Red Bums – The Captains Log…

Veni, Vidi, Vici – I came, I saw, I conquered – said Julius Caesar, nah, say the Bisons!

The Bisons Ride Hard team came, saw and conquered..What, how, when??..Well read on..

At T – 5 months

Scene held at Jai Bhavani Tea stall.

Paaji: Boys, Anniversary is coming..We are going to do something unique..

Signals, Deelux: Yes Paaji..Itna toh banta hai..

Paaji: We are going to do a non – stop 24 hour ride..Day and night riding..Mumbai , Hubli, Pachgani.

Signals, Deelux: Waah ! What an idea sirji!! Let’s do it.

Paaji : The captain for this ride is..Deelux..

Signals: Hahahaha, Bakra !!

Deelux : Nahiiin!!

T -1 day

Email from Paaji says, we need to go to sleep early on the previous night of the ride. Reached home, early enough from work, thorough check up of the bike done, one round of polishing of the bike done.

Bath, food done.. Packing done.. And its only 9! Awesome, now for some sleep!

9 :10 pm : Good night messages to all Bisons has been sent, everyone is settling in to sleep.

11 pm:  Chalo bas yaar, last good night message ok! Really, please go to sleep!

12 am: Kamino ! So jaao..

Finally sleep!

T – 0 

Cruising along the open roads at New Bombay, I reach Panvel at 6:25 am thinking, reached early.. Now will have to wait for the others..

What the..! What’s that I see! Around 15 bikes already parked and chai’s doing the round.. Then its hits home..This is the ride that we called the mother of all rides..Every Bison is raring to go! My heart swells with pride and after a quick tank up and nashta, we are ready for the briefing.

Paaji, in his inimitable style… Boys ride safe.. Ride hard..Deelux leads..I shall tail..Everybody else in between.  Father says a prayer and we are OFF….

 

Date: October 26th, 2012, Time – 7:53 am

The Red Bums 1.0 is underway!

In the first half an hour, we realize that this is gonna be one helluva ride..We quickly settle into a rhythm and are cruising at 80 kmph.

My rear view mirror can see the entire chain of 26 bikes behind me, an awe inspiring view.  We hit traffic outside Pune, but still manage to stick to each other. Outside Dehu road, a couple of headlights move to the left of the road. We stop to investigate.

Shri Sohan roy’s rear brake is not functional, Signals and Manny volunteer to take him to Pune rectify the issue and catch up with us. There is a hint of trepidation in Signal’s voice. Because of this delay, he might not complete the Red Bums! But he is a Bison and Bisons never leave a brother behind, so off he goes.

The rest of us – Ride on.

First stop – Lunch at Kolhapur!

Time 2:00 pm

Distance: around 400 kms.

Quick fuel stop, first for the bikes and then for the riders. Father’s bike starts making noises… should be ok..

Food over , saddling up in flat 30 minutes, Father kick starts his bike and the noise is overpowering. His piston rings are shot. The first casualty of the ride..

Quickly we put the bike in the breakdown truck following us. Father plonks himself albeit sadly as a co-rider/pillion on Hawk Eyes bike.

Ride on.

Second Stop – Belgaum

Time: 5:30 pm

Distance: around 100 kms.

The riders from 99 Cannons have agreed to meet us at Belgaum and escort us to Hubli. We reach Belgaum and in 10 minutes Sanjiv Bhatia and team reach us to lead us to the midway point.

A quick chai and greetings..30 minutes later, we are ready to go..

Fafda screams out, “Arrey, my tanki is leaking re”.. We ignore, thinking this is one of his jokes.  But there is all permeating smell of petrol and we get down to investigate. His tank is busted. Another casualty. We load his bike also onto the truck, tank ourselves (the riders) up on the Red Bull, given to us by our partners for this epic ride – Red Bull and resume the ride.

