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Starting 2006

All these years for New Years I’ve been home spending it with family and friends at home, this year a week before New Years when Sam called and asked what I was doing on New Years eve, I said nothing, coz I had no plans. Sam said some of the boys were headed to Tusker Valley and if I was interested to give Santosh a call.

Did just that and before I knew it, all plans were in place. Felt a bit guilty for not staying with family and when I first told Mom, I guess she didn’t realize I was talking about being out for New Years. When she did, she was a bit surprised but as she always does, she understood and said go ahead have fun.

Then along came the 30th. I just had this odd feeling and didn’t wanna ride so was going with Vodka in his Bolero. Rode down to Sam’s place early morning at we were to leave at 7am. Hadn’t slept much the night before, Pallavi was asking me to come along with her and gang to Athena but I stayed back as had to pack and wash my hair. Finally slept at 1am and was up at 5:30am. Ok some may say that’s quite a bit of sleep but then I need my 8 hours.

Reached Sam’s place and then in walked Preethi and Vodka. We quickly packed in the bags and got Goofy comfy in the car. Goofy is Sam’s Labrador (who’s a darling) who was coming too. Goofy quite different from most labs, compared to my Comet who isn’t lazy but enjoys being petted, Goofy just can’t sit in one place for more then a minute, he just an over-packed bundle of energy. I sat in front with Vodka and Preethi settled down with Goofy at the back. Off we went to The Club on Mysore Road to meet the rest of the boys.

Christy’s wife Tara and daughter Nahala joint us there. And we started off towards Mysore. Our first stop was for breakfast where I ate well since no dinner had left me feeling really hungry. We started out again towards Mysore and stopped just once for my coconut water. Mysore Road is in much better condition now though there are still some stretches under construction. Met up with Prashy and Sam in Mysore (Sam had missed the breakfast point and reached Mysore directly).

Our next stop was for lunch at Pugmarks, had Biryani which was very spicy and over cooked. Packed two rotis for Goofy and we set off again. Sam had had a fall a bit before Pugmarks, wasn’t really hurt, his breaks had locked and well he fell. Mostly just scrapes and bruises and fine in sometime. Ah forgot, before that Goofy had had quite a scare, he saw Sam outside the window and put his head out but in all his excitement also put his paw on the button to raise the window and almost strangled himself.

In Bandipur at one point where the road was bad this sumo guy in front of us slowed down and so did we, must have been doing about 10-20km/h when he suddenly stopped in the middle of the road, there was no where to go and too late to stop, we hit the back of the sumo. Took both the cars to the side, the Bolero was making a wining noise. The sumo guy was talking away 19 to a dozen about how it was our fault and Vodka in Tamil was telling him it was his fault to just suddenly stop like that. Soon one after another all the boys stopped and I guess after about 4 bikes stopped the sumo guy got a bit nervous (his tank was leaking too) and took off after telling us he would file a complaint.

We settled down to see what we could do about the car while Christy and Lloyd left to bring Prashy back to help. The fan was jammed as front along with radiator had been pushed in. We open the front and loosed it, released the fan and after I guess about an hour we were done. All this had happened in elephant area and I guess it was an elephant crossing. Went I took a walk around saw some fresh dung. Some forest vehicles stopped to check on us too.

At the bridge in Bandipur a smart monkey climbed into the car and ran off with the rotis that we had kept on the dashboard. At the border checking was on for liquor but luckily for us consider we were carrying some a stray dog got very excited on seeing Goofy and kept barking and jumping at the car. The Police guy made futile attempts to get rid of him and finally just told us to move on with out a check. Should thank the dog.

A bit after that we met Prashy, Sandy, Adrian and Easha on their way back to help. Prashy took the wheel and well he’s good and it was a super ride but a bit scary till I settle down to his style of driving. Tyres squealing at curves the first couple of times had me tightening my stomach. But in the end enjoyed it completely, especially once we got off the road on the Kalhati Ghats to get to the camp. With three streams and quite a few steep slopes with lots of rocks it was sexcellent!! Prashy got out once to help Arun with his bike and forgot the hand brake, while the car rolled a few inches before Prashy managed to brake and put on the hand brake, Vodka screamed. Super that was, as usual I was late at reacting. :)

Got to camp and met the rest of the boys and Parvathy. Had some coffee and soon wore the jacket but that didn’t last long and I had to get the sweater out too. Popped a disprin to get rid of the slight headache I had. Soon the drinking started and the light faded. The sky looked awesome and we were on a hill opposite the road and it was quite a site to see the cars going on the road with the lights on.

