16th August 2012 – 08:00am – Hotel Good Night, lal darwaza, Ahmedabad, Gujarat (697 kms)
It had been a terribly exhaustive and an adventurous day … and I think everybody was dead tired to know that it was morning … I got up and it was dark inside the room and was very comfortable at 21 degrees inside the blanket …I knew the temperature as being displayed on the AC’s panel … and I managed to grab my phone to check what the time was….
Last night I and all of us had switched off all alarms and put our phones on silent, as we could not afford any disturbance…. 08:00 am … oh … we need to get ready to move ahead, we were still 260 kms from Udaipur … but on second thought, we had covered 700 kms on day 1 … so 250 kms …. Huh … EASY !!! BUT …. Yeah … the but’s of the second day start …
But, we had to call Rachit and Bharat, who stayed back in Baroda and would have to ride to Ahmedabad, on that single 2 lane road … once they reach, is only when we can move …!!! So against all wishes I got up, freshened up and called Rachit at 8:20 am … !!!
The First Disaster … !!! Oh no-one expected this !!!
Rachit: “hi Sarthak, Good Morning. Hey how r u bro … what time did you reach last night”
Sarthak: “Oh … don’t ask … it was hell of a ride Rachit … the road was not the 6 lane as we have been getting since Mumbai … yaar, we reached only at 09:30 pm … !!
Rachit: oh … that must have been tiring riding in the night … !!
And let’s cut the crap … and come to the first shock he gave me …
Rachit: “Arre Sarthak, Bharat is not willing to continue and wants to ride back!”
Sarthak: “Kya ???? Kyon ????”
Rachit: ‘hey speak to him only … “ and gave the phone to Bharat …
Bharat: “good morning Sarthak…”
Sarthak: “hey I heard you willing to go back … hey what the %#$@?””
Bharat: “Yeah, it was very tiring, and Rachna is also very tired, I think hum log aage nahin jaa sakte, hum waapas jaa rahe hain…”
Sarthak: “are Bharat … just go on … once you start riding today, you’ll feel better”
Bharat: “Oh No bro … hum log waapas jaa rah hain … it will be too tiring, and with pillion, it is becoming tougher… you guys carry on.
Sarthak: “ok Bharat … main Ayush and Vikas se baat karta hun … chalo take care… bye !”
Bharat: “have a good trip, ride safe…bye!”
Bharat was a senior rider and a seasoned rider, but the heat, distance and pillion got better of him I guess …. Infact I also got into a double mood when I spoke to him … I was soo tired and … … let me not disclose this right now … my wife will kill me …!!! You will come to know soon.
But my riding passion got better of me and I decided to continue … !!!
I called room service and ordered a cup of tea … which was most important that time and went out of the room to check if Vikas and Ayush, who were in 1 room and Sharath and Rohan, who were in the other room were awake or not?
And lo … who log to “ghode bech ke so rahe hain” (all of them were fast asleep).
I woke up everybody … and therefore became the wake up alarm for the entire trip … and thus the headmaster .. I used to wake up every-one is the morning and push them to get ready and be ready to leave on time … and invariably we were late on most of the days, and someone or the other would take more time in the toilets or in getting ready … but this is part of the game I guess.
So … to the main issue that struck us that morning, I informed everybody about Bharat’s call … and everyone was shocked and unhappy since one person was not willing to continue. Vikas called Bharat to convince him to carry on, in the meanwhile, I got my hot cup of tea … and for all the others I asked to get ready fast. We should be out of Ahmedabad in a couple of hours.
We also asked the hotel manager to ask someone from the staff to wash our bikes and we would pay him for that. We rode through rains, mud, sun dirt and our bikes also needed a wash … one of the key features of Passionate riders is that they maintain tier bikes like girlfriends J if you keep them happy, they will keep you happy.
