Monday, August 25, 2014

Short Drive with family to Mahabaleshwar | 2014

Its been a long while since the car was taken for a drive. Sitting inside the garage it was gathering dust. Hadn't taken it out since my turmoil in business which was around 3 months now. My uncle and aunt had come so it was decided that we would be going on a short trip somewhere and since I was doing absolutely nothing except warming the couch it would be Monday, 18th August.

The drive was simple cool and calm until Khandala ghats where a great heavily overloaded trailer was trying to pass the curvy hilly roads. That was the first traffic jam of over an hour!

It delayed us enough to make us reach Panchgani at nearly 9AM. The route we had taken was varandha ghats via Bhor. Its an epic scenic route especially during monsoons. We had started our journey at 4AM in the morning. On the outskirts of Panchgani towards mahaby another problem was waiting for us... Fog. I had customized my SX4's headlamps into the sort of Audi's headlamps, i.e. LED White lights. To topple that, some sort of gel or liquid was on the windscreen and it caused heck lot of problems as soon as showers began or fog appeared or when lights went dim throughout the trip.

The accent wasn't much of an  issue as fog was to a minimum. The roads and shops around was pretty much dead in action. As Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani is a popular destination during weekends among the Punekars & Mumbaikars, the local business there has a weekend of 5 days as it seemed. Additionally it was offseason for strawberries and mulberries, which I learnt when I walked into a perfectly empty Mapro Garden with only 3 employees supporting it for the day, one was the manager, one the coupon fellow and one was the sandwich guy. Thats it!!! Generally in normal weekend time, you would consider yourself damn lucky if you even get a seat on those designer glass table-bench combo after getting a coupon for your order. Its simply overcrowded, overpopulated, over parked and immensely busy weekend time in its season which lasts during the winter seasons from mid-September to early March.

However after we were turned down from Mapro for their supremely fabulous for the Special Strawberry Cream due to no season we tried our luck at Mala's and Cream Corner but failed miserably. I really wanted them to have a taste of that. Mahabaleshwar is more famous because of the strawberry cream that you get here than its strawberries or as tourist spot among its fans. Its unimaginably extraordinarily awesomely amazing Dessert.

300ml of purely natural awesomeness - Strawberry Cream (old photo)


After a bit of snacks we continued to travel deeper into the woods of Mahaby until the forest dept. collected their own toll and Pollution Certificates. To gain enterance in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani you have to pay a number of taxes and certificates and other things, even for two wheelers. Till the end of the travel we had paid over Rs.350 at Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani and another 200ish at highway tolls. This is one of the reasons why I prefer biking over driving. No highway tolls i.e. savings.

Shiv ling in one of the temples

The walls are covered in moss and plants

The oldest temple at Mahabaleshwar facing the birth of Krishna River

Fog Menance

More fog Menance

Inside one of the shrines - Photography is prohibited here. Consider it as Spy shot.
About the Panch Ganga Temple

At the start of return (clicked and editted by phone - No fancy stuff)

The oldest shrine

Looks like heaven.. doesn't it?

Enroute to Arthur Seat point

Ek selfie to banta hai meri jaan..

Creepy looking Fog coming down to meet us - Start of fog Menance


After the forest dept. toll, the fog which was till then over the woods came down to meet us on the road, thus reducing visibility to a few meters. I was completely blind. The headlights were of no use. We still drove at 10 and 20 with the SX4 staggering and begging me to press on the gas. We visited the ancient shrines of old Mahabaleshwar, The cliff points and arthur seat. Most of the cliff points wee pretty useless as the entire views were blocked, all thanks to the fog. Driving at low speeds and visiting these places which were only a few kms far took us most of the time and before long it was 4PM. Stopped at a hotel for food which we repented after ordering the dishes. He din't have more than 5 dishes including rice. The cook was worse, eventually so worse that I, who never stepped into the kitchen for more than 2 minutes, can cook better than him.

