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|10th July 2013, 02:06||#91|
Join Date: Oct 2007
Thanked: 242 Times
Re: Enfield Bullets, Friends and an adventure in Leh!
I need to correct a factual error before I go any further!!! The twins (Jitin) was riding Ashwin's bike down from Tanglang la when it's brakes exploded.
So this was the first time the rear brakes exploded on the twins ride on day 10!
|11th July 2013, 19:33||#92|
Join Date: Oct 2007
Thanked: 242 Times
Re: Enfield Bullets, Friends and an adventure in Leh!
It's oddly poetic, that the final installment to this narrative is completed exactly 3 years (to the day) from when this trip began. We rode out of Delhi on the 11th of July 2010; today is the 11th of July 2013...
Go figure huh!!!
We get up, brush and wash our faces with bottled water (there was no hand pump visible or available) have ourselves a cuppa, which leads to some of us having some private time in the fields…
get home to Delhi…
Errrr… nope. Not quite.
You see, Pathankot was still about a 100 kms and some away. Then Delhi was another 480+ kms away – which meant we were hoping to cannon ball a 600 odd km ride in a single day – AFTER having done almost 2500 over some decidedly challenging terrain, having faced some *ahem* difficult situations and with most of our bikes showing the stupendous strain of the past 11 days.
And that’s not even beginning to mention that all of us were hurting in places hitherto unknown to our respective selves, sleep deprived (and how) and more than a little cranky – for lack of a better word with the world (and each other.) And then of course, Digvijay had these ruddy forms to upload to the internet, since today was his last day to do so – which meant we needed to get to an internet café. Any internet café…
Why in God’s name he didn’t do it before the trip commenced is a question we are all still waiting to be answered. *Sheesh*
Anyhow, we rode out early; about 5:45 am if memory serves me correctly because we were attempting the said cannon ball run to Delhi. The scenery needless to say had already turned a lot less exotic from what we had been used to over the past 10 days, which added to the tedium of the ride itself. We pulled into a dhaba at about 9 am, well past Pathankot by this time, to eat pucca Punjab de praanthe, slathered with butter and with extra butter placed on the table as well. This was washed down with freshly churned lassi and a conversation I had with the dhaba owner sticks out in my mind.
Translated below, though the Punjabi was a lot more flavourful…
Dhaba owner (D.O): Where are you guys coming from?
Me: Nope, we were on our way down from Leh.
Looooong pregnant silence.
D.O: You rode these bikes from Leh?
Me: Actually from Delhi…
D.O: *insert appropriate string of Punjabi cuss words*
D.O: Why the hell didn’t you fly? *Cuss words referring to mothers and sisters in quick succession* You look like you could afford it.
Me: Errrr…this is more fun?
D.O. (completely ignoring my feeble answer) Or at least drive in a car! It’d be a lot more comfortable. *insert string of Punjabi cuss words* while muttering. “Fun he says...”
I can tell you safely, I agreed with him completely and whole heartedly at this point!
Sated and heavy, we set off again, this time keeping our eyes pealed for any signs of a ruddy internet café. About an hour after that, as we rolled through yet another dusty (but wet) Punjab town, we found one. A small, poky little place with space for maybe 3 people at best inside it. And with a dial up modem to boot!!
So while Digvijay did his thing, the rest of us stretched out as best as we could.
I’d worked out a way of being able to lie down on the bike, without having to unload anything… It involved using the loaded stuff as a headrest, scooching my butt onto the end of the petrol tank (taking care not to scratch the paint) and then crossing the legs one over the other, as they were laid flat along the length of the tank and the headlights of the bike, having your feet dangle out over at the end.
Surprisingly comfortable too.
Of course, this would be with the motorcycle perched on it’s centre stand, being on a side stand might not work quite that well!
So the man comes out beaming and we all sigh with relief (we can now concentrate on getting home!) till he says (still bloody well beaming) I need to log in and complete another part in an hour and a half.
By God, if murder wasn’t illegal in our country, Digvijay would have been lynched in 8 micro seconds right then and there…
We ride again. The rains come and go sporadically meaning we alternate between riding with soaking wet crotches or uncomfortably damp crotches.
It’s a fact.
