heh heh…

I crossed Belgaum and entered Maharashtra when I landed near Kolhapur… I kept taking my 10minute breaks every 100kms on the way but they were not very special, maybe a sootha break and a swig from the water bottle and ride again. Upon hitting Kolhapur I realized that the state had changed as the traffic sense amongst people suddenly changed drastically! I saw too many bikers, pedes and dogs along the road but didn’t stop, just became extra cautious to ensure that I don’t crash into something. After Kolhapur as I neared Pune I could sense fatigue setting in, thankfully on every break I would find motivating and inspiring sms messages on my cell phone from the fellow BNers. I crossed the Karjat tunnel when darkness had already set in, called up Capt. Nandu Chitnis who was my host for the evening at Pune; took directions from him and rode on into Pune! What a feeling! YAY! YAY! I had covered over 800kms in a day!

Pune has changed a lot fro what it used to be in 2001. I had spent 2 days in Pune in 2001 and had fallen in love with the town, found the people very amiable, the traffic manageable and the town to be small. But now! Oh my god! The city had expanded out of its limits… it was like looking at a really fat lady trying to fit into a tight bikini :D people everywhere, crazy traffic and too much pollution… I could actually see smog settling on the city while I rode past.

After managing to get lost a few times and coordinating with Capt, I finally landed in his apartment’s parking lot. 891kms clocked on my trip meter! Was exhilarated but also was a bit pooped out when I pulled the bike in. Upon meeting Capt I started feeling much better... I was showed the guest room and I rushed into the shower for one of the best showers I had in ages! Amazing hot water, washing all the stress and aches off my body… upon stepping out of the shower I find Capt waiting with his trademark 2KF (for those who don’t know Capt and the story of 2KF, it means ‘2 bottle KingFisher’ – a premium brand beer) sat with Capt, guzzled some beer, smoked more soothas, chatted about this and that, and Medini aunty called us for dinner… what a sumptuous meal! Palak-paneer, aloo-gobhi ki subji, fulkas, dal-chawal, and some amazing sweet. I ate like a glutton and then crashed… in less than 15minutes I was fast asleep! The only drawback here was the excessive amounts of mosquitoes in the area! I woke up around 1am with a swollen face (swollen because of all the mosquito bites) pulled my bedding right under the fan and slept off again, woke up around 4ish, got dressed, messaged Adi Bhelke (a fellow BNer who was going to ride with me from Pune till B’bay) woke Capt in the wee hours of morning to say goodbye… had a cuppa chai and rode out with Adi.

Early morning, cool breeze, mist, fog and smog all along the way! We took the route towards Bombay… the road was whizzing past as we stopped at Lonavala for breakfast. Ordered our last ‘south Indian’ meal for a few weeks; had some utthapams and coffee, while having our breakfast we saw a gang of some Bombay based bikers who all rode in with some cool bikes! I remember seeing a goldwing, a HD sporster and one Suzuki sports bike… funny part is that we were admiring their bikes and they in turn were looking at my bull! Well I must admit, my bull is a pretty looking steed, and for the ride it was laden with the saddlebags, the tankbag and lot of other stuff on it. Felt really funny! From Lonavala we started for Vashi (Bombay) where Prasad Temkar (BN B’bay chapter) was going to meet us.

Dunno what was going through my mind while doing the Lonavala twisties; I missed turning on one of those and climbed on the sandbank… almost an accident happening, but there were a few guardian angels looking over my shoulder that I was on the bike and the bike was all okay after this incident. After this, I kept my speeds relatively lower on the ghat section tillwe hit Bombay. Finding Prasad was not too hard but we had spent quite a lot of time on the road and it was already late morning when we actually met up. My bull’s chain was a bit loose by now so Prasad found a local mech who fixed it for me in 30bucks. Adi said goodbye here as he was riding back to Pune now, and Prasad took over the lead to guide me out of Bombay city towards Thana (where the milestone says Ahmedabad 545kms – in Prasad’s language) the climatic differences were very obvious, I could feel myself sweating like a pig in my riding jacket and the heat was becoming unbearable. We stopped once more on the way to get me a bottle of water and some more mango juice in a bottle (this was courtesy BN B’bay chapter as Prasad put it) reached Thana in a while after that, had our soothas and Prasad did show me the milestone showing Ahmedabad 545kms. Said farewells and I rolled towards home time in my watch a little after noon.

