What do I write about my Mumbai bike trip?
What do you write about the British teenage pacer who bowled for two days on a flat Indian test match pitch, and returned figures of 60-20-100-2? Except for the two wicket taking deliveries, the odd half chance which ‘could have been’, maybe one or two misfields, or the odd LB appeals, what did the bowler do, really?
We hit the highway at around five, and were pretty much drenched by six. It were the monsoons, and rains were not something we could make an excuse for stopping. so the sky became our washing machine, and the wind our dryer. I was the smart one here. Wearing sleeveless gym T-shirt over my drip dry track pants, which I had rolled up to my knees. Like the Hindu cycles of births and rebirths, I would get wet, dry up, then get wet and dry up again. There were no such cycles for Sanket, though. Wearing a cotton shirt and vest over his thick denim jeans and jogging shoes and socks, he was accepting with aplomb, and then not letting go of, any of Allah’s offerings.
Well, to each one his own. As long as the other one remains beside you and does not ram you into the truck passing from the side. That’s the first lesson you learn on the road.
We both tend to get a little high on the open roads. The mind leaves behind all the clutter of the corporate life, and the vision is clearer. The thoughts which come gushing in then, are more neutral and plenty, and make for some mind blowing BC. The only problem is that although you are able to soak in the rain, and are able to see the skyline five kilometers to your left and five to your right, and can look up and count exactly how many stars are in the galaxy, and can scream ‘Hey you up there, I’m down here’ without thinking about your manager, other people still are not looking beyond their desktop monitors a few inches away. They don’t have any reason to look up, ‘coz they would only see the ceiling (often false, that too), so they don’t even do that, and thus the computer screen remains their world, and thus…
Conversations like this happen.
Boy: Hey, how’re you doing?
Girl: I’m good. Do you know what time it is?
Boy: Um, hmm, I’ve kinda lost track (Checks his mobile)…yeah it’s around twelve.
Girl: Okay forget it. Where are you?
Boy: Umm, somewhere in Karnataka.
Girl: What? Where in Karnataka?
Boy: Somewhere. Some place you won’t know.
Girl: Okay okay. What are you doing there?
Boy: Right now? I’m lying down, face up.
Girl: Where are you lying down?
Boy: Umm, see there’s this grass on the side of the highway.
Boy: Yeah, so that’s where I’m lying down.
Girl: What? Aniket! ANIKET! ANIKET!
Boy: Hey, hey! Hold it. I’m gonna visit you tomorrow.
Girl: Okay! When do you reach here?
Boy: It depends.
Girl: Depends? On what?
Boy: On how fast we ride the bike.
Girl: Bike? what bike?
Boy: Ohho… tumko to har cheez samjhaani padti hai… what bike can it be? Vahi jispe hum aa rahe hain!
Girl: Aniket! ANIKET! ANIKET!
And this would go on.
If you notice the number of exclamations and question marks on the ‘Girl’ side, and the corresponding lack thereof on the ‘Boy’, you would realize how much was the difference in the states of mind. It’s mind boggling that the conversation actually took place.
Tired of riding slowly in the rains, we slept off in the dorm of a roadside motel, and were on the highway in four hour’s time. While we had been heading west, into the setting sun the evening before (which had made for some awesomeness), and I had sung practically all the Lucky Ali I knew, this was dawn. Time for spiritual, soul stirring Mantra Chanting, and Kailash Kher, and Piya Basanti. And it became a new journey again.
We would pass by a tree, where the birds were a bit lively. The sound of the Royal Enfield, solace to lonely ears in the stillness of the night, was then the roar of a hungry lion intruding into a Wordsworthian pasture, and so we would kill it. And let the birds have their say. We would stop by a hillock I would find particularly interesting to climb, and we would park the bike at the side of the highway and climb the hill. And the gazing at the vast, flat Vidarbha countryside, so covered with young, freshly washed grass shining under the cloud cover, we would smell the air. And then we would do nothing but close our eyes and feel the air filling our insides with all the promise of a new birth, till we felt as if we had been born again.
We would see a mandir, and bow to the one who has made it all.
And then we would move on. It was the most beautiful morning of my life.