This trip is inspired by Rohit Upadhyay, commonly known as Beruoist. I have never seen him, met him, or spoken to him, but who gives a fuck. I like him, his attitude, his travels, the simplicity and the greed. His website is one of the few out there that I read regularly, and his Berojgaari Ride is what motivated me to do something similar.
I quit my job when I returned from Bhutan. 6 guys went on that epic 7500 km ride, 6 different people returned, 1 was completely changed. After surviving the idiotic 3 month long notice period, I was finally free on 18th February 2015, after being owned by an MNC for over 4 years.
I was unemployed.
It’s a weird feeling to not have a job. On one hand, your mind is so calm, everything feels so peaceful, so beautifully relaxed, but on the other side, your parents and your girlfriend and your relatives and your friends are all so frustrated and tensed! I guess it’s a normal survival reaction that’s impregnated deep within the psyche of everyone out there, drilled inside by years and years of conformity and social bullying.
People feel bad about watching someone do something they themselves wanted to do but couldn’t because they didn’t.
My last day at IGATE was brilliant! The entire ODC showed up to wish me goodbye, even though I recognized less than half of them. We had to order a second cake because the 1st one just sorta finished up. All of this glamour was thanks to my good friend Ganesh, who I tried my best to repay in cigarettes and weed.
“Where are you going next?”
“What? No I mean what company, what place, what job?”
“I don’t know.”
You should’ve seen their faces.
I’m an extremely lazy person. I try to delay everything I can as much as I can. It was the night of 18th February, and my bags were still unpacked. I always thought I was not a materialistic person, that “stuff” didn’t matter to me at all, which is why I made a lot of fun of a friend of mine who always seemed obsessed about her “stuff”.
I had imagined I’ll just take all of the important stuff in 2 bags and leave the rest to the bedbugs. I divided my stuff into 3 piles.
- Extremely important stuff
- Good to have stuff
- Meh stuff
I started filling up my Viaterra Velox and a trekking bag, happily throwing in stuff, dreaming of Goa tomorrow. A few minutes later I found that all my bags were full, so I looked at my piles to see what “Good to have stuff” and “Meh stuff” I can carry along so I’ll never have to come back to Mumbai again.
90% of my Extremely important stuff was still outside my bags.
I have no idea what the fuck happened. I guess 4 years of staying in a room does add up your stuff rather slowly. So the packing that I had expected to last 3-4 hours was done in 20 minutes, hence I went out to meet that friend of mine who always seemed obsessed about her “stuff”, to pay her in cigarettes in weed for the good times we had together.
She repaid me in ridicule.
The morning after:
I’m an extremely lazy person, but I always wish I wasn’t. So I set my alarm for 5 AM, hoping to fuck off from Mumbai by 7 to avoid the morning office-commute-cum-car-orgies. I got up at 5, got ready, checked the stuff I was carrying, checked the stuff I was leaving behind, looked outside, and went back to sleep.
It was dark outside.
I guess it was an effect of being unemployed, I really couldn’t give 2 shits about starting early and such. I was so relaxed, I didn’t care if I reached Goa in the middle of the night, I was free, I answered to no one.
I drink a liter of milk straight from the packet every morning. I heard a rustle outside, and saw my 2 half-liter packets had been delivered at precisely 6:45 AM. A lot of glug-glug later, I was happy.
So I slept some more.
My roommate who I didn’t like arrived back from night-shift at some 9:30 AM, so I thought to myself it was time to run along. Mounted my bags, suited up, removed all my riding gear to take a shit and then suited up back again, and finally at 10:15 I was ready to go.
I didn’t have any cash.
I hate stopping a few minutes into the ride. I hate when people show up for a group ride on an empty tank, and then you have to stop a few minutes into the ride to fill up just because they couldn’t make that stupid little trip last night.
Went to the nearby ATM, the guard thought I was coming in to commit a robbery. Removed my helmet and glasses, took out the money, and finally at 10:20 I was ready to go.
