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Old 20th March 2014, 14:32   #121
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Oops !! Wow, Fantastic, Fabulous, Amazing, Excellent, outstanding, ok, now am running out of words to express my feel after i read your complete emotions, interests, and the achievement.

Awesome !! Seriously i feel jealous on you now.

The max i could do on bike was 700kms when i was at your age !! Typically its parents restriction
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Old 25th March 2014, 13:41   #122
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

@Preetham: Where are you these days? Waiting eagerly for your t-log
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Old 25th March 2014, 20:32   #123
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Heyy, Waiting for more since ages Preetham. I've got my popcorn and diet pepsi right in front of me but there are no updates on this log.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 14:45   #124
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Waiting since ages, without seeing any new updates
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Old 10th April 2014, 16:40   #125
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Bro, it seems you are quite busy with projects in hand. Been quite some time since we heard from you and are waiting for the travelogue.
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Old 11th April 2014, 15:25   #126
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What a travelogue!! Hooked onto it and waiting for more!! Your narration is superlative and the feat is nothing less than extraordinary.

Hope to get to know the remaining log soon!!
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Old 15th April 2014, 17:03   #127
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

We've been waiting eagerly to read the rest of the story, don't let the excitement die down. Cheers!
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Old 24th April 2014, 10:07   #128
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Smile Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Amazing write up Preetam. Absolutely awesome experience. Hoping that these kind of travelogues inspire more and more people to get up from their couches and explore the world. Eagerly waiting for the next installment.
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Old 20th May 2014, 00:53   #129
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Exclamation Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

First and foremost, I sincerely apologize for this huge delay in posting the rest of the travelogue.
I realize that there were some of you who were eagerly waiting to read this and I failed to deliver on time.
Better late than never, however I am a person who believes that on time or no time.
Please bear with me because the rest of the story is amazing, and I am not saying it because it was my trip.

For those who are on this thread for the first time, this is what happened earlier:

Prologue and Day 1:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3375871 (Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul)

Day 2:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3378855 (Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul)

Day 3:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3380878 (Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul)

Without much further Ado, here goes the rest of the journey.

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Kolkata – Varanasi via Durgapur, Asansol, Barhi, Dehri on Sone
Roads Taken: NH2
Total Distance: 706 Kms
Total Riding Time: 17 Hours

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

For a ride that begins from here, this is one truly epic journey. And again, I am not saying this because it is my trip. Everyone and I mean, everyone, should do it once in his or her lives. The experience is nowhere close to what you have ever done before. I don’t want to sound like a Mr. Know It All, but the sheer thrill of being alone on a motorcycle for 12 days without anyone bothering you with the plethora of worldly errands is a joy like no other.

It was a tiring day the earlier night when all the packing was supposed to be done. As it always is when one is at home, you start feeling comfortable and let go off things. And by things, I mean, clothes, underwear, deo, shades, and the lot!

There were a few things added at Kolkata as reinforcements for weather conditions prevailing up north which included warmers, extra warm gloves, some surgical gloves, a couple of extra scarves to make me look like a mummy right out of the grave ready to squander some freaked out souls, some dry fruits, etc.

Even though my mother had graciously cooked for me a plethora of things to eat the earlier night, I just handpicked a few that were particularly to my liking and hit the bed early.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_001.jpg

4 alarms were set on my phone and I was sanguine that I’d wake up before any one of them went off. This always happens with me and I guess with a lot of other people as well.
When you venture out to do something that is particularly to your liking, you are always on time. That is mostly not true however, for a meeting that ensues next day where you know that your Boss is going to grill your innards to a burnt crisp.

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As I stated earlier, I was awake before the 3’o clock alarm went off.
However I kept all the alarms on, as there was a high chance of me dozing off.

My mom found out that I’d woken up early and came into my room and kissed me on my forehead. It was this time and this time only when I just didn’t want to leave. I cocooned into my mom’s lap for one last time before I embarked on this journey. For 5 minutes.

A quick mention of my mother here:

My mother is by far the strongest woman I have ever encountered, physically and by will.

When my parents had gotten married and she was pregnant with me, she’d travel almost 6 hours by local train everyday to commute to work. This is a place called Katwa. She is a paramedic and has been in this profession for the last 30 years or so. She is due to retire this August end after serving the needy for almost 32 long years.

