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Ride to RM East 2011 : Part 3 - Kolkata to Mumbai - Completing over 5000km on Highways

“Roads are quite like our lives with so many types of curves. None can predict what’s on the other side. Enjoying the Blind curves of Life”


I met Ranjit at Andy’s garage, on the Planning day for the RM East ride. He was the one interested in riding back to Mumbai via Varanasi-Delhi route. My wish to ride on NH2 had some selfish reasons; first, that I wanted to visit my home at Varanasi on my Bullet since the day I bought it and second, that there’s a saying in Geological world that on an expedition never take the same route while traversing back to the camp, it helps you experiencing more and more of the terrain.

Until 23rd January night, I was unaware of riding plans. Guri paji asked if I am game to ride Golden Quadrilateral with him and Ranjit. I was like – hell Yeah! So, it was stamped and we geared up with GoogleMap, Ranjit’s Maps Of India book, and advices from all who have had ridden on Delhi-Kolkata highway.
As planned we prepared to start at 1100 hours on 24th January, 2011. We were three riders – Guri pa ji, Ranjit and me on our Standard 500, Classic 500 and TBTS 350 respectively. Cheryl mam, Guri pa ji’s wife, was riding pillion on his bull. All other Inddiethumpers, those who were riding ahead to Shillong and also those who are flying back to Mumbai, came to cheer us. As the 1st gear was applied and the Inddiethumpers horn-tone was honked, my bull went off.
Thanks to Rahul, who loaned me his battery, Sab ji and Yogendra came running and did the needful. Not giving a damn to the bad start; we planned to ride some 230kms down to Dhanbad before the sun sets in the east. Riding peacefully on NH2, we reached Gopalganj, Dhanbad at about 5:00 PM. Next day plan was to clear the Hazaribagh, etc naxal-infected area in daylight, and cover some 500+ kms to reach Allahabad. An informal invitation was to stay overnight at my home in Varanasi.
Pa ji and Ranjit
Durga Rana

Next day early morning, after having rounds over rounds of tea, we finally started our ride at about 8:00 AM, and cover some 90 km in just over an hour before we stopped for breakfast. There we noticed some oil leak from my engine, which was well later recognized as overflow of excess oil that we topped up. Weird was to see roadside shops selling hunters, swords, and other arms sort of things; however, we saw similar shops in Rajasthan too. Probably, they were showpieces only, but enough to tempt Ranjit to buy some (though he couldn’t). Some 20km from the place we had our breakfast; Guri pa ji noticed some unusual engine noise. Guri pa ji was skeptical about the floating bush that was replaced at Kolkata. So, we searched a bullet mechanic, Durga Rana, who tried his best to solve the problem. After getting his bike done, we started again and the noise recurred. This time searching for a good Bullet mechanic, we reached a place from the yore days - the mystical Jhumri Talaiya (or Tilaiya). Guddu mechanic was the man this time. Like a pro, he listened carefully the raving engine, and dictated what was the Pa ji’s worst fear, “Bush ud gaya hai iska, khol k dikhate hain (Bush has worn out, let me show)”

We had just covered some 350 km from Kolkata and were stuck at Jhumri Talaiya. There was no answer of a worn-out Floating bush, but only a lath-machine and good mechanic. To add to our annoyance, it was a Tuesday and a weekly off day for the market. No way out, we finally settled at a lodge near Koderma Railway station. Guddu mechanic’s shop was in a katra (small shops-complex) owned by Dinesh’, a local young boy, family. Dinesh was a perfect example of local high-enthusiasm chap; ready to offer anything and everything he could. At moments he was certainly irritating, but actually unable to control his excitement of meeting/interacting someone from the Big City of Bombay!

As that region was naxalite-infected, important was to settle at safe place. Dinesh and Guddu mechanic helped us to find one near the Railway station. As told by them, late night a Police patrol team came to know our whereabouts, and did nothing except their duty. Next complete day was consumed in getting the bush, shaft done for the bullet. I and Ranjit had a small visit to Tilaiya Lake. Tilaiya is probably a colloquial of Taalaab or Taal i.e. a big pond. Enjoying the natural beauty, we appraised it with our cameras.
Our bulls, in backdrop is Talaiya Lake
Worn Ganapati idol
Ranjit balancing on new Railways' Koderma-Ranchi track
A local tribal, he wasn't sure who's from tribes?

By the Wednesday evening, Guddu mechanic and his team had finally assembled the engine, and the roaring thump was incredibly audible! A sigh of relief and sign of accomplishment was clearly visible in the darkness of the evening, on Guddu mechanic’s face. “2-400 km aaram se le jaiye, fir mast bhagaiye. Aap aaram se jaiye hum raste me khabar lete rhenge, kahin bhi problem hua daud ke aa jayenge (ride carefully for first 200-400 km, then rave. Ride safely, I’ll keep enquiring; if anything bad happens, I’ll be there)”, he said.