But what is that we see on the highway? Is it a bird? Is it a plane ? No, its Mr. Sohan Roy followed closely by Signals screaming down the highway!!! They have ridden non-stop from Pune and have caught up with the rest of us at belgaum!

Signals gets down and mutters, “Arrey bhai, Kyun rukna? Rhythm pakad ke chal rahe the, Chalo…” This is the Bison Attitude…

50 kms later, we are welcomed by a sudden thunderstorm. Sudden torrential rain drenches us, but fails to slow us down. Our target was to reach Hubli by 7:30 pm. Quick and quiet dinner, a power nap and start the ride back to Panchgani, fresh.

Ride on.

Third Stop –  Hubli

Time : 7 pm

Distance: around 100 kms.

We are at our mid point level of the ride and ahead of time!  As we turn into Hubli, we see a posse of bullets and bikers waiting for us. The Boys of 99 cannons are there in full strength, carrying banners and welcoming us in style!

Sanjiv tells us, dinner is arranged at a farm house, but to reach there we will need to take a small detour of around 10 kms and the roads are “not that great”.  We say “Chalo, off – roading is always welcome”

Understatement of the year!!

Turns out the 10 kms is more or less accurate, but roads “not that great” is not. There is no road! It is a series of small hills and troughs that we need to traverse through..Does that hold us back..Has anything ever held a Bison back..Bring it on we say!

As we turn into the farmhouse, we hear a faint beating of the dhol .. It is dark, we are surrounded by trees and are in the middle of a forest and tribal drums playing..Oh, oh..This cannot be good.

This isn’t good at all..This is freaking awesome!..99 Cannons have arranged a gala welcome for us into hubli. The dhol was just the beginning, for as we enter the gate of the farmhouse, flower petals are showered on each rider.  We are dumb struck.  There are around 40 people there waiting for us. The local rotary club has turned up in full force and felicitates us. Local media and press take interviews. It hits us again, what we are doing, this ride, is huge, its unique and here in Hubli it has captured the imagination of the local people.

So much for a quiet dinner.

Having said that, the food served was nothing short of orgasmic. The chicken, in Paaji’s colourful language was “bombastic” (well it was even more colourfully described, but in the interest of the reader, we shall refrain from publishing that).

They even arranged for a mechanic to be available for us to solve any niggles that our bikes might have! Brotherhood at it best!

Hugs, and shake hands galore we head back to the road with our pack having increased by another 4 bikers from the 99 Cannons to be a part of the anniversary celebrations at Panchgani.

A quick fuel stop, we tank up and are ready to go.

We ride back in a formation of 2, led by Paaji and me. Our headlights light up the entire highway. My new set of LED lights light up the immediate road, Paaji’s HID and Xenon combo headlights lights up the road ahead.

We are followed by no less than 5 Xenons and LED lights, making for an awesome sight. The entire highway was lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree.

Ride on.

Fourth Stop –  Belgaum

Time: 11 pm

Distance:  around 120 kms

We are riding slow..Average speed is 60 kmph.

The Bullet Guru’s of Belgaum want to wish us and offer any help we may require en route to our destination. Another example of the brotherhood and how this machine binds us together! They come to the outskirts of the city in the middle of the night to meet us 35 boys and girls with whom they have never met or interacted with. All this to just to wish us all the best!  We were touched and after a few quick words, we resumed riding.

The Bisons had all tanked up on Red Bull and were bright eyed so far. We were on the NH4 , in the dark, and riding against time to reach our destination. We slowly approached what we call the “graveyard shift”

The time between 2 am and 4 am is probably the most dangerous time to ride in. The rider is tired and sleepy, it’s an eerie sort of darkness and quiet around and there is typically not a soul around to get help from.

Around 3 am, we had passed Kolhapur and stopped. Our average speed had increased to around 70 kmph from 60 kmph. All the boys were riding in a perfect formation.

We decide to stop at the next dhaba to freshen up. Quick chai and Red Bull later, we were ready to resume our hard riding.

