Friday, 12 April 2019

From “Wow, Again!” to “Not Again!”

“Propose me in a way no one, who knows you, would expect from you” – she said. Wow, that’s a tough one but as Barney would say – “Challenge accepted!” I had only managed to say that I liked her a lot and chuckled inside that her wanting a proposal meant ‘Yes’. Now, I just had to think out of my box.

Sandhya, or Sandy was my ex-colleague. She was a chirpy, bubbly girl in my office. Her being the only one my age in the team made us bond easily. We were the little sparrows in the world of friendly hens and harsh cuckoos. We had lunches together and those were quite fun times. The tiffins and views we shared were extremely different. She was frank, rather too outspoken while I was the reserved kind. She prepared well-cooked meal while I would bring half-cooked vegetables (I was still learning at that time) or rather have thali in the canteen. I loved biking all around the city while she liked relaxing at home on the weekends. You would say opposites should have attracted but I was completely absorbed in my own one-sided romance, oblivious from rest of the world.

There is not much value given to the newbies in an organization. One afternoon, she came to my desk and cried. Everyone sitting around was gazing sharply at me. I was feeling awkward with the judgemental eyes staring on me. I took her outside and there were more prying eyes. She kept sobbing and telling the discussion with her manager and I stood there silently listening to her. I wanted to hug her and say everything would be fine, but I did not. Sometimes, I regret that I could not even console her when she needed. After half an hour, she was calm again. The next day, she resigned. For the first time, I felt her presence in my life and realized soon there would be absence. She got a job soon and on her last day in office, I wrote couple of lines for her in my blog – “Jab baat dil me koi nahi”

Soon after, my first one-sided affair became two-sided when both of us started ignoring each other. Couple of months later, I got a friend request from Sandhya on facebook. There was an instant connect with her after this long gap. For a long time, we discussed each other’s life through calls and messages. After a year, we decided to meet. We met for the first-time outside office and spent four hours in that coffee shop. I regret not knowing more about her during our lunches.

After my last heart-ache, I had never thought even in my dreams that my heart would flutter again. Her calls made my heart content and meeting her was a bliss. I always was my own self with her which I might only be with my close friends. I had a very surreal feeling with her, something very magical and different. May be the feeling was mutual as she also loved to hang out with me. May be that is why it felt so real. I might be falling in love all over again. Wow, all over again!

I even wrote a poem, but I did not give her. I had a feeling I was not ready yet -

Unfortunately, I can’t!

Today, I had this thought
Suddenly, just out of the blue
Oh girl, I like you a lot
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you!

Our views and tiffins were so different
I miss those fun times at lunch
It was hard to see, spread your wings
And fly so distant from our bunch.

Nowadays, when we talk
I lose track of the time
You make my heart skip a beat
It’s a feeling so sublime.

I wish to talk to you every day
I have so many things to pour
I want to listen to you endlessly
I want our relationship to soar.

I know some dreams are dreams
The above is just my rant
I wish I could help myself
Unfortunately, I can’t!

Couple of months ago, she was shopping for her cousin’s wedding and one dress she tried made my mouth open, but I did not have words to compliment her. When she asked for the second time how she looked, I broke from my sense of dreaminess and said – “I like you!” Now, her mouth was open, and she had nothing to say. She quietly went back, changed and we came out of the shop. For few minutes, we did not say anything. Then she said let’s talk over lunch. I was relieved that she wanted to talk. We went inside a less populated restaurant and she asked what I just did. Now, I had not planned anything - it was on the go, at the spur of the moment. I told her that I had started to have some feelings for her which were blurted out today. She smiled, just a little, for the first time in last half an hour. Then she put the condition to propose in a different way, in a way out of my character. It was my turn to smile, a big one though.

Coming back to the present day, 2 months have passed since she asked for the proposal and nothing has clicked in my rusty, little brain. All the proposal ideas on youtube or the Korean movies I watch are not proving of any help either. She had put a condition that she would only meet me on the day I was ready to propose. The number of calls and messages we shared have declined too. Yesterday was her birthday and she did not meet me. She has not picked up any of my calls from today morning. Feels like Déjà vu all over again! Oh please, not again!!!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Diary of a motorcycle

Hello everyone, I am new to this world and am still learning its maneuvers and honking and gliding between the traffic and many more such adventure tricks. My life started a month ago with this cool kinda guy. He never rode me anywhere else apart from home to office and back until the day I got some numbers on my bum. The next day, he rode me all through the city painting his face like a clown. It looked like everyone on the street was in same mood flying colours through the air, but he made sure I was safe from all those colourful hazards. "I like him!"

