Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008…On the Road and Off it…

2008…well just another year for so many people and for loads of Indians, an extremely tragic year due to the innumerable terror attacks which has left India scarred and stunned beyond belief…this year would surely go down in the history lanes as a Terror struck year for India...

But for me it has been one of the most memorable years of my life full of ups & downs through the year…and the ups have surely outweighed the lows by a huge margin!!!

The year I became single again…the year I got married again (to my bike!!!)…the year I caught the biking bug…the year when I traveled to so many place - in a train or on my bike…the year I saw my nieces grow up and become chirpier & naughtier by the day…the year when my brother cleared one of the most important exams of his life…the year when I rode to my dream destination – Ladakh…the year when I was promoted at UHG…the year when I watched a LIVE performance of my favorite singer Kailash Kher…the year when I lost all ties with my closest buddies forever and also when I made so many buddies for a lifetime !!!

2008…a month-by-month story…

January
Came back from Shillong after spending a memorable year end with my entire family and saw my newborn niece Samyukta for the first time…came back and faced a tough time managing my home all on my own…cooking food and what not !!!Had couple of great parties at home till my parents came back!!! Also got engraved with a Bhagat Singh Tattoo and the words Inquilaab Zindaabaad tattooed in Hindi…

February
A really tough month for me as I fought through my inevitable Divorce…talking to lawyers…and gathering strength for the upcoming court proceedings…another learning month for me but really hope that no other friend of mine go through the same…Got engraved with a “BELIEF” tattoo…it signifies the belief I have on myself, God, my friends & family…attended the Kailash Kher Show and was left stunned by the sheer mastery of the class-act singer…

March
Went to my favorite city Amritsar with my friends and had a gastronomical time there filled with Spirituality at the Golden Temple…courtesy Mr. Richard Lupu we had some crazy parties loaded with some alcohol-laced cocktails which made us lose all our senses !!! and it was so sad when Rich & Thelma had to leave for the US leaving us thirsty for some more of their critically-acclaimed cocktails !!! I also bought my bike this month…re-designed it and named it “The Mighty One”…went for the first bike ride of my life to Bhangarh which was one fuckin awesome ride…570 kms in 1 day flat !!!(http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/03/haunted-spookies.html) I also officially joined BULLS ON PARADE…my Bullet club…

April
It was the month of marital reckoning for me…I legally got separated from my ex-wife…got divorced on 28th April and the words from the Judge’s mouth when she told us that we were divorced sounded like AR Rahman’s Musical notes !!!Amidst the legal mayhem I was going through found time to go for a bike ride to Rishikesh!!! (http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/04/spiritual-junkies.html)Also started the preparations for my June Ladakh Ride…

May
Got engraved with my Buddha Eyes Tattoo…it signifies that God is always with me and has his eyes on me!!!Finished the final preps for my Ladakh Ride with all the shopping and stuff…discovered the famous Jhaag Lake which became the venue for 4 of our subsequent BOP meets…(http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/06/beer-skin-maniacs.html)

June
The most memorable month of 2008…on 6 June I left for the biggest ride of my life…‘The Mountain Tamers” Bike Ride to Ladakh…a 15 days & 3600 kms long bike ride…(http://themountaintamers.blogspot.com/) came back as a changed man…ready for any challenge on the road or off the road !!! Before going to this ride went for my first ride with the Pulsar Group called RODS…watched exhilarating bike stunts LIVE for the first time which left me gasping for breath!!! (http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/06/stunt-riders.html)

July
July also started with another awesome ride…this time to Chail…great weather to ride through some tough roads…(http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/07/chailastic-riders.html)
also went to Mhow near Indore to meet my Brother where he was studying day & night to prepare for his Staff College Entrance Exam…my visit provided him & his friends some much needed break…

August
August was a dull month for me as the planned Independence Ride to Mcleodganj got cancelled due to bad weather…was left frustrated & depressed…spent some much needed time with my parents…but the end of the month was great for me as my brother’s family came home and we all had a great family fiesta…playing with my nieces…Chunni & Sammy gave me the perfect reason to come out of the depression mode !!!

September
Another month another bike ride!!! this time to Landour near Mussoorie…the ride was smooth & great fun…(http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/09/landour-riders.html) but the ending was a little sombre with the Delhi Bomb Blasts on 14 September…we were still in Mussoorie and got worried for our friends & families back home…fortunately everybody was safe…came back and celebrated my 28th birthday…a quiet one with my family…and also quit alcohol the same day…till now haven’t had any…lets see till when I can keep this going !!! also joined a Foodie Group…Eating Out in Delhi (EOiD) and went for the first meet to Old Delhi…(http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/09/iftar-foodies.html)

October
Another Mcleodganj Ride cancelled…this time due to no co-riders available !!! one consolation was a short BOP ride to the Jhaag Lake but that ended in sadness as well as the lake had dried up !!! also had a minor bike breakdown while coming back !!! went for another EOiD Meet to Old Delhi again, this time sampling on the vegetarian delights !!!

November
The BOP Anniversary Ride to Pushkar…we had completed one year and went to Pushkar to celebrate our brotherhood…an amazingly calm & serene place even amidst the Mela which was taking place !!! (http://cheguevaraontheroad.blogspot.com/2008/11/anniversary-riders.html)
Also fulfilled a long-awaited dream of mine…to gorge on the Tandoori Bakra served at Karim’s…went there in a group of almost 35 odd people feasting on the 2 bakras !!! My Brother also cleared the Staff College Entrance Exam. with flying colours and would be off to Wellington near Ooty from May 2009. He once again made our family proud...We also went to Lucknow for our EOiD Meet and gorged on all the famous delicacies of Lucknow...a true gastronomical experience !!!

