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Old 26th February 2014, 09:40   #46
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Originally Posted by preetam_KORG View Post

Thanks Mate!
Where are you put up in Bangalore?
Lets meet and ride!

The Bajaj part is more of a reassurance than a threat. No offence taken mate!
There are loyalists and purists who believe otherwise, but I definitely believe that my journey was possible only because it was a Bajaj.
Yeah, I think 200NS is a gem which Bajaj has launched and it is taking them to heights. Now we have SS400 coming up, which would be a cherry on the cake.

Anyway I stay in Nagarbhavi and my office is in Marathalli. Let me know when you free buddy, lets catch up and also if possible would like to be with you when you are writing next part of this travelogue. Probably I can learn some skills as well
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Old 26th February 2014, 10:49   #47
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Amazing buddy. 8000+ on a bike is a feat to refer. One question - How did you manage to convince folks..although I drive around. Everytime I come up with an idea my family hits me back.

Glued to your thread - Eager to see some more pics
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Old 26th February 2014, 11:03   #48
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Eagerly awaiting the rest of the travelogue especially those of the days spent in Shimla-Dehradun-Nainital and those beautiful pictures that speaks more than your words.

BTW you have set high standards for pics, I hope you do not disappoint us.

Congrats to you on completing such a feat and to Bajaj for manufacturing a capable bike.
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Old 26th February 2014, 12:11   #49
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Wow...awesome bro. That is one wonderful adventorous travelogue. Every time I read about such trips, I realise I am missing out something that I was always wanting to do.

My first ride was a first gen Pulsar 180 (with round headlights and non-dtsi engine)and boy, it was a brute. Was arguably the best bike in the market, period. Had many many miles of wonderful biking experiences with it. Hyd-Chennai, Hyd-Bang etc were by far the longest distances that I have covered. But as family size and responsibilities grew, my primary drive became a car and my personal ride has changed to a more modest Unicorn Dazzler. Ride lenghts have shortned too to a couple of 100kms. With threads such as these popping up, my heart yearns for a long ride of a 1000kms or more (not on my uni though, I need to upgrade).

One question though (just out of curiosity). Why did you choose the Naidupeta, Nellore NH5 route. You could have gone through Hyderabad. Roads all the way from Bangalore to Vijayawada are just awesome. You would have made much quicker progress. Bang to Hyd 7hrs and Hyd to VJA 4 hrs are the average times most people take.
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Old 26th February 2014, 13:48   #50
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Simply amazing. I am glued to this thread. It really takes efforts and guts to do this. Fantastic ride idea as well. Now waiting for you to post the next details... At any point did you feel that you should have taken someone else along? Just my curiosity!
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:15   #51
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Preetam, absolutely stunning brother, unbelieveable, when I read the heading 8407kms, it was jaw dropping, then when I read 2 wheels and then one soul. My God what am I reading. The first photograph was stunning , fit for an International calendar. The second picture too was amazing, the way you have laid out the gear was stunning and amusing as well. Your write up is too good, very very professional, as a fellow bhpian suggested surely you can take up writing for some travel mags and surely your style can benefit many readers across the globe. The amount of detailing that you have done, now I know why you need more time for each day's write up. Sure all of us are waiting for your next part of the write up. Congratulations buddy and sure hope to catch up with you some time.
Just a doubt on your first stay at the hotel the kms was 896 and you mentiond the rent also to be the same, or was that just a joke.
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:24   #52
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Super Cool Preetam, Thanks for sharing. Eagerly waiting for more.

One thing is for sure now. My Chennai - Leh trip along with my group on 200NS now will take shape thanks to you & the trip you undertook.

Massive Respect Buddy.
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:45   #53
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Finally the travelogue is out, it gives me goose bumps reading it. Proud to have known you and proud to have a friend like you. Cheers Preetham !
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:55   #54
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

You had me hooked on from the first photograph. This is one of the best travelogues I have ever read and am eagerly looking forward to it. hats off buddy! respect!
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Old 26th February 2014, 15:43   #55
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

* lifts up jaw from the floor *

"Billions of blue Blistering Barnacles!" - As Captain Archibald Haddock always said, in the loveable Tintin comics!

Gosh! To say this as a MASSIVE feat is an understatement! Goodness! Whatever this epic travelogue is, it is certainly greater than even a GIGANTIC feat!

For want of a better word, I'd rather call it a MARVELOUS FEAT, the likes of which, laymen are not able to achieve.

All this in a Pulsar! Goodness, what a marvel the bike is!

And you, sirjee, are an excellent biker!

I'm hooked to this! Updates required, Preetamji!


