Saturday, September 5, 2009
" Gentlemen, you are the top 1% of all naval aviators -- the elite, the BEST of the best. We'll make you better. Fly at least two combat missions a day, attend classes in between, and evaluations of your performance. Now in each combat sequence you're going to meet a different challenge. Every encounter is going to be much more difficult. We're going to teach you to fly the F-14 right to the edge of the envelop, faster than you've ever flown before -- and more dangerous."
we were not the top 1% nor we were flying the F-14 but we drove the bullet till the edge at speed we never drove earlier on a terrain like that.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Himalayan Odyssey VIII painful, monotonous, beautiful, agony, focus, concentration, headache, fast, laid back
Sarchu To Rumtse
One of my close friend told me I do things in excess. I though, yeah right, I do. I go a long way to really understand before I make decision or do things which make it look like excess. Yeah I hear some of you thinking of what am I am thinking in a solitude in a desolate land and realized I could have ridden to anywhere till I was dead or till I was with sense. I was so numb and free of any baggage with me. :)
That is when I caught fever and had to take medicine to put it down.
That same feeling like when we were kid.
These are some of the feeling that you can't explain even when you understand them completely. The day passed on almost with a talk of startup with fellow rider and sleeping where
Shaibal telling me I did not zip the tent completely, I never knew If I could zip them. we felt the chilly Himalayan wind throughout the night.
The feeling of monotonicity creeped in. The pain turned onto something I can live for a while.
It was a sunken feeling that I was going to reach destination and I dreaded it.
the bike ride was never so monotonous. i was driving driving suddenly very fast and the next moment at ants speed. what's going on.
I hate destinations :( love the journey :)
Sunday, August 9, 2009
As I started to unpack my saddle bag, I felt something I was breathing very heavily. This is what everybody was talking about High Altitude Sickness. Unpacking of saddle bag took time I was worried when I could not carry it even 10 steps, I had to stop every 10 steps and catch my breath. It looked so weird, finally I managed to reach my tent breathing heavily did not know what do do I laid on the bed for minutes trying to figure out what's going on , I munched on a few chocolate and gulped entire bottle of water, after laying around for half an hour, I started feeling good and started to pace my breath. I was feeling good now.
The cold wind started taking a toil on the body and i thought of going to the dining tent, I saw KD on way and He asked "How are you doing" , I replied " Great I feel I am on High" . He asked what did I take. I replied the Height. After reaching the dinning hall the situation looked a little different, people were all trying to cope up with the lack of oxygen , the height and the bitter cold. Tea was the only good thing in that dinning place. I knew I was feeling something different but I was not sure if I was unfit. I was eating properly, getting exhaust after walking a small distance was the only big problem I saw but est was OK. Shaibal and me retired back to the tent and by that time it had started snowing. Go why did I ask for snowfall, I asked only a little bit not to be covered by snow in snowfall. God has always given my every thing that I have asked for in plenty. so I had to accept it.
The truck with our luggage arrived, we went back to collect the luggage and we had to ferry the luggage to most of the people since they were not feeling well. All exhausted we retired once agin to the tent and I could not sleep well through the night, I has all kind of weird dreams and the cold was just getting unbearable. I started thinking of the Everest climbers, on how they do it. I was in a far better situation with a tent to save from wind and a sleeping bag with two blanket underneath and two on the top.
I woke up with the dawn light and wanted to use the attached toilet. To my amusement the water in bucket had turned Ice and I was left with no choice but to use that. Damm it felt like something cutting down your hand while touching that icy water. I wanted to get out of there and suddenly I figured that I am having a splitting headache, the kind of the one you want to tighten the head with your two hands. Shit I am having Acute Mountain sickness now. Nothing around was giving any solace I just wanted to sit back on my bike and ride, that's the only comfort I could think of.
So much of pain and so much of suffering and I looked at the snow capped mountains, they were so beautiful that every inch of that pain was worth it. Its amazing that I was back to enjoying terms than to be subdued by the pain.
No SMS from KD. We were at Sarchu, Sachin said at breakfast " This place has a a weird thing about it, You get all kind of weird dreams and dreams that you cannot talk about with others" The after effect of the thump of bike for last several days and when you sleep by the side of mountains with the silence thats what you get.
Friday, July 31, 2009
But then we were in Himalayan Odyssey, we had to ride to the thump. We started of from to camp to join the rest of our riders at the hotel compound. We had a tough talk from Sachin for the number of falls we have been having. The ride today was supposed to cross the second highest pass Baralach la and after that we camp at Sarchu.
Now we had to get into a team structure to help each other ride, I tagged along with Shaibal, Abid, Vikarm . Actully when we started we were 8 in the team but looking for 8 people was getting tough so we split agian and that how I got into the team. I asked Abid before I joined, " I don't drive too fast, if you guys drive fast let me know I 'll find another group". Abid said, " No we will drive smooth". Eventually We did some of the fastest lap in worst of the mountain roads after that. You see what Abid thought about his adreline rush.
We got a group of malasyian riders trying to ride BMW from nepal to pakistan. ALong the way we got a couple of water crossing through towards baralach la and Damm the boots they were again water logged. While doing the accend we witnessed snowfall again yeah I started dancing. This was for long and real cold. The boots started getting colder. We put on the raincoats. Suddenly we lost track of Abid and Shaibal. Me and Vikram started the accend and then suddenly out of a blue the beautiful snowfall turned into a snowstorm. It started getting real tough will the lack of oxyzen, high altitude, snow on the roads and to add to the misery was the trucks coming from opposite direction.
It was getting difficult to drive in the snow and we tried to cross the pass as soon as possible. On the way we saw Harsh and Sachin enjoying the snowstorm. How could they? I wanted to just speed off. Then and there we hit the road block. Traffic jam on second highest motorable pass. A truck was stuck on the road with ice wall on one side and cliff on the other. I think God must had pity on US and he threw sunlight, wow the landscpe looked amazing for a while. Well in the traffic jam we had a pajero as well, which much to amuzment of the passenger served as hot bonet to dry our gloves.
