There are times when one loses oneself to the daily rigmarole, the daily routine. Life seems like a static camera roll written over and over again. It needed a rejig. Needed to break the routine and do sometime I had only imagined, only read, only heard. But it had to be done.
Left my job. Left my life behind. Maybe not forever, but for 16-days it was living a life far beyond my imagination.
Did not plan anything except to start from my home in Mumbai at 5AM in the morning and ride till wherever I could before I felt tired and had to stop for a nap!
The adventure began mid-July on a motorcycle, 4 luggage bags, 1 man, 1 soul, 1 dream – Ride to the Himalayas.
Not having a plan or a partner was perhaps the best thing about this trip. Do anything, stop anywhere, go anywhere, stay anywhere – it didn’t bother me. But it did intrigue others.
The trip was made memorable thanks to the many people I met on the road. From being offered cups of tea, to a free room and even butter chicken it was the awe and confusion most people expressed at my desire to ride 5100 kms, alone, on a motorcycle. What I really wanted was to be with myself. What I really wanted was to ride to a place where only few had conquered. What I got….was a humbling experience. To ride in the Himalayas is a truly awe-inspiring experience. But it does humble you. It teaches you a thing or two about yourself. It calms you down. It makes you a different person, a better person. It humbles you like nothing else can.
Riding across 6 states, day and night, covering 5100 kms – started off as one-off journey but ended up being something special.
The journey started off as trip to a destination but the journey itself reverberates in my mind. I remember the roads – good or bad – I remember the people, amazing at heart and quick to help without a second thought – I remember the grand views but what I cherish the most is how I felt after I came back home.
Humbled and satisfied but hungry for more.
Day 2 began quite late as we slept like babies the night before! It didn’t take long to get dressed and get ready to check out. Decided to clean my bike before we left but the water ran out the moment I opened the tap. What luck! Cleared our food and drinks bill and we left for Mount Abu. One small note though: the food at Durga was actually pretty good. Only veg but good nonetheless.
We had to stop at a Hero Service Center as Jason’s accelerator cable had conked off. Unfortunately the buggers didn’t have the spare part. We found a small shop on the way to Mount Abu which did have the cable but though the problem was something else and we had to ride with the problem unresolved.
It was only later we came to know the problem was a faulty cable and nothing else! Aargh noobs! Anyways, we continued riding and soon hit the ghat section. Here we realised we could have done this at night as the lanes are well marked. But riding in the day time, ensured we stop at every possible location as we had all the time in the world to reach Mount Abu.
But stopping on the ghats has its perils. Every other car passing by would slow down to have a ‘dekho’ at the aliens with MH number plates in Rajasthan. We were been checked out more than the monkeys around! While this was unnerving at times, we got used to it! I have always loved to ride and for me the ride is what matters more than the destination. The road from Abu Road to Mount Abu is pure bliss. Loved the roads, the corners, the twisties and the ghats! Excellent and well maintained I must say!
After posing around and a few clicks we were on our way to Mount Abu. Was stopped at a check naka but after assuring the cop I was carrying luggage on my bike, they let us go without any checks. We entered Mount Abu.
Paid the entry and vehicle fees and were guided by a hotelier to come check their hotel. We obliged. Didn’t like the rooms and were on our way to another grand hotel search. Checked out a few places including one very very expensive cottage which cost the same as the amount spent in the entire trip! Finally found a hotel – Hotel Swastik. A room for just Rs.550 and a verandah to park, we wouldn’t be so lucky elsewhere! Ok we were lucky at Abu Road and were pleasantly surprised to find good parking space here as well! The owner was particular interested in our steeds and we had a good chat with him on our rides and our experience so far riding through Maharashtra, Gujarat and to Mount Abu.
We eventually went to our rooms after all the bakar bakar (which we didn’t mind really), freshened up and ordered for breakfast. Food was nice and the room service was so darn good. The guy was very helpful in letting us know places to visit, things to do, best restaurants in town and was generally very chatty which we didn’t mind REALLY!
Our first stop was the usual, Nakki lake followed by ‘Asia’s largest Aquarium’ and then proceeding to Toad rock and from there on Guru Shikhar, the highest point in Rajasthan. Yes, we did the usual touristy things but we missed the temple completely!
The aquarium was a disappointment! Most tanks didn’t have any fishes and the water looked muddy!
It was getting hot here and we decided to go to Guru Shikhar. Now the ride here was nice. It got cooler as we proceeded upwards and I can only image how awesome it would be to ride this small stretch in winters!
