Skip to main content

Celebration Day

Inevitably, your statement elicits the question 'why' accompanied by looks ranging from puzzlement to horror. You think about it. Sincerely ponder on the whole gamut; possible reasons, theories, answers, clever retorts...

You seriously consider replying with 'Because', pause (wisely, in this day and age) & then gently shake your head and stay mute, hoping that the zen-like expression on your face will suffice as an answer, explanation or whatever else. If they had to ask, then nothing you could say would ever satisfy. Ergo, you silently thank your guardian angel that no real melodrama ensued.

Kshitij and I left from home at 6:20 am, knowing we had a long ride ahead. There was a hint of anxiety in the air because the most important component of this trip (apart from ourselves) was the motorbike... the TVS Star DLX that had never been further than Lonavala, a distance of about 50 km from Pune. On the 1st of October 2008, the very same bike was going to be ridden roughly 470 km... to Goa.

It was Ashish's idea that I meet him in Kolhapur and that he & I continue onward from there to Panaji. It was my idea to not tell him that Kshitij was also going to be coming along and it was Kshitij's idea that we might as well bike it. Everyone was having great ideas, as it were. Ashish, being an experienced biker & on a Bullet to boot, made it all the way from Bangalore to Kolhapur by about 10:00 am, still under the impression that I was plodding along by bus. He may also have been helped in that impression by the thoughtful hourly messages I was sending him describing the non-existent bus driver's antics. This was Kshitij's first long-distance bike trip and I will take this opportunity to tip my helmet to his riding skills and stamina.

The NH 4 is a delightfully well-constructed road, although its ease and proximity to small villages and towns does take the edge of the solitary motorbiker mystique, somewhat. Besides, after about 12 hours of riding, only the fanatic would be put off by the comfort of the NH 4. At 11:45 am, turning off the highway into the Loksatta Gates and into Kolhapur, my cell-phone began to ring. Knowing it may have been a by now rather irate Ashish on the line, I chose to ignore it. Spotting him standing by the side of the road with a less than welcoming expression on his face may also have played a part, I don't know. He looked quite puzzled when a TVS Star DLX stopped next to him and the guy riding pillion jumped off, greeting him very cheerfully. Puzzled, because that pillion rider was expected to be hopping off a bus, not a bike.

The expression on his face was priceless as he realized that not only had I not reached by bus, but that Kshitij had also come along. And we'd done so by motorbike. Questions may have followed, but 'why' was not one of them. See, like I said before, if you have to ask...

Ashish will not.

Gagan Bhavda Ghat
From Kolhapur, we rode onward to Panaji via the Gagan Bhavda Ghat. We made it to the border by 5:50 pm and with a whoop of joy, crossed into Goa about 10 minutes later. It had rained earlier that afternoon and so, 3 pleasantly exhausted guys on motorbikes skimmed across the road to Calangute. I had the luxury of being able to look around and am therefore able to describe the following scene:

The sun sinking rapidly, the western sky was awash in golden evening light. A fading rainbow framed the horizon to the east. The air seemed heavy with the promise of some indescribably delicious joy as our tired eyes were soothed by the combination of dark-red earth & emerald-green hills.

K & A

Welcome to Goa...

Song for the moment:
Holiday - Greenday


Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Drink up and be somebody

Dear Reader,

History will boldly testify that your favourite blogger is usually slow on the uptake, a state of affairs that's blooming with each passing year like a reverse-Revital. "Why this self-harshness, G", you may ask? Well...

I've been doing the Bom-Pune-Bom trips for 9 years and it's taken about that long to accept that MSRTC Shivneri, still the best bus service of them all, simply cannot (or, realistically, will not) cope with 3-day weekends. Since my job profile does not allow me to plan my travel in advance on said Fridays, I land up at Dadar, view the queue of potential passengers snaking a long way from the ticket window and mentally prepare to arrive home at the hour of morning reserved for sheepish teenagers and dacoits. The Expressway doesn't help anyone's cause thanks to truck drivers spreading themselves generously across 3 lanes and clogging the Lonavala pass to a point where the traffic jam is about 3 km long. A stretch that would tak…

Country Comforts

Part 1

With timing that was far more impeccable than their usual service, the MSRTC went on strike 2 days before Diwali over a pay dispute. I've traveled on their buses for close to 9 years and know full well just how popular they can be just before a major holiday. The chaotic crowd at Dadar is so dense, one would only need to introduce a few Naga sadhus into the mix and hey presto! we've got ourselves a brand new Kumbh Mela. Albeit one where getting out of Bombay ASAP is the only kind of salvation devotees seek. 

News and newspapers being what they are at present, I was unaware of the jolly bus crisis until Wednesday morning when a well-wisher asked how I proposed to go home for the holidays, flourishing the paper in my face with the reluctant panache of a small-town magician. Realising the gravity of the situation, I looked up train schedules and was stunned to find General category seats available on an outstation train departing later that afternoon. As far as I could see, …