December
This month so far has been pretty decent…loaded with a short BOP ride to the Aravallis… had new members joining BOP and a great buddy Negi leaving for Bangalore…this month has also been witness to loads of planning for my upcoming West Coast Ride which is scheduled between 10 & 27 January…

All-in-All a year where I have learnt so many new things…faced new challenges…lost some close friends…made new friends…partied a lot…made some memorable & inspirational journeys…and getting ready for 2009 with full josh & vigour…to repeat the successes of 2008 and hopefully not repeating any old mistakes !!!

Hope you enjoyed reading the 2008 story the same way I lived through it !!!

Che would be back on the road again…

Till then have safe sex…and enjoy….

Cheers to Life….

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Anniversary Riders



First things First…BOP (Bulls on Parade), my Royal Enfield Motorcycle Club has completed its first anniversary…it is a big occasion and we always wanted to celebrate it with an obvious event…yes…A BIKE RIDE!!! and this is how the plan started…November was the anniversary month plus the month when the Annual Pushkar Mela is held so we didn’t waste any time in deciding our destination and straight away went ahead to get the members to accept !!! Dips was my partner-in-crime for the planning…

Pushkar was one place I had always dreamt of going to since my childhood days as long back in 1984 I had gone there as a 4 years old kid with my entire family but obviously I don’t remember anything about that trip and I had heard innumerable stories from everybody around while growing up !!! When I started biking in March 08, I had decided that in November 08 I would definitely ride to Pushkar and things fell perfectly into their place gradually…really want to thank my BOP buddies, my boss (for approving my leave!!!) and God for the same…

Totally we received 8 confirmations for the ride but Puneet Chauhan dropped out one day before the ride due to some office commitments & Kamikaze dropped out due to the worst possible reason which is not even worth mentioning here…I hate both of them for them dropping out…so finally we had 7 riders:
1. Rajiv Sir
2. Sunny Bhai
3. Dips
4. Chaddha Paaji
5. Topgun
6. Che
7. Sunny’s cousin (a mystery to be solved later)


So then the starting point was decided, it was the Leisure Valley Park in Gurgaon, the same place where the erstwhile Gurgaon Cruisers (later renamed to BOP) met for the first time in November 07 as a group…and for nostalgic reasons we decided to start & end our ride from the same place!!! See even Bikers have their emotions & feelings to whom they cling on to…we are not heartless crazy fools which so many people around think us as!!! The time was 5 AM sharp…

Day 1 (7th November 2008): Gurgaon – Ajmer – Pushkar

As always Dips was the first one to reach the venue…this guy is Mr. Perfect when it comes to punctuality and I appreciate him so much for this amazing habit…Chaddha Paaji stayed at my home overnight and we got late due to him as he got stuck in his early morning chores !!! and we reached 15 minutes late…though Dips didn’t yell at me but I felt bad at turning up late which I have never done before on any of BOP Rides/Meets…soon everybody else followed…Topgun called me up and told me that he woke up late and asked us to start and that he would catch up at the breakfast pit-stop…he is one chilled out rider you would ever meet…no worries about any damn thing…always game for everything and one rider which I truly admire…also for his sheer guts as well !!! As he rides a bullet which looks totally unfit for even city riding leave alone a long ride!!! But somehow he manages it…Topgun Bhai…hail your biking spirit!!!

We kept on waiting for Sunny Bhai’s cousin who was delaying our start with every passing minute…but then we heard the unmistakable bullet thump & we were shocked/surprised to see Kamikaze riding his bike!!! He had planned a story with Sunny that he would throw a surprise…but being him he could not digest it for long and spilled the beans to Dips as well!!! We all were happy to see him and soon my anger wavered away!!! And finally we started our ride…30 minutes behind schedule…would never forgive Kamikaze for that!!!

Soon we were blasting on NH-8 in complete pitch darkness which slowly moved to the early morning hues!!! With the Sun trying its best to break away from his sleep!!! The wind was extremely chilly and it was complete fun to ride in such weather and scenes!!! Our tummies soon started to grumble for some Hot Paranthas & Tea!!! and we decided to stop for our breakfast pit-stop…a small little joint named “Rao Restaurant”…the cooks were gradually coming out of their sleep and naturally took lot of time to dish out the breakfast but we didn’t mind that as it gave us a great opportunity for some much needed bak !!! Of course Chaddha Paaji was getting agitated as he hates wasting time waiting for the food to come!!! We started gobbling up the Paranthas without Butter which made Kamikaze quite angry to say the least and he ate just one…but Dips & Sunny were not in any kind of mood to stop and continued their binge for long!!!

After satisfying our tummies we started the blast on NH-8…I was leading the ride all the way to Pushkar…though Sunny didn’t like my way of riding alone and not as a group!!! we had to make an early lunch stop at 12:15 as Rajiv Sir had an official conference call to attend and we utilized that time perfectly…Kamikaze took a small power nap…and we also ordered for a Rajasthani Lunch…with Gatte ki Subzi & Baajre ki Roti…both of which tasted yummy…all this while Sunnny & Topgun had gone ahead and had lunch at the highway CCD…just lounging there in the open…we met them after our lunch and then started the final leg of our journey towards Pushkar…

All this while Sunny Bhai was making Live Videos of all the riders burning the roads on his Handycam and the results came out superbly…all of us are anxiously waiting to get hold of the DVD as promised by Sunny !!! just before Pushkar; me, Sunny, Topgun & Dips halted for the first & last Beer Pit-Stop of our ride to replenish ourselves in the sweltering dry Rajasthan Heat…I have quit alcohol so just had plain water !!! but Dips & Topgun enjoyed chilled beer and an interesting Bak session also took place !!! (as expected) where there is beer how can Bak stay far behind !!! post the beer session Pushkar was just 25 kms away and we reached our Hotel Oasis after some frantic searching…this Hotel was booked by Chaddha Paaji and the place was extremely cozy…had a swimming pool as well & for such a small hotel it was quite surprising…also we were quite close to the Pushkar Sarovar, Gurudwara & the market as well…we couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay at…

