Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Motorcycle Diaries

Excerpts from Diary:

Sunshine on my wings…

Well, here I am, on the fly, with sun shinning in the sky, on the Boeing wings, over the blue earth. And I am all set to set my dreams true. I am leaving….

I am happy for daring to do what I love to do, for living the life the way I wanted to, some, if not completely. Out of nowhere this thought has come into my mind that why we regret for what we don’t have? Why we forget to make most out of what we have and enjoy? There are millions of such thoughts that come into our mind. I think its upto us to be happy or not…to live the life or not…..

Ow! lest I get emotional….leave it…..anyways feeling happy…will reach Delhi tonight and then tommorow morning will get my steed unloaded from nizamuddin station and then load it back

And then will start my journey… first of its kind ….chalo that’s it for today…..by the way have ya ever watched sunset from over the clouds? No? fella you are missing out something great!!!

Day 1, 1:20 pm, IST, Nizamuddin

I woke up early in the morning after having sound sleep, went to nizamuddin station and felt good to see my Gulabo there without any damage. I took the packing off, paid some bribes and left for Karol bagh to buy the panniers and other necessary tools, but to my surprise all the shops were closed, reason? “Delhi election”. Heck…..i had this hunch somehow L . I parked my bike in front of one of the closed shop and sit beside the closed shutter watching the empty streets and cursing my luck. Then pushed off and decided to roam around Delhi. I had been to Delhi many times before but this time I was here as a touristJ . Dressed up like tourists, goggles, camera in one hand and and laptop on my shoulder….i went to India gate, humayun tomb, took some pictures and then came back to my room. Then I remember Anukaran from Nagpur bullet club gave me the number of few Delhi Royal Beasters. I called up Avinash (The Chief) of Beasters and asked him for help. He was kind and asked me to call up in the evening…

Day 1, 9:29 pm IST, Nizamuddin

Back after getting some work done. Gaurav from Royal Beasters came to my rescue and lend his panniers. Had a nice little time with him then drove on the beautiful Delhi roads on my steed, a long time dream come true!!…went to India gate also, sat there for a while. The place looked beautiful in the night, as I imagined. The “Jai Jawan” stone, eternal flames burning around with the view of south block behind was amazing; it brings back the patriot in you.

Got all the necessary medicines, few maps, topped up the tank, had dinner and now back for nice sleep. Tommorow early morning I will start my journey. I may join beasters for their 5th anniversary ride to some place around Nainital but not sure which way these dudes gonna take. Still I don’t have enough tools and could not wait till Karol bagh shops will open at 10:30 am so let’s see if I could get some in Meerut… till then, driving on luck …J. Now have to pack my stuff… so for today, good night diary!!!

Saturday, 9:09 pm IST, Nainital, Kumaon

So I missed yesterday dear diary. Ok, there was a funny story behind it. First let me tell you in detail about the journey of last two days. Well Friday early morning at 6 am I started from Nizamuddin towards Meerut. Through Delhi ring road, watching the sunrise I crossed Delhi border in few minutes and reached Meerut. Hey I told you na that I was running on my luck without any spares? Yep I called up Rana from Meerut and asked him if he could find any Enfield showroom in Meerut through web. He gave details and I reached Tamanna motors in paccha park, Meerut. I waited there for 30 mins as I reached lil’ early and then got few spares and changed my Air filter. I left for Lansdowne through Bijnor-Najibabad-Kotdwara. After kotdwara, there are beautiful hill ghats (Shivalik Hills Range) to Lansdowne. On the way you’ll find Tea stalls and other shops but beware while driving, people are crazy the way they drive there. Lansdowne is basically nothing but a small village of pahari people on top of one of the shivalik range hills and the main attraction is Garwal regiment and its training centre. I reached pretty early there and again had to fight for a room. Finally I got room with three bedsJ. I thought okay, three beds …fineJ. I was lil’ tired and jumped on bed. I opened my eyes when I heard knocking on my door. “Sharmaji, darwaja kholengey please? I opened the doors and saw this hotel guy with a big fat moustache geek. “Sharmaji kya yeh yahan pe ruk saktey hai ek bed pe, koi problem nahi hogi apko please”. I was sleepy and said “okay dude get in”. Fatso brought his luggage and the moment he opened his mouth, I knew this guy is punjabi and first thing he said after he entered,“Mein ji zarra toilet hokey aaya mennu piles di problem hai” . He came back in no time and another thing I find about this fatso is that he can’t close his mouth and a typical phattey baaj chatterbox without caring if other guy is listening to him or not. I was‘nt paying any attention to him and was just nodding to whatever he was saying. He started telling about his business and other stuff. Initially I was lil’ afraid if this fatso is some kinda HomoJ. Mein soch raha tha sala raat ko pad gaya mere pe to mushkil ho jayegi, kisko awaaz lagaunga in paharo mein?. He was talking about anything , about his life, the places he went to like germany, spain, italy and how he use to spent his time. Like how he bonks there with some funny stories in funny language called Punglish (Punjabe and English).