This went on till she was almost 8 months pregnant.
For people who know Kolkata and its suburbs, you would also have a fair idea about its local trains. Jostling with activity and a variety of hawkers at your disposal selling wares, which range from eatables to herbal medicine, this is the last place an 8-month-old pregnant woman should be. She managed it. And not by cribbing but with a brave smile on her face.

After that when younger brother and myself were born, my father was shifted to Assam on work. That was by far the most harrowing part of my mother’s life. Juggling between work, an ailing mother-in-law at home and 2 kids, she made sure that each of our needs were met and more.

After that came the time when my father went off to complete his corporate MBA and a Europe trip following that. My brother and me were 6 and 8 years old by then.

What my mother has gone through is truly inspirational, and even though she does not have a story to tell in intricate detail, like I am penning down, I know for a fact that her story is way more realistic, factual and life-like than mine. For her story, is life itself, unlike mine, which is by choice.

I remember every small thing about ma from my childhood.

The way I’d stand at the balcony holding the railing yearning to see her after the whole day.

The way she’d put me to sleep reading stories and humming lullabies.

The first time I was caught smoking. And the Rebuke!

The time I told her about my first girlfriend.


Ma, I love you.
I am really sorry if I have ever hurt you. I tell you that it was never intentional. Just that sometimes situations arise that shroud my conscience and I say things that I should not be saying.

Ma, Thank you, for bringing me up to be the person I am today. All the hardships and all the entails I hope have been worth it. Today I am strong because of you. Today I am outspoken because of you. Whatever I know is because of you.

I am. Because of you.

Thank You.

As I have already spoken about my mother, it is only natural for me to talk about my father as well.

About my Father:

My role model and my hero, my father has been the spine of my being.

My yearning to travel, my thirst for adventure and my love for automobiles I get from him.

The penchant of writing and the love for photography, I get from him. My approach to life, I get from him.

The way I sound on the phone, I get from him.

What I don’t get from him are the sense of dressing, the fascination for writing instruments, the power of confidence and the way I look. Looks are from Ma and so is the extra girth.

I still maintain that my father is the best-dressed man I know. With a proper haircut on whatever he has got left, a crisp white shirt paired with dark navy pinstriped front pleated trousers and classic black well polished shoes, he still looks fresh out of the oven!
Burberry metrosexual in pink, you can go to hell and preserve yourself in a casket.
He still sometimes jokes that my girlfriends would probably look at him more than they look at me. I agree.

In his heyday he used to ride a bullet, a black classic cast iron standard 350. In those days the bike cost him 12,100 INR to buy and slightly less than 100 Gandhijis to fill it up to the brim.
He used to take the bike apart on weekends and service it himself. Of course I wasn’t there to see it but there is no reason to not believe him.

Also, a day before this ride was supposed to commence from Kolkata, I discovered that my rear shock absorber had gone bust. With the new age Nitrox Shocks, which are gas charged and fluid filled, there is no other way to but to replace them. I tried asking around in Kolkata, and nowhere was it available.

My father pulled a rabbit out of the hat and asked me to go and collect it from OSL Prestige, the largest Bajaj Service Center in Kolkata. Strange thing is I had called them an hour prior to this development and they had said that it was not available. Without my father that day, it was just not possible to commence the journey on the planned date and a lot of other things. Thank You.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_003.jpg

Barring the above incident, the complete route map, itinerary and stops were planned by my father. It is very difficult to find a father like him. I have probably lost count of how many phone calls he would have made to make arrangements for my stay across India. All these were in places where he had known contacts from earlier visits. My father also accounted for some impromptu last moment stops.

Life has however been nowhere close to been this fair with my father. I have seen him go through a lot of tough times, but nowhere has he let us down. He was always there whenever we needed him, maybe not physically all the time, but always in our minds and hearts.

Baba, I love you.
For all the misunderstandings and my instabilities in life, you have stood ground and helped me get up. Every single time.

PS: You are not the best of drivers anymore. You were, and I agree that there were few in those days who could keep up. I remember 145 constantly on the Durgapur Expressway and reaching in 2 hours. I did the same stretch in 1’35”, although in a better car, but with the law of averages, that is just a better number!
As I write this, you are 57, and you are better at a lot of other things today.
Let bhai and me do the driving bit, eh?