The group decided to rest for a bit, get freshened up and head straight for the Mela Ground & the Sarovar after roaming through the ornately dressed-up shops…enroute me & Dips also tasted the famous Rabri Malpua which is a Pushkar delicacy going strong for the last 50 odd years !!! My Dad was born & brought up in Ajmer and he used to come there with his grandfather and he had told me not to miss the Malpuas and like an obedient son I didn’t miss his advice and tasted one of the most delicious dessert I ever had in my entire life !!!

The scenes amidst the Sarovar were simply amazing…the hundreds of Diyas which were lit on the periphery of the Lake made the scenes quite beautiful …after the Lake sojourn our next stop was the Mela Ground to witness the Rajasthani Dance competition which was extremely boring and monotonous with all the groups presenting almost the similar kind of dances on similar kind of tunes…we didn’t spend much time there and headed straight back to the hotel for a Rum session !!! which was an extreme fun session loaded with unlimited Bak & snacks or snakes(as spelt in the menu card) literally forced on to us by our ever helpful attendant Sattu (Satpal) who used to speak broken English which was extremely hilarious even after telling that we were very much Indians and could understand even chaste Hindi but he never budged….his funny one-liners were quite memorable & fun…I enjoyed the delicious Israeli Dinner which was quite decent…Chaddha Paaji quietly had his dinner and went straight to the bed and had none of our non-sense !!! the drinking gang’s alcohol affair went quite late into the night and we all called it a day at 2 AM in the night after a really long day…all of us were awake since almost 5 in the morning…riding through the day and roaming around through the evening….

Day 2 (8th November 2008): A Relaxed day in Pushkar

Saturday started on a sad note when we came to know that Kamikaze had to leave all of us for Gurgaon due to some unavoidable work back home…we all bid him goodbye and started the day on a sad & lazy note…we all got decked up for the Camel & Horse dance competition which was to start at 10 AM at the Mela Ground…me & Chaddha left after a quick breakfast to catch the fun but sadly missed the Camel Race…after some time the entire gang joined us except Topgun who stayed on at the hotel as he had to finish some work…the wait for the events to start was excruciatingly difficult as the heat was painful…plus the large crowd didn’t help us at all…we witnessed all the camel dances and some of the horse dances…but then the heat got all of and we decided to leave…but surely the animal dances were really interesting and something which none of us had ever seen…also the organizers were very strict towards any horse owner caning the animal…one was even disqualified from the contest !!! Maneka Gandhi would have been so happy to see that exit…me & Chaddha had chilled Shreekhand and then went to the Hotel to enjoy in the Pool…and the weather was just about perfect for a splash…me, Sunny & Chaddha had a great time with Dips giving us company and clicking away pics…all this while Topgun was busy finishing his work so that the rest of his trip was not affected & Rajiv Sir was resting in his room…we got out of the pool after almost an hour of watery fun and got ready for our Lunch Adventure…

After some searching we reached the famous Rainbow Rooftop Restaurant which gives an amazing over-the-top view of the Sarovar and supposedly serves great food…apart from the cozy atmosphere & the great scenery the quality of food & service quality was pathetic to say the least…maybe the owner got complacent after getting listed in all Pushkar Websites and forgot that without good food & service everything else in a restaurant becomes secondary after a while…after this disappointing experience we thought of giving our tummies some good stuff to enjoy and what better than another round of Malpuas, Jalebi & Rabri !!! This time everybody joined in and feasted…the next POA was to see the world famous Brahma Temple which is the only temple of its kind in the world !!! as we have Shiva & Vishnu temples but no Brahma temples anywhere else which makes the Pushkar experience even more unique !!! Due to the mad crowds we didn’t go inside the temple but paid our obeisance from outside itself & then did some shopping …after all it was much needed…so many shops finally lured us!!! I bought a Chinese Kung-Fu Fighter Kurta in blazing fiery Red colour!!! And Rajiv Sir shopped for his wife…after that the group divided into two…me, Chaddha & Dips went to the Gurudwara and then planned for another visit towards the Mela Grounds…rest of the gang went back to the hotel and then ventured out for an Off-road-Biking adventure to witness the famous Pushkar Sunset from a view point…
The 3 of us then went back to the Sarovar Ghat & saw one of the most memorable scenes of the Ride…the sunset from the lakeside…and then Dips thought of having a power nap for a while and then meet us again…me & Chaddha decided to head straight to watch the Circus & Maut-Ka-Kuan!!! The scenes there were simply amazing with a mad rush of people enjoying themselves…some enjoying rides, some shopping and some simply roaming around!!! But still the crowd was quite manageable due to the awesome arrangements which the Rajasthan Government had planned for the Mela…the Circus time was quite decent fun with both of us watching one for the first time in our life…but the main adventure was reserved for the Maut-Ka-Kuan which was exhilarating fun…2 bikes & 2 cars speeding like mad-demons in the dome…a heart stopping feat…very dangerous but good fun…after our heart beats almost stopped we headed back to the hotel where another Bak & Sharaab session had already started !!! Once again Sattu was behind our life to order food & snakes as their busy cook used to leave the hotel at 10:30 PM sharp and after that their was no other option than to stay hungry through the night!!! We had a light dinner that night and also slept early as the next day we had to start the return journey at 7 AM…but the adventure streak in Sunny, Dips & Topgun had not finished so they took their bikes out and went to have late night tea and blast the peaceful Pushkar with their Bullet Throttle noise!!! Some crazy guys they are…and the main point to notice is that only these 3 guys had alcohol that night and the 3 sane guys (me, Chaddha & Rajiv Sir) slept peacefully!!! As they say, the bad effects of Alcohol!!! But luckily the 3 of them returned peacefully and slept off after their crazy late-night adventure.

