DAY 1: GET ME MY MOTORCYCLE
The second thing I did on reaching Goa was to find a bullet. The first thing was getting rum! I asked the management of the guest house to find me one bullet. They tried all their means but in the end answered, " Sir, no bullets available at this time. We asked many vendors but all bullets were booked." Everywhere they asked, all they could find was a Pulsar. I was, "What the hell! I ain't gonna ride one girlie scooter."
On the way to Calangute beach, I lagged behind all the guys while searching for a bullet at all possible places. I stopped at the first sign board which said- We give bikes on rent- and I saw a red bullet. The guy at the shop gave me number of the owner. I called and got a drunken reply, "Sorry, no bullets on rent. I have one with a whitre number plate which is a private registration number and can't be given on rent." I kept asking at all probable shops.
Then I found Chhotu's garage which did not have a board which talked about bike rentals. I could see 3-4 bullets which had come for repairs. I asked him, "I want a ThunderBird." He replied, "There are very few ThunderBirds in this part of Goa. 99.9% chance that you won't get it but I'll try." Unfortunately, he also reached dead end.
I was upset. I said, Okay, gimme a bullet. You have so many for repairs." Though they were old bullets with right gear shift and old, worn out paint, I was adamant. I chose the better looking one and went for test ride. I have rode them before and I knew I could ride them. I came back after a kilometer ride and just started chatting with Chhotu. The rent he asked was Rs 400/day. But by now, Chhotu had developed some frequency for me and was impressed by me. He said, "You look like a good man, not those rich meanie people who come for renting bikes. I'll try more." He made many calls and than asked me, "I found a new 5- gear Electra with left side gears but no ThinderBird. Would that do?" Suddenly, a smile came on my face. It hadn't been more than an hour in Goa nad I had already started making friends with locals. I said, "Perfect."
Within 10 minutes, Damian was at the garage with his Electra. I was happy. It was almost brand new and shining. A new Electra with new gears was for Rs 500/day but Chhotu got me a discount for 400/day. He took my PAN card as security and I was off with my babe. I reached Calangute beach where others had already reached. Everyone was surprised that how I got a bullet., Ohter guys in the group wanted a bullet but they couldn't find and settled ofr a Honda activa scooter.
It was an adventure sports day and I rode a water scooter and did para sailing. I was having my lunch when others went for para. They went as pair for para sailing as the sports guy had recommended. When I went, everyone in group had gone as a couple. As usual, I was left alone- partly cuz there was no one else left and partly cuz even if I was there nobody would have wanted to go with me. It's hard to understand why people would not go with me. Perhaps I look like a serious guy, perhaps they are afraid, I don't know. anyway, that could be another story on my blog some other time.
The para sailing guy was a bit taken back when I said that I'll go alone. He said, "We don't usually send people alone up there. It's scary and dangerous." I did not want to explain how I'm not afraid of physical adventure and simply said, "It's okay." So I went to the para sailing boat in the ocean with 3 couples who were gonna go together. I was to go on the last turn and was amused to see how the girls were scared when the chute went up with a jerk. Even the guys were a bit uneasy. The girl in the second couple started puking as she came back to the boat. I harnessed myself and went up enjoying the flight. It was not scary and the wind up there was awesome. However, the flight was short and I came down to the boat. I saw the guy in the last couple puking. I looked at his wifwe and smiled. soon I was back on the beach.
Nothing much that day. we had a late lunch at one of the shacks and people went off as groups. I too picked up my motorcycle and went riding around the Calangute market. I did not go much far but explored various roads from the beach to our guest house. Then we went for dinner to Tito's place near Bagha beach, a much-hyped place.
DAY 2: RIDE IN COUNTRYSIDE
In the morning, Mohit had to visit his cousins at The Taj on Calangute fort. I said, 'why waste money on cab when i can drop you there and I may as well have a ride exploring." Mohit had not rode a bullet earlier and he was fascinated to see the bike. Though I don't give my motorcycles to others for a ride but I could not ignore Mohit's excitement. So he drove and off we went.