The return was much problematic. The rains had started and a few places on the highway had a few great puddles and pools of rain water. My visor wasn't supporting it and the usage of the wiper had aggravated the scenario. It took us more than 4 hours to reach back to Pune, when while biking, I do it in a tad more than an hour.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A fishing trip - Banks of Indryani | 2014

Was lying on my loving bed when I got a call from Deepak asking me to go on fishing with him.  Apart from my adventures in jungles, I never really fished using the hook and tackle. Upon meeting up, it came to my notice that we would be going to Tuljapur. Its a nearby village.
After a short ride through breath takingly scenic off-road we finally reached. It was early morning and the sun was still rising. The clouds were ruining the sunrise shot. Surroundings were really mesmerizing.
After a short walk through bushes, fields and farms we reached the banks. The walk was nearly of 30 mins but it was capable enough to give you a glimpse of the past I.e. India in 1960-70 era. The photo would make you believe that part.
It was fun as we started landing scores of fishes. By evening the fishes were nearly falling out of the bags. Each fish were more than a pound in weight. It was a tough hike back to the parking grounds with all those fishes. It was already 6pm and the sun was in no mood of setting down. We started our return soon to stop for food. We had no lunch, but bhel. Bhel is a maharashtrian crusine snack, famous as Bombay Bhel all over the country.
By the time we finished, it was deep dusk and the light was there hardly. The off roads had a tinge of spookiness along with its riskiness, or may be it was just my head. However we reached safe and sound without any incident.
The fish fry is amazing. These fishes taste damn good. Gave a bit of the fishes to my pet sea serpent, and it says its lip smacking good.
Date: 17th Aug 2014, Sunday
Location: Banks of Indryani river, Tuljapur, MH

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

At Lands End - Daman | 2013



At Lands End… Daman

Last year I and Shashank (a friend of mine) planned to go to Goa for the New Year but due to my IBA Saddle Sore attempt, was unable to go.  Then in first week of Jan we planned to go to the Valley of Shadows, Nashik but that too got cancelled due to lack of interest from both of us. So finally we struck upon Daman for a 4 day plan.
On 25th Jan Friday we both started at 5AM. I touched the old Mumbai highway a bit earlier and continued slowly while Shashank was on his way. He lives on the other side of the city and I stay quite near to the highway. Shashank caught up quite soon on hi CBZ.
We were cruising easily at 80-90 till Lonavala. Had breakfast near RamaKrishna Hotel (my regular spot for snacks at Lonavala), as it doesn’t open up in the wee hours on weekdays. A cutting chai and some vada pav ensured we were good to get going.
Reached Mumbai at around 9AM and got on the Daman road. However the traffic was starting to catch up with us. Filled up the tanks of our beast and again stopped for a break just outside Mumbai. The traffic mixed up with the heat was not bearable for both of us. So we had a break of around 2 hours on the roadside stall gulping down the cold beverages.
Around 11:30, the traffic seemed to have reduced in intensity so we started out again. The road was dustier than the last time I travelled through there. After crossing some 100 odd kms we saw a red CBR250 rider with free flow exhaust and tail bags also going towards the same route. Shashank tried road racing with that guy but it turned out he was a rookie and started riding dangerously. Asked Shashank to let him go ahead as we stopped for a short break on the road side.
We were now going slow, enjoying the beauty of the empty vast stretches of the smooth tarmac. Crossed a huge toll gate and soon there was the left turn to Daman. As the rail gate opened we headed to our weekend getaway: Daman. It was only a short distance from there. It seemed I was already high even before reaching. The funniest incident was that while we were heading towards Daman, there were few farmers selling vegetables on the roadside and what I saw from a corner of the eye seemed as some strange fruit in purple. Upon turning back off 500 meters from there, it made us both laugh. I had mistook a brinjal for some strange fruit. :D
It was evening around 5 till we reached Jampore  beach, Moti Daman. We finally managed to get a room for 600Rs per day, very near to the beach. We parked our bikes, kept the luggage in our room and headed straight for the sea. It was receding. Disappointed we bought some ‘hard beverages’ and settled in our room. Upon inquiring, we found out that everything is closed here by 10PM and its not advised by police to spend the night out at the beach and its like an unsaid law here in these parts. Who knew we two were about to throw all the rule books into the sea. It was practically the last holiday and the last ride in a long time we both would be around these parts as Shashank was to shift back to Delhi, next month.
The first day was uneventful. It passed off all cool and boozy. The next morning we headed out for sight seeing around Daman. Starting with the first place nearby was the Jampore. We both in our 3/4ths walked till the both ends of the beach. Found out that there was the Boat Man’s Creek, the fishermen colony and yea the quicksand. Well I found the quicksand patch the hard way. I got stuck in it and had it not been for Shashank, I might had sunk deep into it. There was also a cemetery nearby.
We came back to the shacks of Jampore beach and guess what we start the day with….. well more of ‘hard beverages’ and the most insane ‘vadapow’ I had ever seen in my life. A plate of vadapow consisted of 4 eraser sized vadas and small sized bread. Washed those down our throats with more of hard beverages. We both were resting on the chairs and watching the sea come back. Well the timings of the sea is that it receeds to a great extent in the evenings and the early mornings and returns at noon time and at mid night.
Had all sorts of beach snacks. It was fun, lazing around. It was long long time since I experienced such calmness. I was at peace within self. However this peace dint last for long as the Gujjus were coming in huge bunches now and all they wanted is to quench their thirst. It seemed we were the only idiots with nothing to do but stare at them. We soon got bored of this and headed to the sea. I am no good swimmer but still it was enjoyable in the water. Well it was not clean. We were a bit tipsy and were having all the good time. After an hour or more it became crowded so we decided to return.
After a quick shower and finishing of the last bit left in yesterday’s bottle of hard beverage of local scotch (Boy! It was smooth as anything. Sadly I forgot its name L ) and breaking the glass we decided to go and explore around Choti Daman. So we soon went to a Graveyard of boats. All the wooden boats were left to decompose near the entrance as we made our way into the interior parts, the sizes of the boats grew massively and they were very old. We soon left after some photos.
The next destination was the nearby port of Daman. It was a fisherman’s port. Nets were lying all around. We tried to get a boat ride till Diu and we were turned down. Even after offering money to the fishermen they did not agree. Evening was setting in and we made our way to the fish market.
This fish market is one to watch out for and yea you need some bad ass luck to see the stuff sold here. Octopuses, Sharks, Eels, Sting Rays, edible jelly fish and I have just started. Entire Gujrat is vegetarian and here you will really have a hard time finding a single Pure Veg restaurant where its surrounded on all three sides by Gujrat an one side by the sea itself. The only one I managed to see was just opposite to the fish-market lane. Just corner to the fish-market lane there is a fish fry street shop. Bring him any fish and he will make you the very best fry of it. We had 2 plates of small sized eels and few more plates of some other fish fry. I wanted to have an octopus and some jelly fishes but I was really out of luck. The octopuses were huge in size and the someone bought all the stock of jelly fishes in front of me before I could buy it. We tried searching for them in other shops around but we were just out of luck. Suddenly my eyes fell on something. It was the spinal bone of some monstrous fish. Well, the size of it without its head lying in a corner was taller than me standing on my bike. It was really huge. I was at my wits end, because it dint seem to be of that size coz the tail part was not there.