Day 3 (9th November 2008): Pushkar – Ajmer – Gurgaon



All of us were up & running by 7 AM when we got out of the hotel and moved to another famous eating joint…the Garden Restaurant of Hotel Om but sadly only British Breakfast was available so we decided to give it a miss and decided to find a good Dhaba on the highway…so our Pushkar Sojourn finally ended…the magical city was indeed good fun and all of us had an amazing time together…soon the beasts were roaring but the tummies were empty so I slowed down and stopped at a highway Dhaba right in the middle of nowhere and not expecting anything good but atleast something to eat !!! the scene was amazing…the bulls resting before the long journey ahead and we sitting out in the open and waiting for the Paranthas to make an appearance !!! the scene was almost straight out of a Bollywood Movie and once the hot Paranthas finally arrived we were all pleasantly surprised…they were amazingly delicious & fresh…even the Dhaba was just one month old…amidst all this Chaddha was busy calculating the expenses of the ride as he was the treasurer and after his impeccable job he has been officially designated as the BOP Treasurer for time to come !!! I am sure he would do an amazing job unlike our former Navigator Dips who was unceremoniously fired from his job after his Chail Ride Misadventure!!!During this ride also he committed 2 navigating blunders…on the first evening he showed us the wrong way in the Pushkar Market and after walking for some 30 minutes we reached the same spot again!!! And for the second time, he actually took us to the wrong breakfast place…it was actually Hotel Hari Om & not Hotel Om where he took us to!!! I could make out the blunders both the time but saved Dips’ A$$ being a good friend as I knew that he won’t be spared any physical or emotional abuse by our fellow riders!!!

After another great eating experience we moved on and started the blast towards Gurgaon with me leading the pack and firing on all cylinders…I stopped numerous times to click pics of the great views around…there was lots of confusion amongst all of us as we were riding in 3 different groups and calling each other to find each others’ location…but we failed each time…Chaddha was riding alone…Topgun was riding alone…I was riding alone…only Rajiv Sir, Dips & Sunny were together!!! finally some sense prevailed & Sunny, me, Dips & Rajiv Sir met and had lunch together…but Topgun was some 60 kms ahead and kept on waiting for 2 hours for all of us to reach his location…Chaddha was some 80 kms ahead…and I told him to move on alone & reach Delhi as he hates riding in the dark so he was more than happy to move ahead…at around 5:30 we finally reached the place where Topgun was waiting for almost 2.5 hours for us!!! He spent his time sleeping and waiting for some hot babes to come!!! Which never happened and only 4 dirty riders came to him!!! After enjoying Sutta & Tea together we started the last leg of our ride amidst darkness hitting us and traffic slowly thickening up…Chaddha sent me an SMS that he reached home safely & we were quite happy for him as he reached home before sunset...

We finally reached Gurgaon at 7:20 PM at the same spot where the ride started…we hugged each other and wished each other on another ride completed successfully!!! BOP had completed the 1st anniversary celebration together and all of us bid goodbye hoping that more rides would follow & all of us would be together again in November 2009 for the 2nd Anniversary Ride!!!

It was 811 kms of unadulterated fun filled with loads of masti & fun times…and I can safely say that after my Ladakh Ride this would be my next most memorable ride…the presence of Topgun, Sunny & Rajiv Sir surely helped as I had never rode with them in the past and they are real hard riders!!!

BOP has just been one year old and I have already completed 6 rides since March 2008 inspite of 2 of our riders leaving us for further education and I am sure there are more rides to follow in 2009 with more fun and even more adrenaline rush !!!

I would like to mention here that Deepak & Ankur (from RODS Group) wanted badly to ride with us but this being an anniversary ride but we cudn’t allow them to accompany us as we only wanted Bullet Riders to ride with us…I would love to ride with them in the future on another of our rides for sure…

Che would be back on the road again…

Till then, Ride safe & enjoy safe sex…

Videos Link: http://www.4shared.com/dir/10335980/7d3e59c4/Anniversary_Ride_Videos.html

Pics Link : http://www.4shared.com/dir/10336738/883a8ad9/Anniversary_Ride_Pics.html

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Mountain Tamers

After almost 4 months of coming back from my Ladakh Ride, I have finally completed writing the Travelogue !!!

Really took loads of Hardwork also took a toll on my memory cells !!! But all worth the pain...

Hope you enjoy the blog...

The link is http://themountaintamers.blogspot.com/

Che would be back on the road again...very soon...

till then...ride safe & have safe sex...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Spot the Difference...





What is the difference between Muslim Jehadi Terrorists killing innocent civilians all over the country in Bomb Blasts in the name of Allah and Bajrang Dal killing innocent Christian Villagers & destroying Churches in Karnataka & Orissa in the name of Ram...well in my mind & eyes there is no major difference apart from the scale of violence and the mindless blood shed but still the root remains the same...communal fundamentalism that has engulfed our country and I don't see it going down any further...no Intelligence, Judiciary & Government unless the minds of such shameless people change for good and the senseless perpetrators indoctrining the people responsible who are sitting somewhere hiding just get their lives settled first…

As Mahatma Gandhi once said...`an eye for an eye makes the world go blind’ is so true even after 60 years of his assassination, another act of religious fundamentalism…and even after 61 long years of our Independence some things haven’t just changed…still innocent lives are lost due to Religion…

And the recent remarks of Nicolas Sarkozy has depressed me even more…the fact that he is sickened by Christians being killed in Orissa and the fact that close to 300 people have been killed in numerous Bomb Blasts doesn’t make any difference to him…I guess he doesn’t differentiate as Sikhs, Muslims, Christians & Hindus all have been killed in these blasts…as when a bomb explodes the shrapnels don’t only attack a Hindu as planned by the perpetrators !!!