PPS: Lewis Hamilton’s father still thinks he is a better driver than him and Lewis is an F1 Champion. All fathers are supposed to be like that, that’s what makes them a generation ahead. Who’s the daddy now? :P

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_004.jpg

It has been almost 8 years since I left home for studies and a job that I never stuck to.
About my younger brother, Tupai, I will write later, where it is a bit more apt to mention him.
I miss you all. See you soon!

Now back to the journey.

Bee was cleaned and polished the earlier day. The customary Puja was also done. He was all set to embark on the journey of a lifetime. So was I.

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I was supposed to leave on the dot of 4:00 a.m.
That seemed unlikely since the fog outside was restricting view of the mango tree outside my window at a distance of about 20 meters.
My parents urged me to wait, and I did. There was no point starting early and getting stuck somewhere without a shelter. Even though I felt uneasy at home and wanted to hit the highways early, I decided it best to wait until sunlight made its way onto the streets of Kolkata.

Had another cup of tea, and went downstairs to put the bags back on. Bumblebee had not been used much over the last couple of days. I thought he needed some rest before he faces what lay ahead. 6000+ Kms of Sun, Rain, Sand and Snow. Lets see how it goes.

In the previous part of the trip to Kolkata, I had gotten used to putting the saddlebags up on my own. This time I required Baba’s help though.

The morning fog lifted a bit, and at 5:00 am, I decided it was high time to leave.
Took my parent’s blessings and did a vital check of Bumblebee. All seemed fine.

No leakages.
Coolant Level: Check
Engine Oil Level: Check
Fuel Level: Check

All seemed fine.

I touched my parent’s feet and sought their blessings. My mother is a God fearing woman and folded her hands in the direction of the Maa Kali temple to the north of our residence asking for my safe journey. When she was done offering her prayers, I looked at Bumblebee.

Thumbed the starter and brought him to life. Choked for a couple of minutes as is the custom, and revved him slightly hard. He purred loudly.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_006.jpg

*Please don't consider the clock, it was playing foul!

I felt a tingling sensation on the spine as I slid onto the saddle, what lay ahead I had frankly no clue. Very soon, I’d be on highways that I’d never travelled by road. I did not know the routes other than by virtue of google maps, which failed me a lot of times during the actual ride.
More on that later.

I waved goodbye to my mother and father, and rode out into the night. Light had still not found its way through the fog.

At the bus-stop near my house, the chai wala was setting up shop for the day. The kettle whistled away to glory harking the daydreamers to wake from sweet slumber.

The man with the broom was cleaning the roads. A cloud of dust formed where he applying the broom. It was as though he was cleansing the streets of the sins of yesterday.

A drunkard stumbled away to glory somewhere in the distance.

Monginis, a favourite confectionary shop was opening its doors to get the day’s supplies.

A lot of memories came back, and I’ll not lie about me getting misty eyed. Good ol’ days!

A couple of kilometres down the road, I crossed my school on my right, and a few hundred metres down the road my father’s office building on the left.

Some more distance down the road came my mom’s workplace, where we used to come to drop her with my brother and father. We always used to fight as to who gets to sit in front passenger seat, knowing completely well that it was a lost cause. That was mom’s cardinal right!

As I crossed the Victoria Memorial to the right, it became clear that the journey had begun.
I could see Vidyasagar Setu in the distance and the fog had cleared out.

On the approach to Vidyasagar Setu, I parked for a moment and looked at what I was leaving behind. I promised myself to come back here on my bike again.

It took me about 20 minutes to clear the Kolkata roads and get to the connection of NH2.

At the toll gate, I met a couple of guys on a bike.
No helmets, comforters muffling their voices as they wanted to talk to me.
I asked them to pull over after the toll gate to have a conversation.

Turns out, they were following me for the last 8 kms, inquisitive of my identity and my journey.
I told them my plan and their jaws fell on the floor.

Once they regained composure, I told them that I was embarking on this journey alone, and yet again their jaws hit the floor, albeit a bit harder.

After a quick smoke, and good wishes later, I restarted, bidding them goodbye and advising them to wear a helmet all the time. I did not have time or the intention of describing how ATGATT worked but as a responsible biker, I asked them to wear a helmet at the least.

