Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Motorcycle Diaries ?

What is this life if full of care, If we don’t have time to stand and stare,
For trips like these to Pondy, are oh, so very rare,
With 3 bikes and a scooty, one didn’t know whom to pair,
Until I tried the wheelie, raring others to dare !

We knew not what may befall,
Nor how may the trip stall,
But we knew that we had the gall,
To face anything but the ‘dreaded’ parents’ call !

Woken up at five in the morning,
I wished my cell-phone wouldn’t ring,
For I knew the trip ahead was gonna be tiring,
But who cares, it was very well satisfying !

The above poem, was in short, a description of a memorable trip to Pondicherry ( or should I say, Puducherry ? Never mind, I’m the author, and I have the rights to use what I want  ). But the painful chap that I am, I’ve never left things to be as short as they could be, and following the same rule of thumb, I shall delve deeper into the ‘trip’ that was.

But allow me to put a little bit fart/fact before that..Why ? Coz I am writing this and well, I wanted to put it down.

Shaastra – An ISO certified technical festival, planned and organized over 6 months of hard work, by the students of IIT Madras, valued at upwards of Rs. 1 crore !

Pondy Trip – An idea which struck someone for a vague reason, who thereby put Pressure to initiate things; was “organized” within a span of about 50 hrs, by the students of IIT Madras; Priceless in value ! (Well actually, the total expenditure is not yet summed up :P )

It all started when I received an sms saying “ Are you in for Pondy tomorrow morning ? “, while I was busy trying to get a dribbler in shape using polyurethane, which was rigid-ized using liquid Nitrogen ! From there onwards, the things moving in my head were all about how we would go, when do we start and come back, do we have enough Plan B’s to ensure that we go and come back safely,etc.

The night was spent in scouring for enough bikes so that the trip could actually proceed well but all the while I had this premonition that something was bound to go wrong. Not that I’m a pessimist, but my premonitions have never been wrong so far, be it exam results or Rahul Dravid’s innings..I was given a rude shock when someone told me that we have to start at 5 in the morning ! This was actually terrifying coz it would be freaking cold at that time, and it was just 9 hrs before 5am next day, that I was informed about this. I knew then and there, that my sleep was gonna be ruined. And needless to say, I crashed at 2:00 ( and so did more than half the ‘trippers’, if I could call them ).

My premonition’s first part came true as soon as I woke up.. a ‘confirmed’ bike was not the case now! What do we do : Go to an IIT alumnus’ place who’s willing to rent us his TVS Victor at 8 in the morning ( oh, our plans got derailed is another part of the premonition, but trivial compared to the others). The bike did give me the heeby-jeebies for I was certain that something wrong is gonna happen with this bike, which was proved to be true later in the day.

And so, our trio on two bikes reach the insti, where we realize our other trippers are done with their breakfast, while we were left to start off the trip on a hungry note ! What’s worse, they had even rummaged into our backpacks which we had entrusted in their care ( which I got to know just a few hours before typing this down !) A pity, that I never thought about it, but luckily, there weren’t any embarrassing stuff inside, so no problem..We finally started off at around 9, along the ECR ( East Coast Road, in short), which is a marvellous stretch of highway to ride/drive on. An unexpected stop at an Ostrich farm owned by the uncle of one of our fellow trippers also provided the necessary break in the morning to gear up for the events to follow. A pity for the ostriches, that they weren’t allowed to eat choco-biscuits..Sad life, seriously ! But I wouldn’t mind as I was hungry, and w.r.t. biscuits, the more the merrier.

While starting off, our ‘Bike+Sunscreen-Fundaes-Man’ asks us to use generous amounts of sunscreen lotion, which as per his demonstration seemed like ‘Shampoo-ing’ our arms or any other part of our body visible to the sun. Now, who was to know that our Victor had encountered a tyre burst amidst all the action and off we went to the nearest mechanic shop, a good 1.5 km away from the farm. Here, we split up into two sets of two pairs ; one set, went on driving as though there was no end and ended up soon in the beautiful place that is Mahabs..and the other, as expected, was doomed to find shade near the mechanic shop ! After putting enough tam fundaes, the bike was ready to explore the roads, although with one catch : It had quantum speed-shifts, moving at either 0,40 or 80kmph ! Wow, a motorcyclist’s work was never so easy ! As we went further, we realized that the brakes too were dysfunctional ...My, oh my, were we even gonna make it to Pondy ?