After a while the truck managed to find its way and so did we, but I guess god had mercy only for the stop. It started snowing all over again, we reached bhartpur our lunch re-group point with chillness up to the bone. The first thing I did was bought some warm clothing and tried helplessly to dry my boots. The tea and the food finally gave some hope of warmness but the sight of snow storm outside kept giving chillness. We waited till all of us crossed the pass and started for Sarchu.
We started of in the snowstorm which turned to mild rainfall by the time we decended. The road were terrible and then something happended that I was not expecting. My bike started giving up for moments within the run. I prayed for the bike not giving up completely and rode the rest of the journey with blips on the power. We finally reached Sarchu , our campsite. I'll need some oxygen before I tell you what conspired through the evening. night through the morning.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
It was very cold in morning opposite to what I had been witnessing in last few days. Arun woke up earlier than me and got ready, I waked up lazily checking out my driving gear which look a wet from the rain yesterday.
The daily ritual started with tieing the saddle bags, having breakfast and tea at Goodricke canopy. The briefing today was a little tough with the number of falls we had yesterday. KD and Sachin breifed us about the day. The traffic would be bad with people going to Rohtang for the snow. We would climb down after Rohtang to Lahaul valley. This was our first high alitude experience Rohtang at about 13,051 ft .
We started up our climb after refueling, and guess what we found long queues of traffic vehicles, we manged to go past we were on bikes after all.
Here we hit our first regroup and time to get some food.
All of a sudden the climate stared changing and we were about to witness a snowfall, wow my first in this life, this made the riding very difficult, not that broken road with heavy traffic was any good.
As soon as we reached Rohtang pass the scene looks pretty bad considering I thought of it as a beautiful one. It looked like a fish market with dirty snow. I didn't even have to think about stopping and I rolled on my wheel. The other side looked very promising and the ride was pretty decent except the roads and water flowing every way possible. The scenery suddenly looked beautiful with so much of emty spaces.
I had a heavy lunch sitting with waterlashed boots and weather moving towards worst. The black tea and conversation kept us awake. I was just feeling too cold, am I going to be sick? looks so. We started off as soon s everybody joined in and we raced to Keylong. . We stopped at Tandi which was the last petrol pump for the next 365 KM. Refueled and went to the campsite. The beauty of which was to be seen the next morning.
Here I met Shaibal, my roomate. He ended up carrying me and most of my nonsense throughout and for the rest of the trip.
We had a campfire and coversation going on in the cold of the weather and warmness of the fire.
The food was excellent. After having Arak and food I dosed off waking at 4:30 in morning realizing Saibal is not in the tent. I went out seraching for him and found a spectaular view of the river and a snowcapped mountain. On the opposite side i saw he wnt for a run. Man... I was fit enough to take the run through the hills and the panoromic scenery.
We had a great cup of tea coutsey Goodricke again, and after breakfast joined the other half who elected to stay in a hotel.
KD's message said "Luggage arrived at hotel. For Keylong Morning service setup )630 including general checkup of all bikes. breakfast @ 0715, we ride @ 0830."
Monday, July 20, 2009
I checked the time on my mobile it showed 3:45 AM. The alarm was to go off at 4 AM, I was awake before the alarm meant I was anxiously waiting for the day's ride. It happens with me mostly when I excitingly look forward to something. Laughed at my state where I was desperately wanting of sleep a everyday in last few months and here I woke before my alarm. The morning started unfolding slowly, we had breakfast and tea at Goodricke stall. The morning looked better compared to Delhi where we started sweating at 5 in morning.
We had briefing and the points to take were "Beware of the cabs coming in opposite direction since it is Sunday and people would be coming back",and second "make sure you take a sharp right tun climbing towards Manali at Anandpur". Here we met Mr. LS Cheema from Chandigarh police who shared pretty nice moments with us on his bullet. Man, he was passionate for bullet. The flag off was little painful with all the local journalist/camera guys delaying our ride for that perfect picture which I would never see.
The ride till the anandpur turn towards manali was more of broken road and Highways in making. I drove along with Anand for a while. he was business man from Varanasi. But as I hit the ghats I just wanted to drift along alone. Stopped for a picture, sat down for a while enjoying the valley and greenery.
The re-grouping point was supposed to be in Bilaspur, I kept looking for the Royal enfield poster which swayed at all our re-grouping points earlier but could not find any, so kept moving on till I hit PD, he was also looking out for the posters, I mentioned that it was supposed to be a good 10 Km ahead of bilaspur town so we kept riding and were out for a 20 Km where we thought of calling KD / Sachin since they were also driving, we got Ashok jee who said we are way ahead and should carry on and wait at some dhabba till he call us that they started from re-group. Obviously we missed the re-group , we were earlier than expected and riding alone . PD went back to re-grouping he was loving the ride on hills. I also turned back for a while then saw Yashwant who was coming the other way. Good I was not alone. So we two drove till the next re-group. The ride was pretty much monotonous while riding at high speed, and occasional car coming head on at the turns.
I had lunch with Yaswant and chatted "what do you do ? where are you from ?" lines. He was a businessman from Pune.
We started off after a little confusion of whether we need to wait till everyone comes or ride on. The climate changed abruptly, it was shinny hot a couple of minutes back and now it started raining. I thought wow my raincoat I bought from sarojani nagar market is useful. I started riding again, I saw Yeswant wearing ho raincoat as well. Abruptly everything was pitch dark the next moment, It seems I was inside a tunnel and a long one. Damm what do I do how do I take out my sunglasses, where do I stop. Finally managed to take out my sunglasses with one hand and riding with another. Ah, now I can see something.
It rained slowing as I climbed through the hills towards Kullu. It was awesome to be in cold again. The landscape made to think for a stop at every single minute to take pictures. I resisted it for a while but could not do more. I had to stop. I took a few beautiful pictures and then as a contrast the scene changed I was in middle of a traffic jam in narrow road of manali. We reached the hotel after struggling for a while.