16th August 2012 – 09:30am – Hotel Good Night, lal darwaza, Ahmedabad
The Bikes were washed and were shining, 15-20 people had already gathered in the parking. We as humans are always inquisitive for answers … Does God exists, will I get a call from KBC, will my son come first in school, etc etc … and these 15-20 people had a new question on this morning … “where are you riding from? And Why?” most of the times it is wise not to give all answers … the first question had an answer … the second question didn’t … or rather it would have fit into the frames of those people … so we better LET GO !!! They gazed at us and came to their own sweet conclusions on why 7 bikes and 7 people would ride on Bikes to Ahmedabad from Pune … when there are so many trains, Volvo busses, flights to come … !!! again … one of the best things to learn in life, which you do as a rider is LET GO !!! people have their own reasoning … let them be happy with it.
So, after the wash, we needed to check our bike if everything was ok? By God’s grace all the bikes were in perfect condition, except some minor oiling and lubrication that we needed to do on the chain and some other parts. All was set for day-2.
In the meanwhile the breakfast had arrived in the room, and we hogged on to it … even after the heavy dinner, we were still hungry, or rather were getting prepared for the 2nd day, and …… 10 aloo paratha, 6 omlettes, 6 cups curd went down easily … !!! Now we were all set… and everyone rushed to the bathrooms for a good bath and get geared up.
16th August 2012 – 10:30am – Hotel Good Night, lal darwaza, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Ayush and I were ready early and we came down to the parking, we used “mamaji” to get the directions to get out of the city towards Udaipur … I hope you have not forgotten mamaji – Google (maps).
Mamji gave a clear direction to the Airport and off to the highway through Gandhinagar.
In the meanwhile, we had already called Rachit after Vikas’s discussion with Bharat, which turned futile, that he should meet us at 11:30 in Gandhinagar. Rachit, being from Gujarat, told us where he would be waiting for us … and we did not understand a bit, but we were sure we would ask and reach the place where we needed to meet.
Once we knew the directions, another important task was to get re-fuelled and check the air pressure etc. so we needed a good petrol pump where we will get the basics done.
16th August 2012 – 11:00am – Day-2 Ride Starts
We were off at 11:00 am, 6 Bikes vrooming through the roads of Ahmedabad … cannot really call in Vrooming, as it was a working day and there was heavy traffic, so we cruised along TOGETHER … as most of us were not sure of the directions, so no-one could afford to fall behind.
We went through Mirzapur Road, Shahibagh, to reach the Airport Road.
We were about to be “Shot” …. Twice !!!
First, We reached Pune Airport, and had to go straight, I don’t know what happened, and someone turned right towards the airport, I moved straight and saw no-one behind me … I stopped and turned back to see everyone riding towards the airport … we had taken a wrong turn inside.
If you observe carefully, only the eyes are visible, that too if the Visor of the helmet is white … if that is tinted, even that is not visible, and mostly all of the riding gears come black … So we look not better than terrorists. This though got reinforced when seeing 6 bikes in the way we were, vrooming towards the airport … we had to go till the terminal to take a U turn… and suddenly we saw from a distance, all security guards, CISF or BSF or don’t know what … but loading their guns and getting alert seeing us … the distance from the right turn to the Check Point was not more than 300 mts … but this was the deadliest 300 mts we had done in the last 36 hours … !!! The only prayer all of us had was … “they should not shoot…..they should not shoot“ .. .we slowed down and when the first biker reached 10 mts from the post, he shouted … “Bhaiya/Sir (don remember as I was now at the back) … Udaipur ke liye Kaun si road leni hai?”
The guard realized … these are some new jokers in the city … and they are coming towards the airport to ask the way to Udaipur …. But sense prevailed to him I guess and he told us to take a u turn … and from the circle take the right …. Then straight through Gandhinagar and hit the highway …”
All of us greeted with him with the most courteous “Thank you” we had ever used in Life.
Second time we were about to get shot, will come soon …
Now … we actually Vroomed and were on our way … yes the correct road.