It was one of the best rides of my life.
Mumbai – Pune – Kolhapur:
No traffic at Mumbai. No traffic at Lonavala. No traffic at Pune. No traffic at Katraj Ghat. No traffic anywhere. I was just breezing along, speeds hovering around the 110 kmph mark. It was quite windy that day, and speeding over 120 really strained my neck.
The last time I went to IBW, I met a lot of bikers on the way. This time, however, I didn’t see anybody till I was deep inside Goa. It was pretty surprising! I was hoping to see at least ONE rider out there, but all I got was stupid cars, moronic trucks and idiotic buses.
I generally try to stay away from crowds, so when it was time for lunch I stopped at a rather deserted place just before Nipani. There was 1 more family eating there besides me, and the owner happily let me park the bike right inside the hotel.
Ordered some paneer and some rotis and some cold drink. Was trying to do something on my phone, knocked over the cold drink. The bottle leapt into my lap, rolled onto my boot, and then calmly danced along the floor.
So I got another one.
To be honest, it was a rather boring ride. It was just wheeeeeeee – brake – change gear – wheeeeee – brake – fuel up – wheeeeeeee – eat – wheeeeee – dodge the dead cow and so on, you know the drill. I had thought of going via NH17 just to spice things up, but I was heavily warned of the giant potholes all over the place. A friend of mine bent the rim on his bike there a day before, so no thank you!
Amboli ghat and the Chick on the Triumph:
Finally made the right and onto Amboli! I could’ve gone via Chorla, but I am now really scared of that route after my last year’s horrible nightmare there. The Amboli section isn’t in as great a shape as last year, but it’s still pretty decent for an Indian road. I was just ambling around at 60 and enjoying the scenery, the burnt, bleak, black and brown scenery that is.
Took a quick stop at Amboli, took some snaps and then got running again. I’ve started hating my Duke 390 the last few months, it feels very overpowering, too fast for my liking. The moment I see something interesting on the road that I want to click, I am already 2 kms head of it. I don’t like my machine dictating my journey.
Just when the downhill section of the ghat starts, I saw a girl on a Triumph Thruxton ride very weirdly in front of. She was making 3 point turns, going into the wrong side of the road, and overall feeling extremely uncomfortable on her steed. For a moment I thought she was on an electric motorcycle, because I couldn’t hear a single fucking sound from her dual exhausts, even when I got uncomfortably close by mistake. I don’t think she ever revved her bike over 2500 RPM.
I say she because that’s the first thing I noticed. It was that ponytail hanging out of her helmet.
My first thought was “Is this Sharvari from MotoReels?”. I’ve been following their journey on Facebook, a journey where they are riding 2 Bonnies from Pune to Goa to Kerala and then back, all sponsored and shit, something that I will never get. But then I didn’t see another Triumph around with Sigmund on it, so I thought this must be someone else.
I started following her.
I was much faster than her, but there were a number of reasons why I didn’t overtake her for the next 30 odd kilometers.
- The way she was fishtailing on every corner, I thought I’ll be her knight in shining riding gear if she fell.
- Even though she was slow, she didn’t really leave any room for anybody else on the road to overtake from.
- Once she got onto the straights, she rode quite beautifully! I was genuinely loving the experience of following her.
So that’s how it went on for the next hour. I was in no hurry, at all, and I was making full use of that liberty by being a creepy stalker of a women rider who I randomly found in the middle of the jungle. In my defense, I did attempt to overtake her on a few occasions, but just never felt the need to finish it off. Once we got to Sawantwadi, she took the right to go into the city and I took the left to join NH17. Stopped a few kilometers ahead by the lake and rested my sore little butt.
Dear lady on the Thruxton who was followed for an hour by some dude with an iridium visor on an orange helmet on a Duke 390 on the Amboli ghat on 19th February 2015, please don’t think I’m a pervert.
The Harleys and the Lights:
Changed my visor to the clear one and onwards to Panaji! I was going to stay at a friend’s place in South Goa, but I didn’t really know how much south. It got pretty dark pretty soon, and I found myself in the most dangerously awkward situation you can imagine.