That day I heard him say to someone that we were going on a bike trip to Daman and may be Rann of Kutch if everything goes well. I don't know much about those places, but this should be fun, and I was excited - "Yay, my first road trip!" What more can a bike dream of! Servicing - check, shiny teflon coating on my body - check, petrol tank full - check - "Yup, I am ready to roll!" The next morning, Rocky came wearing bandana, helmet, goggles, jacket, gloves, boots and what not. “Man, I envy him. So many accessories for the trip and just a fancy key chain for me!

He started my engine and we started our trip but wait . . . “Hey, hey, hey! Mumbai is on the opposite direction! Where are we going? I think he might have to buy something for the journey.” We have been on the highway for last 2 hours and I don’t think he is going to turn towards Mumbai ever. “Am I stuck with an idiot or something?” Although I am enjoying the wind on my shield and my tires burning on the highway, it does not feel like a fun trip. I am in complete blind for what our destination is. We are just driving endlessly on the Pune-Bangalore highway. “Maybe we are going to Bangalore!” My realization of the destination was short lived when we took a sudden right turn from Karad. “You just can’t have any expectations from this guy!

Now we have left the highway and are going through narrow roads in remote villages. He was not slowing down even on those kachcha-pakka roads. I was having butterflies in my engine on those sudden twists and turns with chicken and dogs running loose aimlessly on the road. Suddenly, I came to a halt. “OMG, there is no road ahead!” He checked for an alternate route on the map but there was none. He felt sorry for me but started to go ahead. “Hey mister, I am not going on this disastrous, broken path full of rocks and stones . . . Ouch Ouch ouch OUCH!!!” Well, that continued for a long 2-3 kilometers. Let me tell you all something – he might have travelled on far worse paths while travelling to Hyderabad, but this was no fun for me either. I felt pity for that old pulsar of his. I can’t imagine what that poor old thing might have felt with two of the mankind riding over it for 70 long torturous kilometers. After riding for an hour or two through those villages, we finally hit the main road again. I think I know where we are heading as we are riding on the Kolhapur-Ratnagiri highway.

The sun is on our heads now but moving in the shade of tall trees on both sides of the road protected us for quite a long time. A little while later, ghat section started and I had some beautiful views of the villages from the top. “I am loving it. This trip is going great!” An hour later, we finally reached Ratnagiri and had a little rest in our hotel. In the evening, we went to the Gateway of Ratnagiri on the Mandavi beach. He spent an hour on the beach and another half exploring the main market which was on the way to our hotel. Finally, we called it a day and retired. “Hey! Where are you going, leaving me unlocked? I just can’t believe how careless this person is!

I could not sleep for the whole night, worried dead of what might happen if someone else comes to know that I am unlocked. He realized his mistake in the morning but fortunately, I had been safe. My only solace was the police jeep parked next to me who kept telling me to keep calm and not to worry due to its presence. We started off with no destination in mind. Rocky just wanted to see the harbor and we rode wherever the paths led us. We reached the harbor soon and turned towards a narrow trail with sea on one side and coconut trees on the other for as far as I could see. It was a lovely path to ride on until we reached some village and started to get nasty stares. We thought it was time to turn back. Next, we went to the Ratnadurg fort. The view of sea from the heights of the fort was cool when Rocky spotted a harbor he had to go at any cost. “This person is obsessed with things I understand very little.

This harbor of his might be a new one as it was not showing on the maps. Rocky was driving based on his intuition and with the proximity to the fort. We drove through some fishermen’s village and we both had to stop our breaths for a while. He was able to find the harbor within some time. “Yaay, here we come. O O not again, there is no road ahead. You can go alone if you want to. Please please please, I don’t want to go!” None of my pleads were heard this time too and we reached his deserted harbor. Though the view was beautiful, the solitude rather desertion of the place did not appeal to my taste. Then, we returned to our hotel and rested for a while. In the evening we went to Bhatye beach and he enjoyed the beach, the crowd and sea-side delicacies. It was time to retire as tomorrow was a big day.

