Saturday, October 10, 2009

Long Weekend without plan!!

(Wrote it long back, dint post it . Actual date: 22 sep 09 :))
On wednesday I suddenly got a realization that I didnt plan anything for the coming long weekend. It had never happened in last 3 years that I didnt plan for a long weekend atleast few weeks in advance. This was partially because of work, this that and mainly coz I had a much bigger plan for the coming long vaccation.

But still the weekend went very well. We left office around 9ish although I had stopped working long before that :D. We had to go eat somewhere. My opinion was to sit somewhere in some restaurant, order good food and keep chatting chatting and chatting. Although there is not much nowadays that we talk about now that a dude among us is getting married. He is always like 'I have time till 11PM' or stuff. We went to Great India Place mall so we could eat and catch late night 'Dil bole hadippa' show.

Jagan was excited driving his new Alto. Lately whenever we get any opportunity to go out Jagan is almost the first one to say yes. The old 'I cant come, i have work, lets go in one hour' Jagan has almost vanished with the new 'oh lets drive' one ;). As soon as we entered the mall Abhinav narrated his escapade a few days back when he was shopping and he ate at chicken noodles at yo china joint and loved it. All my plans to 'sit/order/eat' went for a toss and we took 2 veg and nonveg noodles from the yo china. Leave alone order, we were standing in middle of mall and eating. Mall was surprisingly empty for a friday evening even for 9:30PM. We concluded that it might be coz of a bomb hoax and continued our journey to stomach filling. Noodles were not as surprisingly good as they were in Abhinav's narration and even he agreed to that :D. We went to KFc (whatever happened to the good 'lets sit / eat / talk plan) and ate loads of chicken and gulped loads of new krushers.

After a hearty meal we went for dil bole hadippa and came pretty late and so slept pretty late as well. We got up also very late and ordered lunch from some place. After loads of paranthas and some movie in parallel we finally left home at 4:30. We went to the gas station to get a cylinder for Jagan's place. After a lot of mindless driving in absolutely opposite direction we finally reached just in time. From there we saw a kids garden and just parked the car to try a few rides (to test if they would break with our weights :D). We left for dinner to go to GK , some italian restaurant where we had to eat "VEG" coz of navratras. Huh! pity you veggies for all the 'great' food you eat. Jagan mentioned that 'food is ok' but his opinion didnt really count considering that he never tasted anything even close to having a heartbeat. Finally we ordered some good lasagne and stuff and it didnt really go so bad. We went to Vipuls place post dinner to have some dahi-bade he had got prepared for us.

We reached Vipuls house and it was really nice and cozy. We saw a nice movie on his airtel dth which stored all movies in last 7 days. Movie was appropriately named 'I think I love my wife' and it caught our interest immediately. We started watching and ate Hot chocolate fudge that Vipul ordered for us. Although we were already full we still finished the dahi-badas that he had got for us. Finally we left his place at around 12 and came back home and slept a little later. Finally I reached home a full day later and essentially got just 1 1/2 days at home for weekend so didnt even get a feel of a long weekend anyway. All in all it was a long weekend well spent :).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Leh!!

After 3 years of dreaming, 3 months of planning, 3 people started their journey of 9 memorable days. It was a dream come true, finally it was happening. Something that lot of people yearn to do in life, more of a once in a lifetime experience - A bike trip to Leh.

We had a time crunch, just 9 days, which is by all means just sufficient enough to do the trip sans any mis-adventures, and fortunately we didnt have any (ok! we didnt have many). We had bought all the stuff needed, from meds to ropes, hired all the stuff needed for camping, and finally the much awaited day arrived.

6th June 2009 (Delhi to Manali)
I went to my bro in law's (kapil - one of my co riders) place on friday night so that we could get all packed and ready to leave early morning on saturday the 6th. We took a long time to do all the packing and tying stuff on bike and finally slept at 12ish to wake up just 3 hrs later. Bikes looked good, we were in high spirits and so we left home at 3:45AM to meet Ranta (the other co rider and my batchmate) at GT karnal highway.


It was a first time so some goofups were expected, but I didnt expect one just 20 mins after starting. The rope on Kapil's bike gave in as it touched the rear wheel and all the stuff started falling. We stopped to fix it up and I was already feeling 'oh this is not good' about it when two police walas came by asking 'wth are you doing'. We showed them IDs, and our attire (rain coat/knee n elbow guards) convinced them that we are no thieves so instead they started looking at us with awe struck eyes and started asking questions about 'oh are you driving 1500kms'.


Anyway, we were all fixed up in 10 mins and on our way. We reached GT karnal at 4:10 and Ranta joined us slightly later. So there we were, Kapil on his Pulsar 150, Ranta on Pulsar 220, Me on my Avenger 180 just starting the ride we were dreaming of all the last few months.