Last edited by FINTAIL : 26th February 2014 at 15:48.
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Old 26th February 2014, 16:47   #56
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Wouldn't bore you with another compliment on how good the photos are, or how palatable the writing is; but I reckon it's time for Episode 2 to be up, no?

Awesome trip man! Wish to do the journey again through your travelogue. Will PM you sometime soon to know the road conditions in certain stretches.
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Old 26th February 2014, 17:01   #57
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Rajahmundry – Kolkata via Vizag, Gopalpur, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Balasore, Kharagpur
Roads Taken: NH5 – NH60
Total Distance: 1110 Kms
Total Riding Time: Approximately 24 Hours

I woke up with excruciating pain in my right shoulder; the effect of the pain relief spray had worn off.

I imagined the pain would go away in sometime but my body had other ideas.
It was 4:30 a.m. and it was still dark outside.

If I had to do this, then it would have to be with a pained shoulder.
Beating the odds, I got off the bed and tried to stretch a bit. The shoulder freed up a little, and I went off to attend to nature’s call. I took a shower and by the time I was done, the pain had started to radiate towards the neck muscles.

I sprayed on some more Volini, hoping it’d get slightly better. I had a smoke, and in about 10 minutes, the shoulder had become slightly relaxed.
Went down to the parking, and found bumblebee giving me a mischievous glance, and I guessed some naughtiness happened the last night with the scooty pep. She seemed to be having fun all night long as she was beaming as well.

Like a teenage kid’s father, I moved his face to the other direction, and fired him up.

He roared away as I choked him for a couple of minutes. Turned off the choke and put him in gear.

Chain cleaning time.

I put the bike in gear, and proceeded to do the needful.

I overheard the attendants speaking in their local language and giggling which I could make no head or tail of so I asked them what they were all about.

The following conversation took place:

Me with a smile: “Kya hua bhaiya?” (Trans: What happened?)

Attendant 1: “Kuch nahi saar, bas yehi socha ki aap kya kar rahe ho…” (Trans: Nothing, just wondering what you are upto)

Me: “Chain clean kar raha hoon bhaiya, parking ka light on kar denge please?” (Trans: Just cleaning the chain, can you please switch on the lights?)

Attendant 2 promptly switched on all the lights in the parking. Royal Service!

Attendant 2 picked up the Chain Lube can: “Yeh botol mein kya hai saar?” (Trans: Whats in this?)

Me: “Spray hai bhaiya, jo chain lubricate karta hai” (Trans: It’s a spray to lube the chain)

Attendant 2: “Baap re, aapko yeh sab karna aata hai?” (Trans: Holy! You know how to do all this?)

I opened the tail bag and showed him all the spares and kits I was carrying, and he was bewildered.

Attendant 2: “Arre saar, kitna mehenat hai yeh bike maintain karne mein, aapko yeh sab aata hai?” (Trans: What a lot of work to maintain the bike, you know how to do all of it?)

I gave him a smile and I guess he got his answer.

He wanted me to teach him how to do it, and so I did.

Passed him the chain lube, and showed him how to apply. He promptly took it up and finished a neat job.

Then he asked if a bicycle’s chain can be lubricated in the same way.

I confirmed in the affirmative and asked him to get his cycle.

He ran off with a smile on his face, and I let him do up his cycle’s chain. That got over in a jiffy, and I also did a quick overall check of the bike.

All seemed well and I headed back upstairs.

“Thank You Saar” the attendant called out.

Gave him a thumbs up and went inside my room.

The pain had mellowed down a bit and I picked up the Fly, which was the lightest bag and also contained my valuables.

I headed downstairs. The rest of the bags, I asked the attendant to get for me.

Since everything was paid off at the reception the last night itself, I did not bother to wake up the old gentleman who tended to me the previous night, and just left the counterfoil of the receipt and the room keys as a check-out formality. I was also supposed to get back some change from my earlier payment, 17 Rupees to be exact, which I did not bother about and decided give it a miss.

The bags were mounted with some help from the attendants, and my watch said 5:15 a.m.

Tipped the attendants who had been very helpful, and decided it was time to leave.

I got on the saddle, and fired up the engine.

I was already geared up and something seemed amiss. Stupid me! Stupid Stupid ME! I had left my helmet in the room!

One of the attendants very kindly agreed to get my helmet from upstairs. He also got the visor cleaning spray and the microfiber cloth which I had left behind along with the helmet. Once he got it, I thanked him and made my exit from the parking.

To my utter joy, found a petrol bunk which was just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.

Tanked up and took the first photograph of the day.