One thing I noticed was that the spirits of each Bison was on an all time high. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, riding for the last 20 hours, dirty, tired, sleepy, but there was a smile on the face of each bison. There was no complaining. All we could do was talk about how our bikes were performing, ribbing the other riders on how they were riding. Not a single rider was complaining or doubting that they would be able to complete the ride. True lion hearts all!

Next pit stop was Satara for another quick chai at around 5 am. We were running short of time, so we decided to ride slow till the first break of dawn and reach wai. From Wai to panchgani , we wanted to ride when there was sunlight as this was mainly Ghats.

We rode to plan.

Fourth Stop –  Wai

Time: 6:45 am.

Distance: around 260 kms

One hour to complete Red Bums

Paaji: “Deelux, bhagga…. We need to reach Panchgani in 30 minutes”

I take 6 boys with me and zoom ahead.

We are attacking the curves with a vengeance. In our minds, there is no alternative but to reach the destination before time.

With me is Corner. He is moving like greased lightning, behind us are Fallen and Despo, not more than 5 feet from us, behind them I can see Bhagta and Changu – Mangu and a couple of other riders. Not one of them is letting up. We will need to ride in this formation to reach our destination in time.

Panchgani town is a blur. They are woken rudely to the sounds of the roaring bulls. The ghats are a blur. I promise to come back and enjoy the view at some other time. We ride hard.

Our speed and will power carry us, literarily, past a set of Bisons (DietPal, bala and Droppie) waiting at the venue to welcome us. They had reached there early in the morning to make sure that we were comfortable once we reach. Another example of how a Bison supports their peers.

We slam our brakes and quickly note the time.

We have reached our destination at 7:08 am. 45 minutes before schedule! I can’t believe it. Nor can any of the other brothers. We have done it! Well almost..As we wait for the other riders anxiously they all vroom in and within 25 minutes all riders (Bisons and 99 Cannons) have reached..The clock ticks at 7:33 am..We left Panvel at 7:53 am and reached Panchgani at 7:33 am. That’s it mate, we have indeed done it! We completed the Red Bums successfully!

A lot of us have tears in our eyes, Paaji and I hug and we can’t let go, we are joined by all the Bisons for a gargantuan group hug.

This is a proud moment. We set out believing that we could accomplish this feat and this is a feat. It is no mean task to complete 1000 kms with 30 + bikes within 24 hours as any biking group will tell you.

And we did it!

Summary:

26 bikes, 32 bikers, 1000 kms, 23 hours 40 minutes – One ride – RED BUMS

The Bisons indeed rode hard!

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ImageImagethe last mile!!! awesome curve hugging entry into panchgani!!!

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My Boys! the red bummers from Bisons Ride Hard.

To know more about our last 1 year check this out

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Band of brothers

Brotherhood is an oft used and even more oft abused term in today’s world. I still remember the day guri paaji called and asked me if I wanted to join the bisons, a motorcycling club that he was starting.
We bike , well most of us do , to forget our daily frustrations at home and work. We ride to feel the freedom on the highways, the wind in your hair( again often used, all of us wear helmets :-)) , to chill with friends and enjoy ourselves at the end of a long ride.
When you become involved in a club, it is equally important to contribute in any which way you can to the betterment of the club. Why? So that the brothers who ride with you are able to enjoy the fruits of what you bring in.
The club started growing, we are now 1 year old and soon celebrating our anniversary by doing what we do best, riding hard and long. After the ride the anniversary party will have all the fun and frolic that befits a biker.
As a member of other clubs , even before the bisons, I was concerned about getting the maximum bang from my buck. Being a moderator , I looked at getting the facilities that my brother’s would enjoy sponsored so that it does not pinch their pockets. We talk to large companies, and small ones , to get , in kind , sponsorships , so that the member of the club does not need to pay out his purse to party. For our anniversary, we are proud to be associated with many sponsors who think for the benefit of the fraternity like, Schaeffer oil for oils in our bikes, kingfisher blue mile as a beverage partner so that we chill at the party in style, sharda motors for makin sure our bikes are in tip top shape for time to come, perfect seat makers for keeping our butts comfy for the Red Bums ride, prime health consultants to provide dietary expertise to help us sustain the long ride, rajkamal motors for gratifications, and red bull to provide us cans so that we remain fresh and alert during the ride.
Each and every brother in the group has contributed to vet these in place for one and one reason only, to keep his brother comfortable during our celebrations.
A club , to me , is a great leveller, like a country, you have 19 year old kids going to colleges, to50+ year old veterans riding to relive their youth. You have high powered executives , rich beyond means , to boys who work and save so that they can spend to ride and enjoy an evening with their brothers. That is why we need sponsors .
Needless to say, they will make our celebrations that much more special.

