As I settled in my chair after completely roasting one of my colleagues, an angelic alter ego in me resented at the course of actions I took, “You use criticism as a weapon of destruction. You absolutely destroyed John, just for the sake of revenge and satisfaction.”
Was just counting – I have been abused by 3 people in my childhood. And yes of course they had to be neighbours or relatives. (Wonder why I didn’t react. Well. I did once. I told my friend who’s uncle was acting funny with me and within a few days people from that house started thinking of me as a “characterless” girl. Common, I was just a school kid! That hurt. And maybe that’s why the rest of the men had it easy. I was pretending to be strong and unaffected. And they thought I was enjoying it. I am trying to remember if I had ever really begun enjoying it. But it’s like trying to see the red and yellow independently after they have been mixed to make that orange color.
If I treat myself as a case study, I think it’s very interesting to see how a particular personality trait is developed. And it’s not about a broken family. It’s about being surrounded by insecure parents; it’s the naive understanding of how the world works – you speak up and you are misunderstood, mocked and maligned by people, family included. You keep quiet and continue walking proud (trust me, nobody wonders why you are holding your head unusually high) and those who are doing things to you support you by being nice and normal and sometimes even respectful in public and continue having their fun at every opportunity and possibly also getting aroused by your show of pride. And yes, sometimes they start giving out paternal advice too. And while you are trying to keep that head high and proud over the shoulder and in turn saving some serious embarrassment to your family the news of your “availability” spreads to the likes of these uncles and neighbours. Suddenly there are too many of those around you. Some you ignore, some you fight back and you let some tarnish your image (because you don’t give in to their demands). While all this is happening that kid is growing up, still hoping to be a beautiful young lady and a wonderful person. She wants real love, real tenderness and real care. And of course she doesn’t know if she is getting it or not. She has seen insecure and unsure parents and that insecurity and uncertainty has gotten into her too. She believes that the one with that something hanging between his legs is more powerful and in general governs the well-being of a woman, and being quiet and submissive is the only way to have his blessings and goodwill. And yes, that thing between the legs thinks!!!!
When lot of people start settling down in life she is just beginning to gather courage to stare at that wound that never healed. Thankfully she never gave up on love! But maybe she has just made herself difficult to be loved by a man.
There is a war going on between sleep and day dreaming. It is so difficult to be the judge because both of them are a part of me.
Sleep beckons promising to make me live one step near an impossible reality. Just then day dreaming shouts back, “Sleep is simply trying to lure you! You will wake up with a just hazed memory” A memory nevertheless! And if I daydream? I don’t have to fall asleep at all. I can live the feeling!
But I just heard sleep say “Mind you dear girl, it’s just going to be a feeling. I promise you at least a memory.”
The rational intellect in me chuckles at this dispute and decides to retire with a silent prayer of love and well-being for my beloved.
The tattoo is a mixture of many tribal cultures such as Maori, Aztec and Indian. It took me almost a year to gather the elements and design the tattoo, after that the hunt began for an artist who would understand it and was willing to do justice to the tattoo. One fine day, one of my friend’s suggested (insisted) to visit Vrishali at Saby’s tattoo studio in Koregaon Park. The tattoo designed by me was in very crude state, with only the elements in proper place. After discussions with her, she made few modifications to it and took it to a next level.
People have been asking me the meaning of the tattoo, so here’s the detailed meaning of the elements in my tattoo:
A. Batman logo with circuit:
Short meaning: Justice and circuit.
Detailed meaning: I have been a batman fan since childhood, and fascinated by his methodologies and contingency plans. Also I’m a software developer by profession; So what better way to merge your hero and your profession.
B. Ani Enata:
Short meaning: Ancestors
Detailed meaning: In Maori culture Overstylized enata joined together in a row of people holding hands form the motif called ani ata, which translates to “cloudy sky”. Rangi (Heaven) and Papa (Earth) once laid closely embracing each other and their children lived between them in darkness until deified men forced them apart by pushing Rangi up to let the light in. This concept of a row related to the sky is present throughout all Polynesian languages and a row of enata in a semicircle is commonly used to represent the sky as well as the ancestors guarding upon their descendants.
C. Sanskrit sholk:
नाभिषेको न संस्कारः सिंहस्य क्रियते वने ।
विक्रमार्जितसत्त्वस्य स्वयमेव मृगेंद्रता ॥
Na Abhisheko, Na Samskraha; Simhasya kriyate vanae
Vikramarjita satvasya svayameva mrugendrata
Short meaning: There is no official coronation ceremony held to declare lion king of jungle. He becomes king by his own attributes and heroic actions
Detailed meaning: It’s my inspiration to be the Lion of the jungle.
D. Hammerhead shark motif:
Short meaning: Tenacity, strength, determination and sociability.
Detailed meaning: Those are my traits. (Hold on, more bragging to follow ahead!)