In order to avoid the attention that I was already getting a lot of, I snapped using my phone and didn’t bother with the camera.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-001.jpg

The first 2 kms to join the highway connector was in bad shape as I remembered from last night.
Asked a local auto driver about an alternate route and he promptly answered in the negative.
There was no other way but to take the broken road.

Cleared that section after careful maneuvering and connected to the NH5 in about 15 minutes. The sky remained dark.
Difficult as it may be, I love riding at dawn. The air is fresh and the bike is at the best of its behavior.
The pain in my right shoulder had subsided.

The thrum felt nice and the roads were smooth.

According to reports from my cousin the roads were sublime till Bhubaneshwar and there was no real problem as far as the tarmac was concerned. The only problem which lay ahead according to him was NH60 which connected Balasore to Kharagpur. More on that by the end of the day.
I covered good ground and the first stop was about 130 kms away at a small place called Tuni.

Chose a scenic spot. I could see a statue in the distance facing away from me. The open road in front. Daylight had started to break. I parked.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-002.jpg

The stop was mandatory, as this is what had happened to me and my helmet.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-003.jpg

Like I had said earlier, I am not a person who likes violence.

In my defense, all you see above is the result of a rave party where all the local who’s who of the insect world were invited. They were hungover and clearly were unsure of their flight-path back home. You see, we all know it’s dangerous to drive under the influence of alcohol. But there is no such rule against flying for insects. What a shame!

I cleaned my helmet, could not give the dead insects a proper funeral and just dumped them on the road!

Carrying on. . .

About 20 kilometers down the road, I turned to look at my right. The sun had risen and bright sunshine kissed my shoulder.

I had to take a couple of shots.

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Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-006.jpg

During these long journeys, I have come to understand a very simple thing.

We as human beings have the most intelligence and are treasure troves of emotion.

However, with the advent of technology, sciences, and materialistic possessions, we have come to devalue the smaller yet very significant things in life.

Clean Air.

Bright sunshine.

Birds chirping.

The colors of spring.

All we live for are whatsapp and facebook nowadays, which, as I write are almost a merged property.

I pity those whose lives are governed by social networking sites and whose bedrooms are part of their timelines.

It is not long before people actually get married, divorced and with the evolution of science, have kids on facebook.

Anyway . . .

From here on till Vizag the roads were open and clean, nothing much to write about.

Except in some places the frenzied insects had gotten very very lost and had interfered with my path again.

My brand new SOL was cursing me!

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-004.jpg

Just before entering Vizag, the roads become wonderful, lush green on both sides and the arrow straight highway becomes slightly twisty. Small hills come into view, and the traffic thins out.

Do not ask me how, it just does.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-007.jpg

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Like we all know, there is always a lull before storm, and this was absolutely no exception.

I reached Vizag city by around 7:40 a.m. covering a distance of about 230 Kms in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Good Time I presume.

And then began the madness, I hit Vizag city at peak rush hour traffic.

To exit Vizag city it was just about 22 kms, which by then current conditions looked like a herculean task.

Strange thing though, the traffic in Vizag was not unruly but I was caught up in long vehicle queues at traffic stops at intersections.


The only unruly vehicle was a moron on a Custom Painted Honda Dio, who kept cutting across with a girl, presumably someone else’s girlfriend, riding pillion.

No matter how much he tried to get ahead, he was getting caught up and everytime a signal turned red, I would go and stop right next to him, giving the girl a look as she turned away. Every time.

This went on for four more traffic lights, and the guy was getting fed up.

At the 5th traffic signal, he could not bear it anymore.

He looked at me, and asked me why I was staring at the girl.

The signal LED Display read 145 seconds.

I took off my helmet, and told him, that I was utterly shaken because of his riding techniques.

And the girl riding pillion was bearing the brunt of his undisciplined riding.

I had noticed a couple of times that the girl was absolutely uncomfortable behind him and was almost falling off on a couple of occasions when he tried to weave through traffic.

The girl turned away to look at the other side when the conversation was happening.

She would have agreed to everything I had said.

However, he seemed to be having none of it, and I left it to that.

I had also noticed that the rear wheel of the Dio was shaking very badly to the extent that it could come off any second.


The signal turned green and as usual, the guy without brains took off from the start line.

I followed him at a steady 60 kmph, 3 bike lengths behind him.

In about 50 meters, the inevitable happened.

The guy swerved right from the extreme left lane to cut across in front of a Ford Figo, misjudged the car’s length and hit the front bumper.

Screeeeech! Screeeeeeeeech!

The dio crashed to a stop laying on its right in front of the Figo about 5 feet away.

