Tuesday, December 26, 2006

200 Kilometers of Motorbike Ride

“Well! Its time to go now!”.

“Ride slow babu (that’s what I am called back at home)”, my mom says.

“Will sure do!” I say. Well, “slow” isn’t exactly I am going to ride. ;)

“Damn! I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night. This hangover will kill me. And surely there will be acidity in the evening”, I think as I mount my bike.

“Ride safe!”, says my brother in law.

“No need to worry, I will be fine. By the way, thanks for these gloves”, I reply back.

“So see you then!”, I say to all.

I kick start my bike, do a small ritual (I touch the handles of my bike and touch my forehead with the same hand, I dhog my bike actually), then a little warm up of the engine and now ready to roll! I hit the gear and then a little bit of accelerator, and now am rolling. I long solo journey to Kathmandu has just begun.

My head is still spinning. I keep thinking I shouldn’t have drunk that much the other night. Well, the get-together was good. I say to myself. I enjoyed it and everybody did. All the family from my paternal side had a bonfire yesterday. Most of us male cousins got drunk. I was on the brink, one more drink, I would fall off. Am glad I didn’t force myself for another round of vodka. I was thinking of smoking too, but didn’t get a chance. I was worried about my ride today.

So now, I reach the nearest petrol pump. Time to fill up my tank for the long road. “Hello!, Anybody there?” I shout. Nobody shows up. I guess it was call a wild howl unanswered. I enter the shop. “Hey! Nobody in the shop?” I ask the first person I see. “The shop isn’t open yet!” she replies.

“Hell! Bad luck! But who cares? There is always another petrol pump!” I say to myself. I ride down the city to the highway. My sister and my cousin are also coming to Kathmandu. I think I should stop and talk with them. Well, I just get pass through the bus station!

No! Am not getting off my bike. Once I’ve mounted it, I will get off only when I get to my destination (in this case, Kathmandu!). So, not to worry. I hit the road again. I cross a petrol pump. Hell, I still don’t want to get off but there is urge to fill up my tank in case I don’t starve up my bike in the middle of the road.

Now I come to nearly end of the city and there is one petrol pump left. I fill up the tank. “Now this seems ok.” I say to myself. “The bike is a little bit heavy. It will give an extra edge” I say to myself.

I hit the road again. “Kathmandu! Here I come!”

The highway is broad, almost empty and straight. Its early morning (7 am actually), cold winter morning actually, very few vehicle plying on the road. I take my chance. I speed up! There isn’t as many roads in Kathmandu like this. So why not take a chance! I speed up. I see speedometer increasing. 60kmph. Ok, that’s fine. I can do better than that. You just keep waiting. I say to myself.

Finally, I am out of Pokhara. I still have the option to drop this motorbike trip. I can enjoy easy ride on the microbus. But it isn’t that adventurous like this one! I keep going. “My skills as a rider will be tested after I cross Sainik Basti. There will be thick fog. It will be really difficult.” I say to myself. But what is this? I’m not even nearer to Danda ko Nakh, I see thick fog all around. Now I am really pissed off. I still have the option to return back. I have that in back of my mind.

Who cares? Lets ride through it for a while. If I think I cannot go, then I will return back. Oh shit! that cat just crossed the road! (Am I superstitious?) I stop abruptly. All the people look at me. Why? What the hell? I wait for someone to go ahead. A bus goes. Now is my turn.

Wow a police check post! Do I have to register myself there? I look around, no police there! What the hell? Hit the road again.

Now I’m enjoying my ride. I feel like the king of the road. “If only there wasn’t any fog, I would have done great” I say to myself. My vision is blurry. Time to wipe my specs! Ah! A bike in front of me. At least I will have company for some distance. I keep wiping my specs time and again. It really isn’t helping. The fog is too thick. My jeans is also all wet. I didn’t find a rain coat back home. I have to suffer the consequences now. I am now wondering about my old age. “I think I will have very bad knee pain when I grow old. Its all because of this foolish act. Well, actually will I see my old age? I think I will be in pretty bad shape when I reach my dad’s age” I keep my mind busy with such things. The fog is thick, I pass through many settlements. People around, I think they are used to this fog. I’m not used to it. I had seen such fogs in my college days. Good old KU days!

It cost my quite a lot yesterday fixing this bike. Now the fixation better be worth the money. Otherwise, next time I come to Pokhara, I will kick that mechanic’s ass. He said the bike wouldn’t skid sideways when I apply the brakes. Hey! What is this? I nearly slipped off? And thanks god! Saved by only an inch! Now that mechanic will get a piece of me when I get to Pokhara next time!

Sainik basti, Dulegaunda, Khaireni – I pass the human settlements. The road winding time and again in some mountains. I’m the only one on that road. I feel like a king. Wow! That feels nice!

One hour of ride and I finally arrive to Tanahun. The day before, there were things happening here. I read a poster. Tanahun festival! That sounded great. Well, I’ve no time for such stuffs! Bye bye Tanahun. See you next time!

Man, the fog is still there. Cold and chilling. I take off my specs. I don’t see clearly but its better than with specs. “I should stop by for a cup of tea near Ghasi Kuwa.” I say to myself. A dog I am. Why stop there? Keep on going buddy!

Oh shit! This side mirror is loose again. I try to fix it. No luck. I will have it fixed when I reach Dumre. Till then, hang you little buddy. Last time I came down this road on this bike, I really enjoyed it. It was sunny then. Now it is just the opposite. Me and my dumb ass attitude to prove nothing! I curse myself. Now I got to pay for it. Oops! My mobile buzzed. She must have sent me a message. I told her I would be riding back to Kathmandu.