On the Kona Expressway, the fog seemed to lift. I rode out into the still coldness of the dawn and the sky was getting the first hues of orange.
As I turned right onto the NH2 connecting Durgapur, the traffic seemed to thicken a bit, and construction works became prevalent.
Road widening should be done in a more systematic manner if you ask me, as it inconveniences road users beyond known perils.

Anyhow, I picked up speed and was covering good ground till the entrance of Durgapur Expressway, when out of nowhere, the fog came down like a demon and started blinding me and the road ahead alongwith it. Speed was reduced to half and then to a quarter. I was barely able to see anything. Visibility was down to less than 20 metres, and the truckers were whooshing past with no mercy whatsoever.
With no intention of being roadkill, I kept to the extreme left with the indicator on and the headlight on high beam. Honking became a necessary evil, piercing through the darkness that lay ahead.

A few kilometres ahead, I could see a group of indicators on the left of the road and a very well known burble. As I proceeded in that direction I could see some bikes parked on the left and some shadowy figures, presumably bikers.

As I approached them, I could clearly see the silhouettes of about ten Harley’s, the riders with the half helmets and skeleton printed balaclavas, waiting for the fog to clear out. I smiled inside my helmet, and gave them a thumbs up. They probably expected me to stop but I was already late and progress was painfully slow, so I soldiered on.

I reached Hindustan Hotel, a common hangout on this highway and started searching for a place to park. It was impossible to ride like this. In the last 3 hours, I had just covered 60 kilometres and there was no way I could progress any further.

I stopped at a petrol bunk, which was still not open for business.
Got off the saddle and took a look around.

This is what it looked like.

I waited for the sun to show but that seemed really unlikely.

With those conditions it was absolutely suicidal to ride.
Called up my parents to inform them that I was stuck 60 Kms away from them, and they were shocked to hear that. They had expected me to clear more than 200 kms by then. Yeah, right!
Waited for almost half an hour and resumed riding.
Thankfully this time the fog actually started to clear out, and I could get up to speed quickly.

Reached Shaktigarh in no time, and had a quick breakfast.

The sun was shining bright and leading the way. The road till Dhanbad I knew well, as I had covered this stretch earlier by road.

There was a little bit of traffic at Panagarh which I weaved through and reached Rajbandh.

A quick Quip about this place:
Most part of my childhood and my formative years has been here.
My father was posted at the terminal as The Senior Terminal Manager, by virtue of which everyone in the terminal starting from the watchman to the tankerwallahs knew us really well.
I remember climbing the ATF tank number 14 with my brother, which was the highest tank in the terminal. The safety areas of the terminal had long elephant grass and my brother and me were really young. How we loved to get lost in the grass, so many great memories of this place!

A commemorative photograph of the Terminal gate.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_007.jpg

Cleared off Rajbandh and then came Durpagur.
This is the place where I was born, Instead of going straight on the highway towards Varanasi, I took a slight detour and went towards my first school, St. Michaels’. Its been almost 20 years I had seen that place, and it became clear that a lot of things had changed. The school if my memory serves right, did not look anymore like it did 20 years ago. The soccer and cricket grounds were almost non-existent and the school building had apparently changed color, a lot of times. Now it wore a shade of light green. Last I remember it was a touch of Pink with Dark Maroon highlights on the windowsills. Did not loiter around for a long time as I was way beyond schedule and I had to make up a lot of ground.
I took out my camera to take a picture of the school and the watchman came running preventing me from taking a photograph. Apparently some dignitary was visiting the school that day, and it was on high alert. Indeed a lot had changed. I moved on unwilling to spark a quarrel.

Headed back to the highway and continued towards Asansol.
The sun was shining brightly and the skies were a clear blue.
Passed this half dried up river, which I presumed to be one of the downstream distributaries of the Damodar and stopped on the bridge to take a quick photograph.