E. Marquesan cross:
Short meaning: Balance and harmony
Detailed meaning: It also resembles the Hindu symbol of sun and has similar meanings, ranging from eternity to harmony and balance between the elements. For me it resembles balance in my life and harmony.
F. Fish hook:
Short meaning: Knowledge, intelligence, a promise, prosperity
Detailed meaning: It resembles my quest for knowledge. A promise to someone special and a hope to gain prosperity.
Short meaning: Health, fertility, long life, strong foundation, peace, the navigator
Detailed meaning: It resembles my strong foundation and navigation, not only in my journey of life, but also the other journeys that quite frequently undertake. It is for my turtle named Leo.
H. All seeing Eye:
Short meaning: Protection from unseen dangers
Detailed meaning: As the meaning suggests its for protection from unseen dangers that lurk around me all the time. (Not being a paranoid!)
Short meaning: Power, loyalty, nobility and courage.
Detailed meaning: The main reason to include lion was to support with the Sanskrit Shlok. Along with the meaning of shlok, it also represents my traits such as loyalty, courage and nobility. Also the ability to grasp power.
Short meaning: Marriage.
Detailed meaning: Hold your horses on this one!
K. Assassins Creed Logo:
Short meaning: Brotherhood, Letter A (‘Aniket’ Brother’s name)
Detailed meaning: We, me and my brother, share a similar kind of brotherhood shared by assassins, and ‘A’ also happens to be the initial of his name (unfortunately)
L. Standing stones:
Short meaning: Achievements.
Detailed meaning: There are many milestones I have achieved so far. (and there are many stones other than the highlighted one!)
M, N, S,T and U. Shark teeth:
Short meaning: protection, guidance and strength, fierceness, the warrior, and adaptability.
Detailed meaning: Protection for family and my loved ones. Also protection in water (I have had my share of near drowning experiences!). I have fought my way until here, hence the warrior. I can adapt to new changes, hence adaptability. Fierceness, don’t try on that note!
O and P. Sea waves:
Short meaning: Life, change and continuity.
Detailed meaning: I love sea. Its vastness makes you feel how puny you are and hammers humility in you. Sea can be a great synonym for life, no matter how turbulent the sea is, after a certain time it calms down. Same can be applied to life, no matter how many difficulties you face, if you are persistent enough, you will sail through it.
Q. Letter P :
Short meaning: Maorigram of P (‘Pushpa’ Mother’s name).
Detailed meaning: The woman who made me what I’m today and for that I’m forever in her debt.
R. Braid :
Short meaning: Family.
Detailed meaning: The ancestors are the beginning of the cord of a family, with the other end representing the new born babies. The cord will grow longer with new generations, but ancestors will always remain a part of it and they shall maintain their importance for the strength of the rope. We should not forget our ancestors and traditions or our cord will become smaller and weaker.
V. Letter R:
Short meaning: Maorigram of R (‘Ramchandra’ father’s name).
Detailed meaning: Every child’s first hero and the role model. Still following his footstep.
W. Spiral Koru:
Short meaning: Continuity of life, new beginning.
Detailed meaning: The word koru means “fold, loop” and it is used to identify the pattern of the unfolding fern frond. As many of you know, it’s a new beginning in my life.
Short meaning: Family members.
Detailed meaning: Those five figures represents each member of my family, with me in center.
Short meaning: Fight, Enemies defeated.
Detailed meaning: Don’t worry, those do not represent actual fist fights. Not that, I haven’t been in them, but those don’t deem that importance in my life. And enemies defeated are the enemies, within me as well as the other few individuals (Do not come to me asking for names!).
Z. The path of Kamehameha:
Short meaning: A challenging path.
Detailed meaning: Kamehameha was a renowned Hawaiian chief and this motif called
“the path of Kamehameha” is usually used to represent a trail, a challenging path. Just adding years to life, don’t amount to anything, it should be full of challenges. When you encounter a challenge only then your true worth is revealed.
When something wrong is about to happen, your instincts scream at you and you feel the restlessness. On that fateful day I felt the same restlessness, I had to read news of the day, which was my daily routine, whenever Rajaram (green) house was on duty. It was a bad start as I couldn’t get the newspaper at the usual stall and school newspaper guy didn’t show up on time. I reached school with few minutes to spare for the assembly and raced towards the podium. This was a time when internet was only on computers, we grabbed the headlines from here and there. My initial idea was to read out previous day’s news. Trust me, I have tried that before, no one gives a fuck about it. Not even the teachers notice it. That day I tried to reason with the coordinating teacher of Rajaram house that I would like to call it a day and assign the task to someone else, as I was not well-versed with the national pledge. (Yeah, I know, I should have memorized it!) But that day only two members of my house were available, one of them being me. So it was decided that the other guy would be dealing with the national pledge and rest would be handled by me.
