27 Dec- motorcycle madness
the easy way was to go to shahjahanpur on a bus, finish the work on monday and come back to meerut on bus. but i was gripped with the idea of burning the desire of riding which i had not done for quite a long time and spend the time my way. like i said earlier, time had no meaning in this adventure. at afternoon, i kicked ThunderBird to life and on my way to shahjahanpur.
the road from meerut to garhmukteshwar is a narrow road which then joins NH-24, the highway linking delhi and lucknow. ride until garh was pleasant as the road runs through countryside without too much traffic, and i joined NH 24 happily.
i knew that NH 24 was under transformation to a 6-lane but did not know that the work was slow. there were half-made stretches, most road broken. there were unridable detours from the main highway. it was all dusty and not very pleasant ride.
sunlight fades away early during winters and i was slowed down by the untrasversable roads. darkness had started to creep in before i reached moradabad. another police checkpost. i had my papers in order and not to worry. just while checking, i happened to mention that my dad was once DIG (Police), Moradabad range. the cop was suddenly apologetic and asked me to have tea and snacks at the police station. i told him that i didn't have time and needed to go to shahjahnapur asap. he gave me his phone number and told me that if police stops me on the way i just had to ring him up. i thanked and rode off.
the railway crossing between moradabad and rampurw as jammed with traffic, a common occurrence. i remembered the time when i was stuck there for hours and hours in a car on my way to lucknow. however, being on a motorcycle, there was place for me to sneak through the whole queue and be the 1st one to fly away as soon as the gates open.
i was in Bareilly until 9 o' clock. I stopped by the bus station to have some tea. i was not carrying rum/whisky on this ride and tea was necessary in this cold. come 9:30 pm and lo! behold! fog had set in. just once the though crossed my mind, "was it wise to go on a ride at this hour?" i'd seen accidents happen on this road due to foggy conditions. but i bolstered myself, "i have rode through these conditions earlier on my way to jaipur and had the added responsibility of Gudz riding with me. I can do it again."
i rode on, recollecting all the steps (generated by me) to take while riding in fog- keep riding near the white line on edge of road, consider illusions as reality (yes, there are many illusions if you ride/drive in fog), honk at the 1st stimulus, enhance auditory senses, and of course go slow. the ride became tougher with no convoys on the way; there were no landmarks to tell where i was. i was in complete 'tunnel vision' mode . i would have rode to hell and not stop.
I had lost sense of time and did not realize that i had travelled further than the farm. fortunately, the next landmark, bareilly mod, was not far away. i took a U-turn scanning the roadside for the board which indicated farm's location. it was 1 am when i reached the farm. mom and dad were angry on me taking chances on my life. they had posted a man on the road until 12 am so that i did not miss the farm's gate. but called him back cuz it looked like i wasn't gonna arrive. had tea and dinner and went off to sleep.
28 Dec- i woke up early as we had to go to DM's office for some work. by that ppl had started coming knowing that i was there. they knew that i was the heir and wud be the next person to supervise the farm activities. they too were astonished that i rode a motorcycle from meerut last night. at that time, i could not understand what riding a motorcyle for 300 km meant to others; why did they think of it as a not humanly possible task. i just shrugged it off. and off we went to the city.
29 Dec- the work couldn't be completed yesterday, so the morning went in finishing it. at 4 o' clock, i decided to go back to gurgaon. i did not want to miss the new year party as i had not really partied on new year since last 2-3 years. u can guess what parents' reaction was on me leaving. but again, i would say- god bless my parents! i took my backpack and rode off. winter days are shorter. by the time i reached bareilly, night had arrived. i was tired but i did not stop cuz i was in the groove of riding. stopping may mean that i wud sit for a long time and i wanted to ride as far as i could before fog wud creep in. and it did soon after i crossed bareilly. i do not remember much of it until rampur. i was just too focused on keeping the bike on road. all my senses were concentrated on the road to notice anything else. at rampur, i had tea.
As i crossed Moradabad, visibility had gone down to 0. i simply could not see what was ahead of me. on the way, many vehicles had stopped by the side of road cuz they did not know where to go. as i went past them, they started following me to lead them through the way. as i reckon, soon there was a convoy of 6-7 cars, buses ans trucks behind me. now i had to be more careful as there were people relying on me to lead them. like i said earlier, the road was under construction. a flyover was being built and was not open to vehicles. we had to take the by lane to keep going.. visibility was 0; there was a sudden bifurcation on the by lane. one of the roads was under construction so instead of going straight on that road, i took the other road instinctively. my instincts told me that the other road was open. going by my well-tested sense of direction, this one seemed to take us straight along the side of flyover and on to the highway. and damn! i took a wrong turn somewhere. mind you, there were no landmarks visible, not even the flyover pillars. we were inside the town now. it was night and foggy, and no live soul could be seen to ask the way. i cursed myself. not only i had gone wrong, i took others also on the wrong road. however, i let my instinct keep guiding me. going by the odds, now my instinct would not go wrong until next 50 times. and yes, they did serve well. we came on to a police barricade and one constable on motorcycle put us back on the road. i was relieved. for me it was okay. if i wouldn't have been able to find the way, i could have just parked my bike, take out the blanket and sleep over until light. but here was the question of others behind me.
by the time i reached gajraula, it was 4 am- 12 hours of riding and i was still more than 150 kms away from gurgaon. my body and brain told me to stop and stay over the night. they could not take it more. 1150 km of riding alone, carrying a heavy backpack and brutal winter nights were taking a heavy toll on them. i stopped at a dhaba and had some tea. luckily, they had some rum too. i sat drinking with sme truck drivers, and as i narrated my story, they could not believe. no one could do it alone. they had never dne it even on a truck. this encouraged me and i pumped myself with adrenaline- son! legends are not made if you stop in between. i got up, fastened up all my jacket zippers, put on the leather gloves lined with wool, fixed the helmet tight, strapped on the backpack and off we go.
i do not remember when sunlight surfaced. i have a brief recollection of going thru hapur and crossing the UP-Delhi border. not for a moment did i get off the motorcycle. it was perhaps 1 or 2 o' clock that i reached my house in gurgaon. oh! how i was delighted as if i reached heaven. sleepily i opened the doors, threw the pack on a side and fell on the bed. yes! i was home to celebrate the new year.