A Letter To Mr Sil

Love, 

Every trip we take, puts a whole of different sense into me. To be honest, I never believed that travelling in car and on motorcycle is any different. But after these 2200 kms on bike, I truly realised the difference. A couple of months ago I had read an article on quora which was written by a physics professor saying, ” If you’re not able to judge a person; if you’re really confused in choosing a soul mate, just backpack and leave. Leave on a long tour, full of adventures. Push yourself totally out of your comfort zone along with your partner. The way your partner will behave and treat you in the worst of times will be the best chance to know his/her true character and genuine feelings towards you.” And my love, this trip totally proves it. 

I’m not trying to flatter you at all, but with every passing moment, you kept impressing me beyond limits. It’s been almost over 8 years we know each other and we have been with one another and still I get to see a different talent in you every time. That amuses me beyond universe. And I mean that. A very few incidents in life are epic, memorable as never before and HAVING YOU IN MY LIFE IS ONE OF THEM. Not throwing a vague guess, but you’re the ONLY ONE I can think of. Conquering your fears (specially the one which have been haunting you since childhood) is the biggest success in one’s life. You, your presence, your involvement in my life has helped me overcome my childhood fear. As I grew up watching my mom dad, the way they behave, their lifestyle, their nature – I swear I was really scared of leading such a life. It always made me think – “What if I get a partner who doesn’t synchronise with me? With my passions? My needs? My goals? What if he doesn’t understand my heart? Will I ever be able to be truly myself with him?” 

I say I must have done really good deeds; really really good deeds to get a partner like you. Whatever relation I name is less to describe our bond. You’re a friend, a colleague, a best friend, travel partner, crime partner, dance partner, beer partner, ride partner, my lover, my soul mate. Not exaggerating honey, but you’re my CONSCIENCE. The inner voice I get every time is you. The bash of energy who wakes me up every morning is you. The charm I carry all day long is you. The fierce character I carry within me during work out is you. My laughter is you. My cute all-time-changing expression is you. My confidence is you. My respect is you. Me is you. It’s like we’ve surrendered our souls to each other. 

Coming back to our kutch trip, I salute your confidence within us and universe too. No one would dare to ride these many kms with a pillion rider, who also happens to be your lover. I just cannot stop thinking about the way you plan each and every step with proper research and also analyse where all did we go wrong. Beside this, the most important part is the way you understand my needs, my bodily actions and accept them. The way you can be so flexible even in your planned frame is heart touching. You totally understand where to be little rigid and when can you afford to be totally flexible. 

I totally understand there are few things that I do, doesn’t make any sense to you, like clicking dozens of pics or me going all gaga over certain things. Most importantly, me not understanding the value of money. I seriously don’t understand what’s really worth and what isn’t. But love, I can surely promise you  to amend myself and train for the same. I get a gush of emotions when you actually tell me to sleep when I’m super sleepy on pillion seat and you manage to take all my weight, along with bags and still manage your ergonomics and speed of the bike. Moreover, the trust and faith you carry within me, makes me do things. Never had I dared to ride 380 kms on a highway flooded with trucks and unpredictable traffic. Never had I even thought of making this trip on bike. 

Hee trip aau kade pan na bholthi babu.

This trip, my life, will be cherished for lifetime. And our lives will be cherished for ever love. Forever and ever, Amen. 

I love you to the kutch ka moon and back, 

Toji Ms Sil..  🙂 :*

Roadtrip: November Episode 2

Tour 2

This one was an unplanned, uncanny ride to Goa. I started from Pune at 12pm to meet my sick girlfriend. Saw her sick face and dire will to ride down to someplace to relax and rejuvenate. We had two options: Mahabaleshwar and Goa. Latter being the sea &, long distance journey, it was our first preference. The best thing about me and ms sil – we love going long distance. We both are at odometer phase in life. We want to clock number of kilometers on our beloved red beast. We don’t need much fancy stuff, just two of us, our red beast, few clothes and we are all set to saddle into the wilderness.

The notable negative aspects of this journey was – demonetization and condition of the bike. We had about Rs 900 in the currency of Rs 100 and Rs 4500 in currency of old Rs 500/1000. I was kinda confident about using card everywhere. Motorcycle is like a toy that helps you do things that you want to do in an easiest way possible. It’s can make your life interesting or boring depending upon how capable it is. My experience with Yamaha R15 has been absolutely brilliant. I am not exaggerating but, it is the most reliable engine that you will find in Indian motorcycle market. The only major maintenance that I have done in 40K+ km is, changed cone set and front forks (thanks to Indian roads). When I say, the bike was not in its best shape. I mean, I hadn’t changed engine oil that I should have changed at least 500km before starting the journey. I planned to pickup the bottle of Motul from Belgaum and replace it in Margaon.