“Hey brother! Can you fix this for me?”

“The mistery is out now. Has gone to Narayangarh. Will be back at 10.” “Will be back at 10? What do you think? You mean I should wait for him till 10? Dream on! There is always another guy” I say to myself and ride again. “Hey buddy, can you fix this?” I ask a shopkeeper few steps away. “The mistery is there. He is coming.” He says. Fine with me.

“This thing is slipping. Will have to screw it from the other side”. He says. “OK do it then”, I say. “Is it always like this? This thick cold fog?” I try to break a conversation. “Yes. All winter”, he replies back. Well, that’s some piece of information. I won’t dare a motorbike ride in winter now. I have learnt my lesson.

“How much?” I ask. “5 rupees”, he says. I pay him. Well, I really could do a cup of tea for myself. But what the hell. The road is calling me. I roll again.

20 minutes and Aanbu Khaireni. Nice view of the place. Cloudy but coming to her senses for the day. Another 20 minutes and Muglin. The hub! Now Trishuli is with me. There was Marshyangdi before. I’m closer to Kathmandu now. Its just a matter of 2 hours.

Now my back is starting to pain. Damn! I bend sideways, my usual trick to fix my back pain. “Crack crack crack!” Ahh that feels good. Am a bit relieved now.

So yo hello Kurintar! People going to Manakamana on cable car! Hi and Bye Goddess Manakamana. See you around! I ride.

Agrrhh! The mobile again! “Hello! Yes, I’m near Kurintar. Am coming. Will be there in 2 hours. Don’t worry. I will do those when I get there! See you then.”

“Bullshit! I hate it. Am on the road and work keeps following me.” Man I hate it when I get a call when I am riding. I hit the road again. Thanks to god fog has lifted in this side. It’s a bit sunny around here. Hey my speedometer! It is in eighties range. My good old bike. This really rolls fast. Am proud of it. First my dad’s, then my brother’s, and now mine. After all the money I spent on fixing it. Forty five hundred six months ago and twenty two hundred yesterday. You cost me quite a small fortune. Now you got to pay back for that.

Ah! The back pain again. I slip back a little. I am pretending I am riding Pulsar. Running on eighty five. This IS nice, in fact GREAT! 2 more hours and I am back in Kathmandu.

Vroooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm! Zzzzzzzooooooommmmmm! I pass the cars, the bus, the houses and the trees. Ah! That Terios. Man, that car must be running at ninety. I am on seventy. Faster than me! I got to do better! Lets race brother!

Ah! Malekhu. A bit sunny also. The sun will do good. Will warm by bones a bit. Ah that’s the shop I had 3 plates of fish the day before. I enjoyed a lot. It was really tasty. I should stop there for a while. Who cares? I roll on. “I’ll come down here with my friends to eat the fish again. Never mind” I say to myself.

Ah! I’m damn hungry! And the acidity. I should have eaten something back home. Now I am really pissed off. Have patience, brother! Keep on riding!

Buzz! Agrhh. The damn mobile again. “Hello! Yes, what? Why? Will talk to you when I get there.” “Teent”. I hang up. “Damn mobile!” I again join the highway. Smooth riding ahead. No fog, warm sun rising up and an empty road. What else do I need? Today is my good day.

So next place to come is Naubise. And the steep climb! I wonder if I can do that. That will be my ultimate test.

Buzzz! The damn mobile again! “Hello! This and that, this and that. Oh. Do this and that and that will do. If any problem, do call me again. Teent.” If the damn thing buzzes again, I will switch it off. Now my temper is rising. Can’t people see that I am enjoying my ride? Do they have to spoil my fun? I make a straight face. I pose if I am riding Pulsar.

Vrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooommmmmmmmmm! Now Naubise. And see! That’s the defamed steep climb. Now my challenge begins. This thing is not going to intimidate me. I have come a long way.

Vvvvvvvvoooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Ghahn! Ghahn! Trucks in front of me making noise. Damn! Why should those things carry such a load.

And now my turn. Ghahhhhhhhnnnnnnnn. Slowly, kilometer by kilometer, I am through the climb! Hurrah! I did it.

Naagdunga at last! Now I am in Kathmandu. Oh! This back pain. My hand is also aching. I should rest a while. Well who rests when one is so close to destination. I’m not the rabbit in the story. I will take it slow from here.

Huh! 60kmph? Well, I’m a dog. Why go slow? I speed up. That’s what the bike was made for, isn’t it? And so am I.

Buzz! Ah the mobile again.


“This and that and am confused.”

“Oh. Do this and that is this.”


“Still confused? Don’t worry? I will be there in an hour. See you then”.


Now back in the city.

After a long smooth ride on a highway and this heavy Kathmandu traffic. I had almost forgot about it. Tet Teenth! Gharrr Gharrr! Hoink Hoink!

Ah. All the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan. She has just awaken. I shake off my highway thoughts. Come to reality buddy. The most difficult part is ahead. Riding in Kathmandu!

After five hours of continuous riding, with sooted face, tired limbs, hungry stomach and aching back, I enter Kathmandu, I come down to reality from my dream world, I come to my senses. I enjoy the warmth of sun.

All is normal again. Hoink hoink. Screech. Poink poink. I have a busy noisy day ahead.

Welcome to Kathmandu.

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