We hit the road and we were driving fast. It was still dark but that didnt let us slow down. All of us were touching 100, passing all vehicles that were trying to overtake each other. The slow 4-wheelers eh!! Our first main stop was at a dhaba around 6:30 to have some Tea and sandviches. This was the first place where we were being looked at as some aliens had just come to a dhaba to have tea. Bikers in delhi/chandigarh are a rare commodity, we were just glad that we were not being asked for autographs (ok thats too much to say :P).


We were passing chandigarh at 8 AM itself. I had been expecting much worse, 220kms in 3 1/2 hrs was pretty good with few small breaks. We were about to hit hills in a few hours so we kept speeding on plains. Our next stop was at around 10:30 at a bus stop for breakfast. It was a decently shady place but we still thought of eating there. The road was not as awesome as it was till chandigarh and it was much worse after this. Within few hours we were on the hills, and our bums started cursing us more than ever. We crossed mandi , and hoshiarpur and didnt even stop for lunch as we wanted to just reach asap. As we were closing Kullu, it started raining.



Now although we were carrying and semi-wearing the rain coats, driving in rain is still a pain. So we kept driving for some more time until it started pouring real bad. We finally made a stop at kullu to re think on our plans and have lunch. Lunch was a treat. Although it was nothing so great but only after starting eating that we realized how hungry we were. Our shoes were totally wet but we didnt have a choice as it was still raining. We thought of even staying back in kullu but felt may be driving 50-60 kms more at 4:30 even in rain wont be that much of a issue so we pushed for manali. Driving on hills in rains is challenging, and I felt woah!! this is thrilling, but I knew that this was just tip of the iceberg, the real thing was waiting for us beyond manali.

It was around 6:30 and still raining heavily when we reached manali. Finding hotel in such rain, specially when you are drenched from head to toe is not easy. But we were lucky that we got a decent hotel for decent price (we were not in a position to negotiate but still got 150 bucks discount :D). We unloaded the bike of all stuff and brought it to the room and within 10 mins of checking in, our room was a big mess.



We cleaned up and got a heater to dry our stuff (not so successful attempt) and thought of going to mall road for dinner. We started walking and it was very pleasant. It wasnt raining now and our bums were much better. We kept walking and walking and after every 5 mins we would ask someone how far is mall road and get the same answer 'bas 1 km hai'. Finally after walking some 3-4 kms we reached mall road and it wasnt a treat. There were people everywhere. It was so sucky to see so much crowd far from delhi/noida. We found the most empty restaurant - sher-e-punjab and had the most suckiest food of the trip there.



We finally retired to our beds and had a nice sleep only to start the more challenging part of our ride the next day...

June 7th (Manali to Sarchu)

It was a pleasant day as we got our tanks filled (bike - petrol :)) and left manali around 6:30AM. Our first destination today was Rohtang. After a long 60-80km drive which was full of 100s of cars and taxis we finally reached Rohtang. All three of us got parted by mistake but fortunately met again at Rohtang. The drive was good but the road was all broken and muddy. I was not so pleasantly surprised on reaching Rohtang which had cars / chai walas and people all around. We had even seen traffic jams on our way to Rohtang. I mean people dont have any work or what? We met another biker gang from noida itself and had our breakfast at Rohtang.



This was the most expensive meal of our entire trip I guess. Maggi costed 40 bucks here, but people dint have much choice too. We ate like crazy and were feeling happy that we were almost leaving the last crowded place on our trip. Just as we took the first turn beyond Rohtang, species siezed to exist. Here on, we would just occassionaly see a biker gang, a lone biker, or a SUV cruising through the desolated roads, fighting with the ice and snow on the muddy road underneath. The drive just got tougher, Ranta had fallen once before Rohtang, I fell once few kms after Rohtang, but it was all worth it. The views we were getting here had just gotten beautiful. And with those, our frequency of stopping also increased. My camera was in my rain coat pocket just ready to click every few minutes.

Most of the people stop on their second day at Keylong to get acclimatized but because of time crunch we had to push further. Leh was 500kms from Manali so in any case we had to cover half of it on 2nd day so that we could reach Leh on 3rd day. We had a good lunch at a very well located restaurant at Keylong served by a very polite chef+waiter+owner. Around 2:30 we started again to make it to Sarchu by evening. On the way came Jispa which is a small place with a few hotels towering over the river in their backyard. The road was again all broken now and we came across a lot of places with water stream flowing over the road atleast knee deep. At times we could make it through the stream without touching water, but it wasnt possible all the time. It was dangerous too, to try to cross without getting wet. Kapil wore polythene bags above his socks to prevent water from seeping in. Ranta and I just got our shoes wet. Again :P. It was freezing and we could not even feel our feet for a long time, specially after what was coming.




