Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Gokarna Trip

Gokarna (24-27 Jan 09)
One lazy sunday afternoon after a heavy lunch, I headed back to my room to surf the net when I happened to find an old friend, online on gtalk. We ended up drawing comparisons of the carefree lifestyles we had, not that long ago in college and the monotonous lifestyle one has at work. We chatted for a while after which he left as he had to go some place. This small chat got me re-visiting the video clippings and pictures I had taken in the past. One video clip of mine had opened just as my brother entered the room. The video clip was taken on the shores of Calangute Beach, Goa on Jan (27-29) 2008 where both of us brothers were in a state of euphoria as we did something we had never done before. As my brother approached, we got completely engrossed in the video that we couldn't hear mom calling aloud, from the living room. As soon as the video clipping ended, I looked at my bro and gave him that signature smile of mine flashing my teeth just the way the cow does in an Orbit chewing gum ad and he gave me a nod to show he was game to whatever I had on my mind.

There were friends of mine who had already been to Gokarna and said the place was not like any other tourist spot, not a place where you have scores of holidayers littering and loitering around. So I went ahead and zeroed in on this place after a bit of googling and calculating how much we would have to shell out for the trip. We called up all the bikers we knew in Bangalore, some couldn't make it as they said Gandhi would never stay with them. Well that was the case with us too. Thank the Holy Lord for who ever made Plastic cards to help you when Gandhi bhai is at bay!

We planned it in such a way that our trip would start on the 24th jan(Sat) and wind up on the 26th Jan(mon). But it was hard to follow these timelines as we met with obstacles one after the other. I left from my work place early on Friday, and the only thing that was running on my mind was the thought of me, riding on my baby in that never ending road to nowhere. I had my dinner. Mom was in no mood to send her sons away for the weekend. I could see that clearly written on her face. Though equally as supportive as Dad, she has to be comforted by both her boys. A little bit of Jaadu ka jhapi and pappi(Bear hug and kiss) does the trick. After taking her blessings, both of us brothers started our trip at 3 a.m in the morning. We filled our tanks at the nearby gas station and were then off to the Bangalore Highway (NH-4). While I rode on the smooth 6 lane tarmac, I thanked the Vajpayeeji govt for making the Golden Quadralateral! Both of us were enjoying every bit of the ride towards B'lore.

We kept a steady pace and were able to reach the outskirts of B'lore by 8am. After crossing the Electronic city at a snail's pace, bro's avenger bike started facing problems. Stopping at Bhansankhari to leave the bike for service, we went to a kerala hotel we normally go to for breakfast whenever we come for rides via B'lore. Manoj and his other pals had started from their homes to Tumkur and had called me up to enquire as to where we had reached. I told them about the issue we had with Sandy's bike, and asked them to wait at Mahendra Dhaba, opp. to Cafe Coffee Day for the next 2 hours. They reached the spot at 10 a.m, and eventually had to wait till 4 in the evening. As the time kept ticking and the work hadn't started on Avy baby, I asked Sandy, at noon, to go ahead, pick Niki on my One eyed Jack (Pulsar 180) , and leave for Tumkur.

By around 1.30 p.m, the Avy Baby was ready to rock and roll. I had actually received loads of calls by that time from the fellas who were waiting for us in Tumkur. I told them that Sandy would be reaching them soon and we could hit Tumkur at exactly 3 p.m. Just after speaking to Manoj however, I got a call from my Bro (Sandy) saying that he hadn't got a clue as to how to reach Tumkur from where he was. I asked him to somehow find his way to Forum and wait for me. It felt as if luck wasn't favoring us at all. Then half way down to Forum, Avy baby stops all of a sudden. What more could you ask for huh? If I had a gun at that point of time, I would have literally become an insane bloke going on a Killing spree, just like Kasab did! Thank god! My parents had sent me for the yoga classes when I had no idea what I could gain out of it. Trust me, Meditation does come to use.

I then pushed the bike to the nearby mechanic shop, and guess what! The mechanic had just gone out for lunch. This is more than enough for a sane person to go insane. I was glad that atleast I made a good decision by asking the guys to wait for us at a Dhaba and not on an open highway. I must really say, these guys were very cooperative and did not talk about it when we reached the spot and thus prevented us from having a spoilt trip. Lucky for me, Sandy came to the spot along with Niki when I was enquiring as to when the mechanic would reach. Sandy insisted that we go back to Bhanshankari and I would say, as I believed then, that would only eat up on our time. I had no more strength in me to clarify the difference in opinion and started walking down the street in search of mechanic shop on a sunny afternoon. I was thoroughly exhausted and so were Niki and Sandy who were hoping against hope to see the mechanic turn up from Lunch as soon as possible. When I almost gave up hope of finding a mechanic, I happened to turn towards my right to see The CASTROL BIKEZONE. I called them up and soon the mechanic was inspecting the Avy. He found that there was a short circuit on the wires and got the bike roaring in a jiffy. We thanked the mechanic profusely as i thought they were slight chances of us going downto Gokarna, if this is how things continued! The next problem we were yet to face was the Bangalore traffic. We took a short cut and reached the spot when the guys in Tumkur were about to leave.