I met Arun and Abid here, Abid was supposed to be god father for the rest of my trip through the mountains. We had a cup of hot tea and chatted about the exciting day with so many contrasts. The evening was cold and exciting with roaming around for a tea ( you don't get tea at night in manali) , luckily we found one and them roamed around the place. The place just amazes me with the crowd, there are people almost everywhere. I searched for the bitter ladoo and sweet samosa I saw in one of the episodes of highway on my plate unlucky again. I went back to the hotel had a dinner and slept off to wake for another day of ride. heaven!!! you look forward for the next day.
KD's message said "Truck arriving with luggage @ 2200. Please collect your luggage from the truck itself. Morning: Truck loading @0700 breakfast @ 0700, start time - 0800; lets avoid the morning traffic. Rohtang will be cold".
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Driving out of New Delhi onto the highway was some short of relief from the traffic that early morning. Trip has started I said to myself and then thought of the re-grouping points KD had told in the last evening briefing. Rasoi dhabba first one just around 59 Km from Delhi. We drove in slow pace and were mostly in groups and reached the dhaba pretty soon. I had 2 parantha and tea, there's something really good of Punjabi dhaba on how they make food. The stomach full and all set to ride in summer heat. I remember Sachin saying last evening " Your stomach and tank should always be full". The sun was going over the head and the temperature rising, I rode at around 60-70 Kmph I reached the next re-group at karnal. It was a royal enfield showroom, we had refreshment and badly needed water. Now I understood why all guys were carrying a camelbak. Reaching there I saw most of the biker already there, now how fast are these guys driving is what was going through my mind. I should be traveling a little faster I thought and when we started from the re-grouping I started zipping very fast trying to be in company of fast ride and man we would be riding somewhere at 100-105 KMpH. The speed made us reach Ambala very soon where we had another round of refreshments. I saw we were only a few riders, now I was driving normal. I had never driven my bullet so fast in the last two years so this was the first adrenaline pumping ride. We had to wait for all the riders to turn up at the re-grouping from where we had to go directly to the hotel for the night stay. We started in 2x2 formation again so that we do not get lost in Chandigarh. Chandigarh was pretty beautiful city. We stopped at hotel where the first thing to get done was get the bike serviced. I checked the bike and the only thing bothering me was the self start which was gone. I asked KD if that could cause problem, he said no. So carried onto hotel room. I was very tired the hot sun has taken its toll on me. I planned to sleep of the evening when my cell rang. It was KD asking me if I wanted we could get the self fixed and asked me to come down at the service camp, where this time I thought against getting that fixed. this was the third time of not using it properly it was the Gati courier guys who screwed this up. As soon I turned back Sachin asked me what's the problem I told him the self is gone and I don't want to get a new one. He asked to get the self removed "that would make your kick easier to use". I jumped on the idea and went to the service station to get this done and I got a chance to drive around Chandigarh. It was a calm evening with heat very much in the bearable range. The removal of self really made the kick smooth but ther was no respite for the horn. Yes I was driving without the horn at 100+ K mph on the highway.
Came back at around 9 after roaming around lazily and had Hyderabad biryani, goodness me !!! Time to retire early to bed as we had to wake up at 4 again. Waking up early wasn't a problem anymore since I was looking forward to the day. Overall the day marred with punjabi parantha, high temperature, high speed riding.
KD's message said "bike service will be setup @0500 hrs. check your bikes and get pending work done. Goodricke will setup hot tea @ parking @ 0500 hrs Truck loading @ 0530 Breakfast @ 0530. We ride at 0630"
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I got up early at 4 O'clock in the morning, packed my luggage got into the riding gear. This was first time when I was wearing a riding gear and it seemed funny at that point since I wasn't going on a racing or something. Only very later in my trip I realized what a life saver these are.
I carried my saddle bag which had all the essential I would need on a trip and another luggage which I can keep in the lorry traveling with us carrying our luggage. The scene in the parking lot was awesome, there were some bullets roaring, rider chatting about the upcoming trip , some fixing their bags on the bike. This was different I have never seen so many ways of carrying your luggage on the bike. I had never carried one myself so was confused on how to tie the saddle bag I was carrying. Yeshwant was getting his bike ready at that time, he saw me struggling with the bags so he came over and taught me how to tie them around and man It looked pretty neat. Helping fellow riders was one thing that I will never forget out of this trip. You are all bunch of 60 odd riders from different parts of country barely knowing each other forget remmembering eveyone's name, but you do one thing help your fellow rider when he is trouble.
All set with the bike and luggage we waited for KD to signal us for drive to India gate. We were told in last eveuing briefing that we would we riding in strict 2X2 formation in cities. We got a little time for out chit chat and few Introduction. I saw Raja parked his bike along with me, I say he was by far the most known guy from his posts to the groups forum. After a little while it was time to ride, time to pay homage at India gate and time to start "The Journey" .
We reached India gate against the humming chants of lama's praying for the well being of the riders in the trip. The place was complete exotic there were media guys fanatically clicking photos, bullet riders from delhi, people who came for morning walk and stopped to look on the bullets and the RE guys.
I strayed into the place and wandered around looking at India gate and reading its walls where I missed the group photograph :( . We had introduction with Major General R.K. Sanan, Commander, Technical Group, EME and then was the time for Flag off.
60 odd Royal Enfield Bullets roaring for the adventure is a sight you get to see very few time in life and that unexplainable in words. Lucky we had a video of it
Friday, July 3, 2009
A year later I was struggling to get leave for Himalayan Odyssey 2009 since I had already taken a leave for 3 week from my sister's wedding in February. So I worked like anything to complete my assigned projects and applied for leave after a little bit it got approved. So what was it about this trip that I badly wanted , if you have asked at that time I did not even know. I would have said, something like "I wanted to see Himalayas on my bike" or " I want a real break from the the order of things going in life".