After some time I felt comfortable thinking that I am on the safer sideJ. He told me that one day in Germany, he was sitting in his hotel room and put on his TV and played some porno channel and then suddenly TV remote got struck and he called up reception. Then a lady comes to his help and he said “TV working not, remote problem” lady fixed it in a moment and the moment it got fixed, the TV started playing same old porno channel. Fatso said he just hide his face with shame but the lady asked “You like this stuff?” he said yes and she said “ok, you call me later”. Fatso called her and fixed the rate 70 Euro for two trips J…..Hmmm stories like this you know. I had to wake up early in the morning but if this guy would allow me his mercyL. Then I dusscussed the route with this guy and came to know that I have to go all the way back till Najibabad to reach Jim Corbett park. I walked outside for few minutes, talked with pahari people; I love pahari people …myself being a pahariJ. We finally slept at 12 in the night.

Next day morning again I loaded my steed at 6:30 am and left. Early morning climing down the Hills felt good, had a nice Tea made in pahadi style. On the way in Ramnagar I luckily saw the spare shop and got foot pump, screw drivers and plier. Now I had all the stuff for fixing puncture.

I reaced Corbett at 12:30 pm and came back to Ramnagar from there I took NH to Nainital. Again the roads to Nainital are amazingly laid. I reached Nainital at 5 pm and negotiated a good deal for nice room. Went to Mall road, had dinner in sher-e-punjaab hotel and now I am back to hotel. By the way if you like non-veg food then sher-e-punjaab on the mall road is nice one and must visit. Chalo decided the route for tommorow and going for some sleep now.

Sunday, 8:42 pm IST, Bagheshwar

Hmm this time I started little late in the morning at 8 am reason being I liked the hotel room and wanted to take enough rest in that beautiful place. I filled gas and was on mall road in a moment. From there took a turn towards Bhowali which takes you to the Mukteshwar route. Again the roads were nice till 24km before Mukteshwar but the road construction work is going on. But I loved the drive to Mukteshwar. Reached there and took some rest. Well from Mukteshwar you can get the near view of Himalayas and that will leave you mesmerized. There is a small walking lane which takes you to the rocks on top of the hill. I took my bike through that that small lane, parked it in front of forest officer’s bungalow, climed the rock and watched the mountains around from top. The view was amazing!! I came back where my bike was parket and saw this beautiful pahari girl, I guess she was forest officer’s daughter but she caught my attention, I tried to look at her and she replied as she was hanging washed cloths on wire…. ahhh lovely moment ..How I loved to fall in love with her, she was beautiful with pristine pure looks. For a moment I thought I will stop there for some more time and stare her but L….i had to leave. And I left Mukteshwar with broken heart and singing “Gori teri ankhen kahen…” towards bhowali and from there to almora-binsar (through Binsar National Park) and bagheshwar. Got a cheap room, had heavy dinner outside, took a walk around the empty village streets. Initially I had the plans to go to Munsiyari but after reaching bagheshwar I come to know that Munsyari is around 142km from here and that would easily take two days and I want to use this time to go to Gangotri so dropped the munsyari plan. Tommorow will leave for Karnaprayag and if possible Rudraprayag. Ok, today I am not feeling healthy have to go for sleep soon. Yaaawn…