To my dismay, the other guy chickened out at the last-minute and disappeared in the crowd as soon as the final bell rang. The coordinating teacher and I exchanged glances, me being outraged at the turn of events and the teacher remaining calm as a seasoned warrior.
The non-verbal communication went something like this.
Me: “He will pay for backing out at the last-minute! Damn this shit even I’m walking out”
Teacher: “Cool down! Carry on with the news and other stuff. Pledge will be the last item. I will make some arrangements till then.”
So now I was the only one left to start and finish the assembly. I read out the news, thought of the day, announced the birthdays and read out some other stuff! Then I stood near the podium, switched of the microphone and whispered to the chorus girls about the situation. I told them to start with me instead of following me as usual, the front row of girls nodded in approval.
So I went back and stood at my place as the school head boy gave commands to the crowd, I asked the teacher if he was able to find a replacement, to which he shook his head in disappointment. For the first time in my life, I was blank with my instincts clearing indicating a fuck up laid ahead.
I walked towards the podium, with a heart rate of at least 140 bpm. I started with the first statement. ‘India is my country.’ and was shocked not even a single girl said it with me. I looked back at them in utter shock! A few seconds were lost and I could hear the entire school repeating the sentence, along with the girls who promised to read out with me. I thought to myself, “They forgot! Damn females, now I will be crucified! Thanks for the coordinated murder!”
And national pledge took a nose dive after starting at ‘India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.’ to ‘To my country and my people.’ Skipping rest of the content.
I received hostile stares from entire staff, few of them enjoying the moment! It was the Principal who spoke first (read snapped!), “You can’t even memorize the national pledge? How will you clear our exams?” I wanted to say, “What the fuck this has to do with the exams?”, but then I just kept my head down, staring at the coordinator and scanning for the guy who ditched. The vice-principal ordered me to get the school diary which contained the national pledge. I ran back to the nearest classroom, opened the first bag available, grabbed the diary, ran back to the podium and started with the pledge fresh again. Finally, the assembly was over, but the Principal was not done with me. As I proceeded towards the chorus girls, demanding an explanation for the utter betrayal, she called me by my name. I was shell-shocked at the fact that the principal knew me by my name, which meant, damn, one of my deeds has reached her ears! (not the good ones, of course) either ways it meant one thing for sure, I was screwed! I went to her with my eyes fixate on the ground. What happened next was rather pleasant, she commended me for my courage to face the odds, but also ordered me to recite the national pledge next time again when my house was on duty. Which meant I had four weeks to memorize it, there was no running away for me, as the principal knew me by my name!
Cursing my luck, I lashed out at the guy who had disappeared, the coordinator finally calmed me down. As it was Saturday, the last day of house on duty, I was not found on the assembly ground for next entire week. The next time when there was national pledge to be recited, I made sure someone was available to do the god damned job!
Agenda : Invade the entire Nh66 (2000+km) in 6 days
|Akshay Tapkir a.k.a Maverik||Royal Enfield Continental GT a.k.a Fire Bolt|
|Aniket Kolpe a.k.a Sergeant Cross||Royal Enfield Classic 350 a.k.a Dhaka|
|Nikitesh Kolpe a.k.a Sunray||Bajaj Avenger 220 a.k.a Little Beast|
|Rohit Sutar a.k.a Optimus|
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Day 4||Day 5||Day 6|
After spending almost an entire week on shopping, everything was set and 0500 hours was the decided time to start the invasion, but alas, like every time it started late, this time Maverick (Akshay) arrived late and then tying luggage took another hour. Finally, we left at 0700 hours with Maverick on the Fire Bolt leading the way, Optimus (Rohit) on the Little Beast with all the luggage in the middle and me and Sgt. Cross (Aniket) on Dhaka at the rear.
First halt was on the highway for petrol (it’s cheaper than the city) and after filling the bikes belly, it was time for ours.
Shiv Krupa near Shirval is an awesome place for breakfast. We left for Kolhapur at 0830 hrs. As we were late by 2hrs it was time to cover the time by increasing the throttle. So we shifted the riders. Maverick continued to lead, I took the Little Beast and Sgt. Cross took Dhaka. The road was in awesome condition so we let throttles loose and reached Kolhapur at an average speed of 70. (Max speed: 140, Min speed 80). We covered the time gap as well as tested our bikes for the rest of the journey.
Dehati, one of the most popular restaurants in Kolhapur served us Mutton Lonche, Mutton Masala, Chicken Fry and Chicken Masala with Solkadhi was fabulous and lived up-to its fame.
We were all pumped up by the high speed ride up-to Kolhapur, hence we decided to go with the flow for the rest of the distance. Next on the road was Amboli mountain pass, one of the most scenic mountain passes in Maharashtra. Tilting the bikes on the curves gave us an adrenaline rush. After taking a break at a spot and witnessing the sun set, all of us informed our parents that we reached Goa. (We were still closer to our home than our destination and a night ride on the very first day of the trip would have had serious consequences on the trip, as our parents were against riding at night) We reached Goa by 2130 hours, then began the search for the room we had booked. The hotel we had booked was in Calangute, after 3-4 calls to the owner and asking almost everyone on the road we were finally able to locate the hotel after 2 hrs.