I the meanwhile Rachit had arrived and we had to meet Rachit near a circle near Akshardham in Gandhinagar, and obviously … we missed the circle where we were supposed to meet. But we could see signposts of Udaipur and Akshardham, which reinforced that we were going in the right direction and we thought we would keep going till some prominent landmark and call him.
16th August 2012 – Noon – Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar, Gujarat (730 kms)
We were on Highway 8C, and crossed the Raj Bhawan, we were now riding in the original formation, Ayush leading and Vikas and I were Sweeping … Vikas had an idea that let’s stop at the Raj bhawan for a Pic …. !!!
Don’t worry sense prevailed, and as terrorists look alike, the second threat on life, after the airport was not warranted so fast. So we just went passed, enjoying the empty roads and the view and to top it all, the amazing cloudy weather. I guess Sun Gods had taken enough of our test the previous day and it was cloudy today … and very pleasant even at noon.
We were riding past the Raj Bhawan appreciating the good roads and beauty of Gujarat … let me comment, with no bias or political involvement, Mr. Narendra Modi, hats off to you … it is just a pleasure coming to Gujarat. Beautiful, well maintained roads, amazing infrastructure, industries … wow.
Let’s come back … we were at Sector 20, Gandhinagar and Akshardham Temple was on our left.. we had not scheduled a sight-seeing of Ahmedabad and hence stopping at Akshrdham was not in the initial plan. But we decided, let’s go and stop opposite the temple, click some pics and call Rachit there … he must be nearby and this is big landmark … !!
So, we took the left to stop right opposite the Akshardham gate.
Second threat to Life came here !!!
There are 3 guard posts outside the main gate, and the moment those guards saw 6 bikes (with 2 bullets), the sound of the silencer could shake the roads … took a turn towards the temple, they got alarmed, I don’t know what they felt, but they again starting loading as if there was a terrorist attack at the Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar.
We had to stop immediately opposite the temple gate, there are some food stalls across the main gate and we stopped near one of the stalls … as I have told you earlier, a crowd gathered near us the moment we stopped, they were more interested to watch 6 jokers in Heavy jackets, Knee Guards, Elbow Guards, Saddle Bags, All Black … rather than going to the temple …!!!
In the meanwhile I rushed towards one of the Guard Check posts to make him understand that we are Honorable Citizens of this country and no terrorists … after much discussion he cooled down to ask the same questions which we have answered a million times in the last 36 hours … where ? when ? why ? etc etc.
During my discussion with the guard 2 things were done, we called Rachit to meet us t Akshardham temple, who informed that he will take not more than 10 mins to reach there … which was good, and second Ayush, took out his camera. Just to inform you, Rohan and Ayush were the Official Photographers of the ride, all the pics you are seeing are clicked by either one of those.
So Ayush started taking his angles, and suddenly the Guards shouted again … hey no pics allowed … !!! people who have been to Akshardham would know, you are not allowed to take pics inside the temple or even from the gate. But he managed to sneak one … the long shot !!!
Akshardham Temple The guard Posts in front of Akshardham
Rachit arrived in 10 mins and we left for the NH-8 towards the Royal Rajasthan.
16th August 2012 – 12:30 pm – back on NH-8, Gujarat (740 kms)
At 30 mins past noon, we started and passed through the Gandhinagar Thermal Power Station on our left, Took a left, Passed the CRPF camp … to hit NH-8 at Chiloda.
Yippee .. we were back on NH-8, After the torturous ride of Baroda to Ahmedabad, the 6 lane highway was a pleasure to ride on.
16th August 2012 – 01:10 pm – Tropic of Cancer, Gujarat (777 kms)
Exactly after 37 kms after hitting the Highway … Ayush applied brakes … Now we were cruising at 90-100 kmph speeds … the roads were amazing, very less traffic … it was indeed a pleasure riding and as I told you earlier, Sun Gods were not harsh on us today, so the clouds made the riding more pleasurable. So this sudden brakes alerted everyone … !!!! and he a gave an indicator to left to stop. We saw a blue board with something written on it from a distance … as we came closer:
Once we had our rounds of pics and upload pics on facebook we started moving forward … in the meanwhile Sharath and Prateek must have travelled another 20-30 kms … we were expecting them to stop once they don’t see us.