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After crossing Asansol at around 10:00 a.m, I did a quick calculation of the race against time.
I had covered about 200 kms in four and half hours, and that did not seem to bad considering I was stuck up in the fog for more than an hour.
Stopped for a quick chai-sutta break and called up my parents to know that I had crossed Asansol. Relieved, my dad asked me if I was having any problems. I answered in the negative & in a rather joyous tone.
Also sent a quick watsapp to my brother, and also to a special someone.
About this special someone, I can’t really make a lot of mention, due to some restrictions on social media sites and also due to some other personal complications. You see I have no intention of changing my relationship status to “Its complicated.” But I will definitely like to mention this that a lot of this trip would not have been possible without her. I would like to thank her for getting me those saddlebags at the beginning of the trip and also being by my side at my worst hour.

I resumed my journey and by half past one, I had crossed Dumri. The NH2 opened up after crossing Jharkhand/Bihar, and I had covered good ground.

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Speeds of 100 Kph was maintained throughout, but anything more than that was slightly dangerous due to unruly traffic in this part of our country. You can find anything from cattle to loitering children on the roads here. I also spotted a man taking a leak in the middle of the road. Dhoti to one side, he went about his business as if no one watched. He was drunk, I presumed.

The first fuel stop was at this place and Bumblebee had just hit reserve after covering 333 Kms.
I pulled over at the first IOCL Petrol bunk and asked the attendant to top it up. This was the most unruly petrol bunk I had ever encountered in my life and also throughout this whole trip.

The first Jugaad as is commonly known around here made its first appearance at the petrol bunk. Upon close scrutiny you will be able to fathom that this had the chassis of a rickshaw, handlebars from a UG2 Pulsar, with the indicators and all controls et al, and the engine from a splendor. This contraption is a far cry from the civilized world. This is not a world of VIN numbers, chassis details and engine numbers. Oh Hell No! This used to be a common working man’s bike which was very conveniently stolen from his house one fine morning. The rest of the parts would also have a very similar story to tell.

The “I don’t know what to call it” was crammed with people and a lot of vegetable baskets. This blocked my way at a weird angle and I could neither go ahead nor back up. The driver was relentlessly hurling abuses at the attendant saying that he was there first and it was his birthright to get fuel before I do. I gave in and asked him to give it to him first.

He filled for 10 Rupees. I do not know what kind of mileage these things have but I am guessing that its quite a lot, since it runs off a splendor engine. But I also knew that it would not last beyond 10 or so kms at max. I guess that’s how they operate around here. When I finally reached upto the attendant, the general set of questions needed answering, where I was coming from and what not, and I patiently answered all of it.

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In 10 minutes I was ready to roll again and so I did.
The roads were blissful and these stretches of the roads were all concrete.

I reached and crossed Barhi in an hour from Dumri, a distance of 85 kms.
I was happy with the progress I was making.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_011.jpg

The roads started to get a little twisty here and a couple of over enthusiastic drivers, one in a Maruti Omni and another in an Alto tried to take me on in a fair natured highway triad. I did not give in for the first couple of times, but it started getting on my nerves when they were blocking my way at the corners. The straights they were belting at about 100 kays whereas they were slowing right down at the corners. This did not go down well with me.

At the next corner, a slightly tight right hander, I had the inside line.
The omni had already taken the corner and was about a couple of hundred metres ahead, and the Alto was undertaking its slow maneuver at the corner.

I shifted down a couple of gears and Bumblebee roared like a hungry jungle cat on the prowl.

Redlined the 3rd gear, hit the rev limiter. 101 Kmph.
Redlined the 4th gear, 118 Kmph. Quickly shifted to 5th and redlined again at 133 Kph.

The alto had been long overtaken and I was with the Omni, and a banking left hander was coming up in about 500 metres. I changed lanes, took the outside on the extreme left, and gunned past the Omni at a 136 Kmph, with a gear to spare. The rev limiter was hitting hard.
1:1 Overdrive from there and I shot off like a bullet, to hit a consistent 147 Kmph for the next 5 or so kilometres. And then I stopped to take a look around.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_012.jpg

In all this excitement I had forgotten to notice that the sky had slightly started to darken.
The sun was playing hide and seek, and as I was going west, I knew I would get more daylight, but by 4’o Clock it was as though evening had fallen.
As I crossed another small stream, the clouds looked beautiful. I stopped to take a picture.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_013.jpg

