Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Road and Beyond

The sky was a purple haze as we set off. It was a quarter past six in the morning. Two guys, two bikes and the road. As we drove through the relatively empty streets of Bangalore, the sky changed colours to a dull gray. We crossed a subji mandi already bustling with life at an hour which, thanks to our daily schedule, has almost ceased to exist. The sun came out soon and it was marvelous watching it rise over the hill. I mean we could actually see it rise. A small miracle which happens daily. One which we never see. The road was beautiful, the traffic almost a trickle, the weather, as good as ever.

Living the same life day in day out wears me down.I had grown tired of visiting restaurants. Going to movies didnt excite me as much as they used to and had become more of a routine than a choice. Books and my guitar were probably my best companions at home. I needed to feel alive again.

There was probably nothing extraordinary about the road except that it was beautiful. Beautiful in a way that you can feel but cant really put down in words. The air was crisp and we were cruising along at 50 kmph. And then I saw a long stretch of empty road ahead of me, devoid of any menacing looking trucks or buses. The urge was too much to resist. As I turned on the accelerator till it would turn no more and made furtive glances at the speedometer, making sure at the same time that the road was mostly free of hindrances and potholes, I could feel the adrenaline rush inside me. And in a few seconds I was riding at 100 kmph. It was scary and it was exhilarating. I stayed at that speed for what seemed to me like 5 seconds and even went up by a few more kms before reason took hold of me and slowed me down.

Bangalore was way behind us and so when my friend suggested that we do away with the helmets to let the wind hit our face, it was as if he had read my mind. So I continued riding my Apache behind my friend's Bullet for most of the time with the occasional burst of freedom, spurred by long empty stretches of the road, to be invariably followed by a slowing down or a halt to allow him to catch up.

As I cruised along, humming a few Kishore Kumar numbers, and my latest favourites, a sense of satisfaction took over me. Satisfied to be finally on the road and free from the monotonicity of everyday life. There were so many instances of the two of us riding side by side, smiling, laughing almost, not only because of what the eyes could see but also because of what the heart could feel. As we snaked through the last and the most picturesque stretch of our journey with the hills in the background and the open fields on either side of the narrow winding road, I let go of the handles of my bike and yelled in delight. And I stayed thus for about 10 seconds. Its surprising how at reasonable speed, holding the handles doesnt at all add to the balancing of the bike but I guess my Apache's Red Hot Handling might also have something to do with it!

The place was way better than what we had expected. The fact that there were only the two of us there vastly enhanced the sense of enormity and isolation. There was no music blaring, no families with kids, no lovers seeking secluded spots. The sight of a solitary eagle hovering above the ravine was straight out of some treasure hunt Hollywood movie (Indiana Jones maybe !). We stayed there for a while taking the usual Orkut pics and constantly discussing what a good decision this had turned out to be.

The sun had risen and it was time for the journey back. The jacket had to be tied around the waist as we started our bikes and headed back towards Bangalore and soon, the heat and dust made sure that we even put our helmets on. On the way a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction, trying to overtake a Tata Sumo almost got me killed, as I was left to choosing between 8 inches of the road and getting down from it on the metre wide track of sand and pebbles. I chose the latter, skidded on the sand, fell over and saved any damages to my bike and myself. In the end it was almost comic though it could have been fatal.

Anyway, by around 2 in the afternoon we were back, all dusty and sweaty. I took a bath, watched Ganguly and Sachin turn back the years as they forged a lovely partnership, went for a nap before the partnership was broken and woke up rejuvenated.

At night while getting Smirnoff and Teacher's for the spur of the moment party, a Tata Indica hit me at one of the signals. Only slightly though, but enough for me to get disbalanced and let go of my bike. Again nothing happened. No harm done.

It was very enjoyable and fulfilling. The trip, I mean. And with some luck and free time I intend to do more provided I get my flatmate to tag along with me. Maybe even longer ones but let's not get too far ahead. Let's for the moment cherish the short trip to a place called Chunchi Falls (ya, go ahead and think what you wish of the name !) and the much needed break it provided me from the everyday banality of life.


cathatfished said...

i like :))
sounds like u had a great time..and u describe it way better here than on chat ;D

sM said...

Sahi hai Dude, lagta hai khoob maje kiye weekend pe

Shreyas said...

yaar ride ur machine thing safely. its an irony but true as it is that rush of blood puts a lot on the line and sometimes its not worth the risk.
on another note i really envy u bangloreans for all the beautiful places u are surrounded by

sunny said...

nice one again:-) the imagination starts running while reading your blogs...

and drive safely...its because of rash driving by people like u on bike that people like the truckwala(and me) face trouble[:d]