As we rode 10-12 km toward Panaji, I had a feeling that we were off the direction. I had heard that the fort was not very far. We stopped and asked a local the way. he told us that we were going the wrong way. In fact, we were riding away from the fort. We had to take right and not left from the guest house. But none of us was upset. We had no time to worry about and we wwre doing really the thing we were there for- exploring the place on bullet. The fort was a good 20-30 min ride from our guest house and not a walking distance.
After dropping Mohit, I thought why not as well look at the fort which were thinking of going to that day. I took the bullet as far as the road permitted. I looked at the fort and what I could see was a broken fort wall. There were quite a few boats, water scooters in the sea but overall I did not find it too exciting.
I went back and told Vineet that it wasn't walking distance and not much of a place. I also knew that other people in the group were also not excited about going there and wanted to do their own thing. So we decided to go to Bagha beach. People had their rented scooties and they went in their own groups. Vineet, at that time, did not have any personal transport. He was already in awe of the bullet and wanted one for himself. He asked Santosh, guest house care taker to arrange one for him . Param and Pranav also wanted one. Santosh made few phone calls and finally said that he found some. we'll have to go near Bagha beach and one guy would deliver there. We went all the way, waited some good time and no one turned up. Santosh called again and took us to another place where bullets would be delivered. We went there as well but it turned up to be another wild goose chase.
I decided to take control. I said, "I'll arrange." I called Chhotu and told him that we wanted more bullets. He asked us to drop by his garage and he'll try. We went up there, Chhotu was really happy to see me again. he made a few calls but to no avail. Either they were not available or no one was ready to give the bike just for one day. As we were thinking of taking some other available bike, Chhotu said, "Hey, I like you. You are a nice guy. I'd go the extra mile to get you bullets."
Finally, he got us one shiny bullet with right side gears. It wasn't a yellow plate but one with private white number plate. Chhotu said, "We don't give private bikes on rent but anything for you." So we had 2 bikes which Vineet and Param took. Chhotu did go the extra mile and gave one of the bikes he was preparing for a foreigner who wanted to ride it to Kerala. He removed the luggage carriers from the bike and gave it to Pranav. He also said that if we returned the bikes by 9:30-10 am the next day, he won't charge us for 2 days but only one day.
We went straight to Buritto's at Bagha beach where everyone was having lunch. Food was good. The next destination was Arambol beach. Mrinalika, Param, Pranav and I satrted late but we had 3 bullets and were in no rush. I must say that Goa countryside is also beautiful. The eroded western ghats and their hillocks make a pleasurable ride and we all were enjoying it. After a long ride, we reached Arambol and parked our bikes right at the beach.It was a nice sunny day and I could not resist taking off my vest and go bare chested. I may not have a Greek God body but I wasn't hesitant in taking clothes off. We played football for a while and I was down on a couch tanning my body in the sun. I lay in the sun for half an hour and then went for a cool dip in the sea. It was evening and we all got together for a snack at a shack.
As darkness started falling, people decided to go to Anjuna beach. Suddenly, I wanted solitude, away from the crowds. I stopped somewhere in the way and others went on. I decided to go to Bagha beach and have something to eat there. I enjoyed my rum with paneer pakodas, roamed on the beach and watched a fire breather show. Now that I had had my fill I thought of going to Anjuna and join others.
Calangute and Bagha are nearby but others are far away from each other. The road to Anjuna diverted from the road to Arambol. It was dark and there were hardly any sign posts to lead the way. I took a wrong turn somewhere and the crazy night began.
The roads in Goa are not broad and to distinguish a highway (?) from side streets in darkness is not easy. I kept going and myself on a narrow kutchha road on hills. I left habitation behind and was in the jungle. I took a jungle trail and soon reached a dead end. There were no lights, no humans but only trees and darkness. I tracked back but hit a dead end again. I was frantic and rode on any trail, any turn I found in the hope of finding a way out. I realized that I was going in circles and ending on the same dead ends. I cursed myself, "Damn! I don't even know where I am. I can't even call and ask for help. What will I tell them?!" Plus I didn't want to ruin the fun my office mates were having. I stopped, took deep breaths and tried to calm myself. I said, "Son, keep your cool and keep riding. You will find a way." I said, Okay" and started again.
