Thursday, January 23, 2014

time travel

I love to say "time stands still when you're moving fast enough"

and that's exactly what it seems like, every morning that I'm running on critical time for my office bus.

7:25 on bike clock: leave home
7:25 on watch: turn off sv road
7:25 on phone: park bike, run to bus
7:25 on bus driver's watch: bus leaves

it's amazing how much a minute can be stretched to, btw. on the digital clock on my bike's dashboard, since there's no seconds display, it sometimes actually feels like time is standing still, while I'm moving as fast as I safely can :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

road rage

not sure if being on a bike instead of in a car has anything to do with it, but i don't find traffic to be that terrible. it's almost always not as bad as it looks. so road rage surprises me.

like the other day, riding home, I was near this car that was honking incessantly on the highway. the highway was gridlocked and moving at few inches a minute, literally. i started keeping my distance after he tried an aggressive manoeuvre with me, but another car driver didn't seem to share my philosophy.

as this guy honked, the other guy tried to box him in closer and closer. until at one point, there was a scrunch, and the two cars made contact. the honking one was squashed between the other car and the wall of the highway.

the one doing the squashing then proceeded to inch past, dragging the other guy along at like 1 kilometer an hour for a few feet, metal screeching. the guy stopped honking. this guy doing the squashing then veered off and drove away.

i'm sure both vehicles sustained a few thousand bucks worth of damage in the bargain.

just to make one irritating driver stop honking.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

we're all lost

last week, I was riding to 4 bungalows from powai for the first time. at one point, I was unsure if i was going the right way. while riding, I saw a biker stopped a few feet ahead. I pulled up to ask for directions.

but before I could even ask, before I could even completely stop, *he* asked me the way to juhu. it almost seemed like the scene from the matrix, where the oracle knows that neo is about to drop the vase.

the timing was that freaky.

Monday, January 13, 2014

i wish

yesterday, a friend and I rode under a railway bridge, while a train passed over it. make a wish, she said.

i was stunned for a few seconds before i could react. not because I didn't know about this "make a wish below a train" thing (which i actually didn't), but because I don't do wishes.

I believe the universe balances itself, and i believe that we directly influence the universe with our thoughts. that wishes come true. and so, when i make a wish that actually comes true, I have influenced the universe in other, unexpected ways too. and i don't want that. I want the universe to be in control of itself, and me to be in control of myself. anything else simply complicates stuff.

also, what do you wish for when you have the capacity to give yourself everything you want, and the universe gives you everything you need?

I don't do wishes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

tales from the highway

i'm still settling down from an epic road trip. and yes, I have promised i'll blog the details. but before I dig into the facts and information, there's the fun part: anecdotes from the 2933 km ride. and yes, there are a few noteworthy tales from the numerous highways i rode on :)

the impolite overtaker

cruising down the mumbai - bangalore highway at around 100, it took me a few seconds to notice an indica that had crept up behind me and was waiting to pass. when i noticed, i waved it on.

the people in it must have misunderstood my wave, because as they passed me, one of the passengers rolled down his window and waved back. with his middle finger.

the polite bus driver

the mangalore - solapur highway is a 2 lane highway, mostly flat and straight, with a lot of trucks, relatively few buses, and for some reason, practically no bikes. since it's straight and flat, trucks usually get enough time to creep to their max speed, so overtaking is usually a long-drawn process. except for this one time, when i peeked out from behind a truck, saw an oncoming state transport bus, which, inexplicably, saw me and went completely off the road in a huge cloud of red dust. half the highway for my puny bike to overtake. and i wasn't even eager to overtake, but i definitely didn't want to insult that bus driver's generosity. hope he saw me wave through that cloud of dust, because I could only hear the bus growling through the dust on the shoulder.

pass fail

riding around on the narrow roads outskirts of hampi, i was about to pass a slow moving tempo, when i noticed an oncoming bike. far enough to safely overtake, but close enough to merit a flash of my headlight.

he must have misunderstood my signal though, because after i flashed my light, he signaled back with his right hand that my headlight was on.

bike in a haystack

the mangalore - solapur highway ride was my trip's longest (time-wise) leg. at some point, I thought I was quite zen with the highway. cruising at 100 ish, i'd slow down and wait behind trucks that were probably driving at full throttle, until a wee bit of frustration would kick in and I'd zoom out and overtake, and hold my speed until the next truck.

so i was pleasantly surprised when a truck i was cruising toward, abruptly turned off the highway onto the shoulder, right in front of me.

surprise turned into shock when i realized it was because there was a huge haystack blocking the width of entire national highway. and i had just a few metres before i hit it at a triple digit speed.

bracing for impact, our only reaction was frenzied chants of "oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck". until we went cleanly through the haystack.

funnily enough, we probably passed through atleast 10 more such haystacks on the highway. there'd usually be someone at the edges, trying to get the haystack onto one side of the road. I have absolutely no idea what was happening there.

head to head

haystacks weren't the only shocks we had to deal with on the mangalore - solapur highway. the absolute worst one was when I sped up to overtake a truck, with an oncoming truck in the distance, i was nearing 100 (as usual), and saw that i was about to ride straight into a huge (nay, enormous!) crater. 9-10 feet in diameter, a foot deep at the edges, deeper in the middle, with roughly dumped stone chunks inside.

i slammed my brakes and burned tracks, but to no avail. i was fully in the crater by the time i was slow enough to do anything useful with the handles. luckily, the bike held, the saddle bags held, my pillion held, my heart held, and the oncoming truck driver saw the crater and braked better than i did.

off-roading on a national highway

as we approached hospet down the mangalore - solapur highway, random haystacks and 10 foot craters came together to form one huge mess. at one point, we found ourselves alone on the highway.

that's right, all the other vehicles were driving on the mud shoulder on either side, which was actually in much better condition than the highway itself. being on a bike helps things somewhat, but even then, at some point I got tired of literally weaving across both lanes of the highway in search of tarmac. it was actually better to ride on the dirt at 5 km/h. wish I clicked photos: that strip of craters was definitely not a road, let alone anything worthy of being called a highway.

Friday, January 03, 2014

farewell, 2013

every year, as December 31st nears, i look back and try to take stock of the year that has been. and without many exceptions, i'm usually surprised at the things that I did and the things that happened, while the stuff that didn't are usually quite mundane and even expected. 2013 lives up to that history.

one thing I'd never have expected is the amount of items on my "bucket list" that i finally struck off:

biking to ladakh (except that i wanted to bike all the way from Bombay, which didn't happen)

biking to places other than goa - gokarna, ladakh, the konkan coastline, mangalore, hampi

off-road biking

learning surfing

river rafting

getting involved in a business venture

and then there's the more mundane stuff, but it's also exceptional when you put it all together:

getting back to reading (more than a book a month this year, as opposed to barely 4 last year)

getting back to trekking (6 weekends of back to back riding + trekking this monsoon, a couple of winter treks)

maintaining some semblance of a diet (paleo, for the most part)

getting my long term finances in order

general lifehacking (getting rid of most timesinks like twitter, games, fixing my sleep schedule, finding my social life balance between making new friends and spending time with the ones that matter)

still, a lot more remains to be done in 2014, that i was hoping to get done this year:

paragliding

ladakh on bike, end to end

biking to the east coast

having a consistent fitness routine

travel blogging

international travel

getting settled, relationship-wise

yes, I'm hoping to better 2013.