Sunset at Jampore Beach

At the graveyard of boats

Cemetery Road, Jampore

The Boatman's Creek

Fishermen Colony

Couple at the Port of Daman
The Amazing Fish Market

Sting Ray ... Anyone?

The evening was just starting and we bought some hard beverages from the shop run by our hotel owner and headed to the beach. The waters were receding fast into the ocean bed when we both decided to take a stroll to see where the water went. And so with the chappals in out hand and the bottle in other we started walking into the sea through the sea bed. Even after walking straight into the dark sea for an hour almost the water level dint increase above our ankles. After some more distance, I stepped on a real sharp stone or glass maybe resulting a cut in my foot. We still continued straight into the sea. Wasn’t bleeding but was having a tingling sensation. After around half an hour more the ground became a bit of sinky mud. After 10 minutes of struggling walk through that, we had reached the land’s end.
Standing at the lands end, both of us, staring into the face of the deep sea now. The lights of Daman was as tiny as stars and even the light house of Choti Daman was tiny to look at. There was no solid ground just a tiny step ahead. It was deep sea. Well this edge was rocky and it was sharp as sword. The other foot got a cut while trying to figure out if there was a bit more land where we could walk ahead. We were surrounded by darkness all around us and confronted by the sea in front. We felt there was something huge white in the waters to our left in the deep sea part. Fearing a shark or worse we fled towards land. Its said that we have only discovered a tiny 1% of the life in our oceans. The unknown 99% is scary. All the tipsiness was off and we fled as fast as we could. Running on the sea bed isn’t possible. We walked as fast as we could.
By the time we reached the safety of land we were totally out of breath. While resting on the mushroom seats at the beach we were approached by some of the guys staying at the same hotel. They had seen us arriving on the shiny black Pulsar 200NS and had taken a special liking towards it. They even told us that they had clicked many photos on my bike. Well, I don’t blame them. Without the rear tire hugger and those fat semi slick Revz-C from MRF, even it becomes tough for me to resist a glance at it even after owning it.
Those kids were from Second and Third year engineering students. Who could resist a beach side party now. I have a card to get us much more than mere permission from police to party on that beach. I said I would take care of the law and so we all agreed to party. The 10 of us fetched more of the hard beverages, ordered special fish preparation to be served admidst the beach in the middle of the night and yes…. More people. It was a party we never had expected. Songs were on the phone playing at top of the speaker’s wattage, beverages were flowing like rivers, smoke filled the air. There was no stopping now. We were the kings of the beach now. The dish of fish was served hot well after mid night. The party continued till we literally dropped on the sand. We somehow dragged ourselves to our rooms.
We woke up late and again the hangover drink was more of hard beverage. After a peaceful shower, we went ahead to roam around the Daman Fort post lunch. The visit to Church or Bom Jesus, a 400 year old church, was soothingly peaceful. My both foot was now paining, took a tetanus before things complicated any more.  The buildings of Daman were Portugal styled and each and everyone of them were a designer. The govt. buildings were even better with the lighting in the evenings.  
We returned to the hotel for a peaceful meal of Desi-chicken (not the poultry one). We got the chicken and the cook of the hotel cooked it amazingly well. After having to our fill we retired for the night with more ‘beverages’.