We touched the bara lacha la pass around 4:30 PM or so which had to be crossed to reach sarchu. It was all snowy all around. I had never seen so much snow in my life. Wherever we looked there was snow. And the worst? It started snowing :D. We kept going and going, feet numb and wet, just trying to push further and further so we can sleep another night ;). And just then we came across a traffic jam. I know its funny that how can we get traffic jam in no mans land, the actual problem was a broken truck in the middle of road, and there was no enough space for a car to pass it on that single lane road.

Fortunately, our bikes got through. We had some problem as the back tyre skidded on snow, but we made it. Till now we were just numb and cold, now we were breathless too. Staying at 16000 feet for few minutes is in itself not recommended specially if you are coming from delhi just the day before, but we had to push our bikes. Anyway, it wasnt so bad. We just laughed about it and crossed the pass in no time. Just after crossing the pass around 5:30 or so (it was already getting dark) we found a small restaurant to have tea. We quickly drank tea to help us get some heat and warmth for another hour of drive.




Just as we left the restaurant we came across the longest stream of melting water on the road. But we had no choice again and we just started driving across it, getting our feet more wet and cold. Sarchu valley had started and the views were breathtaking. We kept driving, passing by tented accomodation looking for a proper hotel so that we could warm ourself fully. But alas! there are no hotels in Sarchu. We finally decided to open our own camp and set it up but we didnt realize that it was getting darker and colder.

After trying our best and keeping as calm as possible even when our feet and hands were all numb and giving in, we finally finished setting up the tent by 8:00PM. Previously we had plans of setting up the tent and going for dinner at a nearby restaurant (more of a tent and a guy making food) but as soon as we finished setting up the tent, we just went inside and gave up the thought of eating.




It was so bloody cold that we didnt even remove all the stuff from the bikes. We actually didnt even lock the bikes properly. We were so numb inside the tent, wrapped in the sleeping bag that thinking of going out itself would have killed us. We still did get out to get the bike keys, and when I was trying to just un tie one of the bags from the bike I just couldnt. My hands were totally numb.

We finally left whatever stuff we had outside and didnt leave the tent until morning. We ate whatever biscuits and stuff we had and drank the icy cold water and tried to sleep. We must have got some sleep during night but it was not at all easy. All through the night we felt numb and the winds outside were so fast that I was feeling the tent might just blow off anytime. It was scary. Very scary.

June 8th (Sarchu to Leh)

The morning brought what I had been hoping for all night!! The sun light. Only after getting out of tent at 6:30 we realized that the water on our bike/shoes/stuff had just frozen in the night. And we later came to know that the temperature in the night went to as low as -13 degrees on that night. Finally we loaded all the stuff on bikes again and started our journey to leh.

We passed another pass at 16000 feet - lachungla to reach Pang. On the way to Pang we also stopped at Tandi (I think it was before Pang, dont remember exactly) to fill petrol as this is the last petrol bunk before Leh. Pang has nothing but 10-12 tents which serve food. We had a good meal here and soaked as much sun light as we could. The journey till Pang was very tiring, I even lied for 2 mins and dozed off at one place where me and Ranta stopped. I could have given anything for a cozy bed to crash on.



After Pang started More Plains. They were the most amazing and longest part of the journey. The straight road was just endless and we kept driving. Me and Kapil were together now and we had lost Ranta. There were hills all around in most amazing colors and shades very difficult to describe. We kept driving for atleast 2 hours until our next Pass would come - Tanglangla at 17500feet. Kapil got slight altitude sickness here and after having lot of glucon-d and whatever biscuits and water we had left we tried to push further. The road here was the most broken road during the whole journey. We just kept driving somehow through stones and rocks to finally reach the plains. Ranta was waiting for us here since last 2 hours :)).

We had a weird type of maggi here which Ranta had already eaten and didnt warn me about (@#$@!#$ Ranta) and I gave a head massage to Kapil as he was feeling a bit of headache. The next 70kms were a treat. All plains!! It was easy and fast and we reached Leh around 7ish. We found the ITBF guest house (Thanks to my uncle) and checked into our rooms, named changla and khardungla ;). First thing we did after getting inside the rooms was crashing on beds :D. We had a nice nice bath (brushed after 2 full days, phew!!) and had a nice dinner at the ITBF guest house itself as we made plans for next day.

June 9th (Inside leh)

This was the most fruitful day of our whole trip. As we were waiting for the permits, which thankfully were being arranged easily by ITBF (Salute!!) we decided to visit Hemis gompa. This is a must visit place for its silence and the views. Whole leh city could be seen with all the hills in the background. It was just amazing. We kept sitting and admiring the whole city for a long time. There was no hurry :)). After this, we went to Spituk Monastery which again was beautiful. We also rotated the 'wheel of dharma' and lot of smaller wheels of dharma that were there in this monastery. Actually, those were present everywhere in Leh. We finally came back and got permits and left the guest house for Khardungla.

