Friday, April 24, 2009

The Maiden Trip to Goa!

Part 1

One of the most memorable trip we did was to Goa. I reached Bangalore from Palaghat on 27th January 2008. I reached there a couple of days early so that I could make a short trip to the nearby places in and around Bangalore. Bangalore is known as the Bikers Mecca as there are many beautiful places in and around Bangalore at a proximity of 200-350km.

We(Raul and I) wanted to go to Goa for a very long time but never had an opportunity to go. Impulsive that we were, we decided to hit the road to Goa. We were very excited about the very thought of this trip and we could hear the beats of the Goan music at the back of our minds. Our mission was clear and that was to reach Goa as early as possible and to head back to Chennai before 30th Jan 2008 as it was our Dads B'day so we planned to leave Bangalore early morning and reach Goa by evening, relax, enjoy and by next day afternoon leave goa and reach chennai by night and catch a train back to Chennai in the morning.

Earlier, we planned to leave on 27th night itself but as our bike was Tamilnadu registered, we would find the Karnataka Cops harassing us for documents. So we decided to get a photocopy of our vehicle papers and get it attested by the gazetted officer in the morning and leave by 10am. Unfortunately we couldn't find a gazetted officer in time as we were new to the city. We went to the Court to get the photocopy attested by a public notary. This process of getting it attested took away our precious time of riding and reaching Goa by evening.

Things weren't going according to our plan and our decision to take precautions on the bike papers cost us a lot of precious time. We started from Bangalore by 12pm and on our way we had our brunch and also filled up the One Eyed Jack(Raul's P180). I was taken aback by the fuel capacity of Raul's sweetheart. She drank 19 litres of petrol to be full tank as compared to my honey whose maximum intake is 14 litres! We put petrol for roughly 900 bucks and spend about 50-60 INR for brunch. We had 3 plates Idli and Sambar each. We then rode our way and just din't want to stop until we reach Goa. We had to go through the Golden Quadrilateral road which is breath taking and of international standards. As I rode Raul's babe, I recalled the roads on which I used to travel along with my father in his car. The national highways those days were smaller and we had to face on-coming traffic too. But now, there is no on-coming traffic and and the entire width of the highway has been expanded six folds. Should say thanks to the awesome leader who initiated the Golden Quadrilateral. On the way we saw so many wind mills spread across horizon. We saw a all new landscape. We could see the difference of the new emerging India. We were happy, proud and excited.

After riding continuously for three-four hours were feeling hungry and I wanted to have some awesome Punjabi food from an Asli(Pure) Punjabi Dhaba. We imagined the Dhaba to be where there would be lots of charpoys and lots of truck drivers around but we were amazed to find out that there were absolutely no Punjabi Dhaba at all for a brief stretch of well laid road. It was only after 80 km from Chitradurga that we finally found a Punjabi Dhabha and by the time we reached there it was 4.30pm. I was so happy that we finally found out a Asli Punjabi Dhaba. The only difference was that there was no charpoy and the original Dhaba look was missing. It was a modernised version of the highway Dhaba. Anyway, the food was delicious and it was tasty. We had Butter Chicken and Naan with Thumps Up. Damn! That did fill our hungry stomach and it cost us less than INR 200/-

We then decided not to halt anywhere and head straight to Goa! The time was 5.30pm and it was getting dark. The Dhaba owner advised us, not to proceed beyond Karwar once its dark. He was speaking to me in Punjabi as if my mother tongue was Punjabi! All I said was Satsriakal Praji! Goa jana rasta ki hai? and replied to me back in shudh(pure) Punjabi and I pretended as if I knew to speak Punjabi very well! Raul asked me "What did he say?" to which I replied that the road isn't that good and there could be scoundrels who could trouble us. We thanked him for his valuable advice and were wondering as to whom he was referring to as "scoundrels". Being typical Men from Mars, we decided to take on the lousy scoundrels and teach them a task if they trouble us. We were in no mood to halt in any other place other than Goa. That being our mission we reached Haveri wherein we had to take a diversion and take left to reach Karwar. We were advised by all those to whom we asked the direction that the road ahead isn't that good and it is advisable to go in daylight rather than risk your life in the dark and that there are Dacoits who would block the road and harm you and loot you including your bike! It then occurred to the me what the Sardarji at the Dhaba warned us and could relate the scoundrels to the Dacoits. I cautioned Raul and told him the situation. We didn't have that extra money and didn't have sufficient time to pull over at a hotel either. We decided to carry on and face the challenge and see at things when it occurs.