The next day was peaceful. We visited the Choti Daman areas of the fermenting factories and the surrounding beaches. We found the Choti Daman waters to be more dirty. We visited the Portuguese fort with the watch tower and light house, adjacent to the modern light house. Spent the entire afternoon atop the tower just to get the perfect shot of the sunset.
Today was 28th and the last day of this holiday probably unless we decide to head to Silvasa. A good night’s rest was both in our minds. Post dinner at 8PM we walked towards the right side of Jampore towards the light house through the tall coconut trees. There was a drinking table and we made it ours today. We sat and had our beverages right till we got a call from our hotel for their closing time. Well for the past few days, they were not even locking the doors being weekend, but today was a different story altogether.
The morning of 29th we packed up ready to leave. Last night we had caught a kid of a deep water serpent. I was bringing it back with me for it was my new pet. The hotel owner was very helpful in providing a makeshift aquarium for it for the transportation. We filled up just before we crossed out of Daman. These central ruled Union Territories enjoy a cheap petrol price. We happened to see a VMax at the fuelling station.
We were to go via Nashik now. We were aware of the bad conditions but never expected it to be that bad. It was completely off-road nearly till Nashik but the view of serene surroundings were helpful in taking off our mind from cursing the roads. We went past a jungle. Had to make a few rest stops before touching Nashik.  It was around 2PM and it has taken us 4hours to reach the village before Nashik.
After crossing Nashik, the highway till Pune was a simple 2 lane way without dividers. The people seemed to jaywalk on the highway as if it was their backyard garden. We both had a few near misses, thanks to the idiots driving there. Finally we reached Pune at Nashik phata where we both bade adieus. Thus came a great weekend to an end. We both would be cherishing the memories of this trip for a long time, I am pretty sure of this.

My new pet sea serpent

Sunset at Choti Daman

'The Perfect shot' atop the watch tower

Church of Bom Jesus, Built in the 1600 A.D.

