Thursday, September 3

4 - No leaf clover

Long after adrenalin has given up on your body, it is dread-tainted thrill & stubbornness that burns in your veins, pushing you, your body & your mind way beyond their limits. Okay, I'm no authority on human physiology but that's what kept me going that day.

We'd been riding from 6:30 am on a hot October day. We had envisioned ourselves in Goa 12 hours later. So, at 6:30 pm, 12 hours later, we looked at each other's sunburned, weary faces & then slowly accepted where we were. In the middle of nowhere. The sun had set. There was NO ONE on the road & this is no exaggeration. Although we'd been making decent time over the day, the breaks brought on by the monstrously heavy bags had crept up on us. To now discover that our destination was at least 5 hours away... there was nothing to say, really. We rode on in silence. That is, until we got to some small decrepit town & halted for tea. It was bad tea, but that's not the point. It was 10 pm and sense ordered us to halt for the night & ride on the morrow.

At this point, I'd like to tell you something about Ashish, Ketan & I. (The aforementioned are free to dispute this if they want) Different people though we undoubtedly are, there is one point we do have in common. The vagaries of fate only make that gleam in the eye brighter, awakening the 'कीडा' (insect does not explain it satisfactorily). Outwardly, this manifests in a grin of impish, unholy glee.

That we were tired was beyond question.
That Goa was not a stone's throw away was indisputable.
That the highway was dangerous in itself was obvious.
That it was poorly lit, with trees cutting off any moonlight, made it scary.
That we could stop for the night was an option.
That we did not, is reality.

At the tea stall, what I remember about that discussion is that not one of us explicitly said we should stop. There was some hemming & hawing, some chin-scratching & some stretching of muscles beseeching for rest. And then there was a pause.

Until Ketan talked about why it was important for us to continue & how Goa was only a couple of hours away. We shrugged, thought about what we were doing & rode on into the pitch black.

What Ketan had failed to mention to us was that he was completely night-blind.

Song for the moment: Ghost riders in the sky - Johnny Cash


Ashish said...

Fantastic job Girish - I actually 'saw' the chai tapri. Well done!

bhumika said...

If you made this into a book, it would definitely be 'unputdownable'

girish said...

ashish, again, danke.

bhumika, that's a very nice thing to say. thanks.