Day 32 : 22nd October 2019
After spending our time with the customs/immigration officials for the entire day, we saw some light at the end of the tunnel and customs officers (after retaining our bikes) gave us a solution. He asked us to travel to Imphal and meet his boss and explain the situation. We were ready to do anything (up to what is acceptable) and started working on the plan. It takes 4 hours from Moreh to Imphal by road and an hour of meeting with the official and return journey of another 4 hours. So it would be done if we spend the entire day on this and we were ready to do that.
Manipur seems to be a state which has lots of internal problems and one of the sects or tribes had called for an indefinite bandh (shut down of the state) from 21st (our day 31) onwards. So traveling to Imphal during bandh seems to be an issue and we were again in a trap. This is the 2nd time the state has gone into bandh mood since we started traveling. We had dinner (stayed at Moreh only) and enjoyed the dal fry, aloo jeera, Rotis (consumed 4 of them), and rice. Finally, some good things happened to us and decided to take a call in the morning. Slept at 9 pm and for more than 9 hours.
The car group was leaving at 5 am towards the next destination and I was thinking about saying “bye” to them in the morning. The biological clock is so good and got up at 4:45 am but my body demanded more sleep and slept again. Will travel to Bangalore and convey my apologies to them on a later day. Finally, we got to drink tea with milk and my body reacted positively and Had one more and quenched the 25-day early morning thirst for tea and happy to be back in our land (at least for the food).
Met a group of CID officers near the hotel and they were all waiting for their SP. Started talking and apparently they are investigating some bomb blast case happened recently at Moreh. Group of youngsters and very active and showed lots of positiveness. Asked people to visit Manipur and help them get developed and they are very happy about the development initiatives of the central government. Saw a lady coming down and all the officers went into the erect mode. She is the SP and had good command and control over the officers and the officers relaxed after some conversation (in English).
Interesting to see such people being active that early in the morning (7 am) and the state is in good hands for sure. Something told us that all issues would get resolved and we went back to the border immigration office again. Told them the problem of traveling (got to know that indefinite bandh has been called off after reaching the office) and requested them to allows us to take our bikes back. One more officer was around and they were upset (with the fraudulent agents and us) and gave us some lessons on regulatory breach. We agreed with their message and it was wrong on our part of not doing the correct thing and went for a short cut with the help of fraudulent agents.
Lessons learned and not going to do this again and would approach the relevant authority for the correct guidance in the future. Take this note as your lesson and don’t try to learn the lesson practically on your own. Finally, they relented and allowed us to take the bikes after we promised them not to do it again. Took a selfie (and promised not to post them) and said “thanks/goodbye and took their permission to leave”. They asked us to meet their senior officer at Imphal and we planned that in our day’s schedule. Well behaved gentlemen and handled the situation in a professional manner as well. No regrets but lessons learned. After loading our bags, we started our ride for the day and it’s not going to be a long-distance riding.
108 km from Moreh to Imphal and Google said around 3 hours of riding. 70% of them would be a ghat section and it was smooth travel for the first 30%. We reached the headquarters or office of the “Assam Rifles” army division (topmost point of the ghat) and it was drizzling and foggy surrounding. Novice or rookie Biker’s don’t like certain things like “Raining, foggy, bad roads or mud path, landslides, single lane, overtaking vehicles, giving way to oncoming vehicles in a narrow turn, dodging stationary vehicles on a slippery surface, etc..” and we faced all these together during our descent from the top. There was every chance of an accident (slipping or falling) and I had the” best focused moments of my life” through this stretch of 30 km.
We couldn’t go beyond the 2nd gear and most of the time we had our legs hanging (normally on a footrest) for any balancing requirement. Terrific and happy that we all completed this stretch without any issues. Happy to share the 30-minute video if anybody wants to go through the pain (loved it while watching the video later in the evening) virtually. Reached Imphal and went straight to the Royal Enfield service center (to blame them for their faulty work on breaks during the service done on day 10)and get it checked for the remaining part of the journey.. Major issues like oil change, air filter cleaning, etc. got done and we couldn’t get the minor ones done because of the late check-in.
Hopefully, these minor issues don’t give me lots of trouble for the next 3200 km. Left the service center at 7 pm and couldn’t go to meet the customs officer as we had promised. Will make it a point to call or visit in the near future and fulfill the promise for sure. Checked into the same hotel (as we did during our onward journey) at Imphal and getting ready for 2 more days of ghat traveling before getting into the plains.