I could see the guys’ right arm bleeding profusely, the girl was nowhere to be seen.

I parked, got off the saddle and ran to help.

Stopped immediately, ran back to the bike, took the keys out of the ignition slot and reached the spot.

Brought the guy to his feet, he was in pain.

Then, I saw the girl, sitting on the divider, a small cut on her forehead on the right side, and her right knee bleeding, evident because of the blood patch marks on her white patiala near her right knee.

Some other motorists had stopped seeing this debacle, and the police had also arrived.

The Ford Figo driver was an elderly gentleman, who parked near my bike and came up to help. The damage to the car was minimal. The girl’s white chiffon dupatta was still stuck to the front wheel of the car.

Got the moron and the girl to the car, and washed the wounds.

Took out my First aid kit, soaked the cotton in Savlon and cleaned the guy up.

I handed over a piece of cotton to the girl.

By now you would have guessed that there were no helmets on either of their heads and protective gear is something they wouldn’t have heard of.

After the wounds were cleaned, I applied some betadine ointment, and tied up their wounds with a bit of cotton, gauze and micropore tape.

Nitin, a.k.a. THE MORON and Shreya were college students, pursuing their BCA degrees at a local college the name of which I have conveniently forgotten as I hadn’t written it down.

Gave them a lengthy lecture on safety on the road and what might have happened. The MORON was still non-complacent and kept on telling how it was the Figo driver’s fault.

I found it to be an attempt in vain.

Gave the girl a painkiller, her untagled Dupatta, my bottle of Kinley packaged drinking water, and a beaming smile.

She shook her head in dismay, and gave me a wane smile.

I left.

By the time I got back on the saddle, I had lost almost 30 minutes, and I was sweating like crazy and my tee was soaked.

When I crossed Vizag, it was 9:30 a.m.

Stopped for breakfast, had a wholesome serving of 6 pooris and sabji and a couple of jalebis.

Tanked up again, as I did not want to take further breaks.

I did not want to lose any more time on the road and decided to spur on till another 250 Kms or so without a stop.

The roads were sublime and started doing good speeds in double quick time.

My bee is an amazing mile-muncher.

The miles passed by and there was this occasional truck on the road or a kid waving to me from the back of a local tempo ferrying people around. I used to wave back.

It takes a lot of concentration to keep in a straight line on a highway; error of perspective starts to set in. Even on very hot days, hands start to feel numb.

Just to keep myself in the peak of concentration levels, I used to change through couple of gears sometimes and would brake and accelerate.

Not only did I get to know that my body was functioning to the best of its abilities, but the proper functioning of the bike was also a reassurance.

To let the readers know, the songs I used to hum to myself on the trip were just 4, oddly.
And those bear no semblance to each other as far as genre, time-frame or any other classification of music is concerned.

They were as follows:
  • Its My Life, Bon Jovi
  • Tum Mile, from the film Tum Mile
  • Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, from the film Kati Patang
  • But it Rained, Parikrama

I don’t know where and how or when, but these are the 4 songs that I used to hum.
Not that I do not know of any other songs, but somehow these were the only ones I used to sing.
Sometimes very slowly to calm myself down, and sometimes as though I was singing at a Rock Concert!
I am pretty sure now that, had Bon Jovi heard my versions of his beloved song, he would have made a few changes!
However, onwards…

As predetermined for a long haul, reached Srikakulam in about 2 hours' time, averaging about 90 kays an hour.
Stopped to take couple of nice photographs and a selfie!

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-011.jpg

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Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-013.jpg

Pulled a quick smoke, and took off.

After about 20 odd kms, I had a frightening encounter with a lorry.

He was on the extreme left lane, and I was behind him by about 5 bike lengths.

With no rhyme or reason he swerved right, still no threat, as I thought that he must be making a right turn somewhere up ahead. There was no vehicle behind me so I felt relaxed. I kept steady at about 60 kph, and was still about 30 feet behind him when I had the shock of my life!

He again turned left!

At full speed!

I jammed on the brakes!

The Pirellis do not lock up under hard braking, and did not let me down this time either as I stopped inches away from the truck’s rear wheels!

What had happened was, the maniac trucker had found an exit on the left, but since it was a tight turn, he decided to widen his turning circle by going right. Coupled by the sudden urge of to pull off a powerslide, he swerved left almost immediately at almost 40 kph!

The trucker stopped, and so did I.

Went up to him and as he disembarked from his lorry, I pulled him down, and gave him a tight slap.


He looked slightly bewildered but agreed to his mistake.

I did not want to create a scene, and left.