We got freshened up and left to check out Goa at night and have dinner. We dined at Aqua-Shell restaurant near Calangute beach. Crab soup was crappy, but the fried prawns and butter, garlic prawns made up for the soup. Old Goa was some 30+ km from our place, and we were in no mood to drive another 60 km so we roamed a bit in Goa and slept.
The next day we were supposed to leave by 0900 hours, but the Goan air makes you lazy. We got up at 0900 hours, then breakfast and tying the bags on bike ate another 2 hours. When we left Goa, we were 5 hours off from the schedule. Hence, we decided to switch riders, I with Optimus in the front, Sgt. Cross in the middle with luggage and Maverick at the last. The next halt was Karwar, 130 km from Calangute. After crossing another scenic mountain pass, Optimus (Rohit) selected the spot for the pic of the trip depicting tilted bike on a hairpin curve. Though the pictures came out really good (only mine and Rohit’s pic were clear) we wasted another couple of hours in the process. When we reached Karwar we were still 6 hours behind the schedule. We reached Karwar at 1800 hours. Maverick had set the coordinates for Karwar instead of the Naval museum, which we were supposed to visit. I was a bit skeptical when we turned from the national highway, as we had seen the location of the museum quite near from the road. The size of the road started to shrink as we proceeded ahead, then there came a point where the we met a procession which blocked the entire road, but the damn google map said proceed straight for 1 km and refused to show any alternate route. Locals took pity on us and asked us where the fuck are we headed, they must have had a nice laugh as we were 15 km away from the destination. The guys tried to explain us the route in broken Hindi, after crossing the procession, Optimus had the eureka moment and then set the destination as Naval museum, instead of Karwar. Maverick was not given his phone back for the entire trip to set any location. We were expecting huge boats and heavy naval equipment at the museum, but the museum was more of a kid’s place. Disappointed with the museum, we decided to skip it and have lunch/dinner, it was 1800 hours so too late to term it as a lunch and too early to be termed as a dinner. To add to our misery, the food was tasteless and the waiters took ages to take the order.
Our ideas of a national highway were shattered after Karwar where the NH was just a 2 lane road, filled with heavy duty trucks on both sides of the road. Driving at high speed was next to impossible with such heavy traffic. The next halt was Murudeshwara temple. We reached there by 10:30, but the temple and the Shiva idol both were closed. The guard told us to come back in the morning, dejected we still decided to pursue the guards to let us in. One of the Marathi guards helped us to convince the head of security. Finally, after checking our religious authenticity (we sport long beards, so it was okay on his part) he allowed us 5 minutes to take pictures.
Delighted, we took some pictures and came out, where Optimus was arguing with us to change the halt from Malpe to Murudeshwara. We weren’t sleepy, but Optimus had his safety reasons and the argument went on for next one and half hour. I tried to argue with him for some time then when I felt I was about to lose the argument, I turned to the lawyer and Maverick showed us how he earns his bread and butter. After convincing (read forcing) Optimus we took off again for Malpe at 0030, we had cold drinks near Murudeshwara and chatted with a lovely 5-year-old girl from Kolhapur. She initiated the conversation, when most of the kids we met were scared of us.
Road from Karwar to Malpe is under construction for past 5 years and from the condition it looks like it will take another decade to complete. We reached Malpe at 0230 hours and started searching for a place to set up a tent for a few hours. After some initial search we found a school nearby and raised our tent on the volleyball ground, surrounded by our bikes. The shadows of bikes on the tent walls were mesmerizing. Sadly, we were too tired to take pictures and the few we tried didn’t come out that great.
We decided to get up at 0600 hours. But Optimus was not able to sleep due to 2 snoring giants (I wasn’t one of them), so he decided to return the favor by waking up Maverick and Sgt. Cross at 0500 hours. I enjoyed my 3 hours of sleep as Sgt. Cross knew waking me up early would have meant a hell lot of trouble for him. (Being a brother, he knows!) Finally, we packed our tent and arrived at the beach as locals had started lurking around the area with suspicious eyes. The plan was to leave Malpe by 0800 hours, but again that was not in our destiny. The ferry ride started at 0900 instead of 0600 hours, in the meantime, we took some photographs at the beach and had local breakfast consisting of Dosa, Parota and yellow sambhar.