If you ask me now, I will say it was one of those schools that you attend which has least of theory and and all of practical to teach you some of the important lessons of life with so much fun it it that's its unbelievable. If you know me you would get tired hearing about the trip on every moment i get to speak but i won't.
This is how it all started, I was working on one one the weekends in start of April in my office, I got a impulse on checking the RE website and there it was Himalayan odyssey 2009 registration. The page made my heart sink I was a week late. I wasn't sure if there was scope of me to fit in, So I called up Mr. Kanwardeep to figure out if there were seats left. He asked me to give a try.
Since it was already Saturday evening, I postponed the paper work to Monday. The first thing to do on Monday was to take a leave and start collecting the documents. I started with medical checkup, went to hospital nearby who made me wait for long and wasted 2 hours. Next i went to a private medical clinic and then the process started flowing, i got the draft next , called up for my medical insurance , got a courier guy who promised to deliver the courier the next day morning. Man I was tired roaming in City for a entire day in sweltering heat and realized how much capable I am to cover in hot day given the fact that spend all my day sitting in front of a computer in a AC.
I made some fanatic calls to Mr. Kanwardeep the next day to figure out if I am in or out. Man he was so patient in answering my calls. I was relived when he said my application was there.
I got a mail several days later of my participation in the event. Wow I was happy, happy indeed. The next was planning which I was pathetic in. I had no time out of work so called up my sister in Bangalore to arrange for my gear, the jacket , boots , saddle bags..... which she couriered me right on time. I was still short of sleeping bags, helmet , glove, and i know what. I got a guy in Hyderabad who had these stuff and so I was in luck again. I was late sending my bike to Delhi. Pleaded the Gati guys to deliver it on 12th when I reach there in afternoon. I went back to complete my work my appraisal and everything which looked almost impossible to complete.
I worked till wee hours of Thursday to complete the work before I leave Hyderabad and so missed most of my packing. hustled towards the airport to catch the flight. The moment I sat on the flight the thought of work was gone, I can't work now even If I wanted to :)
This was a first that I was in a trip to outdoors without the comfort of my friend who always took care of everything for me to be lazy bum. There was a little bit of awkwardness. I managed to reach delhi on time and reached our starting point. As I entered towards to the hotel I saw bullets and bullets everywhere. whew that was a scene. I had never seen so many bullets together. I started feeling something inside that this is going to be one hell of a trip. There I met Kiran my roommate for the day, he had been traveling from Bangalore to Calcutta on his 535 lightning and then went for a trip to north east and came back driving from Calcutta on a hot north Indian summer. I just took a flight that morning and jumped in :( . Then I went over for scrutiny. I met KD , Sachin who asked me to go for a medical checkup and get my Bike inspected from Amol. I didn't knew at that time how crucial these guys will be in my survival in the trip. The medical checkup went fine but there was problem with bike inspection. I still had to get the bike. I called up the Gati guys on my bike whereabouts and guess what it was still at their godown, I asked them to deliver at the destination by 5 and headed towards the destination model town 13 KM from where I was. I took a bus -> Metro -> rickshaw -> auto rickshaw to land up at the godown. The bike's self start was gone and the foot rest as well. I got back driving n the ring road and then got the footrest changed and was almost on time for the briefing which started on time at 7 in the evening.
Understanding the trip , getting introduced to my fellow riders, Ashok jee , Dr Raj kumar and media guys was what happened for the next hour. After which I started to do my essential shopping which I missed in Hyderabad. I went to Sarojani nagar market which was close by and a regular destination when I stayed in Delhi in 2000-2001. i came back at around 11 tried to sleep, we had to get up at 4 in morning. I have worked till 4 -5 even 7 in morning but never got a chance to wake up so early. This trip is going to be tough I said to myself and went to sleep.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
We had a phase, I am not sure of Sattu, Pratik and Abhinav about now. It was march of 2006 we had just completed half a year of job in our respective company, I was with Synopsys, Sattu with SAP Labs, Pratik with Mintree and Abhinav with Motorola. I had just bought a Alto 2 month back and we wanted to do a long trip.
The trip was planned Me and Abhinav will drive to Bangalore and pick up Sattu and Pratik in Bangalore and head towards waynad. So Friday we started from Bangalore , this was my first long ride in my car, Abhinav wanted to learn to drive on highway so I told him every thing what my father had taught me while driving on highway. We started at 6 in the evening which was a wrong decision the traffic caused a havoc, but eventually the long free tarmac was on way, we reached Bangalore at 4 o'clock in between we had fights on who will drive how much. Let me admit I am really uncomfortable when somebody drives a vehicle and I am just sitting around.
Sattu and Pratik were ready to start so we did not get time to rest and we started off to waynad, through mysore. The bangalore mysore highway was recently turned to a 4 way lane. Add to that the catching up of the talk between us about new jobs and new environment we reached mysore in no time. We had taken the same road to ooty a couple of times so we knew that the last dhaba we get is in mysore then the road just opens into countryside. We had breakfast at a regular dhaba and then moved towards waynad. The maps came to effect now. asking and looking through the maps we reached waynad among lush greenery and cool air. We asked for Vythri resorts and were shown a muddy road to lead us there. The road was a single lane and the resort was surrounded by hills and tea plantation with sound of river/stream heard in background. It seemed we landed in perfect resort until we saw the price list and the manager said we should have made reservations and no cottage was available. After some pestering from abhinav and sattu the manager was ready to give us two different type of cottage. so one was witha private jacuzzi and the other had a big rocks in inside beside the stream. great this is life!! what we said to each other. we had lazy lunch and layed around the resort for the day and retired to bed early from a long drive. sattu and abhinav in the meantime were preparing the list of places to visit.
We got up early in morning for a trekking to the hills the guide was carrying a phenol bottle with him and asked us to walk in the middle of the road. Man we were all lazy bums and trekking seemed pretty tough. so me and pratik lagged behind from the crowd and were all by ourselves and a couple. we kept following each other thinking we are on right track. We kept climbing the hills and after a while wondered were did other people go ? since for long we never saw anybody and we had trekked almost 4 km. the surrounding was completely covered with fog now on the top with nobody near we started to climb back after taking a photograph at a haunted house.