Shashank Bhai

While Returning via Nashik

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Royale Rajasthan | 2012



Royale Rajasthan

Well it was the morning of a busy mid-March Monday. With the winter gone leaving any traces of the cool weather, I find myself sweating in the scorching heat at the roof top. Well the electricity has been out for a while and I had made my way to the top in hopes help high for some breeze. Well, I was out of luck. As I make my way down, I am struck by the most vague and punishing idea to make my way into Rajasthan’s heat. As the day progressed, I try to shake off the idea but seems its taken a hold of me. The Monday goes bustling busy and into the mayhem of conferences and meetings. Seemed like the single day itself has taken the most of me and sooner than I knew, I was once again dying to get back on the road.
Before I could gather my wits, I had already done half the packing and had already called in to my partner that I would be going out of town for some “serious personal business”.  I could tell even he faintly knew what I was upto.
It was early Tuesday Morning and the sky was still dark. I walked into the parking where the bike was nearly welcoming me. The engine roared to life with a single try. The new Taiwanese free flow exhaust without the db killer killed all the silence that was around. Was going to do a long distance ride with a really loud and bassy  exhaust for the first time. It had even put a 2008 GSXR’s Akrapovic to shame a few days back.
Within minutes I was on the road, cutting through the cool morning wind, through the old Pune-Mumbai highway with the deafening roar of the bike. The 220Fi’s fairing has been of great use to me, it tires me a lot less.
It was 6AM and I had already reached Mumbai. I din’t want to get caught with the loud exhaust as I made my way to a place called Manor. I was totally starving and made my first stop at Hotel Navjivan. Lots of trucks, mostly Gujrat bound, were parked there. I was already low on fuel and soon needed to stop for fuel once again.
Soon enough post fueling I get into the dusty and empty roads of Gurjat. The long straights and empty roads were fun for sometime. With speeds in triple digits, I cruised into Surat at around 1PM. A board stating Vadodara is only 145kms. Next stop Vadodara for lunch. By 3 I was well settled in a restaurant in vadodara for some munchies. You won’t get non-veg anywhere here. I settled for a paneer makhni and 2 rotis.
I was back on road darting towards Ahmedabad. The heat was now taking a toll as weariness began to creep in. I nearly missed the turn to NH8 and went a few kms ahead before turning around.  The straight road leads to the Express Way where bikes are not allowed and a fine of a thousand bucks is waiting to be imposed. I had a quite tough time figuring out the NH8 by asking the locals. They hardly understood Hindi. At around 6:30, I had bypassed Ahmedabad and stopped at a local dhaba to freshen up.  I had been riding almost 700kms today and by far one of the most tiresome stretch ever.
It was already dark and I was on the Ring Road of Ahmedabad. It was utterly confusing and finally after struggling for around an hour I found a way out to Himmatnagar. Stayed at a local hotel named Jayasri. Upon enquiring I was directed to a local non-veg restaurant “Mamu-Fry”. One of the funniest names for the evening I had come across. I could see Gujjus having Chicken tandoors there. Having ridden 850 odd kms, it was time to rest for the night and have some Biriyani.
It was morning again and today I will be heading to Mt. Abu, a hill station in the Aravalli Range, an oasis in the desert. The roads were pretty good. The twisties of the region was bringing back the fun in the game.  At around 12, I reached Mt. Abu.
The first sight here was of Gujjus quenching their thirst for liquor. Some sight seeing included Nakki Lake, Toad point, Sunset Point, Museum, Achalgarh fort, Trevor tank of Crocks etc. Water here even at 2PM seems icy cold.

Maharana Pratap of Mewar at Mt.Abu

Temple

The Trevor Tal

Nakki Lake

Sunbathing croc at Trevor Tal




After 5 days of sight seeing and fooding and drinking, I am going to Udaipur tomorrow. Have met a few bikers at Mt. Abu yesterday.  I will be riding down straight to Jaisalmer via Jodhpur from there.
Its been a hard ride yesterday. Some roads in Rajasthan are under construction. There is hardly anyone on the roads here. Its all deserted. The scenery around is nice but it keeps on growing thinner and thinner as I reach Jaisalmer. Its truly a city on the edge of the Great Indian Desert. The screaming exhaust on this barren scape is sort of echoing.
Its 2 days past here at Jaisalmer and its really hot and dry. The places I have been here around are the Gadhsisar Lake, Badha Bagh, Salim Singh ki Haveli, Khaba fort, Kuldhaara, Jaisalmer Fort and Patwon ki Haveli.


Gadhsisar Lake

Kuldhara

A house which was rebuilt at Kuldhara

Patwon ki Haveli

Ruins of Kuldhara


The next travel was entirely barren empty beaten path. Both sides were covered with arid vegetation and occasional sand. Maneuvering was getting difficult. The temperature was around 40degrees. I had permits to go till the border village of Ghotadoo, Rajasthan. The border from here is hardly a days walk. I parked my bike with a localite, who happened to be a friend’s distant relative. The village is hardly populated and there are 20-30 houses only. I roamed around here and left for the return journey.