We started out with ms sil coughing and sneezing while sitting behind me. We passed Belgaum, I eventually ignored picking up engine oil. 5000km run Motul 7100 was still performing in it’s best form without any trouble. We never aim for the destination, we just ride, enjoy the journey roads, atmosphere and go on. We always take numerous memorable pit stop. At one such pit stop after Chorla ghat, a very hospitable street stall vendor served us best tea and omelette. He was kind enough to fire up a small bonfire for ms sil. She being sick and on medications, was quite sleepy all the way. I made a quick SMS to the guy in Agonda to make the reservation for the night. We finally made it to our hut in Agonda by 12.30 at night.

Our return journey also counted for riding 5-6 hours at night. I enjoy night journeys. You can better gauge the approaching traffic on curvy ghats, take pitstop at middle of the road to enjoy the sound of trees, crickets and scary bats. Although riding at night is not very safe or advisable. With right set of intentions, wheels and safety, night ride can become a transcendent journey. Red beast throughout the journey, performed very well. I had trouble finding Yamaha service station in Belgaum on the way back but, ended up putting semi-synthetic oil from Motul dealer. I pushed earlier Motul 7100 for 6000km, not a wise thing to do. This is probably the extreme rough handling that I have ever done on a motorbike. My beast is like the perfect girl from your dreams, very low maintenance, great fun and always ready for kinky stuff.

img-20161122-wa0025

Time spent with bae was much different than our earlier journeys. To my surprise, she recovered from sickness by next morning. She was happy, giggly, truly enjoying and playing with kids on the beach. We did not rush into any serious discussions, plans, nothing. We had one plan – of having no plan about anything at all. This is very unlike me, I see myself as an organized person. A man with the plan. But, this time having no plan did wonder to me. I could observe the difference. This trip, I truly enjoyed the sea. Spent the day with pints of beer, bae’s hand in mine and seashore for the music. Ms Sil has a different view of looking at things. She can adapt and mend into the environment around her very quickly. Some of the photographs that she clicked at the beach are way different than what I can ever do. One of our most favorite thing at the beach is, taking a barefoot walk on the beach early morning. Every adult is a child at heart, very few are able to realize and express it. We do it to fullest when at the beach. Unlike most Indian vacation destinations, nobody judges you in South Goa. Watching setting sun on an empty beach with ms sil is an experience to embracing our solitude. The sound of an ocean is a great elemental music that nature has gifted us. It has power to calm you down, bond with your partner and silently shape the heart for coming future.

img-20161122-wa0035

Food by the beach is the most delightful experience. The dishes don’t have to be fancy, complicated masterpieces. Just good food from fresh ingredients. We tried new cuisines, looked around all the shacks for any dish that we’ve never had. All the meals that we had during our time there were memorable. I believe that nothing brings you together like good food. We both share a common list of inspirations : great food, books, beach, nature, noble individuals and beautiful photographs. To my surprise, I was able to find a place that brewed decent Americano (my third love). Having the beach facing hut, waking up to the first light of the day on her gorgeous face is the experience that I would die for. Ms sil usually sleeps till late. I love watching her while she’s deep in sleep, she is an excellent dreamer. Ms sil is a total beachoholic. You will find her powerless sleeping under some umbrella on a relaxing chair, with a pint of warm beer on side, taking warm sun on her skin and cool wind in her hair. We both would like to spend couple of days reading some book on the beach sometime. I was happy of the fact that, she was perfectly healthy by the time we started our return journey. We were able to spend all Rs 500/1000 currency notes. To my surprise, everybody in Goa were gladly accepting it.

img-20161122-wa0038

Return journey was little dramatic, bike’s engine oil issue being least of all. I avoid group riding and even other group riders. Riding in a bunch changes people, their subtle, sensible part of brain and ultimately their actions. We took a pitstop to check maps just after Palolem square, and heard a bunch of Enfields pass by. It’s easy to tell RE by it’s bassey noise & high pitched whining while acceleration. The group was divided into two sub groups. A bunch behind that was too slow and a bunch ahead who were quick. Overtaking the slower bunch even on a narrow curvy roads was quite easy. Trying my best to be as polite as possible. People in groups generally go ape shit on little things far too quickly. They were doing 40-50 on a busy Panvel-Kanyakumari highway.

Looking at the license plate, they seemed to be from Bangalore. Profiling RE group riders is relatively easier. An engineer by education, middle-class yet well-off, little young and mature enough to understand that life is not all about work-work-work and boring sex with same wife while your asshole kid watches through the keyhole. The group riders strike me one of the most confused people on the street. They borrow inspiration from other riders, consistently trying to copy the macho style, desperately trying to bend and hopelessly trying to belong. The confusion generates anger, RE riders take it out by defaming every bike that they don’t own and bragging about 1 long ride that they did 3 years ago. Group riders are lazy, they never start on time, half of the time is spent in coordinating with their bro who is left behind and always chai/sutta/fucking breaks every 500 mts.