We took the help of mamaji again to find out that we were 76 kms from Rajasthan border … we looked at each other, and all of us had Goosebumps, as we were approaching where we started for … !!! but it was he time of action … we started, Crossed Himatnagar and carried on the NH-8. The roads were amazing as usual, and we were now cruising at 100+ kmph.
16th August 2012 –02:15 pm – entering the Royal Rajasthan from Gujarat (853 kms)
At 2:15 we crossed the last Toll of Gujarat … !!! and we were about to enter Rajasthan … slowly the terrain started changing … and loh … we were at the Rajasthan Border.
And obviously it was a place for the Pic … we had reached the state where we had started for … we had crossed Maharashtra, Gujarat and entering Rajasthan. We were so proud and happy that we have travelled around 860 kms in one and a half day and were entering rajasthan … and as usual we became items out of the museum when we were clicking pics … people gathered all round us….very few seen in the pic below, but everyone wanted us to talk to them and they wanted to see our machines and our gear from close … but our focus was to click and move as we had to go another 120 kms to reach Udaipur, but time was on our side, it was just 3:00 pm and we started again. There are innurable ways how you find out that you have entered Rajasthan, but the most prominent are Alcohol Shops …Gujarat being a dry state Rajasthan Border offers the full range of alcohol, in large quantities …!!! And you realize that you are out of Gujarat.
We had to stop on a petrol pump for re-fuelling.
16th August 2012 –03:15 pm –Royal Rajasthan – petrol pump, Shooting reiki for” Dhoom-3” (860 kms)
We had stopped at the petrol pump where as usual we had to answer the scheduled questions of where we were coming from? Where we were going? Etc etc. when Vikas came up with a prank … when the petrol pump attendant asked him about where we were going etc. he told him “ hum log Dhoom-3 ki shooting ke liye roads dekh rahe hain … Aamir Khan will come here for the shooting” and lo … the word started spreading, and wow … where is Aamir….where is aamir….started … !!!
After about 10 mins of fun, we literally had to run from that petrol pump, as the public would kidnap us until we show them where Aamir Khan was !!! but we managed to sneak out and rushed to find the first toll of Rajasthan about 5 kms ahead… where all of us had a hearty laugh..!!! this was probably the last toll before we would hit Udaipur, and we stopped at the toll to grab something to drink and move ahead. We did not have lunch and everyone was hungry, but we though not to stop now and hit Udaipur because of 2 reasons:
- We wanted to have good food, and Udaipur was the place to be, relax and have food
- We got a call from the Hotel Owner in Udaipur, who had sponsored our stay at his hotel, yes yes….sponsored… to ask when are we reaching, as some people are waiting for us.
We had no clue what was he upto, and we decided to take this small halt and then ride non-stop to Udaipur.
16th August 2012 –05:00 pm – Hotel Broadway, Udaipur (1000 kms)
Wow … Our trip meters were reading 0 again … we had done 1000 kms from Pune. It was an awesome feeling, 1000 kms in 2 days was scintillating, with the number of stops we took, it was an unbelievable feet, all 7 riders reaching together at Hotel broadway was awesome.
I want to highlight, before I tell you the action packed Udaipur, the last 100 kms, which are necessary to mention. As I told you before, the terrain had changed the moment we reached Rajasthan, it was an amazing 100 kms … we were riding past beautiful hillocks and villages, especially after Kherwara, we were going through winding roads and a very beautiful terrain, with the sun going down …!!!
We were at the Udaipur entry to get the directions of the Hotel, and after 1000 kms and 3 states, it was not difficult to find the location.
OMG….Oh My God !!!