Some beautiful scenes were bestowed upon us and this short ride seemed more and more fun! We didn’t eventually go to Guru Shikhar, only went till the point where vehicles were allowed but the scenes were breath taking from here as well!
Found a nice piece of rock on the way and Jason went all the way up to pose on this ‘raj loves Rani’ rock. Another great view from here meant our trip to Mount Abu was only becoming more and more fun! We returned back to Mount Abu after a sojourn in the mountains and the exotic views, we were back in the heat. So we made our way to the ‘child bear’ shop and bought ourselves an Indus Pride – Indian beer made for proud men. Ok I made up the tag line, but it really was a nice beer! Beer followed lunch at a popular restaurant here. Forgot the name, but the food wasn’t worth remembering either. Headed back to the hotel for a quick nap before we did another touristy thing.
Yes, this was a visit to the sunset point. And it looked like everyone in Mount Abu, hell every in Rajasthan wanted to be at the sunset point.
The sunset was pretty nonetheless though we quickly made our way out of the crowd and back to Nakki lake where we chilled for a while. Discussed, life, riding and even indulged in conversations with other tourists. One guy even asked me for a test ride of the CBR which I had to politely decline. He was amazed that I had earlier seen him ride a black Pulsar and backed off after knowing the little piece of knowledge I possessed! Hmm..fishy.
Day 2 ended with us visiting most of the touristy places in Mount Abu and that left us thinking about what to do the next day. We were short of ideas and time so decided to go to Udaipur. Now Udaipur wasn’t in the original plan and this on the fly plan excited us. A quick chat with the hotel owner, and he told us about the wonderful NH76 that will take us to Udaipur in a maximum of 5 hours! Now, a distance of 150 kms, in 5 hours – Jason and me looked at each other and smirked.It was going to be another good day tomorrow.
Slept off with some drinks and good chicken tandoor. The best part of the room was that it had a balcony for us to enjoy the food and drinks and wind up the night! Day 3 promised a lot! Stay tuned.
Been sometime now since I got my CBR250R and well I am totally loving the experience. It was a 5 year dream to own a 250cc sports touring motorcycle and it finally culminated with me owning the Honda CBR250R. Initial hick ups aside, the bike is what I have always wanted. And the dream to tour on the motorcycle was no longer a figment of my imagination. It was a reality.
Fast forward to September 2011 when it struck me that a 4-day long leave was on the anvil from 6th – 9th October. Having asked around, Konkan was finalised along with routes and destinations. But going solo isn’t my cup of tea, not yet. The trip held promise but not until a gentleman named Jason Bourne (ok added the Borne for cinematic purposes!) showed up and told me about his Mount Abu plan. Now this became my plan. Quite a turn around this but as it turned out it was one of the best trips I have ever done!
So we headed out precisely at 5:45AM from Dahisar check naka to our destination Mount Abu on 6th October. Have never ridden on NH8 this early and the fog was just so mesmerizing. It was a dream world and I slowed down to enjoy riding in the fog as long as I can! It was eerie though sometimes as all I could see was a faint glimmer of a vehicle, mostly a truck, in front of me. We didn’t stop to take pictures here which was perhaps our greatest mistake during the entire trip!
We had decided to halt at 10AM for breakfast. But the sign boards kept egging me on to ride more. We reached Manor. Decided to halt at Charoti. Reached Charoti, decided to stop for breakfast somewhere at the border of Gujarat. This game continued and I realised later how much my partner, who was on a ZMA-R, loathed this idea of riding till hell breaks loose. And ride we did. Reached Ahmedabad in 7 hours flat. Now we had to stop. Made the mistake of going into the city thus we lost precious time negotiating the traffic and in turn, getting lost! Finally found a way out and we were out of Ahmedabad and the first hotel we saw, we stopped for lunch.
Now the roads from Mumbai to Manor are average and get better up till Charoti Naka beyond which the roads are a 6-lane bliss all the way till Vadodara. It was a pleasure cruising at 120kmph effortlessly! The two-lane NH8 from Baroda t0 Amdavad is a thorough disappointment. We did cover it in good time but a 4-laned highway would have been so much nicer! The expressway next to us didn’t help as cars zooming past was a sore sight!
Jason, by now, was not only famished but also didn’t like the idea of riding with me. I prefer to keep riding while his style is to stop, relax, ride – in that order! Two conflicting riding styles but one thing for certain was that we covered a good distance in good time! Now it was time for lunch and we hogged on some vegetarian food – paneer and mushrooms! Meal was good and the price wasn’t much which was great as throughout the trip, I was going to be spending a lot of money on fuel!