From there, we took off to Gokarna. Since a lot of time was lost we rode for hours together. We got lost midway and we couldn't see few of the other bikers on the rear view mirror. We called them up to give them our location as we stopped at a nearby tea shop for biscuit and tea. That's where we actually got to know the new bikers. From the Bangalore side, we had Manoj(Regular) Adi(Regular) and the rest were newbies. Their first trip with the Bikers Fraternity! They are Ritu, Shayek, Tyagi and a dude who's name I dont recollect now. These guys were on a Hero Honda Karishma and 2 pulsars. In total, we had 5 bikes and 9 bikers.We started again, and told the new the basic rules they would have to adhere to in order to ensure track on every other rider, making sure not to lose anyone. 10 minutes after we left the tea shop, we faced another obstacle.This time being a puncture on Shayek's pulsar 150. Lucky for us, this happened right in front of a puncture shop. We knew that things were not going to work the way we wanted it to, so we decided not to worry much on the timelines. After 30 odd minutes, we started again from that village.We kept riding for another 4 odd hours and decided to halt at a dhaba somewhere near Shimoga.Thats when Sandy, Niki and I had something after our breakfast. It did recharge our batteries and off we were again having another 250 odd kms more to cover. It was a very chilly night, so that again the journey was delayed due to our regular stops. Shayek was at his very best, cracking jokes when everyone else's lips were cracked up (thanks to the weather)! We seriously needed some laughter and Shayek did what he is best at.

At around 3 a.m or so, we halted at an isolated place and everyone wanted to lie down for a while. I went straight to a stone slab and laid down like a dead body for the next 20 mins. This was good enough. We saw a Chai wallah (a guy who sells tea) on his bicycle the sight of which gave us the energy to get moving. I had been riding my bike all the way from chennai and thought I could touch the west coastline. But then, at around 20 odd kms fromGokarna, I gave the bike to another biker pal and I sat pillion on sandy's avenger allowing myself a catnapwhile he rode closer towards our destination. 30 mins later, around 6.30 a.m we found ourselves in the front of the OM beach. We went down to Namaste Cafe only to hear that they didn't have rooms. Well I guess that's what happens on a Sunday. We went aroundasking the localites who directed us to Kudle Beach. This place, I must say is paradise. There are very few people on this beach, 90% of them being foreigners. It's a pleasant thing to watch the ladies in their bikinis having fun in the sun. We finally got a shack, few yards away from the beach. The place we stayed in was Dragons Cafe. Although rooms were not available, we told them we would wait for one. I directly hit the sack and slept away to glory along side Sandy while the others went to the beach for a swim with the firangs. Waking up at around 11 a.m, I headed for a swim.

By the time I got back, I was so hungry, I could have eaten a roast turkey all by myself. I ordered the mix sizzlers and some Iranian specialities which are very common over there. Adi and I went on a boat ride to Paradise beach at around 4.30 p.m and we ended up meeting his colleague over there. The boat ride was awesome and we saw many dolphins having fun inthe mighty arabian sea. There were some friendly Germans too, with whom we chatted for a while. On our return to Kudle beach, we could see the other bikers huddled up at one corner where they were watching a Hippy (Foreigner) performing magic tricks. Later on in the night, after a sumptuous Iranian dinner, we had a bonfire near the seashore. As our group members started singingsongs one after the other, many firangis began joining us. It was really a night to remember. I liked the songs sung by this "hippy turned Hindu sadhus" couple singing the bhajans; certainly makes one get into a psychedelic trance. We wound up at around 2am and slept soon after. On the 26th Jan 2009 at around 7.30 a.m, Sandy, Niki and I left Kudle beach while the others planned to stay for an extra day. We wanted to ride on the Western coast road, as I had heard we could pass through a famous Shiv temple at Murdeshwar, and then a stretch of road where one would get to see the lake on the right and the sea facing the left side ( a must see) and further down would be the Udipi known for the the Dosas and Idlis. After taking blessings from Lord Shiv and having our breakfast there, the next stop was at Manipal where I was to meet a school friend ofmine. I had promised her a year earlier when we were on our Goa trip that we would visit her,but unfortunately we couldn't make it for varied reasons.

At around 5 p.m we met her near Kasturba Medical College, went to the nearby hotel with her and had a good time talking about the things we used to do in school while we gobbled down what ever came to the table. Sandy and I liked the place so much that we told her we would return again soon. On our way to Mangalore, I missed Sandy on one of those crowded streets at Udipi. I asked Niki to call him and find out where he was. We got him on the line and asked for his location. He told us that he was near the Highway. Since we were not familiar with the place, and neither were there any shops or boards indicating the location, it was a safer bet to ask him to proceed and stop at a signboard which showed that it was 40kms from Mangalore.

