The pre-dawn glow was waiting at the gates when I left the house on Friday morning. D had arrived a little while back with her little blue bag. We took about one minute to cram everything in the cramsters. As we broke the silence of the night with the roar of the full 500 cubics of the Machismo’s engine, there was a scent of freedom in the cold Delhi air. It was time to ride.
At 5 in the morning, Delhi was not the same creature I deal with every morning in rush hour. It was quiet. Serene, almost. D was proving to be more than patient. My worries were considerably lesser than when we started. But then, it still was too early to call. We didn’t know the way really so we asked a really fat guy on a Pulsar to tell us. Like a really helpful fat guy, he says – “I am from Gurgaon. I am going to Roorkee. You can follow me.” And he promptly goes on to display his choicest manouvering stunts in high speed traffic. Quite entertaining, I must say. D took quite a liking to the chap. Yeah she has some very wierd tastes.
We raised an arm each crossing from UP to UK. D could officially smoke in UK. Not that she didn’t smoke in UP. Weather was still good. Bike behaved itself. Traffic was bad but not to the extent of exasperating the rider. Most of all, D was still not restless. Good news. Last 20 odd kilometers were almost unbearable. Road construction on meant 60 degrees downhill in bumper to bumper traffic. And finally the milestone. Chamba 10 kms. We were going home. We climbed and climbed and climbed. The air became colder. And then, civilization.
Chamba is a quaint little town with very little to offer to the average tourist. No places to see. No nice places to eat. No decent alcohol available. But then, no maddening rush of tourists. No shops blaring out random music attracting people. No kids running around with their parents. Peaceful.
S was waiting at the Gabbar Singh Memorial. It was a reunion. I was crowd. But it was okay.
We headed to the nearest hotel and checked in. Decent place. We needed some sleep. I had slept two hours. D had slept three. And we had ridden close to 10 hours. The sleep fairy came unannounced and the thick quilt felt nice. Evening was unfolding when I woke up. The sun goes down really late here. It was time to plan the partayyyyyy. I took the bike up the hill to look for an engine oil shop. I hadn’t changed it for over a 1000 kms after the overhauling of the crank shaft. Dangerous territory. Half an hour later, I find a Bajaj guy. Says an Enfield guys is about half an hour away. I decide to do it later. Back in Chamba, D & S are loitering in the streets. We decide to buy some booze. Nothing that we know is available. Not even Old Monk. New licenses for liquor shops are due and the existing ones are trying to exhaust their stocks. We settle for DSP. Or was it something else? I don’t really know. Or care.
We drank till late. Lots of random discussions. This was the first time I was drinking with colleagues from work outside of an official party. Bankers are a slightly different breed. Or maybe just the ones I met.
The next day I went and completed all the bike related work. Then we went three-up on a roundtrip to the only tourist attraction of the place. The infamous Tehri Dam. Medha Patkar’s warzone. Quite a sight I must say. And nice ride.
The ride home was hot. And very uneasy. Difficult time. Dropped D off at Meerut and rushed home. Lost my way in Ghaziabad. Somehow managed to get the right road and reached Delhi. Nice weekend.