After climbing down halfway we met others who were waiting for us, and most of teh guys had bloody red socks in their hand. we were wondering whats going on until we saw people removing leaches from their legs and feet. We comfortable that we didn't have any we came back to room. The shock came moments later when we started removing the socks ours too was full of blood and leaches sucking the blood. We hurried off removing them and got fresh up.
The next thing was to roam around in waynad which we did by driving around in teh jungle and hills. my poor alto was all in jungle. The idea came when we saw a milestone saying calicut 90 KM. wow we thought lets see the sea then. Off to the ghats we descended onto calicut. The beach and the sea seemed unimpressive for us and the next milestone showed kovalam.
We thought since its afternoon only and Cochin is 270 km odd let go there pick up minku bhaiya who was studing there and we would move to kovalam. This was not a good decision. When only I am driving and that also for so long. BUt thinking of highway we said lets give a try. We started off to Cochin. Driving through teh town of calicut beside sea i was desperately trying to get out of town on free highway, but to our surprise there was no end of town. one town gave to another and then another and so on. We had tough ride with auto running through highway. House gates opening directly to the highway which made us go slooooooooow 6-70 Kmph. Finally we reached cochin and minku bhaiya's house. I locked the car and started to go in house when I shook my head. the key is still in the car.
We started looking for maruti service station on the net which I couldnot find open at 8 in night. So went and got a local mechanic. He did the job in minutes. All the time which I kept for relaxing went to the car. And we were getting ready to head to Kovalam. The night gave us some respite from the traffic and we reached kovalam at 1 in morning. We went to the same resort were we stayed last time just in front of beach. Sat on the beach had couple of vodka and I slept off. Morning I kept hearing everybody's voices but could not get up because of tiredness. The rest of the group enjoyed the beach while I slept like a baby. Woke up around 11 went to the beach with my eyes still refusing to open up. Played in the sea for an hour and it was time to go back. The traffic on the highway was just unbearable.
We dropped Minku bhaiya to his house and then started the long drive back to hyderabad on the same route. I drove for almost 12 hrs and finally while climbing teh ghats to waynad I got reakky tired. I saw everybody was sleeping so parked the car. Kept the engine and AC on and slept off. it was 6 in morning, I woke up a little later than an hour and saw pratik standing outside. He told us what happened in last one hour and we had a great laugh. Pratik was still in sleep when I parked the car and went to sleep. He was woken up by some kid who were trying to find out whats happening in the car which is running and all 4 guys are not moving. Pratik was scared for a while and then he figured out that I must be dead tired so parked and went to sleep the same way I was driving. I gave the car keys to abhinav for driving and slept for anther 2 hours. took back the gear at mysore after having pizza for lunch and reached bangalore in evening.
I tried to sleep while abhinav went to meet his brother, pratik and sattu were relived to be back home. I didnot get good sleep in day because of tiredness so was planning to drop the plan to drive back to hys the same night, But abhinav insisted. So we started off at 12 in midnight. I started feeling fatigue after some time. so we decided we will split the drive in two. Abhinav will drive for the first 3 hours then me and we would rotate. I asked home get in back of a volvo and stay there that will be easy. He wake me up after driving for three hours and we had covered some 200 kms already. This was good sign. we exchanged the seat and I put on a nice mp3 and drove in silent lucidity, racing with three other cars and clocking 120 kmph continuously for 3 hours. Abhinav woke up at 6 in morning and he saw the milestone saying hyderabad 60 KM . boy he was joyed. Traffic took us a while but we reached home by 8 which was amazing.
The trip came to end after we covered 3000 Km in 4 days. :) too good.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Occasion : Giri's Marriage
This was one hell of a long ride/drive I have done. Getting numb at some point. Well Giri invited us to join him on his marriage in pondicherry and we were looking at a long trip ahead of us. We had two cars and lots of people to travel. Pondicherry being a tourist destination we all wanted to go. So we decided. Anand , Mahesh , Rajeev in my car. Other one was a family car with Anurag and Sunil with their respective family. The rest unfortunately had to board the train.
This trip was discussed a lot in advance in cafeteria with Yesu scaring people riding in my car since I drove a little to fast. Though Anand and Rajeev had faith you start thinking!!! funny part they were always ready to drive in my car. We started of to the Journey we had to take a weird road to get to the golden quadrilateral which runs through Calcutta to Chennai. We has started of in the afternoon /evening. On to the deserted roads with very little traffic. We ( sorry I ) was supposed to drive through night to reach Chennai in morning. This is the place were we hit our first excitement. I was driving on at a pretty decent speed of 90-100 other just disagree they always think i drive at 200 K mph. The road looked quite black with no light and no traffic and then out of a sudden it looked unusual to be so black and a high beam light from other side made it even more looked black . I stood up on the brake thinking what an I gonna hit. It was a hay loaded truck with nothing to display at back. I checked on the damage which was a small dent on the car hood. Rajeev was s hooked away from his sleep and then he never slept for the entire journey.
By early morning we hit the 8 lane road and started flying. Entry to chennai was tough with the traffic around but we eventually managed to hit he ECR, one of the highlight of the trip. It was already 12 PM and we needed rest, I called up Kundan since he was based in Chennai those days. We had a couple of beer and lunch. Parted way with Kundan and the headed off to pondicherry on the ECR road, a amazing ride with sea on one side and smooth tarmac. We reached pondicherry at 3 PM. Other batch of colleagues had already reached there Arindam , Abhinash. Sundar and rest, So whats the plan was everybody asked I said beer and we had a crate of beer from around the corner shop. Arindam did the fantastic shopping and then came the big questions. If you guys came for drinking here why did you get us. Dont ask me who said you can look for first paragraph to figure out :) So I took the all to sea facing restaurant( sea rock ) Yeah I know since I visited pondy earlier with Ashutosh. We had a great time there and then it was time for Giri's reception. Man it was fun seeing Giri getting married.