Thanks to the weather that the drive to khardung-la was a treat. We covered 40kms with a few photo breaks within 2 hours itself. It was the most height I had covered (till now!!, new record comes later :P) in so few kms (5000 feet in 40kms). There was nothing so great about khardungla or being there that one can talk about. Its just the feeling of being on the 'highest motorable road of the world' which supposedly gives a 'high' to people that I dont understand. There was even a couple probably on their honeymoon who drove in a innova all the way to visit khardungla. Huh! come on people, there is switzerland/mauritius for honeymoon, not this. Anyway, people do what they wanna do :P. Ok back to topic.

We were back from khardungla in no time (1 1/2 hr max) and around 4 we were in leh. We were told that sun stays up until 7:30 appx, so we decided to visit Magnetic hill also. I left my bike in guest house and pillion rode Ranta. After a long 30km drive we stopped at Gurudwara pathar sahib. Just 2 more kms and we were at Magnetic hill.

First we didnt realize. Then we tried. And then I could see that the bike was going uphill without engine. Then we fought (ranta and me), then we fought more, then we convinced each other and I won. We could see that the road was going up and bike was going up hill but we knew it was an illusion. But anyway we had good fun there ;). Finally we started on our way back and reached the guest house only to see that Kapil had not reached though he was ahead of us. After waiting for 1/2 hr we got worried and kept going back and forth on the road we had come from but couldnt find him anywhere. After an hour of 'oh we hope he is ok' to 'wth' we finally got an sms from him and we came back.

Me and Ranta went for dinner around 9:30 when whole of market looked closed. Fortunately Leh is safe even though it looked all desolated and restaurants were open. We stopped at a tibetan restaurant and asked the guy for a suggestion. Dont, okay not dont, NEVER do that. He suggested cheese momos which were the suckiest thing we ate during the trip. It was just two semi warmed balls of cheese inside the cover. We couldnt eat it. Fortunately during waiting itself we had seen himalayan cafe across the street and had decided to go there. We had some more stuff to eat in himalyan cafe which wasnt so dissapointing. And off we went to doze off at our guest house to recover ourselves for another day full of adventure.

June 10th (Pangong Tso)

Ranta and I didnt wanna drive bike. We were just too tired of so much driving and were not amazed at the idea of another 150km drive crossing another pass which we didnt know till now was going to be most lethal of all. We tried to find a taxi to go to pangong tso but no taxi dude went below 4000-4500. Which needless to say was Too much. Finally we gave in and decided to take one bike only so each of us could drive only half way.




Kapil had already left for Pangong tso and when we started he was a good 50km ahead. When we talked on phone he told us that its snowing around that area. We gulped some air and gathered strength and courage to still do it. It was slightly rainy and cloudy in the morning and I was sure we wont be pleased with the weather and roads ahead. And I was so right.

Just few kms before the changla pass, the roads were filled with ice. Now if the road has snow on it, you can still drive, but anything and everything just skids on ice. Well, we didnt know that so well so we kept driving. We were lucky to cross some section of it until we fell. I was driving at that time and my knee got bent. I was lucky that it didnt go worse and we were still ok. I told ranta to drive but he told me to continue. Well! the rear tyre wouldnt move. We were reaching the 'oh i give up' thoughts soon. We started moving the bike physically, one guy pushing it from behind and another holding it. Wherever we found some muddy section we would feel happy and safe and drive a little only until we hit another icy patch. We even thought of giving up and going back as we didnt know how much of it was left. But we didnt. Finally we reached changla pass and celebrated our victory over nature (huh! what a fight) with maggi (another new type) and tea. Somewhere inside we were still scared of what would happen the next day while going back, but we pushed that thought out of our minds.



Weather was getting better now and roads got better. It was really no mans land. We were not seeing anyone for very long stretches, only occasional army trucks or a one off vehicle with some tourists. Finally around 4 when we were just approaching pangong tso we saw a biker coming in opposite direction and as i said to Ranta - 'who is this biker going back from here at 4 :O' that I realized and said - 'Arey ye to kapil hai :D'. Kapil told us that he had been waiting for 2 hours so he was going back thinking we were not coming. Well!! we were in stone age again as cell phones wouldnt work anywhere remotely outside leh.

