5am. Man its so tough to get up. Shake myself off the lethargy of the warm cosy comforts of the bed, and get up feeling a tinge of excitement about the upcoming ride. 

6am. Down in the parking. Fixing up the haversack with bungie chords. Funny, its been so long since I have fixed the bag in this way - takes me almost 15 mins. Cramster saddlebags have spoilt me - but they are too big for just a night-halt-over kind of ride. Just as I am finishing off , i get a call from Jay - he has already reached the staring off point - Chandni Chowk in Pune. 

I headup to my house. Lock it up. Open the door again as I think I did not switch off the light, find it switched off and head back down. Put on the gear, except my gloves, which i stuff inside my jacket and move off. 

There is something exhilirating about an early morning. Some promise of something grand. A whiff of enthusiasm about a new day. I am amazed to see so many people already on the road - the sky is completely dark at this time. Kids in school uniforms waiting for busses at 6:30am near the Pashan circle as I head up towards Chandni Chowk. As I pass the army area, the chill hits the hands. Wow ! The drop in temperature was quite sudden ! 

6:40am and I am at Chandni Chowk. Jay and Somnath are there. Rishi and Narendra, the other two guys from my office are MIA. Tried to call them up, no response - they are probably on the way. The dawn is just breaking ... and I try a few shots in the semi-twilight. 

Early Morning at Chandni Chowk

The group

7:00am [ 0 kms ] Finally everyone is here, and we start off. Somnath is to lead the way , and he has been cautioned to go a bit slow as we have new riders. 80kmph speed limits and the next stop to be for breakfast. The rookies have been let in on the big plan - we ride without many stops ! Thats it. No over speeding, no racing, just very few stops. The traffic on the highway is quite sparse, and we make good time. 

8:30am [ 52kms] Stop at Ram Vade Waala for breakfast. This place is crawling with people ! I am stumped - why so much of traffic. Thats when Naren says - probably all going to Mahabaleshwar ... aah ! We quickly assess the route again - do we go through mahabaleshwar and head over to Nh17 or go via Umraj and make a turn to chiplun ? We decide on the later . The pleasures of riding with a group - new plans made constantly ! 

The ride after that was pretty simple. Nice straight highways with the run rising over the small hills on the left side. A few breaks for water and we reached Umbraj at 11:30. Hmm, we should reach chiplun by 1, so we decided to ditch having lunch there and directly go to Hedvi . Somnath called up the fellow in Hedvi and asked him to get lunch ready for us. 

Umbraj to Chiplun is ghat roads. Till halfway, the roads are bad, but around 30-40 kms before chiplun they become smooth and are fun to ride on ! On the left side is a river ( i dont know the name , and google maps does not show the river) .

Ghat Roads

Chiplun took us some time to get through. The helpful people there pointed us right at the center of the busy weekend market, where progress was at snails pace. Finally out of it and we chugged along ahead towards Hedvi. Rishi was keeping up with Somnath far ahead in the distance, while I brought up the rear. After asking directions again and again , a few turns later, we were at Hedvi. 

13:30 [288] Reached the resort in Hedvi. The less I write about it , the better - its not something I would recommend to people. Just a room to stay in, with common toilets . sigh. 

We wasted no time and called for lunch. SouthIndian style. Finshed that off and Jay and I decided to take a breather and sleep the afternoon off - and got joined by Somnath. Rishi and Naren decided to chill out under the trees near the beach. 

The trees and the sand

Finally around 4:30pm we moved onto the beach. It was still quite hot, but Jay and I were hoping for some good sunset shots - the only dampner - the clouds on the horizon. However, it were the same clouds which turned the sky into a riot of colours ! Check out the pics cause I can't describe it in words. 


Firey !

Evening went in gupshup and another round of dinner which was same as lunch. We also settled our bills there to take care of the early start, and also as we could not bear another round of the food there ! 

Next Day

Jay was to leave really early, and in the process all of us got up :) .. though we finally started off quite late around 8:30am. I took that opportunity to use the public loo before others ( ;-) ), and also to take a few shots of the dawn. Man, it feels so fresh up at that time. Pity, I don't do it more often. 

Good Morning

Breakfast stop was at Chiplun. The ghats from hedvi to chiplun are quite good, but this time, for the first time, I got a backache . Somnath gave me a couple of disprins to eat - which lasted me quite a bit almost all the way back to home. 

After that we followed the same route back. At the top of the ghats, we stopped for a photo shoot . Somnath had zoomed far ahead, and it was just the 3 of us. At that place is a police checkpost - where the chap after seeing us stop called us over to the hut. Asking for our DLs etc. Then started filling in info in their book. Luckily for us the first person he asked was Narendra... 
Officer : Whats your name ?
Naren : Narendra K
Officer : Na... ?
N : Narendra
O : Fullname ?
N : Write Narendra K
O : give full name. 
N : Narendra Katlamudi
O Writes down "Narendra K" ;-)
That was quite funny ! Then I asked the cops why they are harrasing us when we have stopped and they are not stopping the other people who just zoom past. Officer said that tomorrow is Republic Day so he has to do these things, but I guess by this time he got tired of writing down a single name, so he said ok. Being the evercheerful guy that I am , i asked if he can take a pic of ours ;) . He passed on the duty to his hawaldar, who in turn called the local shop owner and told him to take pic :D

On the way back.