Guddu Mechanic and team with Ankus, at Jhumri Talaiya
On Thursday, we were again on the road. As asked by Guddu mechanic, and also Indiethumpers’ official mechanic Vinod bhai, we did some 400-500 km of the day on an average speed of 65kmph. Target was to reach Allahabad before the evening. As we were getting near to Varanasi, the Banaras, my heartbeat was getting clearer and audible. It was a completely different excitement, one probably I never had ever before. After crossing Vishwasundari Bridge on river Ganga, NH2 bypass, we halted at Aahar-Vihaar dhaba, our favorite since college days. I left Guri pa ji, ranjit and Cheryl mam to visit my home inside the city as quickly as possible. Though I spent only one and a half hour at home, the feeling of driving my Bull in my city, being with parents at my own home is just unparalleled, eternal!
My parents posing with my Bull, at Varanasi
It was around 3 PM, when we met again and start the ride towards Allahabad. Riding through villages by the time we were on Allahabad bypass, it was already dark and cold. We rode few tens of kilometers on the bypass in search of some good dhaba or hotel. At last, Guri pa ji approached a roadside dhaba and asked for night stay. He readily agreed and even offered me and Ranjit his staff’s pual (straw) bed too. That was one memorable night we had. After a tasty UP-side dinner, Guri pa ji and Cheryl mam retired to tent; and I and Ranjit slid in to our sleeping bags. Ranjit somehow managed to be inside the bag all night, thanks to his macho build; I was enjoying (!) deep garlic-odor from the sacks that were lying near my head! Throughout the night, people keep visiting the dhaba and enquiring about us, “Forener hain? Nahi, deshi hi hain. Acha, bambai se honge, samanwa (tent etc) to bideshiye hai” (Are they foreigners? No, Indians only. Okay, then must be from Bombay, things are imported)
At Allahabad Dhaba
At Allahabad Dhaba
Superb was the fact that there was no toilet, and to listen to nature call with the nature was the only option. I somehow managed in night, but morning call unbearable. I remember, seeing me shying, Ranjit candidly said, “Don’t shy bro! We share same things”.

NH2 had been a maska (buttered) ride, open the throttle, almost close your eyes and drive high and high! Though we saw a dog dying of an accident in front of us in very morning, and a lot of accidents throughout the day; ride of the day was too good and cool for us. Remarkable were the over bridge that we took while entering Kanpur, and left when we exit the city. It was some 15-18 km long over bridge across the city, over-passing complete city-traffic and also the countless Choori (Glass bangles) shops of Faridabad. We reached our day’s destination Agra at about 6PM. With some surveying, we were finally able to locate a descent hotel. Manager was amazed and delighted to see and receive us. While entering the Room No. 8, I and Ranjit came to know that we share same birthday, 8th April; and later that Guri pa ji too is an Arian. Probably, that was the one reason we mixed up so well on the roads! :)

We had a deep desire to have at least a peek view of the Taj Mahal. Hotel staff told us that it’s visible from the roof; but, because of the fog we couldn’t! Promising Taj to visit her later, we bid adieu to the city on 29th morning. Agra’s traffic was well efficient to compete with what he faced at Vijaywada and Hyderabad. Riding some 150 km at a stretch, we took our first halt at the outskirts of Jaipur. Jaipur traffic was another headache, which forced us to have lunch once we crossed the city. At Kishangarh we left NH8, and got on to the NH79 (on Golden Quadra) and called it the day at Bijainagar.

Next day’s target was to reach Ahmedabad/Vadodara. As per our schedule, we started at about 8 AM and through Chittaurgarh (on NH79), Udaipur (NH 6), got back on to NH 8 towards Ahmedabad. As told by Kaka, we took pictures on Mumbai-786km milestone as we left the city of Udaipur. We entered the Vibrant Gujarat post noon; and it was just some 50 km of ride we had after having some refreshment, when Guri pa ji’s bullet’s rear tire went flat. Luckily, we were near the inhabitations; and things were fixed within 2hours. It was already dark when we left Himmatnagar, so our target was to settle at some good lodge on Ahmedabad-Vadodara old NH 8 highway. This was the place where we really felt the missing ingredient of hospitality in Gujarat. The hotels/dhabas we stopped at, in Gujarat, the staff/manager were rather keen to deliver the check or bill then services. Throughout, I’m sorry to admit, we didn’t find this kind of apathy that we experienced in Gujarat. Whatever, we had our last night of the ride in a lodge on NH8, dreaming, longing to meet our friends, be back at home, as an achiever who dreamt and achieved the dream! :)

January 31, 2011 had a special morning. Enthusiasm and adrenalin was there all over the ride, but the rush, nearing our home, can actually be felt. The day had to see a ride of over 500 km, amounting to a mammoth trip of over 5000 kilometers in an 11days life on Highways. Led by Guri pa ji, we rode on winds to reach our homes. Riding on our faithful NH 8, we - 4 Inddiethumpers - passed through Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi as migratory birds passing over countries to reach their nation back. By 5:30 PM, on Monday January 31, 2011 we were back in the city, the city of dream – Mumbai! The chae, in fact the last chae of the ride, we had at Fountain Plaza, Dahisar was singular in taste; it was brewed with accomplishment, feeling of brotherhood and above all the pride of being an Inddiethumper.

For me, the ride brought a numerous things; an unforgettable memoir, a lifetime experience of Highway life, a feeling of brotherhood with countless friends, content nostalgia of being at home with my Bull, and many others that can be felt but not defined in words. Though the ride itself was a reward for me, the best reward I received a week later, the honour of being an Inddiethumper, the honour that can only be earned!

“What we had in common - our restlessness, our impassioned spirits, and a love for the open road ~ Ernesto ChÈ Guevara (Motorcycle Diaries)”


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