All three of us finally went to pangong tso. It was super exciting to see a lake which wouldnt end as far as we could see at such height. It was beautiful. We clicked a lot of photos but couldnt stand out for a long time as it was very chilly out there. We found a room (a room in literal sense - it had just 3 beds/quilts, a light and nothing else, at all) for just 300 bucks and went for lunch. We ate like crazy and had two teas each and still I was shivering (wearing a warmer/sweatshirt/jacket/rain coat) inside the tent. We went back to room and couldnt come out of the quilts for a long time. When it got dark we got out again to have some tea and started chatting with fellow bikers from maharashtra and noida again who gave us some tips on how to ride in snow. Finally we crashed around 10:30 or so to get back to leh early in morning.

June 11 (back to leh..)

We started on our way back around 7:00 or so and crossed changla with lesser problems this time. Though there was more snow/ice on roads now but we knew a few techniques now. Well! we still fell once but it was not so bad. We visited Shey palace (huh! dont bother to go) on our way back and reached guest house around 2:30ish. Ranta and I went for lunch and to roam around the local market and were finally back around 4:30. We had been thinking of going via srinagar as crossing those 4 passes on the leh - manali route again was really not so exciting (ok! it was scary :P). We enquired and found that curfew in srinagar was over so we left Leh around 6:30 to try to reach as far on Leh - kargil route as possible.



Just one hour of drive and it had gotten dark. Roads were not so good at times and bike was skidding on the broken stony road. But anything is better than ice and snowy road. I was leading the gang and was just praying that no breakdown happens as we were in middle of nowhere (nothing new in that :P). Around 8ish as our speed had gotten pretty slow coz of dark, we decided to stop and found a nice hotel 120kms from leh. We got a cheap deal (just 350 bucks :P) and good chinese food at the place and slept off to leave early morning.

12th June (To srinagar)

It was a long drive, but we had to make it happen. We crossed Kargil/Drass/Batalik, all places that came in newspaper and movies so often (Salute to Indian Army) and reached Zozilla pass. The drive through it was not so easy but still easier than 4 passes on the route we had come from. It was raining and the road was very very slushy with water/mud/stones all around but we had become pro's already. After crossing zozilla we came across the beautiful city SoanMarg where we had our lunch and I just wanted to stay there but other two wouldnt let me. We pushed for Srinagar and finally reached around evening and checked in. We had a nice boat ride in the Dal lake in the night and came back to hotel.

13th and 14th June (back to delhi)

Kapil left srinagar before us to try for Delhi in one day (he made it!! reached Delhi at 12:00 hours in night ;)). Me and Ranta left a little later and tried to go as far as possible. We crossed Jammu, and finally at pathankot we decided to reach Jalandhar for the night. After taking a hotel we had a nice dinner at Havelli which was crowded as usual even at 10:30 in the night. The drive from Srinagar onwards was all plains and nothing exciting. We were just going full throttle at 100 all through just to make it back to Delhi by sunday, 14th afternoon. And we did. I was at home at 2:30 or so on 14th june and god! what a sleep it was that night.

Well. Needless to say the trip was an experience of its own kind. Although we had a little time crunch and not many earth shattering mis adventures (kapil's bike got punctured just once/ranta bruised his hand near jalandhar) the trip was still great and totally worth it. I am looking forward to more bike rides but with a strict limit of no driving more than 250kms a day ;)..

Monday, May 11, 2009

Destiny

It was just another usual meeting monday. I came to office on time. Went through all the planning meetings and got free only after 4:30. I knew the coming 2 weeks were going to be hectic so I thought of getting started with the work. I started working on something and thought I will leave only after its over. Time passed by very fast. I was just trying to get over with the work. It was taking more time than I expected. Then around 8:00, my usual leaving time, a friend came over and we started chatting. Soon it was 8:30 and I just got a thought - I gotta leave now and I told him to catch up later. My machine got stuck and I could not continue for another 5-10 minutes. Once I started my dad called up. As usual I cut the phone to call back. As I called back Dad's phone was busy and I wasted another minute or so to get to him. Finally I had a brief 30 seconds chat and I kept the phone.

Then I finished what I was working on and thought of verifying it. But machine got stuck again. I wasted 2-3 minutes figuring out and gave up and got up to leave. While going I stopped for 20-30 seconds at a colleague's desk and then left office. While going to parking I went to ATM. Usually I take around less than a minute to withdraw cash. But the machine was saying 'unable to dispense cash'. I tried exactly 4 times and wasted around 20 seconds each time and then left the ATM.

I started my bike in parking and left office. There was a red light right in front of office which wasted around 70 seconds. I took a right turn and was going at around 50kmph speed when suddenly out of nowhere I saw a bull walking right in the middle of road. I applied breaks, the bike skidded but it was under control. I went ahead thinking woah! that was close and just as I was thinking a guy on a cycle was crossing the road at a leisurely pace. I saw him , applied breaks but it was too late and I banged into him. Next thing I knew was I was skidding across the road with the bike and soon we were on the ground. I got up and after a little cleaning up I started the bike and left for home. Fortuantely the bike didnt break down (just a twisted handle and broken speedometer) though I saw some petrol spilled on the road. As I was going home I was thinking the whole thing.