There was a group of Harley riders in front of me, and a group of Bullet riders behind me.
I’m not on good terms with a lot of different kind of people, but those two groups are absolutely not my buddies. This was the only time in the entire ride that I actually found other riders going to IBW, and I just couldn’t wait to get it over with.
I’ve always heard that people like Harleys so much because they are very customizable, which means that it’s very easy to make your Harley into something that nobody else has. I always thought that meant people change the bars and the seats and the exhausts and the rake and the tires and shit, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s just lights. Bright. Fucking. Lights.
You should’ve seen this small bunch of Harleys, some 6-7 in number, but it looked like the motherfucking President of the USA was being escorted by them. All of them had different kind of lights, somebody had that big square near the tail, somebody had red hazard lights, somebody had orange hazard lights, somebody had those epilepsy inducing flashers on the swingarm. It was a fucking trailer park.
On top of that, almost all of them had those appalling, obnoxiously loud, straight-from-a-tractor exhausts. I mean I understand you guys want to show off, but how can you live with such a bike that sounds like a 1979 Tata truck having sex with a Llama?
So I was like what the fuck should I do now? I knew many Harley riders have little toesies, and I didn’t want to step on any. On the other hand, I couldn’t keep riding behind them while being blinded by that Mithun-Chakraborty-disco on two wheels. It was at that moment that I heard behind me the only exhaust note worse than the ones I could hear in front of me.
A farting Bullet.
No matter what you do to a Harley, or any other bike for that matter, it can’t sound worse than a Royal Enfield with a butt job. This guy was like bam-bam-bam-fart-bam-bam-fart misfiring all over the place, revving it when he didn’t need to, just being an extremely sad prick.
I’ve heard Bullet guys don’t like Harley guys, because Harley guys think of Bullet guys as cheap cocksuckers, and Bullet guys think of everybody as plastic penises. I could feel the hostility as this bunch of 4-5 Bullets overtook me, then overtook the Harleys, and then firmly planted themselves ahead of the pack.
That gave me an idea.
I slowly overtook one Harley, then another Harley, and then all the Harleys and the Bullets and soon had a 5 km gap on them. Fuck all of these slow show-offs rambling about their “brotherhood” and queefing around on their little vagina bikes.
The ride to Benaulim:
When I made it to Mapusa, I stopped on the side to make a call to Gavin, the friend I was bugging for a place to stay. He asked me where I was, and then told me it’s another 50 odd kilometers for me to make it home. I had left most of the stupid bike traffic behind me, so I was like meh, we’ll do it.
I just kept going, straight and on and straight. Gavin had said it’ll take me some 45 minutes to make it, after an hour the boards were still showing Margao 5 kms. Kept pushing, and finally saw the bus stop Gavin had told me about, took a right on the circle and waited for him there. Gavin said he’ll be there in his black Getz shortly.
A silver Swift Dzire pulled up besides me.
I hadn’t ever met Gavin before this, nor had I seen much photos of him. I had no idea what he looked like, but had a general clue. This dude in the Dzire looked quite a bit like Gavin to me, and to top it all off he asked me to come towards his window.
You looking to go to Colva?
I met a guy on a bike just like yours a few kilometers back and he wanted to go to Colva. Are you with him?
Oh, no no, I’m waiting for another friend.
Ah, where are you from?
You came on your bike?
How long did it take?
Yeah, but fun too!
That’s a Duke 200?
Nopes, a 390.
Yes, yes, then you can fly!
Our conversation was interrupted by 2 gentlemen getting into the Dzire who almost bumped me off. The bald guy told the others what I was doing, and all 3 of them waved at me. It was an awkward situation.
Gavin arrived, and I followed him through the maze that they call Goa roads. I tried my best to remember them, but as expected, it soon got extremely complicated. Made it to his guest house, went out with him for drinks, and the rest you can find somewhere in here.