To shake this off, rode slowly at about 70 kph and covered about 20 kms.
Pulled a smoke sitting under a cool thatched shade, sipped onto a tender coconut, and clicked some photos.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-014.jpg

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Soldiered on to Ichchapuram, picked up speed and covered about 120 kilometres in about 90 minutes.

Quickly stopped to take a photograph where the road looked scenic.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-017.jpg

The scenery was fast changing.

From the barren lands of Andhra to the scenic lands of Odisha, the topography changed drastically.
I could see lakes everywhere.
This was one of them.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-018.jpg

The roads turned from Asphalt to Concrete, do not know why.

Presumably due to low lying areas where possibility of floods and roads getting washed off were imminent.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-019.jpg

Reached Ganjam, which is the AP – Odisha Border.

There was a long line of trucks waiting for clearance and when I crossed the border, a policeman stopped me.
So I did.
Without him asking, I took out my DL, RC, Insurance and PUC certificate and handed it over to him.
He did not seem interested in any of it.

I was confused!
I took off my helmet, and asked him what the matter was.

The following conversation took place:

Policeman: “Aapka headlamp on hai bhaiya, off kar dijiye…” (Trans: Your headlamp is on, please switch it off!)

What a nice man!

“Bas isliye?” I smiled. (Trans: That’s it?)

“Haan Bhaiya! Aur aapka luggage dekh ke lag raha hai bahut door ki sawari hai. Aapka documents to sab hoga hi! Kahaan jana hai? Kahan se aa rahe ho?” he asked. (Trans: Yes bro! And looking at your luggage, seems like you a long hauler. Your documents will definitely be in order. Where to? Where from?)

Told him my story, offered him a smoke and we struck a short conversation.

As it turns out, he was posted in Bangalore for some time when he was in the army. We chatted about how the Bangalore weather has changed and how IT has affected our lives.

For better or for worse, none of us were sure. We left it at that, shook hands and I took leave.

The roads started getting slightly twisty and I started to have a little fun! The roads went through small hills, over streams and beside lush green fields.

Lake Chilika was fast approaching.

Behind that bend one can see the Chilika in all its glory!

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-020.jpg

I took to the small stretch of twisties, and the road was superb!
What a view!
I stopped for a moment to look.
And this is what I saw!

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-021.jpg

A majestic view!

To the left in the distance is the Chilika Lake, the road in front of it is the other way traffic, and the road to the right is the road I had just taken to get to the spot from where the photo is clicked.

I took the road downhill and came to a U-Turn, took it, went up the hill again.
And came back down!
Wanted to do it again but it was already 2’o Clock so did not bother!

Bhubaneshwar was about 100 odd kilometres away and I covered good ground to reach there by about 3:30 p.m. The roads started to get bad and I really wished that, it was not the harbinger of foul play ahead.

Stopped at Bhubaneshwar for a cup of tea, and this is when I felt I was getting a call from mother nature for a number 2.
There was no place, and I thought it best to divert my attention to other things at hand.

The distance from Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata is roughly 450 Kms, and going by current speeds and moderately good roads, I would be able to make it by 10 in the night. So I thought I’d go for it.

Got on the saddle, and crossed Cuttack at 4:30 p.m.
Traffic was slowly starting to build up and progress was painfully slow.
Just after exiting Cuttack, there is a huge junction of Work in Progress flyovers and it is easy to get lost.

I asked for directions to the main highway and as it turned out, I was on the correct road.

I soldiered on.

Light was falling fast and the traffic cleared off 5 kms past the exit at Cuttack.

The highway opened up again and the sun was setting.

The sky looked beautiful and I could not resist clicking a couple of photographs.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-024.jpg

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-025.jpg

I reached Balasore at the dot of 7:00 p.m.

The sun had set and the glare of the truck headlamps got unbearable.

To make matters worse, my internals were letting me know that I needed to let go to restroom. Fast!

I spurred on to find a safe location, and the roads were going from bad to worse.

I was definitely not sure at this point if it was a good idea to get to Kolkata that very night itself.

However, I soldiered on.

I was going slow. Painfully slow.

Progress was almost at a standstill.

In the past hour I had done only about 25 kms.

There were diversions everywhere and I knew I had to be supremely careful.

But God had other plans.

Bam! Ghuuuurrrrrrrr!

Out of nowehere, there was a diversion which was not marked in anyway. It was just a pile of rubbish.

And I had rode straight onto the heap of loose stones and mud.

The bike landed to the left softly, speed was minimal and impact even more so.

I was unscathed. ATGATT for life!

With some help, got the bike out of the heap and checked for damages.

None other than a slightly bent left crash guard.

