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: 2nd August 2016; Route: Bombay -Surat – Vadodara
“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.” – Jason Fried
We thought we made a bad decision but it was both good and bad in certain ways. The good news was the room was awesome and it was within our budget. And the bad news was, a big asshole had checked in the next door. When I was getting freshen up, our A-Man started playing music at the upper limit, at 1:30 AM. And I was in no mood to tolerate an asshole that night. I went next door and knocked, A-Man opened the door after a minute. I noticed, the guy was drunk and there was a lady inside. I don’t wanna describe what sport they were trying at midnight. Since I was playing the spoilsport, I politely asked “Sir, can you please reduce the volume, people are trying to sleep!” He just closed the door and reduced the volume. After few minutes, the volume was up again, this time; I allowed them to finish the sport without interruption, and the volume automatically came down. As someone rightly said, time heals everything!
Anyway, I got a call from the office that morning at 9:30 AM, though I didn’t attend the call, it just woke me up. Cold was at its bay but my body was a bit itchy. Every night we used to tie the bungee cords across the room to dry the clothes but it never worked. Even if it worked, it would get wet in the next half an hour again. The only thing, I could do was – pray. Pray for a day without rain but clearly, today was not that day (Rain God showed his middle finger on my face). It was still raining outside. Since we had limited clothing, we had to utilize it efficiently in our trip. And the real bad news was – the clothes started stinking. It was gross. Since there was nothing I could do, I was all ready to feel the rain and make peace with the Rain God. I started improvising, I stopped wearing socks, I removed the inner layer of my jacket (all weather, they said) which was holding the rainwater, and I stopped wearing the raincoat, which was happily inviting the rainwater and making me sweat.
And as a result of persistent rain, my motorcycle’s switches used to go off sporadically, the shock absorber started making some noise and I felt an offset with the handling too. But as per the plan, we started riding to Vadodara. We stopped at a hotel for lunch, where the guy advised us of the weather ahead. He said even the schools had declared holiday due to the bad weather. He also intimated about the curfew in Kashmir which we were already aware of (we were hoping that the government will lift the curfew by the time we reach)
As the hotel guy rightly said, the bridge on the way to Surat was blocked because the water in the dam was released. We would lose few hours if we had to wait; instead, we took an alternate route via Silvasa so that we could stick to our schedule. We had just started and the bad luck struck my partner, his bike fell down and the fortunate thing was he was not on top of it, the side stand slipped and the weight shifted to the ground. Apart from the spilled petrol and a bent brake lever, nothing happened to the bike. We fixed the lever in a nearby garage and we were on our way.
We crossed Surat by evening and stopped for tea. Few middle-aged men struck a conversation with us, they asked us about the duration, the plan, the stress and the strain of riding a bike; on the other hand, the college kids we met yesterday, just had one question – what was the budget! At that time, I realized, people of different age group have different concerns. We also asked them about the weather in Kutch, which we were hitting the next day, they said – It’s Raining. And I just smirked.
Next stop was Vadodara. Finally, the best weather anyone can experience. We saw the rays scattering of the flaming sun. At 7 PM, it was bright like broad daylight. Man, I missed the Sun (Fuck you Rain). As soon as we entered Gujarat, we could smell the industrialization and see the development across the landscape. And that reminded me of the slogan which BJP used to describe the prosperous future which was in store for India if BJP came to power – Achhe din aane waale hain (Good days are coming). I didn’t even find a single pothole on Gujarat’s highway and Vadodara was one of the cleanest cities we had seen in the last 4 days.
While I was thinking, it was good to end the day on a positive note, the receptionist at the Motel asked me if I had an Indian identity proof! I mean WTF, do I look American 😛
P.S. In case, if you run low on spirit, just talk to people around and their excitement will keep you motivated. But the good thing about me is, I don’t need people to motivate, I may run low on health but never on spirit 😀