Just 2 seconds here or there and this accident would not have happened. Everything was timed so precisely. Me getting late in office after months, ATM not working, chatting for 1/2 hour with friend. And just with accuracy of 2 seconds, it happened. Is this something called as destiny?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A one day unplanned trip..

It was just another friday night. We had no plan till 6:30 and bhargava, raheja called Jagan to invite us to Gurgaon. We thought well whats the harm, lets go. We had decided to leave around 8ish. Abhinav, Ketan, Jagan and me, we started in Abhinav's car around 8 as we were looking for a MacD to gulp few burgers before having a final dinner at gurgaon with the folks.

We bought LOTS of burgers and fries and ate in the car. It was awesome experience. Our tummies were full already but we were still looking forward to a dinner later in the night :P. After driving through the traffic we were fast approaching Gurgaon aroun 9:30.

On the way we were discussing where to plan our next vacation. Ideas floated around, some of them wh@cky. Somebody said why not go somewhere this weekend itself ;). There were some logistics issues so we dropped it. A story floated around about a guy who was going to gurgaon with family for dinner on a dhaba on highway but on finding nothing ended up going to Jaipur. And that was probably the starting pount of the things that happened later :D.

As we approached Gurgaon we saw on a big green board : Gurgaon 13, Jaipur 239. And one of us said 'lets go to jaipur'. Now who doesnt like a whacky idea ;) and everyone jumped in. Initially everyone was feeling that others were kidding but nobody was saying anything :P but as we missed Exit after Exit from the highway we were getting more sure that oh! we are going to Jaipur.

It took us atleast 3 phone calls and 30 mins of air time to convince Bhargava/Raheja and Ranta that we were 'actually' going to jaipur. We tried to convince them to join us ;) but huh! they didnt. They tried to 'talk us out' of our 'sheer whackiness' but oh we were unstoppable.

We stopped at a dhaba around 10 near manesar to have some dinner and got some weird looking paranthas there. Now that we had already covered 1/4th of our distance to Jaipur we did some reality check.

Current Clothes: Whatever we wore to office on friday :P.
Extra Clothes: None (except one tshirt and shorts I carried for staying over on friday).
Warm clothes: one jacket
Camera: I had my digi but after 2 photos its battery died. Oh yes! I didnt bring charger. We had an iphone and a HTC (again low on battery).
Laptop: 30 mins battery, no charger :D
Money: Rs 3500 odd and a lot of plastic money :P
Car: No insurance docs, no registration docs. Essentially, we were stealing it.
Drivers: Two
Plan: Hit the road, reach Jaipur, find a hotel and sleep, roam whole day and start next night back to Delhi to be back home by sunday.

We started around 11 from the Dhaba and kept driving until Jaipur. Discussions and ideas flew all the time. From the standard topics (life , future etc) to not so standard (should we go to Jodhpur?). FM music helped us until 3/4th of our journey after which it died down.

We reached jaipur and started looking for hotels. At 2:00 AM in the night, tired and cold, we were not choosers by any definition. We took the first hotel available and crashed after watching a little "B TV" which was supposedly a music channel and played B13's 'Oh crazy mama' after every trailer WITHOUT FAIL.

We had to get up at 8 and so we did. We brought toothpaste and brushes :P so we could atleast have breakfast with a fresh breath :D. After breakfast at a local resto we decided to start our Tourist phase.

Our first destination was Amber fort. On the way we stopped to see Jal mahal too which was a slight dissapointment to everyone. Amber fort was huge and grand. We took a local guide which told us a lot of interesting trivia (repeatedly) about the place. Almost each one of us felt like having born in 16th century as a king but then we came back to reality.

After Amber the next in line was the JaiGarh fort. The views from Jaigarh forts are better and interesting. Whole Amber fort is visible from Jaigarh. The best part was the 50ton cannon which is the only 'so heavy' cannon in the world on wheels. We wondered how it was brought all the way up till there. We stood and felt the air at the last point of Jaigarh fort where there was a watch tower type of place. It was just awesome. We imagined being there on a moon lit starry night with cool breeze in our hair :P. We thought if only that watch tower would be for sale but didnt care to ask anyone that million dollar question. Ketan was convinced that he will buy a flat on 16th floor and have a place like that built at the corner. Call me when you do that Dude ;).

Next in line was Nahargarh fort. I had seen it before so i convinced others that fort wasnt worth it. The views were nice though. We walked ahead and went to the boundary wall to take a glimpse of the Jaipur city. It was lovely. We just sat there and heard silence for a little while, after which Darbari and ketan started throwing stones at Jagan who wasnt too amused at their endeavour.