After crossing Bandha it was still around 130kms till Jaisalmer when the bike started giving problems. Finally after 70kms more the bike stopped dead in its tracks and the time was around 4PM. The heat was still breaking m down. I had not seen a single person or animal on these roads. It was like into a different dimension. The tank was half empty and the bike wont start.
After some of R&D I found it of no use. The fuse was intact even the starter was working. Checked the plugs, which were okay. I had no freaking idea of what was going on and to top that up, there was no cell phone range.  After hopping atop the nearby bulbous grounds and dunes in hopes of catching a tower I walked a bit far from the road where I happened to come across some tracks which seemed to me like those of a dog but bigger. I got scared and got back to the bike.

The golden sun setting in while I am stuck with my bike. Around 55kms from Jaisalmer


It was sunset. The golden sun was setting in. The eeriness was getting on my nerves. I started pushing the bike. With every step, the bike and myself seemed as sinking into the warm sand, bit by bit. It soon became dark and the weather was close to chilly now. I knew I needed to start a fire admidst of absolutely nowhere. I managed to scavenge some dry thorny bushes along with a few semi green ones in the darkened dusk. Although it took some time to start the fire, It managed to keep me alive throughout the night. When the fire was nearly dying and some movement behind me broke me light slumber. Could see 2 desert foxes (I guess) little far away distinctly, after staring into the darkness for sometime. It was horrible time for me.
It was dawn soon. The first light broke the chilliness around and brought warmth. Upon looking around I could find tracks that were hardly 10 meters from the spot where I was camping. It seemed like they were circling me.
It took me the entire day to walk back half the distance. Admidst I got a single tower for a short period of time and tried calling up my mechanic who dint answer the phone. Was lucky to find a localite who helped me get the bike to the outskirts of Jaisalmer. The bike being a P220 Fi, no one around was ready to touch the bike. Finally after much struggles, I loaded the bike into a truck who helped me get it across till Pune for 8 grand. I took a train from Chittorgarh to Kalyan and then to Pune. Thus ended my Royal Rajasthan trip. A few good memories of the trip are camel milk tea, meeting the localite while pushing the bike all afternoon and then getting to know I am still alive.

The North East Diaries via Nepal | 2012



The Noth East Diary via Nepal

Current status as of now, I am in Hoshangabad. Yes, a place like that does exist. Its nearly in mid-India close to Itarsi, Madhya Pradesh.  Its been 2 weeks into the rainy season and there isn’t a cloud in sight. Have been traveling on my trusty Pulsar 220Fi for the past 11 days.
I left Pune on 7th June and have covered Karjat, Osmanabad, Beed, Pusad before crossing into M.P. via Bhagwanpura.  Met a friend at Indore who is practicing law. I am practically roaming with no where to go and without a destination. I have absolutely nothing upcoming on my calendar for the next month.
Its 11:30 in the morning, and the hotel boy just informed me of my check out time. I am in this hotel for the past 2 days. I am about to leave the comfort of the hotel to ride to somewhere, still the destination is unsure.
Its now 20th June and I have reached Aurangabad. Well its not in Maharashtra but its very near to Gaya, Bihar. The bike has been giving starting troubles for sometime now while speeding. I am not sticking to the highways, so it’s a bit of relief. I am staying at a local guest house which my friend booked. There isn’t a single good gas pump here in this tiny town and I have to either move towards Dehri. My bike’s Fi jets haven’t been cleaned in a long while and my last ride really screwed it up. I can feel it.
Today’s lunch was on the banks of a huge lake. I was at Renukoot. The hotel was a typical roadside dhaba. The people around me were generally truckers and very amused to see me with so much luggage loaded on my bike and were inquiring my destination.  The sirac is performing very well in this region. Its better to declare the roads here as non-existant. Have just crossed 50k kms.
Its 23rd and I have somewhat crossed into West Bengal. Current location is Darbhanga and have plans to cross over to Nepal via the Open Border and get back into India at Birtamod-Siliguri border. I am terribly scared to cross over the rivers here. Rains and floods are common here in this season. I will be staying here to get some paper work done and have some rest. The hotel here is nearly decent and strangely its name is also ‘Decent Hotel’.  However, they did give me a covered parking behind the 2 floored building, sadly beside the drainage.  The food here isn’t so good and I am going to have lunch outside if possible.
Yesterday night wasn’t so eventful although light showers did showed up in the night. I had got up twice in the night to check if my bike was safe. The food outside was quite good and heavy. Had my dinner at Kohinoor Restaurant and bar and unfortunately they closed quite early. The good part is my permit is done nearly and I might be ready to leave tomorrow. I will be working on the bike this evening. The oil desperately needs a change, been running it for the last 6k kms. As luck would have it, I simply can not get a Motul or Castrol here for which the nearest place to get them is Patna. I am not going back into Bihar. Good news is there is a Indian Oil Pump 10kms from here as the owner ‘Rakesh’ told. Hopefully I find something usable there. The chain needs to be tightened; even the sprocket is nearly gone.
Its 30th and I am at Biratnagar, Nepal. I crossed over few hours back from India. The jawaans were asking an awful lot of questions on seeing my huge tail bags, backpack and my gear. My black Probiker jacket has camouflages with the dust. There is a layer of dust covering the consoles of my bike and the front fairing. The sirac performed great yesterday evening in the mud. Had a puncture in the front tire though and had to push back to the hotel. The chain was tightened but the oil change wasn’t to my liking. Seems like it might need a change a bit very soon. Going to wash my clothes now, haven’t washed them since I left Indore. The laundry at his place was of great help. Even this recorder is blinking the low battery sign, gotcha charge the AAA battery also. Sadly my P&S Nikon is got getting its battery here. Only able to click 3-4 pictures on the new batteries. Looks like it needs Duracell and I have no idea how to salvage it here.
I left Biratpur yesterday and have reached this beautiful valley town of Siddeshwori. It’s the edge of Nepal’s population here. Speaking of population, I really want to know the population of Nepal. People seem so scarce here, well to mention, around these parts I have been roaming around in the streets for the past hour and have seen only around 6 guys only. There are friendly elders here, no young people here. The climate is great and the air is clean. It feels so fresh.
Its 6 days here in Nepal and I am totally enjoying the food here. I have had all sorts of momos, mueslis, porrdidges, curries and soups. I totally loved Brace Bull, Khumbu Special, Black Russian and Sour Whisky in cocktail beverages. Well apart from eating and drinking for the past 5 days, I have been travelling a bit around Nepal. Just want to mention again, the air, water and weather is so clear here. If I have a chance, it would seriously be nice to shift in here. By the way, I have been to Makaloo National Park just north of Siddheswori. Yak and Langurs were most common and was lucky to catch a glimpse of a grazing deer along with a jungle cat.

