‘What the …?’
It was January 2011, and hardly a day went without me exclaiming these words with varying adverbs. It was about a year from Rajasthan ride, and seemed it was the last best thing that could happen to me. Every damn thing, every little question, had its own laugh afterwards when it headed my way.
Returning from Rajasthan, I was on cloud nine. Our first interstate tour on bike! And to top it all, came the xbhp.com’s best travelogue prize. Nothing could get me down. Or so I thought. The next stop was a no brainer guess. A Leh Ladakh trip, the Mecca, the Kashi of bikers. We planned so meticulously for it; it was unbelievable even for us. For trip in August, the flight tickets were booked in March. We had worked out every little detail, where would we stay, what places to see, what to shop, what to do in emergency… it seemed we covered everything that was there about the Leh ride. Then fate thought otherwise.
In June – July started the Srinagar riots. As the days passed, the news got worse and worse, and with more bloodshed and increasing ‘situation’, the plan seemed bleak. Still we kept our heart, and planned another way to Leh. It required a lot of tinkering and rescheduling of bookings, but hey, anything for the trip. Instead of directly landing in Srinagar and taking our bikes from cargo, we would now land in Jammu, and continue to our destination. It gave us a little chance of dodging the risky areas.
On 6 August, 2010, news hit us: Flash floods in Leh. There was a massive flash flood in Leh, when a cloud was burst right near the town, and washed up everything. It seemed to decide the fate of the trip. Our departure was on 28th August. We waited till 25th, to see whether the situation improves, whether there was still hope. It was terribly insensitive to hope for the roads cleared up before the lives were settled, but we hoped anyways. It was lost. And on 26th August, with extremely heavy heart, I cancelled every flight, train ticket that was for this journey. Leh was not happening anytime soon for us.
As if on cue, everything started getting down the drain from that moment on. Be it at work or at life, the road blocks jumped on track to halt us. Everything that was so damn easy, was suddenly so difficult, that each of those events was sucking us dry. And there was no time for a breather as well. We stole a few weekends over the months for a short run away trip, but a long solitude was nowhere to be made possible, seeing the mountain-loads of work approaching us. Both of us got busy in chase of our careers, and pursuing our passion was a forgotten dream.
Then came our republic day, 26th Jan 2011. We hurriedly planned a trip for 4-5 days taking the benefit of the leave, just to get away from it all, anywhere really. But at the last moment, again Nandinee’s work pressure popped its lid, and it had to be cancelled. That was the tipping point. I couldn’t take it anymore. Work pressure doesn’t bother me, but I require a little success – a little assurance that things are in control – once a while to make way to final goal. Here it seemed every planned thing went to smithereens. Once bitten by the biking bug, one can’t hold the itch much longer. Something had to give. This tireless running had to be paused somewhere for letting us water our passion, lest it die.
And suddenly came the thought of Kerala tour, out of the blue. It was definitely not on the radar of either of us; neither had we known the road conditions there. But sheer frustration of getting tied down by work lead us to book tickets for Kerala trip, without even knowing how many days it required, or the places to see once we were there. Just out of the blue, I booked to and fro tickets from Pune to Ernakulam, having return tickets of 2 different days.
After booking the tickets, we started searching for Kerala itineraries! This is a classic case of ‘pahle naal – baadme ghoda’! Here, a special thanks to Aargee of xbhp.com, as he almost single handedly and untiringly plotted the itinerary as per our requirement. Without his help, an itinerary taking biker’s point of view couldn’t be possible.
After months’ of discussion, this was the itinerary we finalized upon:
Day 1 – Ernakulam – Vembanattu Kayal and backwaters – Alapuzha
Day 2 -Alapuzha – Kollam – Kanyakumari
Day 3 – Kanyakumari – Trivendrum – Veli – Shangumugham beach
Day 4 – Pazhavangadi Ganapathy – Padmabhaswamy temple – Varkala – Trivendrum – Kumarakom
Day 5 – Kumarakom house boat
Day 6 – Kumarakom – Vagamon – Thekkady
Day 7 – Thekkady Sight seeing
Day 8 – Thekkady – Kodaikanal
Day 9 – Kodaikanal Sight seeing
Day 10 – Kodaikanal – Munnar
Day 11 – Munnar Sight seeing
Day 12 – Munnar – Thodupuzha – Emmanuvel silks – Muvattupuzha – Kalady – Chalakudy
Day 13 – Chalakudi – Athirapalli falls – Nelliampathi
Day 14 – Nelliampathi – Ernakulam
Day 15 – Ernakulam sight seeing
Day 16 – Catch morning train to Pune
The phoenix bird flies grandly, and finally burns down to ashes. Then from the ashes, it glides again. Here we were being pushed around and feeling burnt down by unrelenting responsibilities. When we open too many softwares on our PC, it gets slow and dumb. We were facing the similar condition in life, and hoped that the same solution that we use for our PC would work for us: Reboot!