The ferry to St. Mary’s island took 20mins, the island has one of the cleanest water I have ever seen. The island is known for its shell beach and breathtaking views. We got the best out of the tour since we were on the very first ferry and it was comparatively empty. Loud music was played on the ferry and people were dancing on the songs, for the first time we were feeling what foreigners must be feeling watching us dance on Bollywood tracks. We left Malpe at 1230 hours headed towards Kannur, 280+ kms, the second largest ride of the trip. We drove continuously for next 2 hours, stopped only once to fill petrol and switch riders. By the time we reached Panambur we were almost starved to death, learning from yesterday’s experience, we decided to google some decent restaurants. After googling for some time I found a restaurant named Giri Manja in Mangaluru with 4.7-star rating from almost 150+ people. It was a bit away from our route, but no one complained about it.
We reached Giri Manja at 1500 hours. There are two restaurants with the same name facing each other. We were a bit anxious about which was the one from the reviews. Finally, the security guard cleared the air by stating both the restaurants belonged to the same owner and have the same kitchen. Disappointment followed us here too, we inquired about their signature dish and learnt that it was over as we were late. Cursing our luck, we asked the owner for the next best dish they had. He suggested us to try the Tawa fry along with the Thali. By the time the food was served we were already salivated.
The Angal(kingfish) tawa fry and white Pomfret tawa fry made in the traditional Mangalorean style were heavenly. Kingfish is never our first choice, but the Angal fry was so tasty that we ordered two more plates of it, rather than Pomfret. The owner was very keen to know about our bike trip and was also very informative about the further route
I was driving the Little Beast and I found the rear brake a bit troublesome on the way to Mangaluru, but satisfying the wildfire of hunger was the first priority. The mechanic did some minute adjustments to the brake and we were ready to roll out. We drove for a few hours, then Maverick suddenly flickered his headlights and asked us to take a break. We thought he had to pee or something, but he gave us a shock when he announced that he was feeling sleepy. Optimus had announced on the previous day only that he won’t be driving in the night. And now here we were in the middle of nowhere with Optimus still sticking to his decision. We went a bit ahead and found a tea stall. It’s quite rare to find one serving tea/coffee in South India. Sgt. Cross asked the waiter to get the coffee powder to make the coffee strong, especially for sleepy Maverick. He was all charged up after the caffeine boost, we switched riders with Maverick taking the Little Beast and staying in the middle while I stayed in my position. Sgt. Cross was on the Fire Bolt at the end. We encountered a heavy traffic jam somewhere near Payyanur. There was a huge procession of some goddess with a perfect south Indian flavor. It was divided into many small segments, each performing its own act. I wish we could spend a little more time there, but the queue of trucks was getting excruciatingly long each second and the road ahead was too narrow for us to overtake those trucks again, hence we took the advantage of the traffic and sped ahead.
As expected we lost track of each other in the traffic, since I was leading I halted as soon as we were clear of the traffic and couldn’t see Maverick in my rear view. Maverick was just behind a truck and he too halted, seeing me on the road side. Sgt. Cross on the Fire Bolt was having speed rush and sped past us. Maverick was on call so we couldn’t catch up with him immediately. After his call was over we started the hunt for Sgt. Cross. He was all panicky when we finally found him. As his useless Iphone was not working and he thought we were still way ahead of him. By the time I saw his bike I had missed the parking spot, so I went a bit ahead to park the bike. I had my back towards Sgt. Cross and Maverick, who were sitting on their respective bikes, as I parked my bike and turned around to walk towards them. I saw Fire Bolt lying flat on the road and Sgt. Cross rolling on the ground; as if that was not enough, I saw Maverick was about to hit the floor too. I and Optimus ran towards them. Optimus helped Maverick with his bike, while I lifted the Little Beast. There was another group of bikers headed towards Goa who were passing by us. They also rushed to help us. Sgt. Cross revealed that the uneven road caused the bike to slip from his hand and he lost his footing as well, that explained the rolling as well. Maverick on the other hand was driving Little Beast for the first time since we started our journey and was used to parking the bike on the side stand saw Sgt. Cross roll and in a hurry, he parked the bike on the side stand, the bike was unstable on the side stand due to heavy luggage and then Maverick was struggling to balance it. Finally everything was set and we left for Kannur after having a chat with the other group and giving them the heads up about the condition of the road ahead. We reached Kannur by 2300 hours, and passed some good hotels. Maverick lost his cool when we passed ahead of all the open restaurants. We went a few kilometers behind and found a decent looking restaurant named Kairali. As it was late in the night the restaurant was almost empty and the waiters were cleaning up. The owner was very friendly and helpful. We had garlic butter chicken and a few other dishes whose names were difficult to pronounce. We were done with the dinner and were chatting with the owners, inquiring about the places that we can visit nearby and the chef inside Sgt. Cross was awakened, he was all curious about the desserts they serve. The owner was happy to answer his questions and gave us some desserts to taste. When the bill arrived, we found the deserts were not mentioned on it. Upon inquiring about it the owner simple said the deserts are on the house. After paying the bill we had to cover another 10 kms to reach our hotel. On the way we were stopped by cops, who were quite bugged of their duty, so were chatting with us for some time. They just asked us where are we headed to and then directed us in the right direction. Our stay in Peralassery was booked at Broad Beans, it was a three-star property and the rooms were lavish. We dropped dead on the beds within few minutes.