We went to the cafe in Nahargarh to relax a bit as we were pretty tired and thirsty. We had lime soda and a plate of paneer pakora. And then another plate. And then another :P. After just sitting for 1 hr in that cafe we decided to go back to city to see birla temple.

On the way we stopped by at Hawa mahal too which had closed already for the day. Not that we were too keen to see it, but still decided to. I had to meet a friend at GT (Gaurav tower mall in jaipur) so we all went there. There was some random realty stuff going on there for Tata vista where a ghonchu anchor was calling people to sing 'Vistaaaaa' in a weird way. We sat in CCD for sometime as Darbari, Jagan and Ketan left to see Birla temple.

After birla temple our next and last destination was Choki dhani. We had planned to go there by 7:30ish but we were late by an hour. Our prime moto was just to see the place, eat and bolt. The place was so damn crowded that a stampede could have killed 100s. Beats me how they managed to feed so so many people in a go.

Choki dhani other than being a little too crowded was a pleasant place. A rajasthani setup of a village with folk dances, magic shows, elephant/camel ride, good food and great ambience. After entering we were a little lost and disapointed but after having a good and heavy dinner in which most items were drenched in Ghee we were feeling better (and umm heavy). We roamed around for sometime after dinner and at exactly 10 PM we hit the road to come back to Noida.

After a long drive of 5 hrs we were in noida. I got down at Office itself at 3 AM thinking that I would waste time till 4 and go home directly to sleep once and for all peacefully in my own room rather than in noida. Finally slept and got up after a 6 hr long and fulfilling sleep.

Overall it was a fantastic, awesome and mindblowing trip. Best part was the lack of plan and the Wh@ck1n3ss :D. What more do you want in a single day :)).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What a waste...

Yesterday while going to office I saw the odometer reading on my bike going above 20,000kms (its actually 23000 but thanks to a accident that speedometer had to be changed and zeroed again). I couldnt help but think that I drove 23000 on my bike + 17000 on my car (just me driving) which is appx 40,000 kms.

Then my brain went further and realized that I would have driven at a maximum average speed of 40km/hr which means I have been on road 'driving' for 1000 hours in last 3 years.

Now some stats:
1000 hours / 24 hours = 42 days approximately. I have spent 42 days (no sleep counted) on road just driving..

3 years = 3*365*24 = 26280 hours out of which 30% time spent in sleeping => leaving 18000 hours. So out of my waking life of 3 years, I spent 5% (1000hrs/18000hrs) of time on the road just DRIVING.

Such a waste of time(life). But man I love driving!! :))

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gokarn bike trip..

I always wanted to go on a longg bike trip on my dear darling Avenger but things never worked out. But as Kareena Kapoor rightly said in Jab we met - "insaan jo actually main chahta hai, uske sath vai hota hai", things just happened.

I had a 10 day vacation from office during christmas/newyear and I had made no plans what so ever until december starting. But as it had turned out in last two years (Rajasthan and Rishikesh and Mangalore/Bangalore) I was hopeful that pieces will fall in place. And so it happened.

I booked my flight to bangalore after a week long discussion with Gaurav and co (the bikers gang) and flew to bangy on 24th night to start my first bike journey to Gokarna.

I reached bangy at 11:30PM and a old school fren came to meet up, we had a good time sitting outside the CCD having coffee after which I went to Gaurav's. We had thought of sleeping off at 12:30 to get some sleep as the plan was to wake up at 4:00. But we started chatting and discussions flew and we finally slept at 3:15 :P.

Well! when you are so excited for something, sleep doesnt matter. We started off from bangalore as I was pillion riding Gaurav on his Avenger. Others included Vibhav, Sunil, Krishna and Amiya. The ride started off well. It was pretty chilly in the morning but I was fortunate enough to hide behind Gaurav :D. The roads were a candy and the drive was smooth. We stopped for breakfast at a amazingly small tea shop where we were served with set dosa sized idlis and 'bhajji'. It was much better than we expected. We kept driving and stopped at Jog falls which is supposedly Asia's (or India's?) tallest waterfall. It was a slight dissapointment coz there was hardly any water although the sheer length of the waterfall was still amazing. After Jog falls it was all Ghat section and the drive was awesome. It again was getting Chilly as we drove.

None of us had been to Gokarn before. And it was really surprising to see such small roads all over the place. Finding Gokarn was a task in itself. There were not many sign boards, no proper highway nothing. We still managed to reach there. We had heard about Om beach a lot so we directly headed to Om beach and after reaching there it was more of a shock than a surprise.

Gokarn was a world in itself. Desolated from the external world it was so vibrant and lively even at 8:30 PM in the night with hardly any lights around. We tried to find acco at Shacks on Om Beach and we were told that out of the 15shacks and 200 rooms hardly any will be available. All shacks were full of people eating, and lazying around. There were some overpriced resorts that were obviously 'full'. And the most amazing part was that there were hardly any indians around.

