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When I rode to Spiti to find solace…

October 25, 2012 Leave a comment

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.

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Categories: Trips Tags: , , ,

Mumbai – Mount Abu – Udaipur – Mumbai: Day 1

October 27, 2011 6 comments

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!

First click after 650 kms

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.

Check out the new Chocolate Melange at Costa Coffee

June 1, 2010 13 comments

Have been to Costa Coffee a few times and have never had any complaints with the coffee here. The hot varieties or even the cold coffees are simply superb. A recent trip to Costa was no different either. However, what intrigued us was this big slab of dark chocolate kept aside. Their most expensive pastry, the Chocolate Melange is worth Rs.95. The pastry was garnished with thin sheets of Melange which gave the pastry a slightly bittersweet flavour, a perfect combo for any dark chocolate lover.

We had it is ice cream and it went quite well with the cold vanilla ice cream. The pastry itself was warmed up just a bit which, in my opinion, really bought out the flavours! Thumbs up to Costa Coffee for bringing out the Chocolate Melange – an excellent dark chocolate treat!

On a side note what is up with Costa Coffee and Pheonix Mills? There are three outlets in the same damn mall! Can never miss Costa Coffee if you are in Pheonix Mills!

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Travel Photo Contest @BlogAdda

May 27, 2010 53 comments

What? Another contest? This one is right up my alley though!. BlogAdda’s latest contest in a long line of contests is one where people contest with each other by giving a context to the content of the photos in their blogs. Phew! (trying to be funny is doubly difficult bah!)

It isn’t so difficult to write a travelogue of a certain place but it is so difficult to actually pick out five of your best/favourite photos from a whole bunch of pictures! Come to think of it, travel photo folders in my computer are competing with each other for a place in this blog, as we speak!

That line from Pringoo is so true. Have seen such ‘fast’ travelers who wants to see everything but ends up seeing nothing and more importantly ends up being a lonely traveler without any experience to share, without any experience to enrich their soul!

Shot this picture at Juhu Beach. Had gone during a weekday thinking it won’t be as crowded as it generally is but was proved wrong by the thrones of burkha clad or dressed to go to a shaadi women! A fair was held at the beach with people thronging the make shift shops to buy accessories, household items and anything and everything else with the sea as the back drop. Come to think of it, even the Anjuna Flea market doesn’t offer this kind of view! Saw this balloon guy who tried to sell those balloons to everyone and anyone but if you did not have change (Rs.5), he wouldn’t sell it to you! Ironic in some ways but funny all the way! Sir buy balloon? Only Rs.5 sir. What? you do not have Rs.5. I no sell you balloon!

The dude in the centre got an earful from his supervisor and he kept pleading he did not do no wrong. After sometime another supervisor comes and says some things in a South India language (I think it was Tullu) and you could sense the tension between those two. Once the guy left, the worker was back to doing his job but his eyes said more than what he could possible say with words to his supervisor!

Found this lonely log at Diveagar Beach, Maharashtra. What was intriguing was this erstwhile tree was so close to the sea that I wonder how old it must have been? There were many shrubs growing a little further away but this was different. The footsteps in the background add to the mystery of this photu!

Clicked this at Bhandardara, a hill station in Maharashtra. Bhandardara is popular for its lake, known as the Arthur Lake and fed by the Parvara River. We were here just before the onset of summer so the weather was cool, the water was clear and the sky was blue! This small abandoned hut makes for the best view of the lake no matter what time it is. Imagine getting up in the morning and gazing at the reflection of the sky on the calm waters of the lake. Not many sights come close to this!

This picture is one of my favourites. Clicked at Manori Beach, Mumbai. This was also perhaps the first time when people were clicking me instead of the scenery. Why you ask? Well for starters, I was flat on the ground when taking this picture and onlookers were bemused at what I could be clicking from that height that I couldn’t click standing up. Well, it was the sea shells, which look humongous from this angle!

Hope you enjoyed reading through!

The contest is sponsored by

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Whack!! this Wednesday’

May 20, 2010 21 comments

A few observations and much reasoning lead to error; many observations and a little reasoning to a good whacking!

Haven’t really participated in many contests but couldn’t avoid ‘Whack!! this Wednesday’. For those who know me wouldn’t believe I wrote this but ya well, what the whack, here we go!

If you own a car and especially a bike you would be well aware of unruly pedestrians who think they own the road. I, the law abiding biker, come face to face with such pedestrians’ who-own-it-all. Even these are an assortment.