Optimus informed us in the morning that the breakfast was complimentary and we were supreme hungry. Free unlimited breakfast! I guess we emptied half of the kitchen pantry ordering seconds, thirds….and on we went.
We went to the Peralassery Temple; it has an awesome pond with a hell lot of steps. We took lots of photos and left for Kochi. After driving for almost 3 hours we reached Kozhikode and decided to have lunch in hotel Opal. The road was narrow for our bikes to be parked with the luggage, so we sent scouts in all directions to check for parking space. Maverick returned with a parking space for lodge that was empty and I returned with a street that was empty but was risky to park with all the luggage. So we went with Maverick’s suggestion to park inside the lodge. We had Roi (fish eggs), chicken and Biryani. I and Sgt. Cross stayed behind in a bakery beneath the hotel and Maverick and Optimus went ahead to shop for a trouser for Optimus. I did not pay attention to my phone and was walking towards our bike when I saw Optimus outside a shop, he said there was some issue with the owner and Maverick went ahead to resolve that. So I and Sgt. Cross went ahead to check on Maverick, as we entered the parking area we were informed by the people that Maverick was called in the nearby police station. I asked the Sgt. Cross to look after the luggage and the bikes. Mostly for bikes because flat tyres would mean wasting another hour and a hell lot of exercise pull almost 200 kgs. As I started to take my bike and go to the police station one of the guys closed the gates on me, well, I told him I was not walking to the police station and forced the gate to open. Well, back in the police station we were still clueless why the fuck police were involved in a parking issue. Apparently the owner knew the police inspector at the police station and planned to extort money from us. Maverick being a lawyer by profession gave in his credentials to the inspector and we all said sorry to the owner. The police officer knew he wouldn’t be able to extort us, let us go but the owner was a cheap son of a bitch, he still asked us ₹150 as parking charges. We gave him the money, but then we spent a good time wearing our gears and giving him looks.
We were near the coastal road around 2200 hours and Optimus informed us that this was the last Dhaba where we can eat after this it was only sea near the road. We had an okayish food for just 150 (Only Me and Maverick ate the gravy and fish, Sgt. Cross ate the Parota with the gravy and Optimus had the Parota with tomato ketchup). At one of the hairpin turns Maverick had a near death experience as he was on a course of a head on collision with a bus which was trying to overtake a truck, he was saved the narrow gap. In his own words, “Those few seconds felt like ages and I could recollect all my life’s decisions, the thoughts continued for a few more kilometers.” But the lady luck was not in his favor that day. One of the floodlights of Fire Bolt broke and he had to tie it to the speedometer. We reached Kochi at 2300 hours, after some initial confusion about the hotel address we finally found the hotel after a half hour of search.
We just had 80 kms to cover in the day, hence we started late. We had lunch at hotel North Pride and set on the first destination, St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church in Edappally. The church has a truly mesmerizing infrastructure. We took some photos, it was very cloudy atmosphere and a downpour was expected any minute. So, we hurried to the Paradesi Synagogue, a Jewish town 20 kms away from Edappally. It was a beautiful town with Jewish style houses. We did some shopping and left for Kochi fort, where the carnival was happening. We were skeptical about the carnival as no one knew anything about it. The area near Kochi fort was lit up by lights and street art flooded the roads. It felt finally felt like Christmas. We roamed until evening and had dinner near the fort. The dinner consisted of red snapper, Squid, prawns, Kingfish and homemade chocolate coconut cake. The owner was from New Zealand who had settled in India. We left for Alappuzha and reached there in time. For the first time after Goa we reached on time at some spot. Maverick and Sgt. Cross were hungry again, so we asked the owner about decent food places nearby, he told us about a food truck which served awesome food. He helped us to set up the coordinates on google map, well the google map led us to an under construction road. Damn the maps! We knew it was somewhere on the highway so we first went on the main road and then found the truck. It was a crowded place even at midnight. Maverick who claimed, he was shit hungry was done after 4 Parotas, whereas Sgt. Cross and me, who were less hungry as compared to him gobbled 30 neer dosas and 4 Parotas, we also had four cornettos and four Mysore Pak (Indian sweet).We sat on the porch of the dormitory for some time and then went off to sleep on bunkers.
Backwater ride was the main agenda of the day. We got up by 8 and decided to skip bath due to lack of time. Optimus was the only one who bathed. (He had the bath twice that day!) We went downstairs where English breakfast was waiting for us. The omelet was awesome, but the coffee was not that strong. We asked the owner’s wife to get us the coffee so that we would make it strong as per our standards. She got a jar of Bru Gold and I was like, female you just made my day!