After which we went back to the beach road to sit down talk and have fun. The family car went back feeling tired the other stayed and hung around with some leftover beers. After a while of chatting it started to rain and man heavily, not a since place to hide and then how to reach back was one concern. Everyone bumped into the Alto I still dont believe how can 8 people get in a small Alto. I rode the car back to hotel with 8 people yeah that true.
The next day we had to start early Anurag had to visit the US consulate in morning. The drive back was pretty much with audio and chats with smoke and sutta on way. except we found a bihari dhaba on way back . that was sumptuous. I tried waking up otherwise sleepy passenger by racing against inova and ford.
In the end we were all back home safe to tell the story to Yesu.
Thanks to Giri for a wonderful trip. Hope you read it!!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Place : Hornbill resort on side on Kali River in Dandeli.
Members : Abhinav, Ankur , Mohit and Shantanu
Mohit was the fun of the trip, the guy with never say die attitude, he can go on and on.
It was April of 2008 and we had a long weekend with us. we needed a plan and a destination. Abhinav always believes that this trip was his brain child and I leave it to him. I had just joined my new company and it was 3 month for abhinav in Microsoft. Mohit and Ankur joined us for a trip to dandeli we had the route map with us , couple of beer can and all the chips in the world to eat.
Somehow I get bored in a long trip when I am not driving, so had a couple of beer and slept off peacefully at the back of travera, while Abhinav and company explored the map. I woke up in morning when I saw some ready to sleep while others already there. I took the command from Abhinav and started steering the way to our destination. The jungle were quite facinating. the road even more with bamboo covering from both sides of the road.
We reached the resort somewhere in afternoon. Abhinav the last day had been pretty busy in getting us accommodation at dandeli since it was long weekend and we had a last minute plan. He succeeded in convincing the resort owner to let us a single bunglow for 4 of us. We checkout out our accommodation and it was awesome. Kali river coming straight to our doorstep and turning to right. An isolated place it looked like heaven amidst all the greenery.
We got back in shape after a long ride and jumped in to lunch right away. The afternoon started with natural jacuzzi. We laid around the gushing water of kali river in comfortable rocks, after which it was time to explore the area on boat. We had two boats men from the resort accompanying us, both of them wanna be rafting instructors. So here what we did stupid afteron a high. We started to do a reverse rafting, i.e. instead of rowing with the flow we wanted to do it against. The first time it was good we went uphill the class 3 or 4 rapid and the boat made a nice u turn. The wannabe instructor then asked us to keep all the items we had in a bag and give it to the to tie to the boat. I never estimated the gravity of that request. I kept all the things in that bag and it was tied. it had camera . specs, clothes, wallet and mobiles. I kept the newly bought shoes with me. We did it again this time we went dangerously close, but in the end it was nice beautiful then back. We wanted to do it the third time. We rowed and rowed forcefully making all kind of noises, and we were there. Right where the rapid drops on the rocks. But wait what happening, where am I ??? why am I not able to breathe?? what is this in top of me ? ah my backs hurting against the rocks.
Possibly I am dying!!!
This is what was going in my mind for the second. We toppled towards right in the rapids , me and mohit were under the boat and abhinav , ankur were thrown off. I remember trying to shove off the boat on top of me, but with no avail. After some time the boat went away and I came back to the top. Still flowing with the river hitting against the rocks in middle of no where.I shouted is everybody around/alive i could see abhinav he was on the other side, but eventually all of s were floating again. We jumped back into the the boat and all hell broke loose.
We lost the shoe , clothes and spec. The mobile and camera were as well taking a bath in river.
Good part was we were still alive. Let check if we are fine. I had my back and legs all red with scratches and lost one of my nail. But hey we are still alive.
Back to the resort we ordered some snack with vodka to remove the pain. Next day morning was again pretty good. we went to the town to get a pair of glasses for abhinav and a manual camera since ours went into water. We had a good time relaxing in a local bar while abhinav got his glasses fixed.
The owner of the resort learned of our misadventure gave us a tree house to spend the next day and man that was even more beautiful then the bungalow. the windows looked at the kali river flowing underneath and the jungle on mountains the other side. I spent the afternoon relaxing on the sofa while the rest of the guys went for the rafting again but this time with professionals.
the evening came in and we planned to go for night walk in the jungles, The bad habit agian we convinced the guy who was to take us to jungle to go at 10 o'clock instead of normal 7 when its considered safe. The night walk to the jungle was scary with no one ready to be the last person while walking. the shiny eyes of the wildlife did not help much. After a while we reached a open space which the guide said was once a mining site. We saw the clear sky with twinkling stars. The calm of the night was disturbed with the guide's voice "all come closer" we spotted something in the bushes with bright eyes looking at us. Not sure of what it was the guide made sure we were watchful next on. We walked back though the forest and it was wow, just too beautiful.
The next day was a non exciting Jeep safari to the jungle. Comparing it to the last night walk it was just too non-adventurous.
The trip was amazing with so many things in it. Some day I'll go back to find my shoes, clothes and spec which was a gift not to be lost.
The Kali river water was so sweet to drink that mineral water tasted bad. I would not have tasted it if I wasn't drowning :)
Friday, April 10, 2009
When was this I guess in start of early 2005 or later 2004. We were having a usual party at our rented vijaynagar house. Sharan , harish , sattu , pratik , suparn, rajesh and me. The party in general would be having drinks , rock music and hot chip's snacks.
The party was going good till somebody challenged me "Shantanu seems you have the ability to plan a trip anytime anywhere". And then you had travel agents cursing me for waking them up at 3 in morning. After a bit of hustling and bustling we got a travera. So where do we go ? "mekedatu" sharan suggested. That's it !!! exclaimed sattu. Ah but by the time we called for cab and the cab reaching our door half of the people are into their sleep.
They have to sacrifice their sleep today. They had supported a challenge and guys then started getting up cursing in sleepy voice.