Left from here at around 2:30PM and next halt for us was Himatnagar. A heavy lunch reduced our speeds drastically and we took our sweet time to reach Himatnagar. Just 80kms away, but we reached there in around 1.5 hours! From here on, we were cruising leisurely taking stops regularly to keep ourselves hydrated. So while the first half of the journey today was according to my style, the second half was according to Jason’s so that everybody is happy! I must say that really awesome roads helped cover distances quickly and at the same time, allowed us to drive leisurely whenever we pleased to!
At one point on the Major District Road 49, we stopped for a good 45 minutes to just chill. From here on, Mount Abu was still a good 150 kms away and we realised we had driven pretty darn slowly. Picked up pace and we were off again! Stopped finally at around 20 kms before Abu Road to confirm directions. Finally reached Abu Road by 7PM. Spent the next one hour searching for a hotel. We found a few cheap ones, but bike parking was an issue and I did not want to park the CBR on the road especially in Abu Road where everyone was hankering over to have a glimpse of the bike!
Finally found a hotel – Hotel Durga – got a room for Rs.800 and called in a night! We realised we were tired the moment we hit the sack! Day 2 was going to be full of fun and we were already looking forward to going to Mount Abu early in the morning.
The route taken on Day 1 is here.
Its been long since I posted here but my journey through Mumbai by lanes did not stop. Discovering many hidden jems, cheap restaurants and well, really tasty stuff, I couldn’t help but write about it.
One such is Ribbons & Balloons. Well, not exactly located in the by lanes but it does stock some really cheap and delicious snacks! one such is the Chicken Quiche. Doesn’t exactly look like a Quiche but it is for just Rs.20 and full of chicken. If I had to chose between a sandwich and this quiche, it would be the latter simple because for Rs.20, it doesn’t get any more filling than this! Chicken cubes stuffed between fried exterior, the quiche is pretty heavenly!
Heck, even my cat loves it! And if she does, this has to be a pretty damn awesome product!
The Internet has changed the way we live our lives. It has entered every aspect of our lives including shopping! From mom & pop stores to big brand retail chains to global online retail portals, shopping has come a long way!
The latest entrant in this online space is ShopWiki. Traditionally, online retailers have retailed products only from those who pay for a placement on their portal. ShopWiki intends to change that by giving access to 1000s of retailers from across the globe! ShopWiki has a range of products under the hood going from automotive to kitchen to household equipment! With over 30,000 sellers listed on the portal, the consumer, that’s you, has a wide range of choices with the ability to go bargain hunting which is not the case with other online retailers!
One of the more interesting areas at ShopWiki is the kitchen square where consumers are not just shown the best bargain products but also on how to purchase one! Take an example of the wine glasses section. Isn’t is worthwhile to know more about the bowl, stem & the foot of a wine glass? Isn’t it worth your time to know whether a narrow glass is a good buy for white wine? Is that wider rounder bowl more friendly to red wine? So many questions need to be answered before the purchase of a simple wine glass! However, Once you know the answers, the purchase becomes a fairly simpler process. And to add to that, with a wide range of prices & sellers available, it is the consumer who always gets the best product available at the best possible price!
I recently scanned through their coffee maker section and was astounded to know about the different types of coffee makers available! If you love your coffee get the automatic drip, says the website and they are absolutely right! I have one at home (thanks to my girl friend) & it makes excellent coffee each & every time!
So go on, give ShopWiki a try & you will not be disappointed!
A lot of foodies are also very interested in cooking. In fact, many love to start their adventure in the comfort of their kitchens. But before you do, wouldn’t you want to get the settings right? Wouldn’t you want all your boxes of spices and your utensils kept in an organized manner? The more experienced cooks will tell you that it is important to have an organized kitchen and for those who are starting out, it is a must!
One of the best ways to have an organized kitchen is to buy racks and none better than Enclume Racks. While Enclume has many varieties available one should look at the Enclume pot racks. These are excellent for hanging utensils et al. An Enclume pot rack is useful to organize the most used utensils while making food. Also, don’t forget to check out the lighted Enclume potracks. These are excellent in beautifying your kitchen and at the same time are very practical as well.
The Enclume freestanding pot racks are another excellent addition to the kitchen and one can easily work store their veggies and fruits in the multiple baskets provided with the Enclume pot racks. Don’t forget to stock up on accessories for your prized Enclume pot racks as well. So go on and organize your kitchen and get on with your cooking!