We took the backwater ride for two hours, but after 1 hour of the travel in the water and taking photographs in all the possible ways, the ride was a bit boring. We went to the local market and purchased a few spices (Our moms would have barred us from entering the house without these spices) Sgt. Cross and Maverick were tasked at selecting the spices, whereas Optimus and I went ahead to buy lungis. After buying the lungis I requested the worker there to tie the lungi in southern style. Walking in the market in Lungi was fun, everyone was staring at us as if we were aliens. We decided to cover the last patch of 300 km on lungi. (It was my idea and Optimus was the only one who preferred track pants instead of lungis, as he was the navigator.)
Optimus wanted to drive the last patch, but then again we were late and driving at the speed Optimus desired was not possible, hence we decided to switch the riders. Maverick would lead on Dhaka with Optimus, I would be in the middle on the Little Beast while Sgt. Cross would be at the end on Fire Bolt. We drove till 1600 hours, then had lunch at Ramees. The food was tad expensive and was a bit bland. We played Foosball for some time and then we switched the bikes as Maverick was not able to unleash the Dakha at its full potential. So I was in the lead with Optimus on Dhaka, Maverick in the middle on Little Beast and Sgt. Cross continued on Fire Bolt. We decided to cover the maximum distance before the dusk. I and Optimus had a near death experience when on a hairpin turn in the mountain, a bus was trying to overtake a truck and was in the opposite lane covering the entire road. It was a valley with the mountain on my left and valley on the other end. I found a small pothole and jammed my bike in the pothole millimeters away from the bus. The jerk was so sudden that it caused Optimus to jump in the air and land on his balls. He was jumping for next 5 minutes. We rode continuously till Thiruvananthapuram, when Maverick suddenly signaled us to stop. He told us Sgt. Cross was lost and he didn’t see him in vicinity for past 15-20 minutes. We were shit scared as Sgt. Cross is the youngest driver and he had the most powerful bike with him. (Read his driving skills can’t be trusted.) We waited for almost 20 minutes, but still there was no sign of Sgt. Cross and his phone was on Flight mode as usual. So Maverick and I decided to go back and check on him, while Optimus would wait with one bike. As we were about to leave, Sgt. Cross called us to inform that the bike was down. We found him just half km apart from our site. Now the things got serious as it was almost 2100 hours and the bike was not starting. First we thought the engine might have shut off due to overheating. The bike had electronic fuel injection, which makes a sound when you turn on the bike. Well, there was no sound when we switched on the bike so we thought the battery was drained out and we were in the middle of nowhere. I had taken an insurance which provided 24×7 roadside assistance, but yeah, those assholes never received my call, after being sent to the answering machine for 5-6 times we decided to call other garage friends for help, finally one of them answered. After hearing the condition, he asked us to check all the fuses of the bike, when Maverick opened the battery compartment a fuse popped in his hand, we were relieved to see the fallen fuse. We fixed the fuse and started the return journey. We reached Kanyakumari at 2300 hours and decided to check -in our bikes. We were shocked to hear from the parcel authority that the parcel acceptance was only until 1700 hours. We had previously inquired at Pune Railway station about the parcel and luggage procedure. It was a 24×7 service, after a bit of arguing and pleading he agreed to check-in our bikes. Then the drama started, he decided to play the role of I’m doing a great favor on you guys kind of guy. After running back and forth with him we finally checked-in our bikes at 0400 hours in the morning. The parcel authority guy asked the guys who were packing the bikes to take all the petrol we had in our bikes. They have a huge scheme running where they try to rob the needy by overcharging them and stealing in all possible ways from them. Had it been in Pune, I’m sure, few bones from his body would have been broken that day. We managed to keep 3 liters for 3 bikes.
Day 7 and 8:
The journey in the train was not that eventful, we slept till the afternoon and then were woken up by noisy kids on the side berth. Those were a noisy bunch of people who kept us up for the remainder of the journey. I finally had to shout for silence when we were busy doing the calculations for the trip and there was a mismatch of almost eight thousand. We reached Pune at 1630 hours and had to take down our bikes. Train halting for only 10 minutes and it had a parcel bogie at either ends of the train. Maverick and I were tasked with getting the bikes down. Optimus and Sgt. Cross were tasked with taking all the luggage. When we got down from the train, I noticed the bag of mirrors was missing. I and Maverick raced back in our bogie and started the search for the mirrors. It took few more precious minutes to locate the mirrors, we got them and raced out where Sgt. Cross informed us that the bikes were on the other end of the train. I started running towards the other end of the train after sometime I glanced back to find Maverick was not behind me. I continued to run towards the other end and Sgt. Cross was trying to catch up with me. By the time I reached the other end of the train the parcel bogie was sealed and it would be opened only in Mumbai now. I ran back to where our luggage was kept. Maverick had already unloaded the bikes, when he reached the parcel bogie they were already sealing it, he somehow managed to get down the other bikes in time. We finally got our bikes and the saga thus ended.