We found some acco in Gokarn city (2 rooms for 600 bucks I guess). The place hardly looked like a hotel, it was more of a old house converted into a guest house. We were extremely tired (I definitely was), and after pillion riding most of the journey I had stopped feeling my bums :P. After a okiesh dinner in a local resto I just wanted to crash.

Morning was very pleasant. As people were getting up and ready we went for a brief stroll on gokarn beach. Gokarn city is a mixture of two totally opposite cultures. At one side the city is a hub of temples and religious people flock here alot. At other side is its beaches where mostly foreigners come and stay for weeks together to just relax and unwind. We saw a lot of temples on way to Gokarn beach and everywhere pilgrims were queuing up to pay homage to the gods.

Gokarn beach was the worst of all. Not coz it wasnt beautiful, it was just crowded by Indians who feel no shame dirtying any place and leaving their mark. At one instance I even saw a group of women brushing teeth with sea water. So this was the dirtiest beach of all.

We drove on bikes to Om beach (The beach is of Om shape so the name) ready with our backpacks with spare clothes and everything as we had thought of staying on beach the whole day. We went directly to the first shack on the Om beach for breakfast. We were in adventurous and laid back mood already. We ordered some spanish breakfast (yukk!!) and sat there eating for atleast 2 hours. Meanwhile a small kiddo was roaming around with a tatoo book and offered us to get a tatoo. We all decided to get a temporary one that lasts for 30 days. As we were on the Om beach most of us got a 'Om' shape tatoo. It was 12:30 PM when we finally thought of leaving the shack. We even thought for a while to stay for some more time and have lunch also but decided to leave instead.

After walking on the beach for sometime we decided to get into the sea. We bathed in Sea for a long long time and it was a lot of fun. We lazied around on the sand in Sun. After that we went for a trek from Om beach to the next connecting beach which was the Half moon beach (which was of half moon shape too). The trek was long enough to be fun and short enough to be not tiring. The views from the trek were spectacular. Half moon beach was very small with only 1-2 shacks. We had lunch at one and people got into water again. I was lazying around on one of the rocks seeing/feeling the sea.

After sometime sunset was about to happen. So Sunil and I trekked back towards Om beach to get a glimpse. Sunset didnt happen completely (coz of clouds) but it was still beautiful. The place was very beautiful though.
There was a tall palm tree on the hill and only shrubs all around, the hill was surrounded by water on three sides. It was really good just to be there and feel the air. After a while all of us were back to Om beach as we started walking to come back to our hotel. On the way we stopped at another shack for dinner/snax and again sat there for a long long time. I had never eaten so many fishes n sea food as I ate here. We finally reached hotel late into the night around 12. The so called hotel's door was closed and as we knocked we were welcomed by a guy who said there is 'no chance' that we had a room in that place and it required little convincing even after showing him the key to our room that we were actually staying there :P.

The next day morning was as pleasant as first day. I had gotten up pretty early so I went for a short stroll on the Gokarn beach. The beach looked beautiful just before the sunrise. I started walking and soon there were less and less people to be seen. I just sat on the beach and stared into the sea for a long time. After a while Gaurav and all also joined in and we had breakfast at one of the shacks. After breakfast we did a little shopping as people jumped on the bracelets and T shirts.


Today we had a different plan. We had to trek from Gokarn beach to Kudle beach which is supposed to be the best among all Gokarn beaches. The trek started off well with good scenic views of gokarn beach but it was quiet tiring as we moved on. On the way we found an amazing place that happened to be a yoga centre with a Australian teacher. We stopped there to have some juice (lassi sucked). The place was just amazing as it overlooked kudle beach and there was nothing at all around the place. After a little while we reached kudle beach and got into water again.

Kudle beach was so shallow that we kept going inside the sea and still could touch the bottom. We played frisbee inside water for sometime and then again lazied around on the beach.
I even slept for sometime as other people started pouring mud on me. After everyone was done bathing/playing in sea we went for lunch and kept eating for 2 hours until it was about evening. As we were leaving kudle beach to trek back to the hotel we saw some foreigners doing juggling/martial arts and what not. The place looked amazing with so many people doing so many different things. We were amazed thinking what were all these people doing there so far from their homes. Beats me!

After changing we again went to Om beach for one last time to have dinner. We had a quiet dinner and a pending 'intro' session in which everyone spoke about himself for sometime. We came back to hotel after dinner as we had to get up early to start our ride back to Bangalore.

Except the pillion riding, the trip was just awesome :)). Gokarn is a beautiful Beach city and is ideal for a long trip to unwind and relax and enjoy the nature.