September 27, 2005

The Trip to Nowhere - Part 2

Contrary to expectations, I did manage to get up early to get going on my trip. The sun was still hiding behind the mountains, when I gathered my gear and pushed off towards NH-4 which would take me towards Mahabaleshwar. There were no signs of rain, and it seemed like an awesome day to travel.

To reach Mahabaleshwar, I took the Pune-Satara highway, or the NH-4 for short, and kept following it till I got to Surul, where somebody had put up a board for me which said that I needed to take a right to go to Mahabaleshwar. So, I moved inwards, and could see the roads getting smaller, though still in very good shape.

I realized there that making the roads on the Ghats, was also an artform, though not too many people recognize or appreciate it. Throughout my trip, there were hardly any bends where it was difficult to make the turn. In most places, tilting the bike was enough to take you around without crossing your lane, and the fact that the same road was also used as easily by 14 wheelers, was commendable. I wonder if they make 3D models before actually setting foot on the hills to make those roads. They would make good models for a desi version of need for speed.

Within three hours I was standing outside Mapro in Mahabaleshwar. Amongst the fog, and the cold breeze, I had a thick strawberry shake. While strolling and talking to people around I found out that strawberries would be available three months late this year, thanks to the unprecedented amount of rainfall. Right outside Mapro I met a jyotish who spent a quality fifteen minutes with me, delivering a well rehearsed lecture on my future. Though I would keep most it to myself, I came to know that i'm going a have a very good time after March 2006. He also gave me a strange orange coloured stone with a lot of holes in it, which he said would make me a lot luckier, as if I need any more luck. Imagine getting all of this just for a cup of tea. So with good luck and knowing that I was going to have a good future, I started moving towards Poladpur.

The trip to poladpur seemed like travelling in pune. The roads were literally non-existant, and there were just some traces that a road might have existed there in some distant past. After an unevntful fourty kilometres and beautiful landscapes, I reached poladpur, where I hit the NH-17, coming from Mumbai.

Time passed quickly on the highway, except when I stopped to watch the aftermath of the two accidents that had occured last night. Soon I was in Khed, fifty kilometres from Chiplun, talking with a fellow motorist over a cup of tea. He was an experienced driver, with a lot of stories, from his travels. Someday, I wondered I would have some interesting ones of my own too. It was there that I realized that I had lost my headlight on the way, and my bike really needed to be washed. On looking at it, most people assumed I had been travelling from Delhi, as my registration and the state of my bike indicated. I didn't care enough to dispell the wrong notion which they carried, for it wasn't my making in the first place and secondly I would never see them again. After some talking I was told that I could find all the fixes for my bike in Chiplun, so after a quick break, and picking up some advice and a lot of stories, I was on my way again.

Chiplun wasn't half interesting as it's name suggested. Neither did the Yamaha showroom there give me anything that I needed. So I just picked up three spare bulbs to take me home. I wasted close to an hour there, after which I pushed off to the closest beach, before it was time to start on my way back.

The nearest beach was Guhagar beach, another small insignificant part of Maharshtra, another road less travelled, another fifty kilometres, another hour of driving and another hour of watching nature, as it should be seen. On reaching the beach, the first thing that I did was to look for some beer, which has become some sort of a personal ritual for me. First it was in college, when we went to goa, then it was every weekend of that one year in sydney, and now I was here today, looking for some. But unfortunately there was nothing, except a plate of bhel on this god forsaken beach. But some good samaritan told me that it'd be available in Chiplun. So in order to keep up my good mood, I picked up my bike and drove back fifty kilometres, picked up a bottle of Kingfisher and came right back to the beach, and enjoyed my beer and the beach just the way I had imagined last night, and travelled 400 kilometres for today.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The rest of the photographs can be found at this site