It’s time we all take a pledge not to bow down to these communal forces and take a very clear stand that every citizen of India has his/her own right to pray & follow any religion of their choice…just to make one point very clear…I am totally against any forceful religious conversions…and I am sure these enemies of India would understand that our country is poised to become a Superpower and one of the biggest hindrances is Religious killings happening in the name of some God or the other…
I am not preaching anybody, I am just trying to say that no differences exist between the blasts in Delhi & people getting killed & raped in Kandhamal, Orissa…its just that the blasts create more news space & subsequent investigations by agencies !!! so let’s treat and equally and punish the culprits equally as well…

I would be back again when my mind rambles again….

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Iftar Foodies

Even in my wildest of dreams (which I often pursue in) I had never imagined to be sitting one day in The Jama Masjid but the EOiD Group surely changed my viewpoint and I am glad I was able to shed away the inhibitions and go there and be part of the Iftar Gathering…
Well for the uninitiated EOiD is Eating Out in Delhi…It’s a group of Foodies who explore non-descript eating joints serving the most amazing food in town and the moment I got to know I just wanted to join the group and be a part of this amazing community to share their expertise wrt food…there are some 422 members on the EOiD Orkut Community but I don’t know how many of them are actually active and actually participate in meets…I joined this group recently through a friend Shashank Khandelwal and invites were sent to me by the founder of the group Hemanshu for the Iftaar Walk in Old Delhi which was happening on 28th September 2008…in my excitement I almost reached the venue much before time but then Shashank came to my rescue and we spent some time roaming around in CP…and to start the long food fiesta ahead I had my favourite Butterscotch Milk Shake at Keventer`s…
We took the Metro from CP for Chawri Baazaar which was the rendezvous point and Shashank started to explain me the various places around…I was interested in knowing where all the lanes lead to…he told me about Lal Kuan Road & Sitaaraam Baazaar…name which I had heard a million times but did’nt even get close to actually visiting them…but I thought today is the day to explore these places and go on a Food Mission !!! the wait did’nt last very long…Shashank soon took me to his favourite Matar-Kulcha joint where I ate the best Matar I ever had in my life and it’s not an understatement as till date I must have eaten Matar at almost 50 different places. The Spices were perfectly balanced…and the Matar were so succulent and almost melted in the mouth…just loved it…
After that he told me about one of the most famous Chaat Shops…and as you all guess correctly I could not resist much and had a plate of Golgappas !!! once again the spices were mixed perfectly and the taste was simply amazing !!!
By the time I finished the entire group had come…the 3 Flash Gaming experts all the way from Noida :Satyaarth, Rohit & Himanshu, Hemanshu :the founding member, Supratim : the profusely sweating foodie, Meenakshi : The vegetarian Journalist, we also had 2 expats with us whose names I have forgotten (somebody please help me with their names) and then we started our walk towards Jama Masjid amidst hundreds of Cycle Rickshaws and the bells tinkling all over…the big relief was that the Markets were closed due to it being Sunday and one can easily imagine the mess on the roads when the markets are in full bang !!! all the famous Wedding Cards shops are in the this market : Chawri Bazaar where millions of dreams are printed each year and as they say “Matches are made in Heaven”…the same applies to the market “Wedding Cards are made in Chawri Bazaar” !!!
Amidst utter confusion and non-sensical crowd of people we reached the legendary Jama Masjid where people were rushing in for the Iftaar Namaaz which was supposed to start at 6:15…we removed our shoes and sat down amongst thouands of people around us… huddled up in groups with their foods ready…Pakodas, Fruit Chaat, Kale Chane, Khajur (Dates), Potato Chips…you could find so many varities...a kind soul gave us Khajurs as according to Muslim Traditions the Roza(fast) is broken generally with a khajur…we kept holding the same wondering when we get the indication from others and we gobble it up !!!
Me & Supratim decided to click some snaps from the rear-gate view and then we got one of the biggest scare of our lives…when we were gleefully clicking away to glory we heard 2 loud bangs resembling the sound of a Bomb Blast !!! we were shell-shocked s the news of Terror Strikes had became too common lately…but to our surprise nobody panicked and no confusion at all !!! and soon the Maulvi started his Namaaz Recital and then we realized that this explosion might be a sort of a signal for people to break their fast !!! we all heaved a sigh of relief and sat down again admiring people happily gobbling up food with their families…children running around and their parents scolding them ( a common sight everywhere)…the best scene I saw was a young child breaking his fast with Lays Chips that too American Onion Flavour !!! what an irony it was…his innocence was all over his face and the fundamentalists could see that and get themselves buried somewhere !!! it was surely a sight I would never forget in time to come…