Staple diet or the Rice plate

Food of Nepal : Momos

The view of the the great mountain

Khumbu Region of Nepal
I have crossed over into India again and have reached Siliguri. Well I had to push the bike from the border to the town. There was a fault in the fuse and I discovered I had none to spare. It took me 4 hours on a totally deserted road.
Today is 12th July and I have decided to do North East, don’t know if I would be able to do it. My bike is showing some problems mechanically. Tried calling Antz, a friend of mine from Pune, the P220 guru to me. My phone isn’t getting coverage. Have somehow contacted a friend of mine staying at Darjeeling. Good news is I can drop my bike at his place and take his bike to go around the North East without much problems.
Have been staying at Pankhabhari Guest house for the past 2 days.  He would be coming sometime today.
Ajinkya is here finally with his bike, a black Apache (the edition before RTR). He will be taking my bike and do the repairs while I leave today. I am much thankful to him for this. The entire wiring needs to be changed I guess. He is helping me load the saddle bags on the Apache. The bike is in its top form and the sound purrrr surely is promising.
I am in Tezpur, Assam and its already 20th July. Have crossed Tista river at Jalpaiguri and after a brief stop for a day at Tufanganj I had stopped at Bongigaon, Tamulpur and Udalguri. I am here since yesterday and have got the permit work done for the entire North East upto Dumbuuk. Little extra money to the right person work wonders and gets the job done without much hassles. Have even set up for a brief visit into the Kaziranga. Well just to mention, I just can not begin to explain the vastness of the Brahmaputra. I am travelling nearly parallel to this epic river since Dhubri. Never seen a river so huge in my entire life.
Today is 1st August and it’s a great pleasure for me to inform you that I have successfully reached Jorhat. I left Jakhalbandha yesterday morning. I am done visiting Kaziranga National Park. I had only heard praises for this park from my mom. She used to stay in these parts in her childhood. Have seen lots of one horned rhinos, scores of wide eyed wild buffalos and hundreds of deers in the swampy land of the Brahmaputra. The beauty of that place is simply indescribable.
The Kaziranga National Park : Population