Now, all fixed and done, we start off where we suddenly face the “Who shall ride the motorcycle(s) and scooty problem ? “ coz the person riding the scooty had mixed ‘Emotions’ on whether to continue or not. Here comes my ‘pivotal’ role into the picture...I start the bike,{ after having been a pillion rider for a while now, to help out the ‘pressur(e)-ised’ guy with Tam fundaes in mechanic shops } and put a wheelie for 0.3 seconds and the rest,..well I don’t remember what followed ..I mean my memory auto-erased the boring part of the story and asked me to continue forward. I realized then that one man’s stunt, is another man’s ‘Poison’ ( :-P, I know I’m trying to convert my stupid act into a brave heroic, but then, I’m the author :P ) and I was condemned to driving the Scooty ! Ah, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me, as my pillion rider then pained me enough to let me get off and take the back seat and enjoy the beautiful scenery around, instead of tiring my hands  So somehow, we finally reached Pondy, and what better than doing a bit of peit-pooja, after all we needed a bit of food for thought to grasp the pretty vague and winding directions provided to us by the locals, with their accent being an eclectic mix of Tam coupled with the soft Francais ! Oui, ze languaze waz a beet of a problaim ..Lunch was more or less decent, where the highlight, if I could call it, was a fork-fight for French-fries where the person who actually had it in the end, never did enjoy the last laugh.

Freshened up, and raring to go, we wanted to see the Paradise we had dreamt of, but alas, it turned out to be an island and we missed the last ferry, by a few minutes ! Damn, starting off late was now showing its effects but since we had decided to have fun, there was the Sand beach which enticed us through a winding route. So finally, we were on the beach where TP was the theme of those couple of hours; being it zipping close one of the Event C(h)ores of Shaastra and enjoying the sadistic pleasure of him trying to come out of it like a caterpillar out of its cocoon or be it collecting sea-shells of different kinds or be it making a castle out of the sand ( which was really soft, cant deny admiring it) and attempting to break it down, but only being scared away by the law-suit for attempt to destroy property ( read : being hit by sand-balls, which crumbled halfway through their motion and thereby dirtying your already wet jeans !) or trying to figure out a route to this Paradise, only to be kicked out by the coast-guard when you had wet your pants already ( erm, the last part refers to just 2 members of the group, and I was certainly not one of them, for those who had raised eyebrows !! ) or be it just relaxing yourselves at the beach, with the waves kissing your feet tempting you to go deeper..Once again, time was a limiting factor here, and we had to bid adieu to this wonderful beach, but now, things just don’t move as smoothly as you think, do they ? We lost a key to one of the bikes, but then as they say, when one door closes, another opens ! Luckily, the Victor’s fuel tank key opened up the Yamaha, whose key was lost and we were saved the pains of pushing the bike till the main road ! We echoed together, “Everything happens for the good ! “

And then, began our final sojourn to our home that is insti. And if there’s any word which would describe this drive, it would be ‘COLD’ ! I was lucky driving the Scooty as it wouldn’t be allowed to rev up above 50kmph, thanks to its owner’s instructions, but then again, it was a trade-off for the time taken to come back. In between, I got a call from my mom, and luckily this happened when we had all stopped by a tea-shop, thus giving me time to think and convince her about my ‘safe’ journey..From here started my 100km ride, with just 1 pit-stop in between ( thanks to the cold, which was increasing with the passage of time and my pillion rider, dozing off every second minute ! ) while others, thanks to their bikes’ speeds, were having cold feet much before I did (pun intended :P ), and had to make several more stops. Finally, after making it to insti, and faking an arbit address to the security section, we had reached! The trip was worth it after all, despite the niggles and pains, felt on the return journey. But then, as I would put it “ Pains last for a day; the memories, a lifetime ! “

A few pointers to be noted from the trip ( a habit I picked up after getting pained while going to Big Bazaar and their likes, for what NOT to do and save time, and head back home at the earliest rather than waste time looking out for things which have offers, but are of no fruitful use to the family !) :

