Saturday, March 04, 2000

There is something about the road....

written by my juniors. Credits @ the end.

There is something about the road....

“into the sunset we ride
the road long and wide
the dark sky beckons on, the dust is our destiny…”
- - Rahul.

There is something about the road. Much has been written about it. It has been glorified, romanticised in poem, film, song, philosophy and legend. About how it is symbolises life, primarily. About how we must walk (or ride!) the long road, how we can not stay, how we must traverse every stony stretch, negotiate every tricky turn and precipice. Yeah, yeah. Beside all that soft headed jazz, its also bloody good fun.

Rahul, Ranjeev, Raman and Sidhu set out for what was perhaps considered the dumbest idea ever that a graduating batch had thought up. Riding back all the way from XL to New Delhi, a total of about 1300 kms on motorcycles. Raman and Ranjeev on Raman’s Hero Honda Splendour, Rahul and Sidhu on Sidhu's Enfield 350 Machismo aka Dhanno.

This included around 450 kms through some of the most notorious areas of Bihar, like Hazaribagh district, where one could get robbed on the highway in broad daylight. Well, about the toughest part was trying to keep from crying out loud, every time we ran over one of the million potholes dotting the entire length of a lame excuse for a National Highway (the G.T.) that Bihar has to offer. There were times when we actually drove through the fields in search of roads!!!

The first night at Dehri on Sone saw four dusty, weary, yet pleased as punch riders check into a seedy hotel. The bathing water was ice cold but the food was hot and the bedding adequate. On the road, you don’t choose your luxuries; you count your blessings. The rest was easy. Benares, with a halt at the ghats and the singing Hare Rama, Hare Krishna crowd, Allahabad and a halt at Fatehpur town. Not to be mistaken with Fatehpur Sikri. Again, a well-deserved rest at 100 bucks-a-night joint, which had multi coloured windows.

The next morning was perhaps the highlight. Instead of going through the NH we took a detour and what followed was a breathtaking stretch of country road through rural Kanpur. Fields of mustard in full bloom for miles, horse carts , ancient looking wells and small villages. The smell of a winter morning and a sense of eternal bliss in the cold, crisp air. The saddlebags strapped tight, the weathered leather jacket braving the morning dew and the 4-stroke bike engine chugging away tirelessly. This was God’s own country and God’s own time and everything worked perfectly.

The third night at Agra saw us pulling into a bright, well-lit city, decorated for some sort of tourist fest. This time, we had more time on our hands and hot water. Even a TV that sort of worked. We were up very early again. The only time to see the Taj Mahal in all its marble glory is at the break of dawn. Later, back at the hotel after tea and a quick shave we did the final stretch.

Agra to Delhi is perhaps one of the best roads in India. Black, smooth tarmac, multiple lanes, the works. We were on full throttle here, doing about 95 to just below 100 and we couldn’t get any faster. 3 hours later, we hit Delhi with its stream of traffic and a sea of humanity in our faces. We had reached our destination. Well…at least for now.

We don’t know whether our journey heralded a new beginning in our lives or an end to the ones we had left behind at XL. We don’t know if it encouraged future riders in its wake or was a swan song of the Bl@x. Either way, it was time to give the old riding gloves a rest.

IR 2000


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