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Oil’s well that begins well

They say, that the oil in your bike is like the blood in your body. The only difference, to me, is you cant choose what blood you want to run through your body.

I have never been a very technical person to go into great detail about the facets of a good oil. So when I was given the baton of leading the Bisons on their anniversary epic ride- The Red  Bums, I knew, I was in trouble when I needed to choose the oil.

Google Singh helped, in confusing me further, when a friend came to my rescue. He brought in Schaeffer Oil as a sponsor for our ride and I was the recipient of 3 liters of this automotive nectar.

So I did a bit more research, cant obviously put in any old oil into Theia, can I ? turns out that the people at Schaeffer oil have been doing this for some time, since 1839 to be precise. Well having so much of experience only strengthened my resolve to try the oil out.

So one bright sunny sunday afternoon,Theia and I rode to our friendly neighbourhood mechanic- Vinod and started the oily business.

For all those who are interested , this is the 20w 50 version of the oil and is termed as a “synthetic plus ” oil. According to their website, and what ever little research I managed to find time for, I came to know that this oil uses a synthetic mixture base that is able to withstand temperatures of upwards of what our bikes should and would never reach. Also, because of its composition, it coats the engine to ensure that even with the first kick the protection kicks in. So far so good.

 

 

 

 Vinod hemmed and hawed and based on the numbers that I read out to him declared the oil a hit. Is mein Jhaag nahin aayega, accha hain…

what else do I need to know? Pour away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other  recipient of an additional 3 liters was corner, our native petrol head. He has promised that he will pen his words in a more technical aspect, so I will stay away from that.  But the  first thing that I noticed was that  there was a change in the Thump of Theia immediately after pouring the oil!

The engine was growling and the distinctive thump that used to come out of her bowels was even more distinctive. Very Nice and all the motor heads present at Vinod’s sagely nodded in appreciation.

The ride test. 

Well, the servicing was completed and I decided to do my usual cross country trudge back home. BKC to Thane is 30 km obstacle course that puts to shame most rallies. The single biggest obstacle- traffic.

What better way to test the oil than the infamous mumbai traffic during rush hour. So began my journey that fateful monday evening, the world was out on the streets, or so i dubiously hoped.

BKC to Kurla- not much traffic, weaving in and out. The Engine feels smooth and there is definitely a difference in the thump – for the better.

Kurla – Sion, where are all the cars? why is there no traffic still? is it really this free or has my Oil changing changed the world. cruising smoothly on  a  nicely warm engine.

Sion – chembur – mystery solved. all the cars are here. standstill traffic. chock a block with cars, bikes, trucks, containers , buses, and I swear I saw a bullock cart.

For the first time in my life I smiled at the traffic, what better way to test the oil. I weaved in and out between the cars and felt something missing. The  Heat !

Most bullet riders will identify the familiar warmth that they feel on their calves while riding. Its the bull’s way of letting you know, Baby, I am Hot for you. Or like most of us know, its time to give the throttle a rest. Even through the start stop and jerky traffic ride, I did not feel the all to familiar build up of the heat. That is good. very very good.

