Few days before the ride, I’m sitting on a bean bag at Moshaii’s home with a half emptied glass, contemplating the issues of my bike; JSR is busy filling his second round and Moshaii multitasking with one hand on the computer keyboard and the other one holding his glass, at the same time two fingers reserved for a cigi smoking away the mosquitoes and other small creatures with weak hearts and lungs. Do those mosquitoes die of sudden heart attack or lung cancer? God knows.
JSR is looking at the short lived bubbles popping up from bottom of his glass and said to himself, ‘Poor things, they don’t even live long enough to finish their first ride’.
Anyway before finishing that round he raised his head, looked at me and said, “Why you worry Jo, you can take my 500 next week if your bike doesn’t get fit by then”.
Wow… What a consolation… Problem solved… Game on…
But the 500 got some viral fever or flu, coughing continuously and getting unconscious; so I took my bike. That’s the uncertainty of life…
JSR proposes and God disposes.
The lifeless 500 is still lying in my porch.
Moshaii rose up to everyone’s expectation and did not rise at all. History repeats… Moshaii was completely ‘fit’ the previous night and woke up very early morning at around . Confused Moshaii chose not to pick any call on his phone and not to respond to any of our sms’ and headed solo expecting a second chapter to the Mannavanoor experience. To reach the camp before the rest, he would have ‘missed us’ purposefully if seen us on the way. Anyway the solo dude reached Kalhatti at around 5, almost 4 hrs after us. By then we were in Ooty and Conoor.
He hit and killed a bird (or the bird hit him and committed suicide) on the way; one monkey had a narrow escape. Moshaii strongly justifies himself with the point that the monkey crossed the road where there wasn’t any zebra line. Also that inhuman thing abused Moshaii loudly till he disappeared from the sight. Thankfully since he was busy, Moshaii did not stop to deal with it; or else one monkey would have joined the camp later in the evening on a black MH registered bullet.
The ride through Bandipur was awesome. I don’t know why, but the ride through that forest has always been breath taking for me and I love it. This time the lush greenery of the forest seemed faded with the autumn effect though.
And... Oh Boy, the two km off road ride to the camp… A stretch where a weak machine will never obey whatever we ask to do.
GK rode from
Conoor visit proved to be ‘full paisa vasool’. Visited the loco shed at the railway station and the driver allowed us to enter inside the engine cabin (!) of one of the century old steam engines. I’m sure one will be thandoori if one of us stays there for one hour.
Meanwhile we got a distressed call from Caption Satyan from Kalhatty with the news that someone calling himself Moshaii crash landed at the camp claiming to be one of us, raided the kitchen and finished all the left over food leaving nothing to feed the elephants, tigers, cheetahs, cats, rats etc (prefix ‘wild’ with each creature and read).
Jumbo belong to the bat family, I doubt. At night, while coming back from Ooty he zoomed ahead leaving us behind… seems darkness boosts his eye vision. The sad part is that one cop misguided him at a turn and sent him in a different route for a very simple reason- to avoid the elephant trail at night. It wasn’t less than half an hour before we could recover him.
Night at camp was awesome. By the time we reached, bonfire, tent, barbeque, refresher liquids… everything is ready. Rest is history.
I slept peacefully in the tent; Jumbo and JSR on both my sides (don’t relate this to Jesus Christ between those two gentlemen). The misery was the rumbling thumping roaring sound from both the sides that woke me up several times at night with the fear that it’s some wild animal circling the tent and I’m gona be a piece of Kabab in the morning. Anyway later I got used to this horror and slept peacefully.
Sunday morning we visited ‘Duchy of Kalhatty’s Palace’. That’s how the Duchy calls it; a nicely constructed one decorated with antique furniture, old photos, animal skulls etc. All the rooms with balcony and the tree house with fascinating view of the nearby mountains and clouds, JSR says all these seem designed to have ‘thanny’ party (thanny means Liquor in English) at chilling nights. Moshaii seconded him. What to do… These ‘liquefied’ souls don’t have anything else to think of.
We left the camp by . The heavy breakfast gave us no option to think about lunch before leaving.
Finally Moshaii is riding with others.
GK, running in, trying hard to control his instincts and emotions to open up a bit but listens to the bike and cruises slowly…
Thanks to all the riders for this amazing ride and nice company.
JSR, Moshaii, GK, Jumbo and JSR’s colleague Uday (this was his first long ride and he enjoyed it. Uday rides very well too.)
PS: One horrible sad scene on the way back on