I parked Bee to a side and said sorry. I really was. I could not keep up the promise that I made to him on day 1.

He seemed a little cross, and did not start at first crank. I turned him off and got myself a cup of tea.

I tried talking to him. He softened and I fired him up again. This time he complied.

Even though not completely happy, he grumbled like a best friend who is cross with you for some stupidity.

I understood his reaction and consoled him. I will not do it again I promised. And he seemed happy.

Even though I did not take any major hit, a big boulder had hit my left shin just below the knee guards and was paining a bit.

I did not make a mention of it to him.

I asked for road conditions up ahead and the news was not good.

About 20 kms ahead was a small forest range.

I was advised to keep at close quarters with a 4 wheeler while crossing that stretch.

I filled Bee up with his drink for the last leg. We had 310 kms to go and it would easily be enough for him.

In the meantime I had also taken my restroom break and was feeling fresh.

The petrol station had no washroom and I had to go around the back to a sprawling grassland.

It was pitch dark.

Turned on the flashlight of the phone and took of my shoes and socks.

Stowed it behind a bush and went about the business. I had taken the small towel that I had and also a bottle of water to finish it off.


Agreed, that it wasn’t the most dignified way of doing it, but the feeling was good.

Further vivid details of this experience are beyond the rules of this esteemed forum! :P

I hopped on the saddle, and soldiered into the night.

Like advised earlier, I picked a small car to tail, and followed it through the small stretch of jungle for about 10 odd kms.

There was a lot of traffic on this road and I could not spot any imminent threats of wild animals or robbers.

However in hindsight, it was definitely better to be safe than sorry.

The highway got divided up ahead and said Kharagpur via NH60 was to the right.

And so I took a right and continued.

Suddenly, the road vanished.

10 kms into the NH60, the roads were nowhere to be seen.

The trucks were coming on the dual carriageway and the dust was making it impossible to see even 20 metres ahead.

This is where I realized that I should have stayed at Balasore for the night.

It was suicidal to continue on this road.

My watch told me it was well past 9.

Turning back to Balasore again meant crossing the small forest and a travel time of 2 hours at a minimum.

The possibility of finding a half decent hotel at that time was bleak.

I said a small prayer and decided to carry on.

There was this local bus in front of me and the tyre roll was sending the dust flying everywhere. I decided to give up tailgating and tried to overtake.

What an optimistic oversight!

As I was halfway across the length of the bus, a pile of vomit flew across in front of me from the left and hit me square on my left thigh.

The odour was pungent and the feeling absolutely repulsive!

Half-digested grains of rice and remnants of vegetables in a soupy curry was all over me.

This being West Bengal/ Odisha, some form of fish stock was also part of the diet I presumed.

I almost puked myself.

I knew I could not ride like this.

Carried on somehow to a nearest safe location, read: petrol bunk, and thankfully found one, about 4 kms away.

I was utterly battered.

Took off the wrangler denims I was wearing and had no option but to throw them away.

If in case I had the wranglers now, I would have had a decent chance of getting through to the top 10 of the True Wanderers Contest!
Brag rights, you see!
If you still think my entry is worthy, you can vote for me at this LINK

Each person can vote twice on a single entry, validating each vote using phone and facebook.
Click the stars to vote and click fb or phone to validate!

On with the story...

Put on a new pair, and had a sip of water.

It was here that I came across a truck driver who agreed to help me out.

It was decided that Manas would drive in front of me and I would tail him till Kharagpur from where the roads are again good.

At this point, I would take help from hell if it was available and there was this seemingly nice man offering his helping hand. I promptly said yes.

In the last 2 hours, I had covered 45 kilometres and was not in a position to go any faster.

The roads were nonexistent and the surface was made of loose gravel, cement, and mud.

The temperatures began to drop.

I did not have any warm clothing for this section, except for a windcheater.

I had decided to get the warmers et al from Kolkata during my stay there.

I quickly checked the phone. It was 7 degrees outside. Accuweather said it felt like 5.

The crosswinds were building up.

And the faster I tried to go, I was held back by strong crosswinds, and the sheer wind chill.

Going fast was not an option. Going safely was.

So I took a few deep breaths, and tried very hard to concentrate.

I was going into brain freeze.

Strangely, I was not sleepy. Good Thing.


Manas, The lorryist took a different route which was a detour from the highway, and assured me it was faster.

Recipe for disaster I thought and my brain really stopped working here.

I just wanted to reach home. Hug my parents, and sleep.

It was a single road which led through a small village called Jaleshwar.

I encountered the first experience of Bengali Script here; handwritten bills strewn across the street.