After viewing the people frenzy and clicking some amazing pics we moved on and started our Matia Mahal Walk till the very end of the road…the best part was that I have been to the Karim’s atleast 20 times but haven’t gone ahead to explore…this meet gave me a good opportunity to roam around and view the scenes around and this being the best time of the year to visit…with the Ramzaan & Eid festivities overflowing !!! Hemanshu wanted to take us all to the Badaam Milk guy but sadly he had not put up his stall this year…soon the empty stomach bug hit us suddenly (as expected)…as we just could not avoid it…the smell of kebabs & biryani was just hitting us vigorously…and nobody could avoid these violent fume strokes !!! we ordered Chicken Tikkas which were getting smoked on the Coal Fire…also Chicken Biryani from the shop nearby…both the flavours were amazing…the spices were not to heavy and were not over-towering the taste of the chicken…we gorged up 6 plates of chicken and 3 plates of Biryani in no time !!! Meenakshi was gleefully nibbling away the rice from the Biryani Plate without having ay qualms of being a vegetarian !!! hats off to her spirit…we need more open-minded foodies like her and then this world would be a much better place to share & eat together !!! After the chicken treat all of us were feeling thirsty and we all went to a Neebu-Lemon joint serving Banta Lemon !!! Meenakshi started jumping up and down reminiscing about her childhood days when she used to enjoy Banta with her Grand-Dad !!! the Banta was surely refreshing and cooled our tummies to get ready for some vegetarian feast awaiting us in Sitaaraam Bazaar !!!
We all decided to make a move towards The Chawri Bazaar Roundabout again to gorge on some Chaat and desserts…but on the way we tried the Habshi Halwa at a sweets shop right next to Al-Jawahar…it was amazingly heavy and delicious…Meenakshi also bought her Tin Box from that shop to store the Sewain which she wanted to courier for her Dad in Mumbai…just 5 mins into our walk we realized that we had forgotten one of her expat friends in Matia Mahal and he had just vanished…me, her & Supratim decided to go back and look for him as good Samaritans !!! it was surely a tough task looking for a lone person amidst that mad rush of people wandering around…but soon we hit jackpot and found him wandering around looking at shops and what not !!! we decided to celebrate this victory of ours with a plate of Locally made Ice-cream !!! Mango & Cream flavour…after the first bout of dessert and many more waiting for us we started to walk briskly to join the group and also to gorge again !!!
Our next stop was Heera Lal Chaat Bhandaar which is extremely famous for serving Pao Bhaaji w/o Onion & Garlic but we all gave it a miss and instead went for the Chaat…we had Banana Chaat & Aloo Chaat…once again a totally new flavour for some us but absolutely awesome…the caravan trudged along again towards our next pit-stop…the world-famous Kuremal Kulfi Bhandaar !!! it was a shop with no frills attached…just some plastic chairs and a huge refrigerator…but what we wanted was in abundance !!! Kulfis !!! of so many different flavours…we ate Anar, Aam, Cream & Kesar Pista flavours…also tried the most innovative kind of Kulfi…the Bharvan Aam Kulfi(that’s what I named it) the modus operandi to prepare it : remove the guthli inside, stuff it with Kesar Rabri / Milk, pack it with Atta to close the contents, freeze it to Death and ten slice it…presenting to the world with the twin flavours of Rabri & Aam so delicately intertwined with each other that they just melt in the mouth !!! You get such kulfis in the Haldirams & the Bikanerwalas of the world but the Kuremal Stuff is simply divine !!! but the rarest breed of Kulfi was saved for the end by the owner who joined the shop late !!! that was the PHAALSE Kulfi…it’s a seasonal wild fruit (did some googling and it is translated to Blackberry in English)…don’t know whether its right or wrong as normally this word is associated with Garments !!! and not with some variety of wild fruit…the flavour was simply out of this world…with a sour flavour hitting our tounges and mixed with the sweetness of the Phaalse…we lost count of the number of Kulfis we all gobbled up in some 3-35 mins but the shopkeeper was just piling away the Kulfi Scoops used to freeze them…we ate Kulfis worth 850 bucks !!! I am sure this record would stand the test of time for years to come !!! I followed the Kulfi tryst with a Saada Kimaam Pan to end the food extravaganza…
But wait…the food journey was not over…Bade Mian’s Kheer was waiting for us !!! one of the most obscure looking shops you would ever look at but man the Kheer !!! that’s better than any dessert you would ever taste at any seven star hotel of the world…I can bet my life on this fact !!! the subtle sweetness is so light & mild that the kheer can be advertised as a Diabetic Delicacy but on the taste front nothing free or less about it !!!
Sadly this was the last thing we all ate that night but the kind of delicacies we had I am sure all of you who haven’t been there are missing and its high time you boarded the Delhi Metro and get off at the Chawri Bazaar Station and get lost in the magical world of myriad Food Destinations !!! I am damn sure nobody would get back home carrying anything sad except some extra calories to boot !!! I can safely say that out of the 16-18 items I tried nothing was disappointing and would qualify as bad !!! rather everything was just about perfect…one word of foodie advice…have your breakfast early and skip the lunch before you go there to enjoy to the brim !!!
This was one hell of a gastronomical experience and one which gave me enough calories for the week !!! and also to get geared up for the 8th October Navratra Walk in and around Chawri Bazaar to enjoy the North Indian Tradition of Chaat during the Holy 9 days of Navratras…
You can check all the pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/jha.nishant/EOiDMeetOldDelhiFeast?authkey=7r5kHqaTYdU#
Till then…keep eating…and have safe sex…
Che Guevara would be back on the road again !!!




Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Landour Riders

This ride was much needed for so many reasons…I had not gone for a ride for more than 2 months…and Negi even a bigger culprit…no ride for almost 5 months !!! plus an opportunity to ride with 2 new riders…Chirag & Deepak…plus another opportunity after my Chail Ride to ride with Mr. Puneet Chauhan – “The Overtaking from Left Side Champion”…and the biggest reason being the huge disappointment of cancelling the Independence Ride due to bad weather…so there were so many reasons to just pack our bags…get our bikes ready and head straight for the ROADS !!!