Chembur to thane ( after weaving for an hour ) – Open roads, eastern express highway, I quickly opened the throttle and was cruising effortlessly at 80 Kmph. The pick up seems to be excellent…

Thane – Parked the bike and gave the engine a once over. It was purring , begging to go for another  spin.. I am loving it.. All in all , the traffic test is a pass- with distinction for Schaeffer oils.

By the  way, this oil is not the cheapest that you will find in the market. A liter will set you back by 1400 Rs. On par or slightly higher than most synthetic oils. I have used other  brands before, but the difference felt with this  was palpable.

I cant wait to take Theia on the high way once again to test her on the long run. You will get a detailed review soon at the end of the Red Bums ride for sure. Till then, ride hard ride safe..

P.S to know more about the oil  , here is the link… or call me !

http://www.schaefferoil.com/supreme-7000-racing-oil.html

 

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The Vodafone speed fest

I am a proud indiblogger and when they announced that the next blogger meet involved meeting Lewis Hamilton. I was silent. People who know me will take that as a very ominous sign. I am never silent..

To add to the experience one of us could be sitting next to the great one. The youngest driver to win the world championship… silence again.

To say that I would give an arm and a leg to get that opportunity is lying. I am sure Mr. Hamilton would require me to hold onto something when he is driving. I don’t think I can with just one arm and a leg.

Since I was a kid, long long long ago, it’s been a dream to sit with a racecar driver. Don’t believe me? Ask my school bus driver. I would always sit next to him. And he was one crazy driver. I don’t think Mr Hamilton had the chance to weave through the streets of India while taking care of 20 kids, and the morons trying to prove that the person driving the largest vehicle on the road is the easiest target to cut across. Nor did he have to ensure that the kids reach school quickly , not for the kids benefit but for his own sanity.

Nevertheless, we will know on Sunday if the lucky bloke sitting next to the world champion is the author or not, but for sure, when I am in his company, I promise….. I will be silent.

Categories: humour, musings, Uncategorized | Tags: | 5 Comments

Hair today gone tomorrow ……

When i was young, well younger… the 4 most dreaded words in my life were “You need a Haircut” . This would invariably be preceded by vicious tug on the guilty part and followed by an even more vicious clucking that would put to shame the alpha cock in most poultry farms.

Let me step back and talk about how this barber industry has progressed in my mind..

Long ago, and I mean loooong ago, the barber would visit homes. Apparently during these medevial times, he would cut the hair of his customers in the back yard of the customer’s home itself. Talk about home service.. His fee would be 1 or 2 Rs if lucky or a bellyful of food and coconuts from the yard.

I remember one such episode when we were staying in Trivandrum.  I was seated on a chair all weepy and hating the world for conspiring against my lovely tresses, and this thin reedy dark gentleman compunded the fear by standing 2 feet away from me and sharpening his scissors and blades. I still remember the sound of the blade being sharpened.

Going to the barber shop then slowly became a father son thingy.. Appa would take me to the barbers, and specify sternly what to do. The barber would ignore and cut my hair the way he wanted to. Remember this was way before hair and styling were being used together. The only styles you had back then were long , short or Amitabh Bachchan…  Appa would pay as if it were the most accurate rendition of what he had hitherto detailed to the barber.. Cost – 5 – 7 Rs.

Fast forward to the teenage years. It was important to look good.  I was foolish enough to think that a mane ,rich and luxurious was enough to hide the hideous body fat that I carried around. Therefore I would splurge on good haircuts- 30 Rs. Our barber shops slowly started becoming more welcoming. There were fans all around, huge mirrors, music ( bollywood only please). The barber was still the obnoxious character of old. Its as if the trade of not smiling and listening to you was passed on as a trade secret. Barber shops become hubs of discussion, where people would flock to just talk about the political scenarios currently affecting our country. His tools became modern. I just loved the one machine which would be gloved onto the hand and would vibrate at the flick of a switch. He would then run this hand over your hair and finally into your ears.. Ufff. that was bliss..