1. Spontaneity is the essence of anything related to fun, but it’s always better to plan a bit in advance. It’s ironic, that I never follow this well, but then, I know I’m a hypocrite :)
2. Coconut-water is never sweet all the time..there do exist ones which taste salty, and this is NOT coz of their proximity to the sea ( as explained by one of our trippers, who hails from God’s own land..Ironymax, I know ! )
3. Carry sunscreen ( thanks to our FSAE man for that :P ) and carry a good enough cam, after all “Pictures do speak a thousand words” and you wouldn’t want to have very few memories of such memorable trips, would you ?
4. Don’t lose hope ! I know that “ Jab kismat hai gandu, toh kya karega Pandu ? “ (thanks to Shiny for that quote !), but still Hope does set us free !
5. Do not attempt to start off in top-gear when you haven’t touched a bike for as long as 4 yrs ! You could end up doing a wheelie, and be proud of it, but an afterthought would tell you that you were lucky enough to escape unhurt !
6. Carry a set of trousers and wind-cheaters/full shirts if you feel you might return in the night; if possible, even gloves. This ‘cold’ experience was sure enough an eye opener..
7. Last, but not the least, enjoy the scenic beauty during the trip..Let your beautiful memories not be a blur, especially when the starry sky , the ‘yellow’ moon and its reflection on the rivers passing by are a delight to watch ! ( It also explains the first line of the poem, but the fact that it’s one of my favourite poetic lines could also be a factor for its inclusion :) )

I’ll stop here, I guess, as “Too much gyaan, spoils the blog ! “


cl said...

Ah! Why didn't you mention the skidding on the sand part? :O It'll make things clearer for readers you know :P

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

Well, an author's work is appreciated on how well he reveals and conceals things ..after all, this is what is creative license :) And that's why there exists a comments section, thereby enabling the readers to spill the beans at their own free will :) and it also gives me, the blogger, to accept or refuse the comment :P

cl said...

Dear readers, its me The Critic.

I'm a gravy hanger,
is a shady writer.
Now, I don't want to be the cribber
But, he shouldn't get 'The Blogger'

Just be a little careful
Coz info here is unreliable.
Here I'm to your rescue,
He did a wheelie
And a skid beside beach Sandy

Any other query,
I would be more than happy to clear
He's ok types at driving
(better than me at rhyming)
but there's always lil' room for improving
and double that for leg pulling !

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

ah, I see my malinformed critic is heading towards trouble by going on the highway to hell by tickling the sleeping dragon, against the Hogwarts motto :-) Fine,my next victim is identified :P

cl said...

I'm so scared.
Hope the dragon knows how to control dragon fire unlike the other ill-fated motor vehicles!

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

@ Cl : Be afraid, be very afraid ! The dragon knows not only to control, but even how-to-wipe-out-any-organism-which-dares-to-disturb-his-slumber :-P

as for the motor-vehicle, it was's never gonna get a chance to do a wheelie again, something like "Ganguly never got a chance to bear his chest and swing his jersey at Lords again " :-)

Leela said...

I still don't get what was wrong with the salt fundaes. And btw, it was coconut water, not coconut milk that we had. :P
And pahleez! You did not do that for selfless reasons. You had the most scaredy cat expressions while driving. :P
On second thought, I wish I could have witnessed your attempt at 'wheelie'. Do it again, sometime, alright?

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

@ Leela : You didn't even see my wheelie, how would you see my epressions ? I, for one, don't maintain my expressions for a long enough your theory is worng :) Salt fundaes are wrong coz then every coconut near the shore should be salty, all over India which is not the case ( I've not been all over India, but my experience in Mum, Che, Goa, Mangalore is extrapolatable enough, I guess :P )

As far as doing the wheelie again, I've only this for you : Golden Jubilee events happen only once in 50 yrs :-)

jimmy said...

1. Reminded me of my cycle expedition to Mahabs. A similar story, though with reduced speeds and ofcourse distance.
2. Ostrich Farm! Remember the Scrubs episode with Ostriches?
3. Who are all the trippers? Shampoo, Pressure, u? What an odd combination?
4. I seriously want to know the details of how you could convince your parents about your 'safe' journey
5. Amazing piece of writing. How could they fire you as you know what? :P
6. Kismat hai Gaandu, Kya Karega Pandu, is in short, sweetly called KGP. A sort of standard abbreviation that needs publicity like TNR :)

jimmy said...

And yes, completely forgot abt this. You drove a SCOOTY! Grow up.

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