The roads were empty, and there was no one in sight for mile after mile.
The concrete surface was smooth but was not good for the tyres. I was running at 18000 kms and with all concrete I had at best another 4000 kms to go before the tyre went bald. However there were more immediate things at hand.
The view of the road was breathtaking. I stopped and lit up a smoke.
The clouds had started to gather and I knew that I would not get a sunset photograph that day.
So I clicked a couple of photographs which I knew might as well be the last photographs from the camera for that day.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_014.jpg

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_015.jpg

At Barachatti, all hell broke loose.
It was 4:30 and I had another 250 Kms to go for the day. On a normal day with good weather conditions this would at best be 3 hours or a bit more at maximum, but this was not a normal day. This was the first day of my trip throughout India on uncharted roads. With a defeaning roar from the heavens and a white streak of lighting in the fields some distance away from me, began the most blinding downpour that I had ever encountered. The roads became wet and doing anything more than 70 was not going to happen. Visibility was at best 30 metres and I was thankful to God that I was not on a dual carriageway.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_017.jpg

I could not plough on ahead like that. I had to stop. At 4:50 p.m. I found a small dhaba and stopped there.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_016.jpg

They were happy and amicable people.
I took of my helmet, jacket and all of my riding gear which was soaking wet by the time and made myself comfortable on a khatiya. For those of you who don’t know what a khatiya is, a quick google search will do wonders!

As the tea was getting ready, I called up my parent to let them know that here was “slight drizzle” encountered en route. I also had to tell them that I had just over a 100 Kms to cover when the actual figure was twice that.

As the clock struck 5:15 p.m. I geared up again.
Energized by the hot tea, and a bar of snickers, I headed for Dehri on Sone.
I knew very well that I would not be able to take pictures of that place, even though it would make for the best photos of the day. iPhone Zindabad!

At 5:45 p.m. I reached Dehri on Sone.
This is a long bridge that also serves as the border crossing between the 2 states.
All the view I could get was somewhat like this.

Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul-day4_018.jpg

In the first photograph of the above collage you can see a broken plank towards the bottom left corner. That incidentally happened right as I stopped to take a photograph. That was probably an indication from the Gods above that this was not the best time or place to stop for a photograph. With just one photograph of Dehri on Sone, I soldiered on. The roads at any border crossing is very bad in my experience but this was on a different level altogether.
The potholes were the size of craters on the moon and some potholes were so big that it could swallow me and bumble whole and spit us out the other side. Progress was painfully slow.

The incessant rain was starting to get on my nerves, and I decided to take another stop. It was 6:30 p.m. when I stopped at a dhaba, adjacent to a fuel bunk.
I quickly checked the fuel level.
5 bars remaining.
I was easily good to reach my destination for the night.
So I ordered for cup of tea and called my parents.

Another 50 kms to go I told them. When asked about the location I was at, I told them I was having tea at Mohania and would leave in 15 minutes. There was no bluffing my father, as he had been posted there for 4 years. He knew Bihar and Jharkhand like the back of his hand. My father told me that the roads there are really bad and I should be very careful. I promised him that I would tread carefully.

I knew I had no time to waste.
With the rain pouring down, like Tigers (still a cat) and St Bernards’ (sorry, that’s the biggest dog I know of) I rode into the night. The Doors rang in my ears. Being a pianist, Riders on The Storm is one of the first songs that I played on-stage. That however gave me no consolation as it was already 7’o clock and I had another 120 kms to reach.

I was booked in at the Banaras Hindu University guest house, which was some distance out of Varanasi. If that was the case, then I had an extra 15-20 kms of ground to cover.
The roads were horrible and the traffic became hopelessly heavy. At quarter past 8, I reached Mohania.

The rains had subsided.
However the roads had become all mucky and the highway was no more the ribbon of asphalt that I could see in the morning hours.

After an hour or so, the famous Varanasi Bridge came into sight. The Ganges here is so long that the bridge spans across for almost 3 kms.
To reach BHU, I had to take a right from the main highway.

However, I wasn’t so sure of the approach to one of the most highly regarded educational institutions in the world leave alone the country. There was no street light and the road was practically non existent. The road was makeshift and was constructed out of bricks and stone chips.
With rain on top of it, that was a recipe for disaster from the word go. Bumblebee was skipping around like crazy and the sharp stones weren’t helping the soft compound Pirellis either. The last thing I wanted there was a puncture. By Almighty’s grace I could start to see the huge boundary wall of the BHU. Just to reconfirm, I asked a guy on a cycle if that was it. He gave me a knowing affirmative nod.
I felt awake.