Fast forward again.. friends started losing hair naturally without having to visit the barber ever so much ( friends not me ofcourse). The barber shops morphed into something more of a service salon. It was not longer simple to visit a barber and ask for a haircut. You needed to know what exactly you required. The first time I visited a salon, my hair was examined by no less than 3 people.  They tut tutted and clucked , putting to shame my father in the earlier avatar. I was half expecting a refusal to cut my hair from their side. Then the bombardment started, ” Sir,  your follicles are weak ” – The whats weak, didnt know them things. Is it serious? Sir, you have no clue, we need to start the treatment immediately. I quickly succumbed to an attack of the shampoos and gels and it felt awesome… till i saw the bill… 750 Rs.  Hair follicles be damned…

Today, the cleverer , more mature me goes to the salon and asks to be trimmed, never cut, no damn treatments, a wash after wards and thats it.. My haircut costs me around a 200 Rs every time. The salon is air conditioned and has products from france that I can never hope to pronounce, so I stay away from it. My barber is a pimply faced youth who keeps his mouth shut and does his job. There is an LCD tv showing news channels playing all the time. I am Offered tea and coffee during the hair cut. The artist divides my head into zones and cuts my hair. Techniques are tried out , looks are styled and god knows what else, I come out looking more or less the same.

To me , getting a hair cut is an hour away from it all. Its about sinking into the chair and sleeping and not knowing what you are going to look like at the end of the hour. Its one hour away from the internet, the phones, from everything. Its about coming out of the barber shop and feeling nice and light.  After all, one thing that we all need to be proud of and happy about…. we still have hair to cut.. 

 

 

 

Categories: humour, musings | 4 Comments

Old vs The New

There comes a time in your life, when you upgrade yourself and those incredibly intimate things that are a part of you to a better model. In extreme cases its called a mid life crisis , where you try to do things that you should have done when you were much younger, or in most of our cases, its as simple as upgrading your tech accessories.

There are times when you get so attached to your belongings that changing becomes a task. Yes , I know change is the only constant in life, but that does not mean you should enjoy it.

I love my vehicles… the first love of mine was an ambassador car owned by my father.  KLO 7003… this baby was one year older than I was.  More than a vehicle of people , it was a Vehicle of memories. Dad had a sales job and his office was the car. On the drop of a hat, we would pack our stuff and get into the car to travel to unheard of destinations. The entire back seat was mine, Amma and appa would occupy the front. When we changed the car, 15 years later, I was heart broken.

I bought my own car later, the Alto. True to its ad, it was a let’s go car. 4 years later, when I upgraded to the Corolla, I actually talked to the car and asked him to behave with the new owner. Today my corolla ( eleanor) is as much a part of the family as anyone can be.

Eleanor is now 8 years old, she still roars ( anyone who has been driven in her will vouch) , she gets more cranky now during the rains, during looong rides etc.  But will I replace her? Not until I absolutely have to.

This bond is most apparent when it comes to my bikes.  I ride a Royal Enfield Standard Bullet 500 CC. Every bulleteer worth his salt will identify this beast as the Grand papa of the bullet line.  Thor , is now 9 years old and the technology in him is 50 years old.  Maybe my riding style has changed or he has become old, but in the last one year , there have been major issues with him in almost all the rides I have taken him along.  But will I let go of him. EMPHATIC NO !!!!

Thor- The Grand Papa…

What is the definition of a bond between a biker and his bike? I dont know about others, but my Thor is my sole companion on my rides. All the bikers who accompany me are there to talk to and interact when we stop for a break. But Thor is there with me at all times. He talks and I listen. I talk and he listens.  I have multiple friends who have asked me how I can start the bike , without getting hurt due to the notorious back kick of the bullet. I have, not once , been hurt due to this.  Every break down that I have had on Thor has been within walking distance of a mechanic or some source of help to rectify the problem. Maybe there is a practical reason for this, but I won’t hear of it. My Thor makes sure that I do not suffer more than I have to.