The journey after that did not have much to write about. It was a very hot day though, and we had lots of water breaks. The good thing was that all 4 of us kept together almost thorughout the journey, with a  couple of dashes to break up the monotony. 

4:30pm [588kms] and we are back at my house. Somnath had parted way just before Pune, while the remaining 3 split up at my house. 

Felt good to have a trip after a long time :D

And then in the evening I went out for a short drive ;)

Pic Links : 

Police Work

Did you watch Gajhini ? Theres the scene where the heroine finds girls being taken in a train for flesh trade. Or Slumdog Millionaire where they take away young kids for begging ?

It's been a bane of society, wherever there are people you will have all sorts of miscreants also. However, its heartening to see that people are fighting the crime. 

Recently 3 minor girls aged around 12 were abducted from Sikkim. My sister, who is SP in Sikkim worked with other police agencies , tracked down the woman who had kidnapped them, co-ordinated with Delhi Police ( where the kids had been taken) and rescued them ! Awesome ! 

Quote from her email : 
Wanted to share this: we just cracked an important case. A woman here had kidnapped 3 twelve year old girls from here and taken them to delhi. Obviously for trafikking for no good purpose.We have just nabbed the accused, got 3 more accomplices, recovered all 3 girls and also rescued an 11 year old who was stuck with them.  Good to feel that this job is worth doing ... The news is in Sikkim Express check for 07/01/2008 article titled: "Four minor Sikkimese girls rescued from Delhi locality"
Way to go Sis ! You make us proud ! 

Unfortunately, Sikkim Express website is down at the time of this writing. 

2009 Wish List

First and foremost ! Welcome to the new year ! If you are from hyderabad, you will be especially excited about the new year as it ends in 9 - and Hyderabadis just love that number ! 

What were your resolutions for the year ? Great ! And now you have broken most of them ;) Ha Ha Ha ! Thats the way they are supposed to work ! 

Anyways, my post is not about resolutions. Its about a wishlist from this year. In no particular order ... 

I wish 
  • iPhone would become cheaper in India. Then i can pick up a 16GB one for 20k INR. Sweet. who cares if it does not have FM. That brings me to the next point.
  • FM channels which dish out only hindi songs should have the presenters speaking in Hindi. I just don't get it - they talk a lot in Marathi and then play a hindi song. Sounds out of sync. If you are talking in marathi please play Marathi songs. If you want to play Hindi songs, speak in Hindi. Its like you are listening to a Rock channel and the presenter starts talking in Hindi about Creed or something ! 
  • Chandni Chowk to China lives up to my expectations. I care shit about critics. Its easy to be a critic. You will get a full gamut of them in your office. 
  • The police does something to combat terrorism and make the common man's life easy, instead of treating all common people like suspects. 
  • Also I just don't get it. After each bomb scare the Traffic Police gets all pompous about PUC and NOC checks ! I wish they first learn to do their jobs and take traffic policing seriously, and be able to get better road sense into people. 
  • People should become more helpful. Currently people just dont care. Yeah. someone will leave a comment that look at how helpful mumbaikars were after the blasts. My wish is different. I wish people were helpful without having blasts to wake them up. 
  • I wish the MotoGP season rocks. I don't get turned on by the F1 cars, but the MotoGP is something I greatly like. Motorcycles in my blood you know. Which brings me to
  • the Indian motorcycle companies should launch some bikes in the 250cc segment. Currently we have low end bikes - think splendors, pulsars, or , very high end bikes - the R1, etc. I want something in the 2L bracket boasting a VTwin engine. 
  • I wish the roads become better to run the above bikes on. :) . Also if the Traffic Police do their jobs, and get people to drive sanely, and not walk on the roads, it would be a pleasure to ride/drive your machine.
  • But people will walk on the roads. There are no footpaths . I wish that the municipal officers actually start thinking that unlike them in their govt cars, people do go about their day to day activities on foot or public transport. Heres a toast to footpaths and metro system in each city of India. 
  • I wish we get a good leadership. Dr. M looks like a sweet man, but he is highly ineffectual. Does he ever talk ? Or is it Madamji doing all the talk ? I with for Rahul Gandhi to create his own party and getting younger and like minded people with him. Why are we ruled by people so old that if they were in a govt job they would be retired by now ?
  • I wish for politicians to get superannuated . Nobody above 60yrs should be allowed to run for a post. 
  • I wish India become an economic superpower ! Ha ! If we are good in economy we don't have to worry about the world suffering economic crisis
  • I wish some great new game comes up which tears me away from World of Warcraft. Well, Diablo3 is slated to be out this year. Hoping for this one ;)
  • I wish BN becomes the best place for bikers in the world. But with the current website it has, not going to happen. Do you know anyone who can sponser my pay so i can sit and code ;)
  • I wish for some great movies from Bollywood which are hatke , like RockOn. 
  • I wish for a mild summer. I don't want to get scorched. Anyone know if that would create problems with crops ? 
  • I wish PMC does something about water problem. This region gets lots of rainfall, and yet we get water cuts and powercuts. 
  • I wish people in India realize that being 1+ billion people is not an achievement to be proud of , but to be wary of. We have a limited set of resources. 
  • I wish people stop living in the glory of the past, and start creating today's glory. Be a hero day should come into effect ! 
phew ! Ran out of breath. Whats your wish list ? :D