It was pitch dark and P180's headlight isn't that powerful as Bajaj Avenger's headlight. The road were narrowing and it had lots of potholes. Our excitement was on a all time high as we were expecting some high action drama with the Dacoits[:p]. On the way we came through a 'Y' junction wherein we saw one road was pretty errie, dark and isolated. We could see no soul on that road. We wanted to take that road not taken but our intuitions kept us away from taking that road. That road could have been a perfect ambush laid by the Daciots. We were confused as to which road we were supposed to take and so we went back and asked some on going drivers as to how to reach Goa and they asked us to go through the haunted road. We almost took their word and was about to take the road not taken when the high beam of our P180 hit on some couple of people(villagers) who were actually waiting for some mode of transportation to take them to their village and the way they were staring at us like zombies. Damn! This scene did remind both of us of the infamous Zee Horror Show! I asked Raul to reverse back and get back to the nearby village where there were lots of lorries stationed and we went half way and asked the drivers to guide us to west coast road which was the straight road that we had to take instead of taking a right one. After this incident, the warning given by the Sardarji and the locals who guided us the way kept haunting us and we were gauging on the risk we were taking. Just to buck up the our mind, we took the Swiss knife attached to the bike key and kept it ready for any unforeseen encounter with some tribal instinct Daciots. We had full faith in our small Swiss made pen knife that would take care of our basic defense. We had prepared ourselves mentally for a clash with the Dacoits and damn, all we could think was Viru and Jay of Sholay fame[:D]. We cautiously followed trucks which were heading to the west coast road. I must confess, this experience was one of a kind for both of us.

The road was swirling with lots of hair pin curves and it was dense forest that surrounded us. We realised that we were suddenly catching up with some altitude and we could feel ourselves shivering as we didn't expect the temperatures to dip so low. It was very cold and no one expected the weather to change so drastically. We thank Global Warming for this sudden change in weather. The jackets we were wearing was not that effective at all as I was wearing my favorite worn off wrangler jean jack with the Harley Davidson logo. Damn! I love my jean jack but it was definitely not helping me shield the cold wind which was shivering me up so badly. To get the warmth we followed the trucks but it was a bit boring and moreover the road was dusty and so we went at our comfortable pace and crossed many trucks. There were moments when there were no trucks in the near vicinity and all in that road was this P180 and two biker brothers in between the dense forest and beautiful starry starry night. We could breath easy with no pollution in the air at all. We switched off the headlights for couple of seconds to feel and admire the pitch darkness and the bright starry night in the middle of dense forest. God! it was so beautiful. We were feeling as if we were astronauts gazing at the billions of stars up above the sky. It is advisable that you don't try this on the highway and get yourself injured and then blame us for your misadventure!

We reached the West Coast Road and I was thrilled by looking over the huge dark sea. We reached Karwar, which was bustling with activities. There was a fair going on. I then thought that we reached Goa but was disappointed when I saw advertisement hoardings written in Kannada! We were very hungry and our bike almost ran out of fuel. We found out from the petrol bunk that Goa is an hours or so ride from there. The time was almost 10.30pm and we were running out of our own battery. Had to charge ourselves up at some restaurant but the thought of having dinner at Goa, kept our spirits alive! We could hear the Goan Music calling us from the distant. Our pace drastically slowed down and we just couldn't go more than 60kmph, solely because we were almost frozen. Everything seemed to me like a slow motion picture. We couldn't see any distance information signboard for a long time. Fatigue and tiredness were taking a toll on both the mortals who felt like immortals when they're on a ride! After covering a long distance we finally saw the signboard which mentioned "thank you and visit again". We reached the toll gate. We were cautious as we approached the toll gate and the cops didn't bother us. We reached the no mans land and crossed the borders of Karnataka.

Yes, we did it. We reached GOA without a hitch at 11.45pm. A part of the Mission ACCOMPLISHED! We were so happy and glee that we thought its party time and we were dreaming of Goan chicks at the beach side dancing in front of the bonfire and singing Goan music. Damn! We just didn't know from where we got this new found energy! Unfortunately, it was all short lived! Just when I was imagining that I would take off my Jean Jack once I'm in Goa and enjoy the pleasant weather, hell froze over and out of the blue, I felt that I was sitting inside a refrigerator, the Weather God was so cruel that I was almost frozen. This situation reminded me of Tom getting thrown out by Jerry during winter when its snowing badly and Tom turns out to be pale and then gets frozen. I was literally in that condition. When we first saw a resto-bar kind of place, by the looks of it I thought, nay no ways but then when the locals there said that all restaurants would be closed by 11pm! We had no other choice. We did regret that we were 45 minutes late but could not help it. We made up our mind and had what ever was available in that resto bar. At first, the bar owner said that there was no food available and after looking at our plight, he managed to give us the last two plates of typical Goan food! To fight cold and to get warm I thought of having some rum, so had couple of pegs. There were couple of young lads who were around who inquired our details from us. We told them about the rides Raul and I have done separately. They got excited and wanted to join us for the forth coming rides. I said sure and made new friends on the spot and asked them to lend me a cigarette shamelessly as the bar owner didn't have any stocks left of the brand I wanted and these young lads were so sweet that they obliged. We told them about the Avenger Biking Club and told them that we belong to the Bikers Fraternity. Considering the cold that I had to bear, I got myself half bottle of Rum and paid the resto-bar owner INR 400.

I was in no condition to ride but sat quietly behind as a pillion rider and took a sip when ever I felt cold. We crossed a check post where the cops were asking us to stop but by their gesture we thought that they asked us to move on so we didn't stop at the first check post. After a long chilly ride we came across another check post and there too the cops did the same action but shouted. we stopped and replied the cops and showed them the documents. The cops felt that we were running away from them but later after checking the documents they seemed satisfied and guided us to the way to go to the nearest hotel. Finally we reached Madgaon at 3am and took a room in hotel. I was like a zombie then and all I cared was to hit the sack at the earliest and snore myself to glory. We then made plans where to go in the morning and by what time we should leave and whom to meet.


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