Carefully maneuvering bumblebee around with my soaked luggage on it, I headed towards the West Gate. The roads were horrid, and that is an understatement. Almost at the gate, I picked up a little speed. That was a disaster. What seemed like a somewhat leveled cobbled street, was actually an army of mega potholes. The bike nosedived into a pothole and I kid you not, I was into the water till the knee. I thing bumblebee had suddenly transformed into a hovercraft, the saddlebags on either side acting as floatation devices. Some of the passers by came to help me out of that mess. In all the confusion, the engine had stalled. I had no intention of starting the bike half submerged in water and pulled him out. Water gushed out of everywhere. I feared a short circuit somewhere.
Calmed myself down and thumbed the started. Bumblebee came to life at once, putting a smile across my face. Patted him across the tank and headed toward West Gate. Good Boy!

Now to find the guesthouse in the 15 sq. kilometer campus.

I found a small shop inside the campus, which was still open and was serving hot tea and samosas. That felt like heaven.

Upon completion of the meal, I asked him for directions and he was kind enough to show me to the guesthouse which was just down the road.

I reached the guesthouse.

Unpacked the luggage on the bike and asked for someone to help me with it.

The receptionist asked me to leave it there and he would send someone to my room with the luggage.

The rooms were decently appointed and the linen was fresh. Worth the 750 rupees per night, I thought to myself.

I was slightly apprehensive of lighting up a smoke inside the room though, however that thought gave away to elation as I found an ashtray tucked away neatly in one of the drawers.

A happy bellboy brought my luggage in along with the sign in register.

I ordered some food and I must say the service was mighty quick.
Eight chapattis, 2 bowls of sabji, 2 bowls of dal, and 2 double omelets later, I came back to life.

Asked if they had an extra room heater, the bellboy came back running with 2 of those.

I turned on both of those in the washroom, which was actually bigger than the room itself, and put out the bungee cords to hang the clothes to dry out.

My leather alpine star gloves were the first things that required to be dried, because they start to smell at the very contact with rain.

Once everything was put out to dry, I hit the sack.

I surrendered to sweet slumber at precisely 11:47 p.m. after making the quick entries in my daily journal.
This was going to a night of peaceful sleep.


Lots of Love

Last edited by preetam_KORG : 20th May 2014 at 01:01. Reason: Typos. Added a couple of links.
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Old 20th May 2014, 05:09   #130
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Thank God, you brought this thread back to life again. Most of us have been waiting for this for a long time. I am enjoying every bit of this Epic journey. Rated 5***.

I am sure most of us will become emotional (you already made me), when we read that part which you have dedicated to your parents. Hatsoff to your parents. Please convey my wishes and respects to them.
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Old 20th May 2014, 12:08   #131
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Smile Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

And you are back.
Good to see you brother. As always, amazing journey, amazing write up.
When can we expect the next installment?
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Old 20th May 2014, 12:36   #132
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Finally here it is I was wondering whether I will be able to read the rest of your tlog or not but you have come back and penned it down.

Thanks mate for this wonderful narration and love your dad man for the support he gives you. Also good to hear he is also a motor enthusiast
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Old 20th May 2014, 13:36   #133
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Nice to see the travelogue back to life !!
Good progress made for the day. Riding in rains is definitely painful. May be you should have stopped with the HOG instead of riding with dangerous truckers in 20mts visibility.

Bring on the next day soon, else if you get stuck with work again, we all will be dead waiting.
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Old 20th May 2014, 18:34   #134
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Aah Preetam, you are finally back. Good to read rest of the travelogue. Hope to read rest of it soon.
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:07   #135
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Default Re: Discovering India : 8407 Kms | 15 Days | 15 States | 2 Wheels | 1 Bike | 1 Soul

Preetham, you are back again !!! The wait was getting painfully longer like the summer here and this update is like a welcome shower. Hope the updates rain like Tigers and St. Bernards like you mentioned in the coming days.
Even though it has been a long time, but once I started reading into a couple of lines everything was back and there was no need to look back at the first 3 days of the journey.
Keep them coming !!
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