The next morning, we rode to Ganpatipule. The weather was pleasant and the roads empty. The ghats had a lovely view and Rocky stopped at a couple of points from the top of ghats to take my photo with the sea in the background. “I have started to like this guy. He has been taking only my photos during the whole journey.” Rocky visited the Ganpatipule temple and did quad-biking on the sea-shore. It was quite a clean and calm beach. For our return journey, Rocky had already made a mental note of couple of points where we could ride till the shore. We rode till the sea side at Aare view point. At Aare Ware beach, he went for a walk along the shore. This was a very long empty beach with crystal clear water. Finally, he decided to return but, on the way, saw a hoarding of Harsha Scuba Diving and I was turned towards the diving site. “This guy is very impulsive for adventure.

He left me in the sun for doing scuba diving and I decided to make the most of it. I stretched my tires and had a great sun bath, lying on the shore, waiting for my idiot companion to return from having a fun dive. I later realized it was a good decision on his part that he didn’t take me for diving as god knows what might have happened if water went inside my lungs, sorry engine. I take my words back. He might not be that idiot after all. We returned to our hotel in the evening. “This trip is going great. I am loving it!

Next morning, we started off before dawn bidding goodbye to Ratnagiri. For an hour, the decision felt like a wrong one as the dense fog made visibility low and difficult to ride. With the sun, we came back to the highway on our way to Bangalore. The long endless stretch of highway, the wind on my face, light sun, vast fields on both sides of the road – all of these felt like a dream run. It felt awesome till noon when the sun started to compete and my whole viewpoint changed. It started to look like long endless stretch of road, large barren lands on both sides, sun glaring at its peak and no dhabas or petrol pumps on the highway making it boring and tiresome.

On the way, we were stopped by few people in white dress in some fancy vehicle with a red siren for speeding. Rocky initially tried to convince them otherwise but gave up after a little while. They were asking for some fine from him, but Rocky told he did not want any red mark on my character yet as I was a new bike. “I think I am falling in love with this guy!” One uncle with a big belly sitting inside the red siren vehicle laughed and let us go. By the evening, I covered 750 long kilometers to Bangalore and I was exhausted. We somehow reached Rocky’s brother’s place after lots of mis-directions by Google aunty. “Ab aur koi adventure nahi chahiye babaji. Boring bana do ji iss trip ko!” I was famished to my core to even think of anything. All of us decided to rest and make further plans after that. I had just one thought before I went into the land of dreams –

Together we ride, together we rise
      Together we conquer the whole highway . . .

P.S. I am not sharing my pics from the trip here coz I don’t want any human interference in my private life. I have shared them on RoadBook (like your FaceBook) with my bike friends. I think I am taking after Rocky, ie, I am not getting the right feeling and mood to write the rest of the trip. May be someday! “Tab tak ke liye main aapse vida chahunga deviyon aur sajjano. Aap log padhte rahiye ye adbhut blog jiska naam hai aadab, shabba khair, shubh ratri . . .

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A solo ride to Pondicherry

For the last 2 years, we were planning and postponing the road trip from Chennai to Pondicherry on the famous East Coast Road which runs parallel to the sea coast. This year, we had finalized but I cancelled in August. Suddenly one day an idea struck me to go alone and it struck me too hard to resist. I didn't tell anyone and booked the flight to Chennai and rented an avenger. Sorry Vivek, Gaurav and Rahul for leaving you out on this trip. One day, I told Gaurav by mistake and I had to literally beg him to let me go alone this time.

So on 3rd September 2016, I left from office, parked my bike at the airport and flew off to say Vanakkam Chennai. I received a setback when I got to know that the avenger I had booked met with an accident and was not available and had to settle with the next best alternative, Yamaha FZ. The best thing about this bike was the colour, my favorite, Red. Finally, I was taking a bike on a long ride after one looooong year after Leh. Hello ECR, here I come!

I installed the newly bought mobile mount on my wrist and started recording my journey. The climate was a little on the hot side that day but only after 10-15 minutes on the ECR, I felt a cool breeze on my face lifting my spirit. Beach was in the vicinity and could catch its glimpses from the road in regular intervals. At one place, I saw that little off-roading could lead the bike to the shore. I made a mental note to do this while returning as I wanted to reach Pondicherry first. Finally, after 3 hours of riding in the sun and getting all tanned before even reaching Pondicherry, I took a stop at Serenity beach on the way. It was calm and beautiful as the name suggests. 20 minutes of more riding and I was at my hotel, thanks to Bing maps.