As always this ride was conceptualized by me…right from selecting the venue…planning the itinerary and placing it on various Internet Forums namely the RE Website & our Orkut Community…a unique part of this ride was that a member of Delhi RODS- Deepak Chauhan was part of the ride on his Pulsar 220 Bike…
The Members of the Ride :
1. Puneet Chauhan on his 5S Electra
2. Nitin Negi on The Silent Mobious
3. Deepak Chauhan on his P 220
4. Nishant Jha on The Mighty One
5. Chirag Gaur – Co-Rider with Puneet, Pillion and Co-Navigator (MULTI-TASKER)


What follows is a Day-to-Day Account of the 3 fun-filled days of the Landour Ride…

DAY 1
We started at 5:30 AM in front of the Akshardham Temple and soon were speeding on the rarely found near-empty roads in and around the Delhi-Ghaziabad Road….with awesome pleasant weather to boot…rays of sunshine trying their best to break through…the newspaper sellers preparing their bundles…early morning walkers just gearing up…and birds twittering all over the place…amidst this almost filmi scene our tummies soon went empty and we made our first Pit-Stop for Breakfast at a very aptly named Dhaba...Hotel Deepak …Deepak almost started to shout & jump on seeing his name so boldly written for the first time !!! we had to stop & control him on going hysterical and losing his senses !!! soon the Paranthas stuffed with Aloo, Paneer & Pyaaz were being gobbled up at the speed of knots and normal culprits Dahi, Chai & Achaar were also not spared…Negi amazed us all with his astronomical diet size…he almost had 6 paranthas and don’t know how much Dahi…but it gave him a rare opportunity of boasting about himself !!! with our tummies filled and the sun in his full mood we started to ride again…the traffic was still pretty thin and the wind little chilly and the ride was really awesome…Negi and Deepak stopped en-route for some Fruity follow-up breakfast !!!
And then we had our first and last mishap of the ride….a crazy bus driver was overtaking another bus and I lost control of the bike and went a lil off-road…my bungee snapped due to the sudden braking and got stuck in Deepak`s front tyre who was just behind me…a strange coincidence for sure but still it had to happen…and Deepak fell down…but luckily or unluckily!!! Nothing major happened and he was back up on his feet…we all were so relieved and started the ride again…the next stop was already planned…A BEER PIT-STOP !!! we found a road-side liquor joint soon and ordered a beer each to replenish our bodies & souls…the place was quite rustic to say the least…with just a fan over our head and a bed lying acting as a couch !!! we also had chairs…the beer cartons !!! soon bakchodi, smoke and gaalis were flowing all over !!! and we finished the beer in no time…Negi as always became greedy for another beer…but good sense prevailed and we postponed the plan for late evening…we all decided to take a new route to reach Dehradun going through the jungles on the Saharanpur-Dehradun Road…it was an awesome road with monkeys and small water stream adorning our way…the weather just before we were about to reach Dehradun changed dramatically and it started to rain heavily…we made our Lunch Stop lil earlier as planned…but it was a blessing in disguise as the food was awesome at Mehfil Restaurant…we were really hungry and the food was rounded off with piping hot Gulab Jamuns which were an icing on the cake sorts !!! During the lunch session we modified our plan little…and Chirag was solely responsible for this…we decided to go to Sahastradhara which is a tourist spot just before Dehradun…it’s a great place to enjoy in the fast moving Ganga water !!! we entered the chilly water and again started with the normal bakchodi session and amidst the crazy fun a water snake appeared out of nowhere and approached straight towards us…we got shit scared…luckily I was not wearing my specs so was spared the scary sight and as all of you know I am nearly blind w/o my specs…so I was spared the scary thoughts n the ooh-aahs !!! for the next 15 mins Deepak was just cold & blue all over…shit scared of the snake…he was not believing us when we told him that water snakes are non-poisonous !!! the thing which made it even more scary for us was the water flow…it was so violent…nobody just cud not move in spite of the snake just 5 metres away !!! sanity prevailed after some time and we all got out of the water and headed for a tea joint…in the meantime Negi & Chirag saw a hot girl and their eyes just didn’t move post that…they were transfixed on her pretty face (as they described her !!!)…during this daydreaming Puneet broke the breaking news to us that Chirag was married & had 2 kids…it was like a small bomb attack and we were left stunned with empty gazes all around…but the silver lining is that Chirag looks damn young for a father of 2 kids & married for 5-6 yrs !!! we all soon came out of this shock and started our final leg of the ride to Landour…we reached at around 8:30 and started to find a hotel for us and after asking close to 20 odd people for Hotel Aashirwaad, we finally found it…it was a dingy type lodge where we got the room for Rs. 300 per night…and the best part was that the 2 rooms had a common door and even had an extra single-bed as if they knew a group of 5 riders was coming !!! we left our luggage and started the shopping for the night party…Chirag was hellbent for a salad snack party to go with the bottle of Rum he had bought !!! his wish was granted and we bought cucumber, tomatoes and lemons for a healthy snack !!! for some unhealthy people amongst us we also bought Potato chips & Kurkure…we also found a decent Chinese joint where we ordered the rest of the snacks & dinner to be delivered at our hotel so that the alcohol party was not disturbed for dinner !!! I was the chef for the night neatly cutting away the vegetables using my Leatherman Knife to the best possible level and side-by-side sipping away the beer !!! Negi was at his very best and was gulping away the Rum Glasses in no time…1-2-3-4-5…it was a 100 metres dash !!! and his favourite line…”Chirag, please make my second-last peg”…though soon we lost count and Negi was reaching the sloshed stage !!! the dinner came, Puneet was waiting like a hungry hog and ate his share…started to sleep…Deepak was also showing his misty eyes…but NEGI the Warrior was not accepting the sleeping defeat and was game for a night bike ride !!! I gave him an abuse session…and me, him & Chirag decided to go for a night walk with no set destination !!! we sat down below a lamp post and started to talk the general philosophical things which drunkards normally talk !!! Negi, I am extremely sorry to call you that but buddy, believe me you were dead drunk that night !!! soon I had enough of Negi`s heavy-duty stuff and we started the long walk back to our Hotel…Chirag still had the freakin guts to watch some TV and then doze off !!! when we were opening our room, we could hear a loud growling noise from inside…we could not make out but the moment we entered we could hear Deepak snoring away to glory and poor Puneet sleeping right next to him oblivious of the howling noise coming out of Deepak’s body ( it was that loud…I am sure 5-6 body openings were involved & not just the normal two---nose & mouth !!!)…the sleep engulfed me in no time but I was woken up by some more howling noise…this time somebody was puking…I was sure it would be Negi but to my utter shock in the morning I got to know it was infact Chirag…though he blamed it all on the Chinese dinner we had…he is so loyal to his Rum…he just cant blame it for any wrong-doing !!!...