Theia and Me

I have just added Theia to my stable. Theia is Royal enfield Classic 500 , the latest engine from the stable of Royal Enfield. After 2000 Kms, I can vouch that she is far far more reliable on the long rides. Riding her is a pleasure and the pleasure is amplified when I hug the curves of Ghats on her. Ever since I bought her, all the new age Bikers have been having a go at me saying that the new age UCE engines are so much better and that I should have changed long ago.

I still Ride Thor , I will continue to ride Theia , one is not better than the other. One does not choose between their kids and love one of them more ( so I hear).

Passion ? Craziness ? , I will leave it for you to decide,  but for me its Love.

Categories: musings | 17 Comments

Man’s Best friend

Its an old adage that a man’s best friend is his dog. I agree.

I have been a do lover ever since i remember. I remember as a kid being bitten by a black pomeranian and to this day , that is the only breed of dog that I don’t enjoy being with. Curiously , ever since, i have been able to do a remarkable rendition of a dog bark.. Maybe some genes transferred during that bite.

My parents , well actually, my mom and grand mom, did not share this love for the canine. Everytime I would ask for one, i would be shot down with comments like, who is going to clean up after the dog, its a huge responsibility, who will walk the dog, what happens when you go to school, or hopefully away from home to a college…
I was told, marry a girl who loves dogs and then you can get one. Lakshmi , likes dogs.. far away from her. inside the house , a dog is a definite no no.

One bonny day in May, i get a call from a dear friend, asking I would like a labrador pup, all of 1 year and trained to boot.
Through the day, I set about convincing lakshmi that this would be the best thing that would happen to us. constant badgering resulted in a desultory yes. My joy knew no bounds and I set up a date to collect the boy ( BEN) the next day.

To say it was love at first sight is an understatement. He came on the ferry, brought by the person who took care of him earlier. calmly sitting on the deck, his tongue hanging out of his mouth, Ben was a sight to behold. A light fawn colour Labrador pup is handsome in normal circumstances, but this was my baby boy, there could be no one more beautiful.

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They call me inspector gadget!

It’s practically impossible to live in today’s world without , if not having an affinity towards gadgets, at least suffer through their requirement.
Thankfully, I have been lucky to just love new shiny electronic gadgets.. Or have I been lucky…

Appa , though he is a technology green thumb always encouraged usage of new technology at home. I had a pc in my room when the fastest one was a 486 processor ( dunno how many people will even remember those devices) . I remember the days when there was a vsnl student account that could be converted to a full blown graphics account by hacking it, dial up mind you. In the middle of the night I would log in , waking the entire house with the trademarked dial tone and the subsequent strangling noises made by the modem.

I guess, getting exposed to electronics early in life kind of removed then fear of gadgets from my mind.
My first job and dad got me a cellphone.. A Nokia 6110 , shaped likes a brick and weighing almost as much, it was not of great use only because my salary could not cover the call charges.. 16 Rs outgoing and 8 Rs incoming ! Needless to say, I became a champ at the games preloaded….
Fast forward to a better paying job, I just had to have the latest mobile phone. I even had standing instructions with my local customs notified shop who would call me whenever there was a new Model that came in.
Even though I had enough money to spend on these, I would ask my father for permission to buy them. This would be a well thought out strategy, generally involving a call to him when he is travelling and sounding really wanting in a cute baby voice. My father would obviously balk but would invariably give in..thanks Appash….

During those golden years, I believe I have used every phone that came out in the market. What was not available in India, my doting uncles would get those whenever they came down to India .
And then I got married…

To most, now would be a good time to heave those sighs of sadness, because in most cases the wife ensures that such extravaganzas are curbed. But not mine… I still continue to buy the latest gadget with gay abandon.. I have in the last 2 months run through the blackberry torch, the hoc radar, the Samsung galaxy tab, the galaxy note, and I am currently furiously typing on the new iPad .