After a while roaming around in the jungle, I heard some music. I was ecstatic, "Yes, I've hit habitation. I'm out." I followed the music and came to a flat ground with some scooters and bikes parked. There were no lights but I could hear the music from across the ground. It seemed that the ground ended in a sort of cliff and the party was below that cliff. "Hell! I've found a rave! Doesn't matter. I'm in Goa and it's party time. I can return to the guest house in the morning."
Just after the parking was a bush hedge beywod which lay the ground. I stepped into the bushes and Bam! Next second I find myself in a 30 feet deep trench. Then it struck me," Oh this is not something legal and the ravers wanted unwanted people to stay away. They had dug the trench throughout the boundary of the ground. Some people in the party heard the crashing sound and came up to see what happened. However, they did not look into the trench and went away.
Now my next ordeal was to get out of the trench. I was too excited to see if I had injured myself. I tried my rock-climbing skills but the laterite was so fragile, it crumbled the moment I put some weight on it. I walked down the trench and found a place where bushes had branches dipping down the trench. Now my rope- and tree; climbing skills were at test. The branches were thin and not all could support my weight. However, I pulled myself up one of the thicket branches and carefully moved horizontally along the trench to find tough branches. I had survived through worse situations and this was nothing compared to them. In half an hour, I was out.
I dusted myself and went down the cliff at the end of the ground. I was right, it was a rave and no one asked me who I was. Guess they were too certain that nobody uninvited could reach there. They were right on that part, but they'd never thought of reckless adventurers like me.
When I woke up, it was 3 am and most of the people had left and others were asleep. Suddenly, I had the urge to leave. I'm an impulsive man and it's tpogh for me to hold them during regular days. This was however a holiday and didn't think twice before leaving. I went up, found the secret bridge across the trench and started my motorcycle.
Soon I was in jungle again and stuck in the same maze I was earlier. I kept trying, got tired and said, "No more searching. I want to sleep." I parked my bike on the that narrow path and slept on the bike, something which wasn't for the first time. I had slept on bike many times before and it was difficult. After a while, I started feeling cold. I was dresses in my leather vest only and not prepered for the cold hills. I saw an abandoned under-construction house nearby and decided to sleep with an outside ledge over my head. It was dark with some monnlight and I did not want to sleep on the ground, so tried to bring the bike under the ledge and sleep on it. I started the bike and it was really tough to make a bullet turn on a narrow path. As I was trying, the laterite gave way and the bike's front tyre got stuck in a ditch. It was useless to try to get the bike out of the bitch. I had no option but to sit along the wall of the house and try to sleep. I dosed off but was woken up again by the cold.
I saw an abandoned outhouse near the house. The door to that 1 room outhouse was just a jute sack hanging from the upper ledge. I took of the sack, wrapped it around myself and went into the outhouse. There was a makeshift bamboo staircase inside and I sat on the lowest rung and went off to sleep.
After a while I was woken by loud sound of rustling leaves and a cacophony of forest birds. It was a large animal and perhaps a predator because the sound of birds was a warning sound. I had seen enough of forests to recognize the warning sounds. It struck me, "There are hardly any tigers in Goa but it most probably could be a leopard. My brain started running. If the leopard tried to come inside the outhouse, it would be right in my face, 3-4 feet distant. I held the sack around me tightly and slowly climbed backward on the staircase. The leaves were still rustling. Without making any sound, I reached 5th rung of the stairs. Now I felt safe. Even if that animal came inside, i was ready to take on him.
However, the sound diminished after some time and I dosed off again. The sun was up and I was woken by human sounds later. I decided to go out and found a villager with his son. I took their help to pull the bike out of the ditch. It was cold but I wanted to get back to guest house soon as by afternoon.We were supposed to leave for Hyderabad and I didn't want to be a troublemaker.