Day 39 : 29th October 2019
Happy Bhai beej or bhai dooj to all. Sorry for the delayed post and slept for more than 10 hours finally. Received lots of messages to go and try variousFood items. Even though the mind was ready for trying the said food, body wasn’t ready and asked for more rest. My right hand joints had started paining (because of continuous action for the past 38 days) and decided to stay back at the hotel itself. Had excellent food for dinner at the hotel and slept immediately. In fact, some of my Indore friends asked me to try out Poha/Jilebi for breakfast and that too is going to be difficult considering the early morning departure.
This is not my kind of trip (seeing places, enjoying food and interacting with people) and this is a different kind of adventure. Have been thinking about doing a 2 week visit to all the states (probably cover one or two states every year) and definitely MP would be the first one to start with. Food, people, history, spiritual places etc.would be factored in on such a ride. Apparently Indore is called as food capital of India (I am not aware of this) and MP is blessed with many other things as well.
Do expect or wait for a “Moments in Monumental Madhya Pradesh- 2020”.Finally the sun came out at the usual time (not obscene hours like 5 am) and was waiting for it. It rained a bit last night and not knowing the roads, I was waiting for some day light and started at 6:30 am. Filled petrol at a near-by fuel station and started the ride. Google maps took me through the ring road and properly dropped me at the national highway (NH52 or Agra-Mumbai Highway). A series of small ghats to be covered and it was looking great. Green mountain and patches, water bodies and cold temperature made me feel guilty of not stopping and appreciate the beauty. Some other time for sure.
Didn’t decide the halting place (either it would be Igatpuri or Mumbai) and as always took it by the moment. Went by Naren’s riding principles (minimjalystops and quick restart) and planned to stop every 100 Kms and see if I can do the 600 kms ride. Thanks to Good and empty roads, my average speed was 75 kms per hour and managed to cover 100 kms by the first 90 minutes. Stopped at a tea stall near a fuel station and the guy was making fresh tea (adding lots of ginger which is my way of making tea). Started talking and met a truck driver who left the previous night from some location in MP and heading towards Goa carrying some chemicals.
He stops at 9 pm at any dhaba and finishes his dinner and rest there itself. No night driving and starts again the morning. The moment he saw me, he greeted me with “Ram Ram” and I liked it. I did notice this kind of greetings during my 2018 incredible India by Road trip, I thought of using such greetings as well. But the Mumbai wala in me never attempted to practice it and this greeting reminded me of that determination. Need to start working on it. People give respect to each other (at least with the language) in North and it disappears once you cross the vindhyas.
Don’t know the reason and am happy to learn if someone knows it.Completed another 100 kms before 10 am and the roads told me that I have reached Maharashtra. Good roads gave me the confidence and platform to cover long distance in the last 4 days and now the last day hurdle has to be managed. Potholed (huge craters again) roads and uneven surface (some portions of the tar came off) and it was like riding on Mumbai roads during monsoon. Saving grace was 4-6 lanes and that helped me maintain a decent speed (still my tyres went to embrace some of these craters and Manish calls தஸ் craters as my in-laws and my relationship with them is really strong).
This was like this till I crossed Kalyan and I am talking about some 350 kms stretch (give or take 5% in between were smooth). Reached Igatpuri around 2 pm and stopped at “Manas”for lunch. The long weekend had ensured the Mumbai population getting out of the city and could see a packed dining place. Staff at Manas were struggling to provide service for each customer (one guy demanded some bland food for his kids and the other wanted something which is not available as part of the buffet menu) and they still managed to attend me in between. Took my order (don’t want to waste my money on the buffet) and seems it’s going to take some time before I see anything placed in front of me.
The girl kept me busy by providing me some complementary salad and soup and I was not that pushy. Finally food arrived and finished in 20 minutes. Paid the bill and came out to take off again. That’s the time my body revolted and I felt tired and weak finally. Staying there or moving forward was the question and I took some time to decide. Sonal was back from her New Zealand holiday and I preferred to reach home anyhow and be with her. Managed to cross the final ghat section (these are plains roads in comparison to May Hong Son or the Manipur-Assam stretch) and touched Mumbai at 5 pm.
Thought of stopping at the Kalyan repair stop and says thanks to the person who got my tube changed on day 1. Without his help, this journey wohld have stopped then and there itself. Unfortunately he was not there and stopped after crossing Thane to leave a message (I am backkkkkkk) to my friends, family and amchi Mumbai. You don’t feel happy when your vacation ends but I was feeling that way for sure. So glad to see my city again. Finally connected my headset (intercom stuff) and started listening to some good songs while riding the bumper to bumper working day and evening traffic.