We met sandy at the planned spot and left for Mangalore. 20 kms from Mangalore, I saw a Volvo bus from the opposite direction almost blocking me at high speeds. The driver could see me coming, but did not bother to slow down at all. I'm sure it would have been a head on collision if I assumed that he would retract to his side of the road. Not losing my concentration, I applied both the brakes and movedtowards the edge of the tar road. My heart was in my mouth and that Killer Bus just brushed the right hand rear view mirror and that sure did give a tremor to the whole bike. As i was desperately trying to handle my bike preventing it from falling off, I saw a goods carriage Van a stones throw away parked on my side of the road. It was a sure crash as it was very difficult to tame the bike that too on the gravel road. I had only two choices, either to bang the vehicle ahead and get severly injured or jump off the vehicle. I did the latter and survived the accident without a scratch! I thought the bike would face the brunt, but lucky as I was my baby escaped without much damage. The crash guard took the hit and the left side rear view mirror cracked up a bit. By the time I could get my baby started, Sandy and Niki just stopped to see if I was alright. Sandy just couldn't control his anger and wanted to chase the bus driver and give him a sound thrashing. I had to pacify the angry young man and that took quite some time to calm him down. I told him that we would only waste time & energy by chasing him. It would only make matters worse, considering the fact we had 350 odd kms to travel that night.

We started from the point and reached Mangalore by around 7 p.m. We had to skip the Fish fry which Niki wanted so badly, as we were losing time. Still 340 odd kms to travel, we had to skip on all the short breaks we wereto take. The ride from Mangalore to Hassan was the most challenging route we had ever done at night. We got a feel as to how it would be, if one rode his bike on the moon. There were big pot holes everywhere, and to top itall, the dust and the mist combined made one lethal weapon. And for company, we had the Big truckers who covered us with dust as they passed by. We were riding our bikes as slow as we could, to avoid any hit on our bikes.

Sooner than we thought, we had landed ourselves with yet another problem. Sandy's bike took a hit in one of those majorpot-holes. His gear lever bent and he couldn't change his gears. We didnt want to stop in the middle of no where. We decided to move on. He was riding on first gear for 10 odd minutes till we found some shop on the way.We eventually stopped at a Petrol bunk, asked the attendants there if they could help us and so they called in for a mechanic friend of theirs who ended up meeting us an hour later. I knew for sure there was no way we could reach chennai if we faced such obstacles every other hour. I called home and told them the situation. They told us to ride home safely. Sandy was figuring out whether he could do something about it, taking out his tool kit and getting into action. Niki was completely exhausted, would have been wondering how her dream 1st ride with the Bikers Fraternity was turning out to be. I could see the frustration written right on her face, and knew she would blow up any minute.

Right next to the petrol bunk, we had a resto-bar. I went there and got a fosters to chill us. And boy did it calm the Angry young woman. The mechanic turned at the spot while I was having the last sip of Fosters. I had only very little to drink. Damn! The mechanic did what he is best at, and within 10 odd minutes, the Avy baby was roaring back again! We paid him 100 bucks as we left the spot by 9 p.m after filling fuel on both the bikes. Didnt want to take a chance of running out of fuel. The road was horrible for the next 50-60 kms and it took us 3 hours get through. By 12 a.m we stopped near a hotel. It was a chilly night! We had some Chai and good day biscuits to keep us warm. The initial plan was to ride the whole night, but it was quite a daunting task and seemed nearly impossible, the Chilly weather breaking our determination.

We checked into a hotel at 3 a.m and booked a room for us. We crashed into our beds,set the alarms for 6.45 a.m and got ourselves checking out at 7.15 a.m after settling out the room's payment. We started from Hassan and were riding for the next 3 hours without stopping anywhere. The roads were relatively better, and we wanted to cover as much distance as we could. By 11 a.m we reached Mahindra Dhaba at Tumkur where we had started the trip. Here Niki, Sandy and I were ended up lying down for about an hour from 11.00 to 11.45 a.m. After that small break, 'a road nap', I rode to Bangalore which was about a 50 km ride from the Mahindra dhaba, while Sandy decided to stay in Bangalore and get his bike fixed. I was in a hurry because I had to work the same day in Chennai. My log-in time was at 2.30 p.m. Since I was already running late, I decided, 'why not meet my friends from Accenture, Bangalore, while I still was at Bangalore'. And so I called them up, and I took the express highway, reaching Banalghata at 1.00 p.m. Here I met up with my friends and after a good chit chat, hit the highway again, at 1.45 p.m. I rode on, stopping only at a place near Krishnagiri to quench my thirst and I bought some chicken too, relished it, and then headed straight for Chennai. Maintaining a constant speed 0f 80-100 kmph, I managed to reach Chennai around 6.15 p.m. As I was full of grime and soot, I took a quick shower, refreshened and rushed back to office, so as not to miss atleast my half day's work.

It was a great trip, and even though we did face difficulties, all the fun we had made up for everything. There was always a joke to laugh at and a challenge to face and that was what made this trip whole.

3 comments:

  1. looks like u guys had a gr8 trip indeed :)

    next time u r at hosur road, take the peripheral road to mysore road or tumkur road to save time. its not worth crawling thru the city

    i was reminded of some of my bike trips / treks couple of yrs back. and yeah ... i already feel old :(

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  2. hehe............ trust me...... you are never too old for any ride/trek

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  3. looks like you had loads of fun...my wife and I had fun in Gokarna..check out the pics and details of the trip at http://radhika-mybeautifulwife.blogspot.com/

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