My initial plan was to ride till Surat, stop over for the night there and then ride towards Ahmedabad the next day… call it the amazing speeds or the amazing roads, I reached Surat around 4ish (not bad!) stopped at a nice chai tapir for some chai, chatted up with the locals there, they were too amazed to see such a wacky looking bike and an even wackier looking biker :D I got to know that Narendra Modi had won the CM elections for Gujarat again! Called up the wifey from there and she said that the whole city of Ahmedabad is in a jubilant mood and major celebrations are happening all over, roads blocked and stuff. She also suggested that I should stopover somewhere on the way and not hit A’bad.

After Surat it felt that god was not on my side at all! The roads were nonexistent. There were diversions every couple kilometer and everything was covered in sand and dust, with mile long lines of trucks and cars… felt as if I wouldn’t be able to get out of here anytime soon! My average speed had dropped from 80kph to 40kph and I felt like a slug moving along the really bad traffic. I actually was cursing myself now in my helmet, screaming and shouting that I shouldn’t have done this stupidity, should’ve taken a flight like every other person and not thought about riding out… finally Baroda came and the roads improved… it was around 8ish now and I stopped after Baroda for a chai and to ask the chaiwallah if he knew any decent hotel to spend the night. This guy was one extraordinary enthu cutlet. He was coaxing me, “kya saab, itna saara chalake aaye ho aur an 100kms pehle ruk jaoge?” honestly, he did make sense, he gave me one complimentary cup of masala chai and some more words of inspiration and I rode out in the night!

I had decided that I’ll reach home tonight, nomatterwhat… strangely all my exhaustion and fatigue had suddenly vanished and I was all charged to reach home now… stopped at an Essar gas station and put in some of their ‘advanced petrol’ in the bike (must say it felt better than the shell that I usually use for my bull!) called the wifey from here and told her that I’ll hit A’bad in a couple hours. The ride from here was pretty decent, once again, the winter evenings had demotivated most of the ‘faltu’ riders on the way so the roads were relatively empty. When A’bad was only 50kms away I encountered a trio of ‘filmy, faltu, lukkha’ bikers on one 100CC bike racing with me, I usually avoid racing with such guys who don’t even have the brains to wear a helmet on the highway but they were becoming irritating… every few minutes they’ll zoom past me, slow down, try to cut my way and do the same circus again… I kept maintaining my normal speeds but they became too irritating! I finally twisted the wrist and shot over 120kph for a while, the roads were still empty and traffic was strangely was nonexistent… in a short while I lost them out of my rearview mirror and I regained my ‘normal’ speed.

Ahmedabad came with its hustle and bustle, I was sane enough to remind myself that I’ve approached into the city and the speeds were relatively slower and the concentration was extra high… went and picked up the wifey from her parents’ place and we rode together to my house… my parents had no idea that I was riding all the way from Bangalore to Ahmedabad, so when I rolled through the gate into the compound, they just freaked out! Funniest thing is that they didn’t even recognize me for the first few minutes… heh heh

The bike was finally unloaded of the bags, I took off the riding gear, had a nice shower and then we sat and chatted. My dad had ruled in his ultimatum that I will not be allowed to do any of such antics in front of him ‘EVER’!

The next morning I woke-up fresh and recharged, took the bike to the Royal Enfield dealership in Ahmedabad, met Samir Dutta the owner of the store who got the small knickknacks serviced for free! That guy had a great spirit and I really hope I get to move to A’bad to expand a few biking clubs there aswell!

Well this was my dream ride that finally came true. The trip meter clicked 1648kms in a total of two days and I now feel much better about myself and the bike… I was supposed to ride back too but that was a flop story and I’ll tell you about it in the next post.

A few people I want to mention and thank here:

Capt. Nandu & Medini Chitnis – for their amazing hospitality, the amazing food and the 2KF.
Adi Bhelke – for riding with me from Pune till Vashi
Prasad Temkar – for guiding me out of Vashi all the way till Thana and showing me the A’bad 545kms milestone.
Doc Arnob & Doc Prithivi – to keep me company and sending their guidance every pit stop.
Rocky – kept calling me everytime I stopped and motivated me
Wifey – for being who she is and keeping the whole matter hush-hush till I landed in A’bad
Cdidi & Jiju – they were with me all through the ride ‘long-distance’
Anoop aka XH – for lending me his tools
Samir Dutta – for servicing the bike free @ a’bad and spending so much time with me there.

Finally I thank RedEye – for being the beast it is and taking me places…

Life is all about the journeys, not the destinations…


p.s. stay tuned for my part 2 to this blog (my stay in A’bad and my journey back)