Got calls from friends who thought I had reached home and one of them asked me “how do I feel”. Lots of emotions (happy, pleased, glad, euphoric, exuberant, relaxed, satisfied etc..) and I couldn’t tick one which would have been apt. My response was “do you like mix vegetables and which one of them can be singled out as the best vegetable”. My feelings were so similar and I was like Mumbai’s favorite mixed vegetable sabzi. Didn’t waste any time in selecting one and allowed everything to settle in equally. Before reaching home, I had another duty to be accomplished and headed straight to” Speed Merchant “at Atria Mall.
Wanted to say my personal thanks to Shiraz, Perzan and Hormuzd and they helped me in selecting appropriate gear (for me and the bike) and got me ready for this journey. Thought of having a celebratory drink with them and did that with a bottle of water. Guys were so exited to see me again and more happier than me. They thought I was just faking about this trip when we first met and now they realized the “real animal or ravan” side of Sundar. Met Narayan of Breakout Moto (Super bike mechanic) and another person who got my bike ready for such a long ride (he made special cushioned bucket seats, changed my handle bar for a comfortable posture etc..).
Preferred brand of the inhaler got over at Imphal all thanks to Naren and Manish for that.
Thanked him for his support and promised to visit him tomorrow for a detailed discussion. Reached my home finally and met Sonal after 39 days (did see her on video calls). Seeing my condition (dirty, sweaty, and ugly look) , she allowed me just a forehead peck. Got rid of the gears, got my personal preferred brand of the inhaler (stock got over at Imphal and thanks to Naren/Manish for that ) after a week, gulped 2 glasses of Rose sharbat, and finally went for a shower. Using my own bathroom gave me that fresh look again and settled down with Sonal for seeing all the things she got me from New Zealand.
She traveled for more than 24 hours from Fiji
She traveled for more than 24 hours from Fiji (overnight halt at Singapore) and was so disoriented because of jetlag. After the high-level updates, I allowed her to sleep and came back to my favorite “king’s couch” and settled my bum and relaxed with a Kingfisher can. That’s it and my “epic Ride to Angkor Wat” is finally over. Started sometime in April and now it’s over by end of October. My body and mind realized the “End” and called for “indefinite bandh”. Got hundreds of wishes/greetings and everybody wanted their share of time to listen to all the stories. Looks like a couple of weeks are going to be busy spending time with friends and family and over beers and Kutchi beers… My holidays got over and the “BAU” routine starts from tomorrow.
Do I consider this as an adventure?. No is the answer
Do I consider this an adventure?. No is the answer. Do I treat this as a journey?. No is the answer. Do I call it a long ride?. No is the answer. Was it an exploration? No is the answer. Then what it is. It was an” Experience” and cannot be explained in words. It was a “Learning” and no book would teach you. It was “living life” and no salary is paid for it. It was just a “learning experience on how to live life”. Recommend highly this to all and do “at least one road journey every year”. Don’t have any agenda or destination and just go… Life becomes larger and richer and trusts me on this. Do I wish to write anything more?
Yes, I have a lot to say including my crash (my judgemental error, not a serious one and no damage to the bike or me) and off-balance moments and how the past 39 days made me understand “the road culture, riding practices, and my bike”. Don’t want to elaborate any further on these (boring or would give incorrect understanding to the readers) and can be better explained when we all meet over a Kingfisher. I started with a bad note (tube puncture), had some horrible moments (brake failure while riding a downhill), faced certain undesirable situations (off-balance moments), and made me think “should I continue or quit”.
13,740 kms in 39 days and it was not possible without these friends.
My fellow travelers encouraged me to continue and gave me enough support and confidence. Thanks to those 7 people (Manish, Naren, Rohit, Ganesh sir, Shakunthala ma’am, belavadi sir, and Sannaveerappanavar sir) and my “Rath” and without them this wouldn’t have been possible to complete. And thanks To Khun Tom/Daren, Zawmin/Myat/Nyi (Myanmar) for making us feel comfortable and ensuring our stay was fantastic. 13,740 km in 39 days and it was not possible without these friends. Signing off for the time being and will connect with you all again with another life-defining experience. Meanwhile, I am heading to the saloon for a quick makeover and then to the club for a massage and so on…