Must be from one of the many many rallies which Mamata Didi conducts, I thought to myself.

I came to a railway level crossing, and it was deserted.

The lorry I was tailing was behind me.

Just me, bumblebee, the lorry, the lorry driver, and his assistant.

I was scared to my bones.

In the tank bag was almost a couple of lakhs worth of cameras.

The electronic equipment alone would be about 3 lakhs and above.

I just kept mumbling prayers.

Manas disembarked from his lorry, and was coming towards me.

There was no place to run, or to hide.

I had no clue what was in store.

I switched off the ignition and took the keys out.

It became pitch dark.

Light music played on the radio in the truck "Aaj jaane ki zid na karo..." How apt!

Safely put the keys in my pocket.

Manas came and stood in front of me.

“Dada ekta cigarette hobe?” he asked. (Trans: Brother, do you have a cigarette?)


I heaved a sigh of relief! At that point, I would have sold one of my kidneys for my own safety, and he was helping me by cutting down my tobacco intake!


Offered him a smoke and lit up one myself.

We started talking.

As it turned out, he did not seem to have harmful intentions, but I told myself to be on my guard just in case.

The train passed, and I soldiered on.

Behind him.

Slow but steady.

Hit a couple of bad potholes and almost fell once, but I had no intentions of stopping. Not then.

Thankfully, the road took a left and then a sharp right and I could see a junction rejoining the main highway.

I took the corners with full enthusiasm, and regained composure. Corners make me happy. Straight roads make me sulk.

I stopped at the highway, at this place called Belda. Kolkata was still 220 Kms away.

I knew that going like this was not an option. Thanked Manas for the help, and went ahead. Alone.

Guardian Angels

500 meters away I saw a small motel, and also the first sign of people in about a 50 kilometers.

It was here that I met my saviors for the night.

A family was travelling in a Chevrolet Enjoy.

They were going to Dankuni and a little pleading from my side made the car owner agree to let me follow him.

As it turns out, I had overtaken them near Cuttack and he remembered me from my bike and luggage atop it.

He even asked me what speed I was comfortable at, and I gave him a grim smile.

I just told him that I would follow him at whatever speed he would be comfortable at, and if I fell back at any time, he would slightly slow down to let me catch up.

However, I also knew very well that a fully loaded, family carrying, 76 bhp, 7 seater, diesel MPV, would not be doing break neck speeds.

I was right.

Ambika Yadav was a very sane driver.

He maintained 50-60 kmph and I never fell back.

Covered the 120 kilometres in about 3 hours and 40 minutes past a gazillion diversions, potholed creviced roads, and by last count, 9 upturned lorries, 7 lorries with broken axles, 1 lorry with a puncture on the front right tyre, bang in the centre of the road and 2 Tata Safaris, one of which was in half and left to rot.

One was still a very fresh accident when we passed, and help was yet to arrive. Safely and selfishly, we passed them without stopping. In our defense, it did not look major, there were 2 occupants and it was driven into a ditch. Both occupants were outside and had put out a warning triangle to let other motorists know of their misfortune.

It was well past 1 when I hit truck traffic 4 kms before the Kharagpur toll gate. I stayed right beside my guardian angel’s Enjoy, and trudged along.

The trucks had not been let out for the past 2 days, and were carrying loads of potato.

They were going through that night.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-026.jpg

On the right in the above photograph, you can see Ambika Yadav’s brother-in-law keeping a close watch on me and my whereabouts from the front seat of their enjoy.

That night I could have been killed. Or robbed. And I don’t want to imagine anymore.

Mr. Ambika Yadav, I thank you Sir from the bottom of my heart.

Without your help that night, I would not be here writing this. I Thank You.


I had enough fuel, and felt wide awake.

Never felt so full of life before in my life. Ever.

Kharagpur has a lot of memories.

It was from this very place where I’d call my parents, on my train journeys back home during my college days.

2 hours it would take those days to reach Howrah station. Nostalgia set in.

Finally reached the toll gate and went through.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-027.jpg

We reached Kolaghat at 2:15 a.m, and stopped for tea at Hotel Sher-e-Punjab, a common hangout spot for motoring enthusiasts in Kolkata, evident from the Range Rover Evoque in the background.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-028.jpg

I was cold and shivering.

The outside temperature was 5 degrees.

Felt like a lot less.

Had 3 cups of tea. I was still shivering. My hands were cold. My feet were frozen. I had no idea that it would be this chilly.

Called up a friend of mine who I knew would be awake at that hour.

I had no intention of going home like that, at the wee hours of dawn. I knew I’d be grilled.