Somewhere past Itangarh

Rhinos

The vast Brahmaputra


I will go till Dibrugarh where I will park the bike and travel till Itanagar by other means of transport. The bike has been performing very will and I am getting a great mileage of over 45. I need an ATM soon or I have to run dry. The petrol bunkers here are not accepting cards.
Today is 3rd August and I am North Lakkhipur and I am travelling by a hired car along with another traveler family, Jason and Shannon Crew. We will be going together till Itanagar. Jasie here is trying to get to Paki Tiger Reserve. They have been travelling India since April and has been to Rameshwaram, Kochin, Madras in south till Kargil in the North. Jasie has been to Mumbai and has trekked a few peaks in the Sahayadri Ranges of Western Maharashtra. I wish Jason and Shannon good luck with their travels. Well he just mentioned they have also travelled Siberia, Russia, China and both the Koreas. Shannon flew in straight into India from Tokyo in April where she was doing a short documentary on Japan.
Its 6th Aug and I am back here at Dibrugarh. Itanagar was great. I like the train travels. Its fun and does give a break from the continuous biking. Should try it sometimes. The bike seemed good and shiny. Turned out that the gardener had washed the bike. I am so much thankful to him.
Its morning 8:00AM of 7th August and I am back on road. This time I am travelling to the station from where I will catch a train to Tinsukia Jn. And from there to Digboi to see the refinery.  My luggage is at the hotel.
I am all exited to see the refinery, never seen one. Had also heard that my grandfather had worked here for a brief period of time, in his days. I will stop speaking into this recorder. The people around me in this train is looking at me wide-eyed.
Its 15th August, Independence Day. I am celebrating it by riding down to Imphal from Kohima and it seems the police here are celebrating by doing routine checks and searches. I am stuck here at this check post for the past 40 minutes. I am still behind 30ish huge trucks and a few cars. I am the sole biker here with a mountain of luggage tied to the rear part of the seat of the Apache. Had left Dibrugarh 2 days back. Stayed in a roadside shelter stone by camping underneath it near Changtongya town. Yesterdy I was lucky to get to stay in a tiny inn at Senapti town. Quite serious name for a town, isn’t it?
I have reached Moreh, a border town around a week back. Since then I have been trying to get to Myanmar side. I now have a letter from the Burmese govt. granting the permission to me and the motorcycle to cross over to Tamu. Tomorrow I am going to cross into Burma, overland. I am quite tensed. Just came to know that many had been turned down by the forces on the other side. This will be my base camp while I travel into Myanmar. I will be travelling light.



Road from India to Burma (Myanmar)

Its 25th August. I am back from Myanmar after a near successful visit to other side of life. It so happened on 22nd Aug when after spending hours begging to let me on the other side, the official let me in. I was supposed to go straight to Kale and turn back, as per the pre-designated permitted route, but a small blunder caused me to turn towards Mawlaik. However after spending around 30,000kyats in just 2 days and having a lot of mixed experiences and a puncture I was forced to walk further 10kms into Burmese territory to fill air. Today I am going to rest here at Moreh. Enough adventures for the week.

Its 26th August and I am really short on cash in hand. I am on the road back again and after paying off the hotel bill only a few hundred remain. Need to get to a ATM again. The tank is nearly full of petrol of around 13litres and I for sure can get to Agartala before needing to encash myself hopefully.
The plan was pretty simple. Ride steady, Fewer stops the better. After riding for long hours on the so-called highway I was finally able to get to Agartala on 27th nightfall. Stayed at a friend’s lodge for the next 3 days. I sent the bike to Darjeeling on 29th via a trucker of Madras Transport and I got to Kolkata on 1st September via flight.

I still had to collect my bike from Darjeeling. Got a call from Ajnkya that he has received his bike and he is awaing my return. The entire electrical wiring along with the magnet assy has been changed. The battery was to be replaced under warranty. Although the bill was a about the drill a moderate hole in my pocket  I wasn’t ready to ride it across the entire Indian subcontinent to get to the comforts of my home. Finally, I sent it by transport from Kolkata to receive it at Pune 10 days after. Thus after a bit more than 3 months the ride was finally over.  I returned Pune on 17th September after covering more than 3000kms of just North East Region and with a century on the Burmese soil.

·        # The log was mostly voice recorded and was derived into words using Dragon NaturallySpeaking software.