Disclaimer: I have tried to recreate the events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them. The below-expressed views, opinions or analogies are personal and may not be in line with the widespread conceptions. Please go to Motorcycle Diaries -> India: Ocean To Mountains (or Click here) to check out the previous events.
Date: 31st July 2016; Intended Route: Goa – Malvan – Ratnagiri – Mahabaleshwar
Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain. But you can’t make a rainbow, without a little rain.
I heard the alarm ring at 6 AM but I didn’t want to get up and switch it off by myself. So my partner didn’t have a choice (point to be noted, bring someone along with you), someone has to do the dirty job. He told me to wake up “It’s 6”, I said like a 3-year-old “half an hour more, please”. I was so sleep deprived from the last one week that the mosquitoes of Goa didn’t have an impact on me, I was bulletproof. I slept as if I was drugged, the best sleep I had in the last few days. It was raining since the last night and it was still raining while we were getting ready for Day 2.
We checked out at 8:30 AM and did our daily ritual to top up the fuel. I was aware of the route till Goa (I had done Bangalore – Goa earlier), but I had never crossed Goa on my motorcycle before. So I thought of putting my mobile holder to use, I started navigating my way to Malvan. And Google screwed up, we were just doing circles in Goa. After riding for an hour, we reached the same point where we had started. I had to stop to take my mobile of the holder since the intensity of the rain increased; meanwhile, my co-rider went past me. After safe keeping my mobile in my jacket, I started catching up on him. Maybe I was in the 3rd gear, a Ford Eco sport came speeding along and just touched my handlebar. On a normal day, I would have controlled my motorcycle of that small jerk. But at that point of time, I had a ton of luggage behind my back and you may get easily imbalanced when your motorcycle is overloaded. And with that not so gentle touch, I felt my heart in my mouth, it made my handle bar go left and right for few seconds. Since I was at a controllable speed, I somehow managed to handle my motorcycle and neutralized the situation. I was angry, I saw red. I raced my motorcycle and stopped the car. I caught hold of the driver through the window seat and I abused him with the words which I thought I never knew. The lady sitting beside the driver was scared. She told me “Sorry” and who doesn’t melt when a pretty lady says – Sorry. And he lived to see another day.
I was fuming after that incident, only good food could calm me down. It was drizzling, we thought of taking a pit stop for breakfast. We had awesome Poori Sabji. It was almost 10:30 AM. The funny thing was the rain’s speed was directly proportional to our speed. It would stop raining whenever we stop and it would start when we would start. It was such a coincidence. The rain took its speed along with us. We started begging for the sun. But we understood that to survive this trip we need to make friends with rain. We welcomed rain with open arms.
And we planned to cut off Malvan from our itinerary and decided to bypass Ratnagiri so that our schedule doesn’t go for a toss on Day 2 itself. Malvan, you didn’t have the luck to have us. (But I will come back for you some other time)
Now it was time for my partner’s fair share of bad luck. His motorcycle’s clutch cable broke. We knew we would face such scenarios but I thought we were not fully prepared for it. It was still drizzling, we unpacked his luggage, took out the tools and the spare parts. But we were having a hard time to remove the broken clutch cable. Then I had an epiphany to YouTube. We saw few videos and became self-learned mechanics. We struggled for few hours and understood we needed a spanner to change it completely, which we didn’t have (I had few spanners but not of the size we needed). I tried stopping few vehicles on the highway asking for help, few guys stopped but even they didn’t have the spanner. The only option left was to go ahead and find a garage that could provide us the spanner of the right size. I went on to find a spanner and got it from a nearby puncture shop. Then we again struggled for half an hour and finally the clutch cable was replaced by 1 PM. We just had covered a few kilometers till lunch.
Though I said, we welcomed rain with open arms I was cursing it by evening. We were all soaked and the visibility was all fucked up after the sunset. The sneeze and the cough started ripping my lungs, my body temperature started going up. We skipped Malvan; bypassed Ratnagiri but we were nowhere near Mahabaleshwar. I knew that we would be able to catch up on the schedule only if I am alive and at 8:30 PM we decided to call it a day. I had to consume a bit of liquid courage (I mean, cough syrup) and pop a tablet to bring myself back to normal.
Having all said and done, I should say that the route from Goa to Ratnagiri is something that every drider should strive for.
P.S. I would like to repeat the words of a great man, who once said – Rain coat is a myth 😛