We were on way a couple of beer was spared and cigg supported us, other were asleep as fast as they got up to get in cab. It took us 3 and half hours to reach the place. Guys woke up to weary eyes and looked out it was 6:30 in morning and sun was settling in. We need breakfast I am hungry was Raje's concern. OK so what do we have to get food. Ah this looks like deserted place with a small hut open. we ordered some dosa's. I wasn't sure how they cook that as there wasn't any amenities to cooks it. but any how got a dosa to feast on.
Whew!! we made a plan at 3 in morning and are finally somewhere, let's now figure out where are we.
So I see a river or is it just a stream with muddy looking water. No it river man it summer so has dried up, i was somebody explaining from the back. So what do we do ? Let swim the other side it looks clean. Right, but the water is cold. This caused a lot of water splashing and every body getting wet. It was past two hour that we realized it getting hot and we need to go to mekedatu. Thats a hill cliff from two side and water gushing in between with lot of speed.
And guess what we got a bus top to travel to the place with trees and branched hitting us from all sides. We reached mekedatu screaming on top of bus. where we had to calm down figuring fellow traveler will get irritated. The place was awesome with climbing rock. some of them closer to the ravines and people scared of the danger which me sattu sharan and pratik only overcame.
After climbing back to bus stand it looked like we had our share of fun and was time to go back. The trip back was all sleeping in the cab pretty non-adventure against our experience.
PS: we had a swim but never had a spare piece of cloth remember we came without a plan.
Monday, April 6, 2009
sattu, pratik, harish, ranjit, sumit and shantanu
2. goa trip 1 ( train and local bus)
rajesh, supran, sudhir , sumit, manish and shantanu
3. nandi hills ( Bike)
sattu, pratik, harish, ranjit, sumit and shantanu
4. ooty 1 , 2 and 3 ( 1 and 2 on bike 3rd by indica)
sattu, pratik, ranjit, shantanu, sameer, rajesh , supran
5. madekeri - Coorg - cochin - kovalam - kanya kumari - madurai ( Toyota qualis)
pratik, sharan , rajesh, suparna , ranjit , chinku , Chandra
6. hognekal ( bike)
pratik , sharan , shantanu and anand
7. pondicherry 1 ( train)
Shantanu and Ashutosh
8 . pondicherry 2 ( Alto )
anand patre , rajeev , Mahesh and shantanu
9. hyd- bang - waynad - calicut -cochin -kovalam -bang ( Alto)
sattu, pratik , abhinav and shantanu
10 . goa 2 ( bus )
sattu , pratik , shantanu , ranjit , harish
11. mysore 2 ( bike)
aditya , chandra , takli and shantanu
12. mysore 3 ( bike)
sattu , pratik , ranjit , rajesh , anand , himanshu , .........
13. dandeli ( travera)
abhinav , shantanu , ankur and mohit
14. nagarjuna sagar 1 ( Alto)
ankur , abhinav , rajeev and shantanu
15. nagarjuna sagar 2 ( bike)
chandan , abhishek , abhinav and shantanu
16. nagarjuna sagar 3 ( bike)
vikas and shantanu
17. goa 3 ( sid's alto)
abinash , anurag , sidharath and shantanu
18. goa 4 ( alto)
adiya , ankur , abhinav and shantanu
19. yellagiri hills ( inova)
chandra , kundan , sattu , ranjit , rajesh , supran and shantanu
20. sri sailam 1 ( alto)
kundan , abhinav and shantanu
21 sri sailam 2 ( bus)
abhinav and shantanu
Sunday, April 5, 2009
It must have been in subconscious mind when I was traveling to Goa for the first time. We were in our first semester of our engg. and had a long weekend ahead for Dusshera. I was trying to plan out for goa but as usual it took a lot of convincing from my end for our kengeri folks to get ready for it.
It was a common affair for my freinds in other colleges to come over to my house on long wekends either to save themselves from Seniors or just chillax. Manish was one of them visiting me that weekend from tumkur. little did he know that we were already planning for Goa.
Ok, its decided we are going to goa. So what if we have only 7000 Rs and we are 6 people, me , rajesh, supran, summit, sudhir and manish. Manish had just arrived in bangalore and was on a bus to kengeri unaware of the plot. I said it 9 PM we can pack up in 30 minutes by then Manish will be on the bus stop and we can take him back to Majestic for the train which was supposed to be at 10:30 PM. Every body hurried on and we were a little exited little nervous anxiously waiting for manish to arrive. He arrived at 10:35 and there was a bus back in another 5 minutes. He was a little surprised seeing all of us at the bus stop with bags. We shocked him with our plan made on fly which he didn't believe till we wre on our bus to Majestic. We took almost an hour to reach the railway station. "We are late" was playing on everybody's mind for the train. Some were happy some nervous. Sudhir ran for the tciket counter asking for ticket to Londa. The person on the ticket counter said casually that we are late and the train is signalled to leave. Sudhir got a little impatient he asked him to give him ticket on his risk. After which we ran for our life leaving on the platform 11 , yeah the irony that far away.
Sighting our train the platform from the foot over bridge we sighed a sense of relief, but not for long as it started as soon as we touched the platform. we somehow managed to get in the train in time. Caounted that everybody is in we shouted in euphoria of the battle just won against time. And as soon as the euphoria dried out we saw the reality.. the train was crowded for the general compartment image. Supran was smart he had packed up the food we cooked which we never had time to eat along with that he had packed a few newspaper. This came in handy we spread the newspaper on the floor and sat down.
I was little tired of the entire planning and running scheme. I found some space and slept off while friends took to playing cards.
I woke up in morning and found myself on the wooden seats sleeping peacefully. My freinds shifted me on the seats when it was freed in Hubli. I lazily saw outside of the window the train was at still on some station. I tried finding what station we reached and since the general boggies would stand way behind the actual station platform, I wasn't able to figure out. But then for a few seconds my eyes got stuck to a board which read " sub engg office western railways Londa" I shouted in restlessness "Guys let jump off we are at londa". cards flew bedsheets cover were snapped and we jumped off the train on to muddy platform cursing the govt on creating small platform.
