Me … A Geek … No way!

Fiction. Travel. Tech.

Travel Tales From Yore

with 8 comments

The sight of the setting sun in the distance, from atop the ruins, made for a mesmerizing spectacle. The grand Vitthala Temple at the end of the road was a domineering overseer, personified. By the time we were back to our steeds, parked in the local market, dusk had given way to a pitch-dark night. A spooky ride to the resort on the outskirts had a unanimous buy-in. And so, the ignition was turned on but the headlights weren’t. The nearly five kilometer stretch of winding roads was covered in a jiffy. And when we reached the resort, it was abuzz with all other bike-nomads pouring in from different parts of India.

The BikeNomads Annual Meet at Hampi was a three day affair that left an indelible mark in my life. My passion for touring on a bike was fueled here. Although it has been years since then, I vividly recall all the friendly banter over the flowing bottomless beer. Doctors, Engineers, retired Defense Officers, Entrepreneurs made for an eclectic group. From amongst the folks I met during this trip, some went on to become very close friends with whom I’ve been on many a bike-tour. However, like one’s first kiss, the Bangalore-Hampi ride remains etched in my mind.

Some trips begin with a common liking or interest amongst those that undertake it, and the bonding continues much beyond that.
The above being a case in point.

There are others, where mutual likeness is discovered in quick time but the bonding may not last as long as one would desire.
Below is a one such anecdote.

I tucked my luggage in the overhead rack. There was an undercurrent of excitement as in a couple of days, I was to be a part of, probably, the longest rat race in life. Having just completed my undergrad I was looking forward to joining the corporate bandwagon. After diligently bidding adieu to family and relatives who had shown up to shower their blessings, I took my seat in the AC Chair Car of the Delhi bound Gomti Express.

Then I saw her!

She was engrossed in a book, or at least that is how it seemed. I craned my neck to catch the title and that is when our eyes met. In an awkward attempt to absolve myself of any sort of privacy invasion, I blurted out a Hi! To my surprise and subdued delight, she reciprocated with an endearing smile. No exaggeration here, but the next seven hours just zoomed past. We talked as if we were bumchums united after years of separation, on topics as varied as one could imagine. I don’t know how but we had connected, divulging our dreams, ambitions and inner-most fears with zero inhibition.

At the Nizamuddin station, we got off the train. I waved her a reluctant good-bye. Standing at the platform, I watched her disappear into the crowd. The moment she was out of sight, I felt a sudden and massive loss. The thought of running up to her and spending more time with her crossed my mind. The fact that we hadn’t even exchanged email-ids or phone numbers, winced me from within. My train to Hyderabad was due in a couple of hours. If not more, I wished I had her company at least until then. But she was gone.

I walked up to the nearest book stall and got myself a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, wishfully hoping to find her somewhere between the pages.

Then there are those chance encounters which, if given a choice, one would have refrained from.
However, in hindsight, recalling them makes for a good laugh.

The sight chilled me to the bones. A SUV was stuck, in what we thought was an aberrational stream in the middle of the road and one which we could maneuver across, just like the many we had in the past week or so. It’s engine roared like an injured beast, about to collapse. Given the state of affair, I was contemplating on the next course of action. It was about to get dark. Retracing to the nearest village, for the night, seemed like the most obvious option.

Golu, as he is fondly called, however had other plans.
We will pitch our tents here! – he declared.

So, a tent was to be pitched in the middle of nothingness. I tried logic. It failed. After all, Golu is a self-proclaimed Jungle Boy. Now that, I consider, is an insult to Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli. However, let me not digress.

That very morning we had ridden across Khardung La – the highest motor-able road in the world and descended into the Nubra Valley. After having spent our day at the Diskit Monastery we were on our way to the Panamik Lake, when this catastrophe struck.

So where exactly were we?
Like I said – in the middle of nowhere!

The vast and barren mighty mountains extended till as long as the eye could see. They belittled my existence and reminded me of my mortality. The strong chilly breeze ensured that we were not able to pitch our tents. I heaved a sigh of relief. But my happiness was short-lived, as Golu had discovered a deserted semi-constructed hutment. Yet again, I tried logic. And yet again, it failed. This hutment was our night dwelling. Although we cooked a scrumptious dinner, the pebbles and stones kept poking me through the sleeping bag and ensured that I had a sleepless night, waking up all groggy next morning. I must, but, confess that the sight of the mammoth mountains and the fresh morning breeze soothed my senses in no time.

During this same road-trip, we had earlier camped on the bank of the Tawi in Ramban, Jammu – courtesy Golu. We had pitched our tents, inadvertently, on the exact spot where the soul leaves the body, embarking on it’s journey to the heavenly adobe – the cremation ground. For all I know, Yamdoot might have visited our tents too but spared us, maybe because Golu was on guard.

Golu, by the way, works for an adventure company and fantasizes about kicking the bucket by way of being devoured by a tiger. A lion would be fine too. I share his love for adventure but by a much diminished degree. Although I never got a chance to be his fellow traveler, hereafter. In the event of such an opportunity(?) taking shape, I would politely decline the proposal.

The bottom-line is that traveling adds new dimensions to one’s personality. Although the stories above aren’t related to broadening one’s horizons by way of experiencing different cultures, I’ve had the opportunity to do so on my various trips – both in India and overseas.

It’s a small world – I often hear and immediately counter it with – No! It’s not. It’s vast. A lifetime is, probably, not enough to see all of it. And, the debate on small or big ends right there! You too agree, right?

Oh, by the way, this post is my entry to Indiblogger‘s Around The World With Expedia! contest.
Pray for me. I so wish to make it!

Written by Sangfroid

March 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm

8 Responses

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  1. I will pray only if you do the same for me. πŸ˜€ The prizes are so mouth watering that one had to try, right?


    March 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    • I did. Now it’s your turn πŸ˜€
      And yes, the incentive to write was/is awesome!


      March 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

  2. I have to say something and please don not get offended: This is the nicest post I’ve read of yours since all the years of reading you (atleast that’s that what I recall). It not only shows your love for travelling but gives us a very tiny peak into your gaurded self and honestly, I like a bit of the author in the posts so it was nice..

    This will win.. πŸ™‚ Its nice in “the new girl in the city” kind of way..


    March 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

    • I’m far from offended. I’m flattered, rather. Appreciate the accolade.
      And I so wish you were the judge, at least one of the judges! πŸ™‚


      March 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

  3. nice travel post! Good luck for your competition πŸ™‚

    Rolin Oberoi

    March 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  4. its gr8 bro..all d best!!


    April 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm

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