[A bit of flashback is about to commence. The month of October is almost here & that month in 2003 always brings back memories. I hope you enjoy it. I know I did.]
Once before on this blog, I have referred to the idea of 'cool'. The Wikipedia entry (and there is one, which is delightful) on the topic is extensive and an interesting read even. At the end of the day (or for clarity's sake), the point I'm trying to make, dear reader, is that I am not, have never been & will never be, COOL.
Which, if you've followed this blog over the last couple of years, should have suggested itself to you anyway. One does not take liberties with anticipating intelligence, however, so the shameful fact or dirty linen if you prefer, has to be aired loud and clear. Not the linen. That's a similie. Haan...
Why this chest-beating confession, you ask ? Because, when Apocalypse happens & one's antecedents are looked over, even old Mephisto will have to admit that there was one little incident that would qualify in the permafrost category of coldness. I refer to a trip I took with 2 other dudes about 6 years ago. A motorcycle trip from Pune to Goa, to be precise.
Before you snigger, & you lot will snigger, let me quietly remind you that the NH - 4 wasn't always in the splendid condition it is today. That it is an effortless drive now is thanks to it being selected as part of the Golden Quadrilateral. When we took that trip, the highway was being worked upon. This is India... you've seen road-work right ? We understand each other clearly then.
The two gents in who's heads the idea for this trip germinated are Ashish & Ketan. Ashish then owned (and still does) a Yamaha RX-100. On cue, hearty applause from those in the know. Ketan owned a Splendor, which was a very nice bike also. Since this is a throwback to college, I have to say that I was a tad antisocial at the time. Also angsty. A bit. The guys in question would talk about the trip & I'd quietly ruminate on the snippets of information they were dispersing. Eventually, I threw caution to the wind and just asked if I could go along. Ashish was nice (or nonchalant) enough to acquiesce, which called for one of those mental victory jigs a-la Sir Alex when Man U score a goal. It was nice because I could not ride a motorbike back then. A state of affairs that was enough to allow Fate to take it's usual bite out of the collective posterior on offer later on the trip. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Then came the planning part. See, even as I type all this, I have to smile because if ever you needed proof of my naive lack of coolness, it's coming up. To look at the bag I finally finished packing, one would have concluded that I was attempting to repeat Phileas (or Phineas) Fogg's journey around the world. Putting it briefly, it was big & heavy. When I tell you that the others had packed similar bags, you will no doubt be mentally prepared to read me state that we changed our minds about the motorbikes & decided on a camel caravan.
We stuck with the motorbikes.
And the bags.
The night before the trip, apprehension & a barely containable excitement is churning in the pit of your stomach, making dinner a tricky affair to navigate. Post dinner, which was at Roopali on F.C road, the 3 of us were to head to Ashish's Aji's place, which was a couple of minutes up the same road. Ashish & I got on his bike, Ketan got on his & we left from Roopali.
10 seconds later, Ashish & I realise that we've lost Ketan.
On a straight road, with no turns.
Song for the moment: You found me - The Fray