  • There are those who will explicitly choose to cross the road when a bike is approaching and endanger the biker’s life and off course their own. Doesn’t matter if the road behind the biker is empty, but if the pedestrian doesn’t cross before the bike crosses, the earth will shatter and the sky will fall down!
  • Then there are those who will, after getting down from the bus, always try to cross the road from the front of the bus. Oh ya, the government made the bus of glass so that everyone can see through and through! WRONG! We bikers do not know if you are crossing from the front of the bus because we cannot see you! Off course, with experience you learn to slow down but even then don’t you just feel like whacking the living daylights out of such people?
  • And then there are the aunties and uncles who cross the road as if strolling in a nana-nani park. And what’s more, they always find unsuspecting bikers to strut their stuff in front of. I know you think you are the most important person in this world and at the moment when you are in front of a biker, we think the same too because we cannot do anything. But I can whack you now, thanks to Blogadda!
  • Oh did I forget to mention the old, really old uncles who love to show their Usain Bolt akin racing skills to bikers. But they know they will lose if they run parallel to us. So what do they do to get our attention and in doing so defeat us comprehensively? Start running in front of us just when they see us hapless bikers. Oh ya you made your point. But uncleji, this ain’t the Berlin Olympics and if are so eager to show off your running skills at the age of 60, why don’t you go to a race track instead?
  • Before I forget, there is this another irritating pedestrian who just loves the feel of tarmac and if even there is a 2 feet wide footpath right next to them, they will still choose to walk on the tarmac. Such brand loyalty is unheard of, especially in government circles. Oh and what is worse is they choose heavy traffic situation to display such blatant affection and loyalty for the good ole tarmac. This is the time when bikers are forced to drive in the narrow gap between cars and the footpath and this is also the time the pedestrian chooses to take a walk in the park seemingly aloof of the eager-to-overtake-the-adjacent-car biker honking at em’.
  • Lastly, who can forget the holy rickshawallas and cabbies and buses? The most irritating rickshawallas are those who try to overtake a BMW on a highway when the road is clear. In doing so, they not only create a massive traffic jam behind them but also increase stress to unheard off levels in anger management parlance. Not to forget the cabbies who drive at 20 kmph, no matter what lane they are in. And they drive like royalty, like they are driving a Bugatti. Bikers like us are forced to two their line, disallowed to overtake such cabbies because if we do so, we will be breaking our oath we gave our mothers of not racing on the highway. Then there are the buses that just love driving in the last lane and make sure they give not an inch away to the bikers to pass through. Imagine being stuck behind a King Long Bus on the Andheri Flyover for more than 20 minutes just because the bus driver did not reciprocate your incessant honking! More than whacking the driver feels like whacking the bus itself for its way to big and way to powerful. Remember spiderman? With power comes responsibilities and for buses, this power translates into doing what they want because they own the god damn road!

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Pratap Da Dhaba, Paaji tussi great hoji!

Have been to Pratap da Dhaba a few times already. My last few visits have been well documented here, here and here! I realised that I have yet to post pictures of this place and this time seems no different except for a few pictures but I hope that doesn’t disappoint.

The last time I went, we were disappointed but thankfully, that experience was a one-off. This time around, we went on a weekday and got the benefit of great service, courtesy relaxed waiters.  Pratap da Dhaba has a good Dhaba feel to it and one can see all sorts of people here including families, friends and couples.

We started off with drinks including the age-old Lassi and the Panna Goday Naal. The later was an extremely tangy drink with pepper and salt mixed with lemon juice and water. It was a one of a kind drink and we loved it!

The drinks kept us going for a while after which we ordered for a Macchi Fry Amritsari. The Amritsari was ravas cooked in North Indian masalas and wasn’t as spicy as fish starters are in Maharashtra. The starter was excellent and the accompanying chutney was good as well.

While raving about how good the starters were, we went ahead with our order for the main course which was a Kukkad Dhania Adraki. A bit disappoint with the adrak which had a strong flavour but overall the dish was good. The Ginger-Garlic paste was liberal but so was the white chicken which was tender and juicy. We also ordered for a Lachha Paratha and again was a bit disappointed here. Prefer my Lachha Paratha a bit thinner than a Tandoori roti but that wasn’t the case here.

Overall the food was excellent and the service was good. We were served the Paneer version of the main course which was promptly replaced by the chicken variant without us saying anything!

The place is a bit on the higher side but the food and the ambiance makes up for it. Pratap da Dhaba is highly recommended by https://talkreviews.wordpress.com!

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Mocha, Coffee is as good as it gets!

Mocha is a popular cafe among the urban youth. Their Coffee and Hukka flavours are well-known and are probably the only Cafe to have a strong fan following for both the heady mixtures!

I don’t remember the last time I had hukka at Mocha but Coffee here is my staple food. Always on the look out for something new, I tried out the Brazilian Bourbon Santos. The hot coffee has a rich flavour. It was a refreshing drink which is generally not the case with Indian coffee. It had a hint of chocolate I thought but it could just be the home-made chocolate I chomped on before chilling out at Mocha.

We also ordered for a Dutch Truffle Cake Shake which was exactly like the Dutch Truffle Cake with whipped cream on top! Along with the shake, ordered for a Honeyglazed Chicken Sandwich. The sandwich was filling and it almost felt like having a soft Panini sandwich.

Mocha is never a let down in terms of experience and the food though we wished we got better seats! Mocha is a bit expensive, which is the reason why I prefer other coffee houses but then again, Mocha has so far being without any disappointments and I intend to keep it that way!

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