On a motorcycle, any motorcycle, no matter how well insulated you are from the elements, water will always find it’s way into your junk. It’s one of the remaining mysteries of life and the best minds in the world are yet to answer how that is even possible…
I bring it up only because an hour and a half later, we had a lot of time to ponder this mystery while we waited for Digvijay’s infernal form to be uploaded. Did I forget to mention? Since it was raining (and the reason our collective junkyards were sopping wet) something that is endemic to even our modern metropolitan cities, had occurred in this little one horse town in Punjab too. The electricity had been cut which meant that the internet was also down! Since there was no guarantee that we would find another kiosk and the assurances that the electricity “would be right back” we spent two and a half hours wondering at the various ways we could strangle Digvijay, so that it might pass for a mere accident…
He survived – which is more than can be said for the rest of us. We finally hit the road with another 400 kms to go, well past lunchtime. Since we were riding in the plains, we figured we could knock this off in about 9 hours of hard riding, most of it on pretty good highways. Ambala onwards the roads are spiffy and Delhi is easily do-able in about 4 hours, in our current states. The only worry being that we’d be riding a big chunk of it at night. Not the ideal situation at the best of times.
That is of course, not counting for the twins to have another breakdown about 40 kms short of Ambala!
In the rain.
In the most God awfully dark stretch of the highway they could possibly find.
Two bikes go scurrying to look for a mechanic in the innards of a dead as a dodo Ambala town. When we gleefully hunt one down to his home, he nonchalantly informs us that he works on RD 350’s only. *Hah* No amount of cajoling and coaxing could get him to shift his behind out of his house…
Then another mechanic is found, collared and escorted back to the stranded twins, with the promise of handsome reward or a swift kick in the pants – the choice being his!
After all of that, we of course couldn’t find the ruddy twins.
If you recollect, they had chosen to find the darkest patch of highway in the entire world to break down in, which is why we didn’t have a clue where they were. Many phone calls to and fro, and after much colourful swearing, we re-group. The mechanic sets to it and does his magic with the gearbox. Takes the bike for a spin, declares it road worthy *HAHAHAHAHA* and pockets his healthy remuneration, as he roars away into the distance.
Coming up to 1 am now and decisions needed to be made. Ashwin had to be at work 10 am next morning, come what may, which kind of ruled out our stopping for the night. Introducing some steel in our souls, we decide to ride on, after a quick pit stop for a bite to eat. None of us did really eat, petrified that we’d all doze off while riding if we ate heavy.
Those of you who’ve stayed up nights will of course be well aware of that cursed hour between 3 am and 4 am? That hour when you just want the world (and it’s actions) to stop, so that you can drop everything you’re doing, sink to the floor and pass out cold? When wave after wave of sleep hits you and no amount of coffee can keep those insistent waves at bay?
And that’s just when you’re having a normal day!
Our day had been far from normal…We’d been in the saddle almost 20 hours, had 450+ kms of riding already done, had not eaten very much after breakfast and were hanging on by the skin of our teeth. I’m not sure about the others, but I at one point, dozed off while riding on the highway. At about 70 kms per hour.
For a split second.
When I came to, I pretty much wet my already wet junk… and promptly pulled into a dhaba. By the time all of us had our bikes on centre stands, we had decided that we would do 20 min naps in the saddle for every one hour of riding. It’s a different matter that at one point we were pulling over pretty much every half an hour or so!!! Dawn broke beautifully as the Panipat’s and Sonepat’s of the world whizzed by in a blur of sleep deprivation and abject pain! We finally came level with the Delhi border at about 7 am, which of course didn’t mean squat, since there was a minimum of another 60 kms of riding to do, before any of us got to our respective homes.
But, it was the home straight!! Pun unintended.
We rode through the border check posts with the familiar bored Delhi police traffic cops manning them, 11 days after we had left the same way. It called for celebration (okay, at least a photograph) which was duly taken. None of us had the energy to so much as take off our helmets, so we just left the damn things on our heads. If pictures could speak, this one would have one helluva story to tell!
We finally parted ways near the ITO building, not far from where we’d first all met up at the beginning of the trip. Jaiveer, the twins and Digvijay peeling off to head to Noida, with a tired wave serving as a final salute to what we had all achieved in these last 11 days. Ashwin and I carried on till the Defence colony flyover, where he took a right to get to South Extension, while I continued on a little further to Greater Kailash and home.
I was later told that Ashwin actually went to work that day – and reached office on time at 10 am too!
This was our trip.
And I’m glad I got to ride with people in whose hands I will willingly put my life in, if need be, (actually on second thoughts….) and remain friends with for the rest of my years.
Well done gentlemen (and ladies!)
Till next time, it’s been an honour and a privilege riding with you Jaiveer Kumar Singh, Ashwin Anand, Digvijay Kanwar, Nitin Gupta, Jitin Gupta, Ramshreyas Rao & Vinuta Gopal (Rao).
Last edited by bIte tHe bulLet : 11th July 2013 at 19:47.
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