I informed Kunal that I’d go to his house, have a bite and reach home after the sunrise. He was flummoxed. But agreed.

Dear Dad,
If you are reading this, then please give the grilling session a miss.
I promise to be more responsible next time onwards!

His bike was what I actually ever learnt on and first had a fall on.
A humble 135 cc Discover in red and black, which he still owns. The tank pad on that bike was gift from me, bought at the Bangalore Auto Expo in 2010.
He was the front man in our band and as the guitarist, was the chick magnet.
Many memories we have together. Some worth the mention, and some definitely beyond the reaches of this forum!
Good times. Good food. Great friends.


Got a couple of newspapers from the hotel and put it right across my chest and wore a second tshirt over it for further insulation.

The newspaper funda, I had learned from my father, who during his heyday used to travel from Durgapur to Kolkata on his bullet at temperatures nudging zero degrees!

I knew it worked like a charm.

Kolkata was 70 kms away. Home was an additional 20 Kms.

I had almost made it.

In the last five hours, I had averaged 30 kilometers an hour, almost got myself robbed, and/or killed.

And there I was.

Still standing.

I will make it. I said to myself.

Got on the saddle.

Next Stop.


20 kms from the hotel, we parted ways. I thanked him, and shook hands.

Phone numbers were exchanged.

Ambika Yadav went straight on, towards Dankuni and I took a left towards Kolkata.

I got onto the Kona expressway with a nice 270 degree banked left hander and I was back in the game. Like I said, corners make me happy!

This road bypasses Howrah and leads up to the Vidyasagar Setu or the Second Howrah/Hoogly Bridge as it is more commonly called.

Stopped once to take a photograph on the Kona Expressway.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-029.jpg

When I reached the Vidyasagar Setu, it was 3:25 a.m.

I was home.

Well Almost!

The toll receipt from the night, I still have. Seems like the best 5 Rupees I have ever spent.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-030.jpg

I got on to the bridge, and for the first time wanted to take a photograph, I never have earlier.

For 2 reasons:
  • It isn’t permitted to take photographs while stopping on the bridge.
  • It never felt special enough.

This time though, it was special,

Very very special.

I made sure I took a photograph.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-031.jpg

And then I headed towards Kunal's place.

It was 4:12 a.m. when I had reached.

Met Kunal and his flummoxed state was evident even in the darkness of the night!

I went upstairs and we chit chatted about the trip back home, and then like most conversations between old friends the conversation turned towards our life, relationships and compromises.

The rant went along for a bit and a little food in my belly later, the sun had risen.

I took leave and headed home.

Not without the landed in Kolkata photograph though!

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-033.jpg

I reached home at 7:05 a.m.

The familiar road in front of my house looked lovely as it never has!

The air felt like sweet vanilla essence on Keira Knightley's flawless skin!

The Surprise:

We live in the 3rd Floor.

I called up my father and immediately my heart sank to the ground.

Mom had left for office!

However, when my dad got to know I was there, the joy was unbound.

“Why did you not tell me I was coming?” he asked, bewildered.

“Well, of course if I did, you wouldn’t be surprised, would you?” was my answer!

A tight hug later, unpacked the bags, parked Bumblebee in the newly repaired garage, kissed him and put him off to sleep.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-034.jpg

I asked my father not to inform mom of my arrival, and he agreed.

I slept off awaiting mom to be back. Had a long Sleep.

I had made it.

Mom came back in the afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

Like when I was 10 years old, I hid behind the door to surprise here.

And she was in seventh heaven.

She had no idea that I had come by bike.

That was disclosed half an hour later!

I hugged her tight and sandwiched between mom and dad, 26 year old me, became a kid, and went off to sleep!


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Last edited by preetam_KORG : 26th February 2014 at 17:17. Reason: Minor errors rectified
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Old 26th February 2014, 17:48   #58
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Take a bow preetam_KORG! It was absolutely stunning. I felt like reading a beautiful fiction and I'm equally curious to see what's coming up next. All the very best and Bon-Voyage!
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Old 26th February 2014, 17:50   #59
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Just one word ... MAD. You did great trip but you took too much undue risks. I will advice not to take such risks in life henceforth. Life is very precious, respect it.

Whenever you ride on bike, make sure you ride in sunlight only. Don't ride on highways at night. Its always a very very high risk.

Anyways, congratulations for completing such a long trip, that too on bike. Really great. Need lot of courage and strength to do that.
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Old 26th February 2014, 17:52   #60
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

RESPECT!! Awesome journey and a wonderful writeup .

Glad to hear to you got help when needed. Did you get a chance to fix the crashguard?
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