Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Goodbye doesn't always mean we will meet again

You became a stranger over the past few decades. I remember I was only 15, raging hormones and all; and we stopped communicating… I never forgave you for all that you made us go through, you were one of the reasons I closed up to the world and became an introvert, always afraid to open up to others in fear of them going away in the end.

Then I met you again a few months ago; wrinkled, tired and living on borrowed time. The people who you had listened to and distanced yourself from us were the ones who were now tired of your existence and regularly hoped and prayed for you to pass on. What a shame! We loved you so much! And yet you had to take sides, instead of showing your authority, you chose to go away.

Later, looking at you lying on the bed, hardly breathing… people around waiting for you to stop. End the struggle and move on! And I wondered, do I really know you anymore? You were a stranger who didn’t talk, didn’t even open his eyes, you were just there… breathing, because you didn’t have anything else to do. Nothing to say, nothing to convey, you looked tired.

When I got the call that night, everyone around you and me were calm, composed and collected; they had waited for this moment for a long time, and when it came… it came a bit too late.
We came to see you in the morning, to bid our farewells one last time… there you were, an object instead of a being, on the floor tied up and weighed down by the flowers. Your eyes half open or half closed, the mouth that I remember was gasping for air had been left open, toothless, and expressionless, a piece of cotton rudely shoved in as if to gag and choke you of all that sounds that never came out throughout your lifetime.

When I carried you on my shoulder, I realized that you had reduced down to nothing! The only weight we felt was of the heaps of the flowers. Putting you on the pile of wood, smearing ghee on your face, hands, feet and torso… that cold flesh that meant nothing now. I still remember almost blurting out to the guys to be careful not to hurt you while they were piling up the wooden logs on top of you.  And the fire was lit.

The wood caught fire pretty quickly! And so did you… the skull popped like a fire cracker, leaving a trail of fireworks around. Then popped the kneecaps and your titanium joints that costed hundreds of thousands just plonked off like scrap metal… they couldn’t help you stand on your feet or walk away from the fire… I will not easily forget the sick fervor with which the dom was going at your remains to hasten the process of burning… it was more than 2 hours that you took to turn into a pile of ash and a few scattered bone bits.

The bits were gathered and washed in milk and water, then you were placed in a small little earthen pot with a parchment containing your details and a small prayer to the gods to take you where you belong… these will be floated in a river someday.

Now, you are gone… your memory lingers and the people who wished and prayed for your departure are sitting there tired of crying and feeling guilty about everything they said and did to hurt you, cribbing about how they could have told you this and asked for that before you left.

Goodbye! May you find whatever you are looking for in the eternal time and space…. We might meet someday, then we will sit and talk. Till then, find your peace. 

Wild Weekend @ KolliMalai

After getting inspired by Doc. Raval's pics of his Kolli Hills ride, I had already decided that I'm gonna ride out to this destination...Last weekend's BN G2G brought up this topic... Ashish Chamoli jumped to the idea of going for a ride, any ride! As long as it is a long ride :)

Made a few calls and sent out emails asking friends who would be interested; and only Arijit Ghosh reverted, saying that he is interested, he roped in another of his friend Dilip who has done extensive riding across India, specially the northeast part...

So the planning was done, date and time decided, all that was needed was to turn up for the ride! We met up at 5am on Hosur Road, and started for our destination by around 6ish (it took some time for everyone to assemble) the roads were butter smooth and the climate was perfect!

First stop was at around 7 near Krishnagiri for some awesome idlis and omelets. After getting a fill of food we started again, next stop was Salem, asked for directions and hit the right road towards Rasipuram, here funny thing happened! A kid comes up and asks in Tamil if this is a college trip, I just shook my head and didn't say anything; he then asks if we are the Police! I shook head again, so his mum tells him, they are the army... :D

From here, the great NH7 turns into a modest State Highway… but kudos to TN govt for making such great roads, not too many potholes on the way and perfectly picturesque scenery to give us company all the way!

After Rasipuram we had to start climbing the ghat section… the dreaded 70 hairpin turns! But to my surprise, the road condition was so smooth that the dread turned into sheer joy after every turn! And by the time we reached the top, the adrenaline and the joy both were on a full high!

Now bearing in mind from Doc's instructions we knew that there are not too many accommodation options here, and hence Ashish had carried his 4person tent (just in case!) there are 2 famous resorts and a couple of measly lodges that provide accommodation… to our luck, everything was full! Finally the owner of a resort allowed us to pitch our tent in his coffee plantation (of course after charging 1K for it) but it was exactly what we wanted! We pitched our tent in the middle of nowhere, with coffee plants all around us and the noise of all the birds and insects around :)

After pitching up and resting for a while, we set out on our bikes to do a look-see of the place. We were surprised to find that the place doesn't have much to offer from a `touristy' option… just 2 `points' for witnessing the sunsets and loads of liquor stores to buy cheap beer and brandy… we did our `shopping' and went to one of the points to see the sunset, saw hoards of people come, pose for pics, and go while were sat there unmoved.

After sunset and some basic `appetizers' we headed for dinner, ate dinner and crashed in the tent amongst total darkness and sounds of all the insects… the sky was totally clear so saw a lot of stars…

Woke up early in the morning, packed our stuff and rode out before the local traffic increases… after some photo-ops on the ghats, we descended to Rasipuram for some breakfast of dosas and parathas… ate our fill and rode out… next stop dharampuri for tender coconuts then again rode till Electronic city, stopped looking for lunch options and realized that we are too close to home to eat out now… so, said good byes and ripped all the way home…

Total ride distance, door to door: 650kms


Ashish Chamoli – LB500

Arijit Ghosh – TB350

Dilip – STD350

LJ – RedEye