Hey I am not referring to the movie … but we got a shock when we reached Udaipur, as I told you, the hotel owner called us a couple of hours and told us that someone is waiting for us…and lo … the moment we were entering the hotel, 5 cameramen started clicking pictures. We had no options but to stop … and suddenly it was paparazzi all around… we did not understand what is happening, when suddenly I heard a voice … “Sarthak ji” … Sarthak ji … and I understood it could be Vishal burman – the owner of Hotel Broadway, whom I had spoken to innumerable times from Pune for the booking and sponsorship … and there couldn’t be anyone else in Udaipur who would know my name.
Vishal Burman: “Sarthak ji … I called the local press to cover your Independence Day trip”
Me: “why sir …??? At-least you could have informed us!”
But the time for all these questions was a bit later I guess, as we were surrounded by the press photographers, and like the new wed bride and groom, they wanted different poses of us … ufff … it was ridiculous after a whole day ride !!! but nevertheless, the reality was….we were enjoying the attention !!
Our Independence day ride became a Peace ride !!!!
After the photo session … 4 press reporters wanted to speak to the group leader, with the skill of writing and oration, I was the obvious choice. We had Ayush and vikas, who were senior riders on the group but I took the center stage … and yes yes … I gave a full length interview … !!!
You can’t imagine how happy I was when the reporter said …. “and the last question sir….” Finally it got over after 40 mins….!!! And Vishal Burman wanted me to emphasize “hotel Broadway” as the main sponsor for stay in Udaipur.
Incidentally there was a bomb blast in Pune a few days back and there was some unrest in Bangalore today … where the North East people were being threatened to leave Bangalore and go back. So our peace ride on Independence Day was fitting into the current state of things … and we feared for the next 48 hours that we may have zee tv and start tv coming to cover us and sensationalize the news ….
Aaj tak would have presented our ride like
“ 6 yuwak, is brashtachar aur naslawaad se pareshan …ek jawaab dhoodh rahe hain … kya unhe bharat ke kisi bhi shehar mein rehna ka hak nahin hai… kya yeh bhed bhaw political hia….” Uff….it would have been ridiculous.
Start TV could have come up “6 youths want an answer, why the discrimination? Aren’t we Indians and live and earn wherever we want?” someone will have to answer them”
And we would have been the target for political parties … uff … Thank God nothing like this happened and our publicity remained in Rajasthan and specially the Udaipur region.
But certainly most of the people in Udaipur knew about us, which we realized the next day when we were exploring and sight-seeing in Udaipur … !!
Let’s come back … so after the press conference, there was a breakfast table laid for the reporters and us … and what better could happen to us …we had to skip lunch and all of us were very hungry …!!!
I was told later that the table lay the time we entered the hotel, I was busy with the reporters and all the to her five, Ayush, Vikas, Rachit, Prateek, Sharath and Rohan were standing next to the table, hungry … it looked like a scene of Satte pe satta, the famous movie of the 80’s … where hema Malini cooks food for everyone which is on the table and all the brothers are waiting for Amitabh Bachchan to come and start the food.
Hahaha … I love to compare myself to the Actor of the Millennium but I walked with the reporters and Vishal Burman, and off we go … we were honking on food like animals … !!! after we were full, I enquired with Vishal for the rooms … and we were escorted to the third floor !!!
The rooms were fabulous, I think they hotel had gone a renovation and the rooms were excellent.
We went into our respective rooms and rested. All of us had a good hot water bath and we decided to meet up in my room at 9:00 pm for Dinner and Daaru … !!!
Yeah the next day was a rest day and we were sight-seeing at Udaipur so we could drink like a fish that night … !!!
I better not share what happened that night, as we all had an excellent time with Old Monk, Beer, Cold Drinks, Soda, Butter Chicken, Shaahi Paneer, Dal Fry, Raita, Papad, and lots of Ice !!! you know our appetite and Bhukkadrunnerzzz… from our Ahmedabad order. I don’t even want to share who had the maximum fun and who spoilt the bathroom with over drinking and cocktail. You may guess if you want !!!