Now coming back to the particular incident, I overtook the gang of 8 on an intersection. It was relatively easy. But the problem was, I couldn’t go beyond 60kmph on the curvy ghat. I was checking the mirrors to ensure that I don’t get in their way. And then the shit began. It was easier for two loud engines to cut me in a corner. And one by one, the faster bunch overtook me.There’s nothing worse than getting stuck inside a group of bikers. Better be ahead or behind. Inevitably they all slowed down on curves and, things started getting annoying. I overtook them again, too politely. At another intersection & speed breaker, I saw a headlight approaching and jumping over the speedbreaker. I found myself stuck in between the group again. This was moronic. Their attitude was like, “we shall go no faster than 50 but, anybody else overtaking us shall immediately be overtaken back again. No one must ride in front the RE group.”

img_20161121_144635

All this while, my girlfriend sitting behind was chilling, listening to music, clicking pictures with no idea whatsoever about what’s happening around her. I knew what had to be done, pulled to the right on an open stretch and gunned it, fuck politeness. The 20 bhp on 120kg bike accelerated fast enough to easily leave behind 300 kg metal bobs. We made it to her destination by 10.30, ended the sweet journey with desi dinner. It was another 3 hours night ride for me to reach back to Pune. We added 1100 km more to our massive scrapbook of memories.

Roadtrip: November Episode 1

This is rather a long rant about the two different trips on the same road, same destination that I took in this month. One with my work spouses and other with my beloved spouse/travel companion/bestie ms sil. It’s noteworthy to mention that, I was the one behind and on the wheels in both the trips. Both the road trips were Pune – South Goa and back.

Tour 1

It was indeed an important gateway for the team after closing an important milestone of angel funding round. Now I don’t really know if raising money is a milestone that one should brag about or not. But after struggling to start something that sees the day light for past 2.5 years, the event of closing the round certainly brought a momentary joy to me. I finally have something to brag about, in front of parents at least. Coming from a middle-class family and yet dropping out of engineering school, I keep looking for work-life milestones that I can brag about in front of family members (luckily, I only have two).

In meantime, I have taken few so-called risky decisions (I don’t see them that way) at work. Some famous business dude’s advice of creating multiple revenue channels has left an impression in mind, which makes me take crazy decisions. So, I will tell you something about the most difficult part about creating these multi-revenue career plan at a nascent stage of career – multiple work spouses. While some of us struggle with keeping one spouse happy at home, you can imagine the effort involved in maintaining multiple work relationships.

The first trip with my colleagues was the first-of-its-kind bachelor’s trip for me. 5 of us, in a car from Pune, with different objectives about this weekend gateway. The thing about post-Diwali trips to Goa is, People! They are everywhere! Roads, resorts, pubs, beaches all are full of overjoyed, overexcited and not-to-mention careless rats. Our halt was Calangute, the part of Goa that I hate and the part of Goa that my colleagues love. I hate the trips where the motive of majority of co-passengers is, to drink, put on desi beats in high volume and jump like other monkeys from different parts of India. Thank to love of Goa and my consistent efforts, it lasted just for a day. We drove down to South Goa the next day (Agonda to be more specific).

I love sea, beach and the entire coastal line. I just love to sit on the resting chair, listen to the seashore along with a couple of beer. I can do this all day long and I was trying hard to do it during the entire trip. Except, this time I was with little immature (when it comes to traveling) colleagues. I was literally babysitting them all the time. As much as I love being the organizer of the tour, this time it turned out to be a curse for me. I consider myself as a very patient individual and it’s rather the most important quality when it comes to long-distance travel. On the other hand, my colleagues turned out to be quite impatient travelers. When you are traveling in a group, you have to derive at the median of different choices, interests and preferences. Which becomes very difficult when you have a control freak in the group. I was carrying couple of them with me. Another thing about the popular travel destinations is, almost each one from the group has visited it in past that makes each one an expert in their unique own way. This confusing travel preferences lead to anger and disappointments.

Although majority part of the trip was spent in babysitting my colleagues, one thing that I enjoyed the most is, driving through twisty, curvy ghat roads. The learnings from the trip were priceless as I discovered quite a few things. One important being, the other side of my colleagues. I have never spent days and nights with other people. 3 of them are 30+, 2 of them married for quite sometime and not too mention, all them are quite elder to me. When you spend 8+ hours on a road, drunk and in a same car, you tend to open up and make confessions that you wish you never had. I never thought I will ever get to learn anything about human beings that will surprise me or leave me in shock. This trip was full of priceless learnings about  polygamy, screwed up relationships, wrong biological knowledge, misleading advices, professional ambitions and attitude. I would go into the detailed learnings in another post but to sum it up, what I learnt left me stunned. At the same time, it helped me understand what I would truly want in life and list of things to avoid.

c360_2016-11-04-11-10-02-579

Another important thing that I learnt was about the vehicle. Although I am true nomad motorcycle traveler, there are times in life when I am tempted to get a new car. I drove my colleague’s high-end sedan (in Indian standards) for 1100 kms. I love being behind the wheel but, getting inside the sedan, sitting in low-height (although I am short) position for 8+ hours and pressing the goddamn hard clutch was a packaged nightmare. It helped me understand that, if I ever invest in a car, automatic urban SUV would be a right fit for me. While my colleagues were splurging money at Casino, I met with a young tech entrepreneur doing remarkworthy stuff in Goa on last day of the trip. To sum it up, it was full of good, bad, ugly memories, learnings and test of my patience.