Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy.
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears
- Simon and Garfunkel
I cannot say whether I will make 70.
I do not know whether friendships last that long, in this day and age.
But life is for the living and memories, good & bad, will teach us... make us smile at the most inappropriate times and leave us wondering how ancient scars can still hurt sometimes.
To step forward, I look back... and without effort (and thankfully, no grief), this exercise effortlessly conjures up countless images. Heaven help us if our respective folks ever found out how three greenhorns actually made their way on motorcycles from Pune to Panaji... or somewhere in the vicinity. And back, of course.
See, the thing with being a greenhorn is that most knowledge is theoretical and quite a bit of the bravado is churning furiously with apprehension. And when it came to this motorcycle trip, we showed that inexperience by packing enough luggage to comfortably stay in Goa for 3 months. Trouble was, our not-so-creaky backs would be hauling those bags. Enough said, methinks.
Only 2 other people in the world truly know why that trip was special. 2 out of 6.6 billion. Can't get any more exclusive than that so I will not bore you with descriptions that you will not really relate to anyway. Here are a few things I remember, regardless...
Watching the world unfold as the sun rose steadily... it promised to be a beautiful day.
Stopping the bikes in the middle of absolutely nowhere on our way to Kolhapur. Not a soul in sight in either direction as we gratefully parked under the shade of the trees for a minute's rest. Suddenly, out of that absolutely nowhere I mentioned, a chap selling kulfi pops up and is duly in business.
Admiring the greenery and road conditions as we made our way to Ratnagiri from Kolhapur. Yes, Ratnagiri. Yes, we were supposed to be heading to Goa. Yes, we were going the wrong way. Took our collective subconscious about 3 hours to realize our mistake.
Watching the same sun set over the hills... I even remember the time; 6:46 pm. Then seeing a sign that said 'Panaji - 750 km and having our hearts join the sun in the sinking manoeuvre.
Pitch dark highway. The only things we could see were silhouttes of trees on both sides of the road. The only thing we did want to see was the solitary headlight of the motorcycle behind us.
See, it's pointless to go on about it here.
Anyway, on the morrow, 2 of the 3 are meeting up in Kolhapur to reride that first wild shindig. We are 5 years older, slightly more phlegmatic but not really pragmatic.
Like I said earlier, if nothing else, more memories will be chalked up. That's about the least we can ask for.
In tipping our hats to the third rider, who sang it repeatedly on that trip...
Song for the moment: Wherever I may roam - Metallica