Wow that was fast, finally we are close to Goa. Ok now we need to goa what do we do ? we asked a couple of peole on the platform who suggested taking a bus to goa. We directly went to bus stand searching for a bus to goa. But wait... there no bus which says its going to goa. Some have name plate saying vasco, madgaon, panjim etc. How do we go to goa? then we decided lets go to Vasco that was the name of the place in goa in the movie "Josh" Lets go there. We hoped on the bus to Vasco.
There was a stark contrast between the bus and the surrounding, which was overwhelming . The view was enchanting out of the window and the inside was humid, sweaty and filthy after a night ride on general compartment.
We reached Vasco in around 2 hours sat in the bus stand cafeteria and had a sumptuous breakfast. Now we are ready to explore goa right so where should we start with ? "let go to the beach" said somebody. Ok we found that we could walk to the beach bogmalo or something. The scene we got in the beach was pathetic in the sense that it indescribable, filthy bad and sick. Frustrated we started to think of picture postcards and thought how different is the reality. Saddened by our discovery we went back to bus stand and then we made a plan to go to Panjim the capital of goa and decide then after.
The trip to Panjim was silent and then there was fatigue overcoming us. We reached panjim in evening and things started to look up for a moment. The bus stand looked like a flee market with agents trying to convince us for accommodation and sightseeing. We finally got a deal 2 rooms for Rs 400. We took the pamphlet as well of what to see in goa.
We started at the same night for a boat ride on river mandovi , next morning to calungute , next day to vagator/anjuna , next to that to Mayhem Lake . then Miramar beach for sunset , old goa for all the church and we ended up with 1000 Rs in cash.
Ok we still have a day to spare but we are running short of cash again. We decide to go to madgaon to catch a train back and soon disocvered the train is in afternoon we have a night and a morning to pass. We decide to sleep at railway station and visit the Colva beach in morning the only golden sand beach in Goa. Sudhir in meantime
parted way for change in plan.
Rajesh and I couldn't forget the walk on the Anjuna beach. Supran shared his one bottle of beer with all his friend at the calangute beach, so humble of him.
We went back to the college with friends wondering that either we were tanned or we came out of a coal mine.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The world was a little new for a group of friend who joined VIT ( Vivekananda Institute of Technology, Bangalore ) for a course in computer science. Sattu , Pratik , Ranjit , Harish , Sumit. Harish would be regular to my house on mysore road for a cup of tea, after which we would drive to his house in Vijaynagar on his TVS Fiero. This time we went to out VIT hostel in rajajinagar to meet our rest of the newly bonded friends sattu pratik and ranjit. Discussing about the long weekend ahead out of a blue we decided to make a trip to Mysore.
Questions started flowing out from every one ? how do we go ? how much money we need ( since we used to have student account and in those days you need to go to bank on a working day to withdraw money) ? who all are coming along and so on and so forth.
We thought let tackle all the questions as they come little we knew what planning is. Ok its decided we will all to go to my house in kengeri have dinner take the last train which starts at 12 midnight. In the mean time collect all the money we have and loan the rest from our local moneylender friend Ranjit. One last issue cropped up everybodies clothes are in wash bucket oveing the weekend. I told never mind I bought al ot of t-shirts last weekend from a roadside shop on brigade road, we will share them.
12 O'clock midnight not a soul on the small kengeri railway station, we eagerly waited for the train to arrive exited about our trip. The train came on time and the first time in few months we saw the "train" whose whisle was no stanger from us given the fact we used to hear that everyday in our house.
Its kind of a strange feeling you get when you go on a trip with bunch a new friends. we chatted throughout the night on train sitting on the compartment door and then on the wooden seats when a railway police guy forces us to close the door. I always think that we started to know each other only after this night. As the night came to close with dawn on the anvil our eyes started showing signs of fatigue, the euphoria was settling down.
We jumped off the train as we touched Mysore. Its still 4:30 AM somebody said what do we do till its morning. the common answer came let have tea and we will chat out time away. Sattu had different plans he went to a tourist information center on the railway station and figured out that for 800 bucks a cab would show us around in Mysore. Little we realized that till we heard what Sattu has in plan we didn't know what and how to roam around in Mysore.
Voila.. we have a ambassador and a driver for sight seeing hurray... Our first sight seeing was to Chamundi hills an abode of goddess Chamundi the way to to hilly top was fantastic. the faitigue was lost again for the time being. cameras came out different poses were tried with the analog camera to get to full view.
The sight seeing went on to see Bull temple , botanical garden , mysore palace , mysore church and then we realized we are left with 870Bucks. Oops... the dream run came to an abrupt end. "We need money to go back", I remember somebody yelling. Couple of sane minds said let evaluate our course of action. We need 127 bucks to get the train ticket back, we haven't had lunch yet. ok so we are left with 70 bucks after we pay the taxi and assuming that we dont tip the driver.
What are the options ? let go WT ( without ticket) drink tea instead of lunch, or let say we take one ticket at least so that if we are caught one person can go home get the money and rescue others. Nah.... 2700kms away from native home neither of us were ready to take this big risk. Fortunately Sattu's mind came to rescue again, he said during his visit to home before joining college some friend said about a common friend joining a college in Mysore. Wow some ray of hope in the end. The problem is how to contact , we don't have his address / phone or even the college he joined. After talking to couple of his friends Sattu managed to get his Mysore friends number.
We were all anxious what if the friend is not in town , what if he refuses to help ? But he came directly from hospital helping somebody else. Gave us 500 Rupess and we took a photograph together for our memory. Each of us thanked him telling him, "you are like god to our rescue".
we took a sigh of relief had our lunch ( dosa) and train ticket back to home with a few lessons learned.
1. let one person handle money
2. plan out a trip in advance, rather than at last moment.
We adhered to the first lesson learned in future trips but never managed to get the second one right as I will key out our second trip in less than 2 months to Goa.