I always find Cricket a bit boring (Football is my first love!), especially watching a test match. 5 days, everyday starts at 9 ends at 6, total 45 hours of play to decide winner of one single match. My dad is a cricket fanatic and we had Doordarshan, so having no other option I had to either watch cricket whole day or go out and play. Of course I preferred the later, till the time of the day when I was caught by my mom and brought back home.
“If I have to put anyone to bat for my life it will be either Dravid or Kallis”
– Brain Lara
This was the late nineties, and whenever this guy (Dravid) came to bat, my dad would either put the TV on mute or switch it off and start reading the news paper. Usually TV being switched off meant the match was cancelled or delayed, so with huge expectations of watching something entertaining I would ask dad, why are you not watching the match. Even if it was on mute I had the same question why is it on mute. Most of the times the reply I got was, Dravid is batting right now, there won’t be much stuff happening in this session.
This rose my curiosity levels to the extreme, how can Dad be so confident every time that Dravid will not get out. Not just my dad there were many others in my colony who had the same views about him.
So I started watching his innings, even when everyone was chanting Sachin’s name, there was something about Dravid that I found very charismatic. On the surface he was always calm, even against the sledges. His temperament was commendable. To get a better understanding of how his mind works, I started reading about him. (These were the days when google wasn’t used that extensively and we had to rely on newspapers and books for information.)
The more I read the more fascinated I was about him. How can someone be so selfless. I learnt a great deal about the sportsmanship from Dravid. Previously, victory was my ultimate goal and for achieving that any sacrifice was alright with me. But looking at Dravid, I learnt winning and losing are part and parcel of the game, how you play matters the most. You may not always win, but if you play beautifully and lose, you are still the winner.
Dravid was and still is my idol. It’s not everyday that you get to witness someone so great in your lifetime. Over the years I have seen him play, not that I loved cricket, but I loved the way he played his game, his approach towards the game.
“My wife and I have built a new home with a lovely garden which houses lovely bamboo trees. I got reading on the Chinese bamboo and learned that the tree takes 5 years, 3 months to grow to its whole height of 80 feet. Yet, for the first 5 years, you only see a tiny green shoot, but in the next 90 days, it grows into a full-fledged tree. But in those first 60 months, it is growing its strong network of roots underground, to support the tree. In an era of instant gratification, we settle for shorter trees, but remember patience has its reward. These are your years of growing that strong network of roots but be sure when you finally achieve your success, people will call it “overnight success”. If only they knew of the Chinese bamboo!”
Patience, I’m yet to see someone with his level of patience and perseverance. The above quote explains it the best. Patience was never an arrow in my quiver. I learnt the most important thing from him, if you want to progress learn to control your temper. I have not achieved the quarter of his level, but I’m much better now.
Team Spirit: One of the things that I admire Rahul most is his unselfishness for the team. According to Harsha Bhogle, “In cricket,opening the batting and keeping wicket were the two things Rahul didn’t like, but he was asked to do both and he showed the world what he was capable of.” He was there whenever the team needed him. The most important thing that I learnt was, you need to have faith in people around you.
Just like international teams and club teams, I had a club team, lets call it ‘Team Mix‘ and then during our PT (personal training) sessions the entire class used to play together, now here since we all belonged to the same class the usual scenario was ‘Team Mix‘ vs the rest of the class let’s call it ‘Team Class‘. This way we got more time to improve on our coordinations. As an experiment to test this theory,I chose to play for ‘Team Class‘,against ‘Team Mix‘. I used to play for ‘Team Mix’ for years, hence I knew their weaknesses and their mind, and now that I was up against them I used all the experience to disrupt their play. It did not work for first few weeks and ‘Team Class‘ was losing heavily. It was not that the ‘Team Class‘ was playing bad, it was just the lack of confidence that got better of them. So after few weeks, just to boost their morale I changed my usual position from Full Center back to winger, this was the first time ‘Team Class‘ scored against the ‘Team Mix‘. We lost the match eventually but the ‘Team Class‘ learnt that ‘Team Mix‘ was not invincible. I continued to play in the winger position for next few weeks and we were still losing but not with a great margin. After that I switched to middle, and kept most of them in the middle with me. This reduced the goal difference further, now the matches started ending as draws.I finally returned to my original position and just kept 2 full backs and sent everyone forward. We were now winning! I did screw up my game a bit in those few weeks, but the results we got later were fabulous, for both the teams, ‘Team Class‘ gained confidence and were playing much better, and ‘Team Mix‘ who played leniently in these matches considered ‘Team Class‘ as a potential threat and played seriously which improved their coordination and team bonding. And for me, I learnt to be a playmaker rather than just a defender.
For the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf
-Kipling Quoted by Dravid.