I had my lunch and took a much needed short nap of 2 hours. After waking up, I went straight to the rocky beach near my hotel. The french architecture could be seen all over the place. The beach was too crowded but still the air was quiet and soothing. I walked across the whole beach seeing all the monuments on the way - French war memorial, Gandhi statue, old light house and Kargil war memorial. The only cafe on the beach, Le Cafe, was bustling with customers where I could not get a seat even after waiting 15 minutes. As the evening progressed, I started roaming towards the city to have some food and some music pulled me towards it. There was a live performance going on at a restaurant and I immediately went inside. Although the singer was singing mostly regional songs which I didn't understand a bit, the ambience and mushrooms were delightful. After my stomach was full, I spent few more hours on the beach, listening to the waves colliding on the rocks before calling it a day.

Next morning, I had a long list of places to visit. Being on the east coast, I had planned to see sunrise on the beach but the sun played spoil sport and even after waiting from 6-8am, I only got disappointment. After an awesome complementary breakfast at my hotel, I started my journey to cover the city. My first stop was Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus near to my hotel. Next, I just rode where roads led me (while keeping the count of lefts and right I was turning) and reached Uppalam Harbour beach. It was beautiful but the sight at the other end was even better. Right across the ocean, there was a beautiful harbor but no way to reach there. I started the maps and saw an alternate route of 20km to reach there. 

While finding the Veerampattinam harbor, I reached the most beautiful Paradise beach. This had very few people and a long coastline as far as I could see. People love to become photographers these days. You give them your phone to click one photo and they will click 3-4 in different poses. I finally found my Veerampattinam beach after a lot of struggle with Bing maps and help of a few local residents. The harbor I was finding was near by. It was simply amazing and had a better view as seen from the other end of the ocean, worth all the trouble I went through to find this. It was a pretty secluded beach with only a couple of kids playing in some distance. There were big tetrapod stones( just like on the marine drive) kept over one another to form a long stretch of harbor. I tried climbing over these to get a glimpse of the ocean from its top. "Khudi Ko kar buland itna, chadha main jaise taise, aur fir khud se hi bola, bhaisaab ab uturunga kaise?" On reaching the top, the view was marvelous but now it seemed like big gaps between these rocks and a slight fear ran of how I would get down. Now, even the kids I had seen earlier were not present there that I could call for help. I called Souvik and we laughed together - "Ye idhar udhar chadhne ki aadat nahi jaegi". After sitting and relaxing there for some time, I somehow managed to get down without falling in between those rocks.

It had been a tiring long day and on reaching my hotel, I took a shower and slept the whole evening. On waking up, I strolled along the near by market but could not find anything interesting to buy when I accidently bumped into Akshay Kanoria. We had lived in the same house in Kota, had kept in touch after that but it was a nice surprise catching up there in Pondicherry. On riding back to the rocky beach, I saw a long line at cafe Xtasi and found they specialized in wood fried pizza. I stopped there to try it and had to wait an hour in queue before ordering a medium size exotic pizza. The minute my pizza made an entry, the smell made me forget the wait. The pizza really looked exotic (full of mushrooms) and it was deliciously mindblowing. Then I spent a couple of hours at the rocky beach. Traveling the whole day, I didn't miss anyone but sitting alone on the beach made me feel lonely and yes, as you had warned, I did miss you Gaurav. As the night progressed, there were fewer people on the beach and a couple sitting next to me started kissing. Soon, they were center of attraction of everyone passing by. Couple of minutes later, few policemen came and took them away. I started back towards my hotel when a light shower started to fall.

Next morning, I checked out from my hotel and started my journey back to Chennai. On my way back, I remembered the place where I had to drift down from the road to the beach. It was risky but there was no one to change my mind. So, I did it and am glad I did that. Riding the bike alongside the waves is certainly a good memory. I stopped at Mahabalipuram in between and visited the light house and Mahishamardini mandapa, a large cave and temple carved out of a single stone. Mahabalipuram had a very crowded beach where I rode a horse and tried my hands at balloon shooting after a very long time. Finally, I reached Chennai but it was already late for my flight. I took an auto which got stuck on traffic. Then, on his suggestion, I took the local train and reached airport just in time for my flight. Mission accomplished - riding on the East Coast road and a solo trip. Let me sleep over this new feat in my flight back to Pune. 

Sleeping me : Everest, you are still a distant dream!