Monday, 9:40 pm IST, Chamba, UA

I started early in the morning at 6:30 am from Bagheshwar. Had a nice Tea on the way to Baijnath. Kamlesh told me that his home is on the way 8 km before Gwaldam.So I asked him the exact village name, and it was Sirkote. I looked for his home there and met with his father. Damn!!! What a nice place he lives in. You can see the Himalayas right from the balcony of his house. I was impressed. Had a nice chat with his Dad and left for Karanprayag. I love early morning rides, everything looks so fresh, so pure. On the way I pushed down to 4th gear on mountain roads and on one turn, my rubber lost its grip and I had a nice fall. Me and my Horse slided and swanged 180 degreesJ. But I escaped safe but with two broken bends on panniers, broken horn and bend on crash guard. My knee guards took all the scratches. I had this thought that these skating pads are almost useless for rides but still, I use to wear them thinking once I’ll fall, I’ll see if they are helpful otherwise I’ll throw them right away…but they are worth!!!. I had breakfast in Gwaldam and headed towards Karnaprayag. Last night I decided that I will drop munsyari plan and ride till Rudraprayag but I reached Rudraprayag quite early and headed towards Srinagar. From Srinagar, I started for New Tehri as I have decided to go to Gangotri the next day. The road to Tehri is beside the Ganga. On the way I took along many hitchhikers and get the route details from locals wherever I could. I met one bawa cycling all the way from Shirdi and going to all 12 dhams around the country. This guy lost his one leg and still doing this on a cycle. He gave me the Sai Baba post card as a token of gift and in exchange I offered him vibhuti of sai baba temple in Bangalore that I kept in pouch in my wallet, this felt nice.

When I reached Tehri someone told me that instead I can go to chamba and stay there if I am planning for Gangotri. Chamba was 30 km more from Tehri, it was already dark by then but I decided to push off. I reached here at 8:30 pm and got room.

Thursday, 9:19 pm IST, Mussorie, UA

Again I missed two days here. Where was i? Yeah from Chamba I left for Gangotri. The roads were not fully opened to Gangotri; restoration work was still going on. Only light vehicles were allowed and in Gangotri everything was closed as “Mandir Patts” were supposed to open after 19th April. I guess, I was among the first few hoteliers who reached there after the entries are allowed. These roads remain closed for six months ….Indian Army stays there during that time. There was no electricity, no cellular signal, no STDs, no shops open there. I was lucky to get one Hotel there whose owner also reached there one day before me. Even though the roads were badly damaged with landslides (sometimes live landslidesJ), glaciers, I enjoyed the rugged rideJ . Pannier’s welding got broken again and few screws fell off so when I reached Uttarkashi, I fix everything and topped up engine oil with 1 litre 20W40 castrol engine oil. After uttarkashi you can see the closer view of Himalayas, the mountains are too high and when you drive, you just can’t look downJ . Once you reach Harsil, you are there man; you can feel the embrace of great Himalayas. As you ride through, you cross Lanka, Bhaironghati and Gangotri the real Himalayas, it feels great… some kind of amazing feeling when you look at them from so close. My hotel room was just beside the Himalaya Mountain and Ganga flowing in between ahh!!! I went for a small walk to the Gangotri mandir and other places around in the evening. On the way you will find a way towards China border, “Nelong” which is just 23 km but the entry is restricted by Army. Next day morning I left Himalayas with blessed feeling. This time ride back to Chamba was so boring that I had to take too many breaks and relax. I reached Chamba at 4:00 pm, took my lunch and headed towards Dhanaulti where I was planning to stay. After few kms the roads were amazing and I reached Dhanaulti before time. The place is awesome, the mountains, trees, roads, everything. So I decided to head on and reach Mussorie and plan to take a day off from riding and enjoy some time there in Mussorie. I took a nice Hotel with “f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c” view of Mussorie Mountains. I went to Mall road today and did some shopping for my sis’ and arranged everything to start by tommorow towards Shimla through Chakrata-Theog-Kufri -Shimla. Good Night!!!

Monday 5:35 pm IST, Jammu

Finally I finished this ride. I reached here in Jammu on Saturday, a day before I expected to reach. My plan was to stay at Dharamshala on Saturday and push off for Jammu on Sunday morning but the roads in Himachal Pradesh are unexpectedly so great that I reached Jammu the day I started from Shimla morningJ. And I missed a day here too from …so from Chakrata till tuini you will ride through Hills desert with not a soul around for 80 km and once you lost your way, you are gone like what happened to me but I was lucky after 30 mins wait , I found a Tractor coming my way and showed me the the way. After tuini you cross the UA border and enter HP even in Tuini you see lot of vehicles with HP registration.

I took enough rest here at home and now I am as fresh as ever. Ready to face the mad world!!!

Today when I stand and look back, I see hundreds of mountains I have crossed, the air of differenet places I have smelled, the hitchhikers I have taken to their destination, the people I have met and discussed with them the destination route over Tea, the lessons I have learned, the smiles on beautiful faces, the momentary love I had for them and so many more unexplain things and sweet moments that will remain in my heart for years to come…I feel, I am much more serene today !

My heart is a wanderer in love, may it ever remain so.
My life’s been rendered miserable in love,
may it grow more and more miserable.