In today’s age it is important to be tech savvy, but tech crazy? I won’t opine on that….

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My Reason to Ride…..

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The above picture shows the reason why I like to ride. The Brotherhood of bikers,  My friends, my Brothers, who ride with me, make each of our rides a memorable one.

The reasons , superficially are many, get away from the daily office routine , fulfill your passion of photography and seeing new places, my wife likes to travel so that she can get away from cleaning and cooking ( like many other better halves also do, I am sure) .

I ride with the Bisons Ride Hard Motorcycle club. We are a relatively new biking club, around 60 in number and bonded by one common thread, our passion to ride the Bullet.  When together, distances seem small, punishing temperatures, non-existing roads, idiotic people and stray animals crossing the roads, seem so much more easy to handle.

Before you jump to any conclusions, we are a very sane set of people , not the archetypal biker boys( and gals). Our group has the most interesting set of people that I pride in calling brothers.

There is our chosen leader of the pack – Paaji, Gen singh, who is a self-proclaimed truck driver, whose life revolves around 2 things – riding and drinking tea. This gentleman consumes buckets of tea at every pit-stop that we take and rides for distances that gives the rest of us a real pain in the a** . After 3 – 4 rides, most of us have the Gluteus Maximus that would put body builders to shame.

There is Signals – the communication wizard in the team, who refuses to get photographed without his helmet, because he believes none of us can capture his inner beauty. Signals, is always on a protein diet. I almost feel for the restaurateur or in our case the dhaba wala who serves food to us. The entire Non vegetarian food on the menu is finished by this gentleman in one sitting.

There is Kauwla – named so because he is the youngest in the group. The Josh machine loves being photographed and has a different pose for each click that we try of him. There is not a single one with a straight face.

There is Tawa masala – Captain, who gets his name because he is always in a hurry , like he is sitting on a tawa.. by the time we park the bikes in our nightly pit stop, tawa masala has already run out, checked the rooms, the food available, the nearest atm, the petrol station and what not.

There is Yeda anna – probably the most colorful one in the group, whose life revolves around – “The humble vada pav”.  He has drawn maps for people asking for directions , with waypoints as vada pav stalls.  A connoisseur of this maharashtrian snack, Anna, even coaxes chefs who don’t have the vada pav in their menu to make it specially for him..

There are many many more such characters in the group and when we get together, and ride together, that’s what makes it so much fun to do.

That is my reason to ride….

For many such stories, and to talk to other bikers, what better way than to link up at www.facebook.com/CastrolBiking

Categories: humour, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lonar – an eye for an eye.

Every year, on the day after Holi, this small town becomes a biker hangout. Lonar is approximately 500 odd kms from mumbai and is known for the largest salt water crater in the world. Apparently , a few million years ago, this was a site where a meteor struck earth and created a hole in the ground.

Started 4 years ago, biker clubs around mumbai congregate over here to just chill out and exchange pleasantaries over a beer or two.. or three.

This was the first Gaddha mania for the Bisons and 25 bikers left mumbai in the wee hours of saturday . needless to say, the adrenaline was pumping and we rode hard towards the kasara ghats. en route, i had foolishly left my visor open and felt a sharp pain in my left eye, but i rode on , shrugging the pain as a temporary one.. slowly i realised that i could barely see from the eye..

Not wanting to slow the group down, we rode till the next pitstop. by the time i reached, my eye was swollen and red and i could not see a thing out of it. needless to say, riding like this added an edge to the trip. A quick wash and the vision was better and off we went. Not for long though… our first casualty for the bike was immediate, when amol’s bike’s head gave way. we had to stop and arrange for a truck to cart the bike back to mumbai.

Though this was not in the least a very scary episode, it did teach me not to brave the nature and its power foolhardily and to respect it. Never again am i going to ride without proper protection.

 

Categories: Travel | Tags: | 1 Comment

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