Even silence speaks - Hausa Proverb
The words I am about to type in this post are today just that. Words. They will tell you the facts but not allow you to understand the churning emotions that we waded through that long, black night. The facts are hair-raising enough so perhaps not all is lost.
To somehow heave your mind off it's bed, ready it begrudgingly to carry on in the face of physical anguish & then be told matter-of-factly that one bike rider cannot see in the dark... you know the trip just got interesting. And yet, incredible as it may seem to you, we carried on. The spirit of youth, that was us. How we did circumvent the minor hitch of Ketan's night-vision was -
- Ashish riding ahead at a speed of 35 kmph at best.
- I'm sitting behind him, with a ridiculously heavy bag on my shoulders.
- Ketan is following us on his bike, even slower than us because... & get ready for this... he's not watching the road. No, what he's putting the strength of his ocular powers on is the tail-lamp on Ashish's bike.
- Ashish concentrates on the road, avoiding potholes & trucks.
- Ketan concentrates on the tail-light of Ashish's bike.
- I concentrate on looking behind me once every minute, watching for Ketan's bike's headlamp.
At around 12:30 am, a sorrier bunch of individuals could not have puttered their way to the border. Where we found out that Ashish's bike did not have insurance papers. Which instantly put us on the shifty-eyed, shady smuggler-type list. The cops, realising that they were on to a good thing, asked us for every possible piece of identification. My British Council Library card (don't even ask) brought a hasty end to the night's amusement & we crossed over into Goa about 250 Rs. (Ashish, please clarify) lighter. Considering our हालत we should be forgiven for thinking that the journey was over.
You see, crossing the border does not mean the beach has kindly parked itself a stone's throw away. With more than a hint of desperation, your nose twitches for the smell of salt-air, your ear for the sighing of the sea. And the road goes on & on & on...
Eventually, we stumble into Calangute.
Ketan tells us that we are going to the Indian Ocean hotel. You will not be shocked when I reveal that we rode up & down Calangute village in the dead of night until even he was convinced that the hotel did not exist or more likely, had got up off it's foundations & had meandered away. The universe, having extracted its fun, arranged to have a Chinese tapri open, where divinity in human form directed us to a apartment-hotel in a quiet alley. We walked into our room & I put my head on the pillow. It was 2:00 am.
I awoke at 3:00 pm the following afternoon.
We had made it to Goa.
Song for the moment: Constant Motion - Dream Theater