I took a short walk down the slope to take some snaps of the night sky, didn’t get a good shot but went back to just star gaze for sometime. Was so calm and peaceful, a bit scary when I heard the rustle and a few times I shone the torch around but settled down and was quite comfy for about 10-15 min, some guys going down to the valley checked if all was ok and I said yeah, it was, solitude is good sometimes :).

Went back and continued the drinking. Shuttling between the campfire where Parvathy had made base and the boys was good fun. Paro disappeared about 11 and I went searching for her. Checked the tents which were a mini trek and climb away and the quite a time getting down. Paro finally got back 15 min before midnight. She had gone to sleep…

A quart of Old Monk down and I was just high. Countdown was good fun (what I remember of it that is) and wished all around. The drinking continued after that as slowing people started heading of to bed. Finally at 3 just Vodka, Adrian, Grease, Dutta, Easha and I were left. We headed off to bed. I curled up in my sleeping bag with two blankets and slept all warm and cozy till 8am.

Woke up to brush my teeth and wash my face with freezing water. Freak it felt like my nose fell off!! Had breakfast and took some snaps. Spotted something brown with Sandy’s binoculars, was most probably some log of wood. Sat in the sun then getting all burnt, (it was really hot) and kept turning to get uniformly baked. Prashy fixed Greases bike with some helping physically and others verbally. I gave my support by just being present :D.

After a lot of lazing around and discussion we finally left at 12 headed to Ooty for some chocolates. Some of the boys decided to stay back for another day (they finally stayed back for two days), Sam and Goofy stayed back too. All shopping done the boys started out with the intention of stopping at Pugmarks for lunch. We stayed back to have lunch in Ooty. Tasted the Wellington Special Paratha. Nothing special, just base of mice meat and a paratha coated with egg on top. Wanted to have a word with the chef to tell him how it should actually be made. The gugu should have used the egg as a medium to bind the paratha and the meat, and used less oil. Anyway we left from there to see the boys had stopped at Masinagudi for lunch.

We decided not to stop and go on to Pugmarks. Met Sarsh not too far away from Masinagudi, he had hit a huge pothole with brakes locked and broken the hub at the back. The bike was not in a state to move, had to be taken in a truck. What surprised me was that he hadn’t fallen. That was quite something. All the boys followed soon and a Forest Patrol stopped soon too. He asked most of us to leave and he would help get a truck to take the bike.

We left to stop at Pugmarks where Sandy was waiting. Deepa joined us there. After an expensive coffee of Rs.22 we left again. Vodka was feeling ill (and he took a pill) and we called Deepa to see if she could drive once she and Sandy caught up with us.

We drove along till Maddur I think where we stopped for some coffee. Preethi and I went in search of a loo, only to find the common loo usually present outside the clustered houses seen in small towns. Quietly used it and got back.

Started out again dropped off Tara and Nahala at BEL Circle and reached Jayanagar at about 10:30pm. Picked up Musafir from Sam’s place and headed back home, dropping Preethi off in Koramangala on the way. I had completely forgotten to fill 2T oil in the bike and at I just about got onto Inner Ring Road when she spluttered and stopped. I thought she had come in reserve. So took her to the side of the road and tried kicking but there was no compression, got worried and called Vodka, he said to wait there he would come but just about then the bike started to told him I would head off and if she stopped again would call. Crossed the signal and she stopped again, that was when I suddenly realized what was wrong. Now was worried about damaging the engine. As it seemed like she was heating up really fast. Had been wondering why she was offering so much resistance once we left Sam’s place but then I had thought it was just the load on the bike and the cold.

Was worried about leaving her on the Inner Ring Road, after all RX100 are theft prone and I love my baby so just continued on pushing a bit and on slopes just rolling down. At some points she started so would rev a bit put off the engine and just roll. Got to 100 Ft. road this way, must have been about 5or so km. By then I was really tired so parked her out side my pan fellows shop and took and auto. Reached home at 12:30 and sweaty, everyone the next day was saying it was really cold, but that night I was feeling so hot I just went to sleep in a T-shirt.

Woke up early at 6 and went back to pick up Musafir armed with an oil bottle and screw driver. Filled her up and brought her back home. Took her a few days later to Babu and he said alls fine which Sam said too. That’s when I breathed a sigh of relief.

Got scolded nicely too for my stunt of pushing the bike that late but well at no point did I think how unsafe it was for me on Inner Right Road at that time, all thought was about how unsafe it was for Musafir at that time on Inner Ring Road.

Anyway all said and done it was one awesome New Year. My first away from home and one am gonna remember for a lifetime :)

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