DAY 2
It started on a dull note…all of us were feeling sleepy…Chirag & Negi were slowly but surely coming out of their last night`s Rum Rendezvous…but the great weather outside didn’t let us stay in that slow motion for long…we were off for breakfast after freshening up…stuffed ourselves with Poor-Choley, Cheese Omelette, Aloo Paranthas, Corn Flakes & Tea…TThat tummy filling session was followed by a round of Mussoorie on our bikes…it was great fun with people watching us in awe & surprise… I am sure it was due to our rugged style & the thump of our bullets !!! we decided to head towards Dhanaulti for a 80 odd kms ride after carefully studying the huge Map in our Hotel Lobby…the weather was perfect for a bike ride in the hills with mist flowing all over and raindrops falling like small pearls !!! wow !!! it sounds like poetry….the ride was quite picturesque with small waterfalls greeting our way and greenery all over the place…it was extremely misty in some patches forcing us to switch on our headlights…amidst this almost theatrical scene we missed Dhanaulti and kept riding before suddenly realizing we were quite far ahead !!! I gave them the idea of visiting a local famous Temple….The Surkunda Mata Temple…when we finally reached close to that we got to know that it can be reached only after a 4 kms trek uphill !!! but we were ll game for it…considering the religious streaks within all of us !!! we started the trek on an upbeat mode…but soon all of us were panting & breathing heavily…and stopping at every 200 metres…the boost was given to us was given to us by some local women who were trekking up as ifthey were riding bikes and we moving on bullock-carts…they gave us an earful of inspiration which helped us improve our speed and within 30 minutes we were on the hill-top…rested for a bit again…removed our shoes…washed our hands and paid obeisance to the Surkunda Mata…the scene was quite Bollywood Type…the Red Flag was fluttering away to glory…mist was flowing…the temple bells were being sounded of…it was quite a spectacular sight & sound show !!! we came down and started our journey back to Mussoorie…on the way Deepak & Chirag saw the Cricket Superstar Dhoni in a Mitsubishi Pajero…I decided to follow them but the speed was too much for me to even give them a close fight !!! and I soon gave up…we had an amazing meal at a small-little eating joint in Mussoorie…it was quite a late lunch as the time was 6:30 PM…but the food was amazing to say the least…our empty tummies got filled in no time whatsoever !!! after soothing our hunger pains Chirag & Puneet entered a Video Games parlour where Puneet played like a rockstar and won every single freakin wrestling game he played !!! Negi also tried his hand but as always lost out to tougher competition !!! me & Deepak acted a cheerleaders to the Air Hockey game between Negi & Chirag where Chirag won again…
We found a nice little hotel to spend our second night as we all had decided to stay in a new place closer to the Mall Road…the biggest reason was to catch some babes !!! plain & simple…amidst all this we got to hear that 5 Bomb Blasts had happened in Delhi and once again Terror had struck an Indian city…I was so enraged and mouthing obscenities left-right & centre !!! all of us called our homes and checked that everybody back home was safe & secure…moved to our Hotel and switched on the News Channels to catch the latest…Chirag & Negi again started their Drinking session…but for a change it was meant to be a sober night !!! at around 11 PM we decided to take a long walk on the Mall Road…did some shopping…had omelettes for Dinner…softy for dessert !!!the road was deserted but the walk was great fun…we clicked snaps…made some awesome poses for the camera…all of us knew this was our last night of the ride and were a little sad inside but nobody was showing it !!! got back to our Hotel at 2 AM and dozed off with alarms set for 6 AM as we all had decided to start the ride back home to Delhi at 7 AM sharp…

DAY 3
As expected nobody woke up at 6 AM…our slumber was broken at 8 AM…gingerly we got ready…packed our luggage…bungied it onto our Bikes…and started our journey back home !!! enroute had another bout of Tea & Aloo Paranthas for Breakfast before starting the downhill slope ride…the weather was rocking…soon we were all speeding away to glory…the plan was simple…to keep riding with minimum number of stops… but as one would expect a Beer-Stop was a given and it was duly taken…coincidently we stopped at the same beer joint where we had stopped on our way to Mussoorie !!! a minor change was that it was quite hot & humid…plus no electricity meant the slow fan was also not working…it was quite a sweaty beer session but great fun nonetheless !!! our next stop was the Moolchand Resorts…for Lunch…I had lunch there 2-3 times previously and I knew it served great food…had a sumptuous Lunch…a mix of North Indian & Chinese…with sleepy bodies we started our final leg of the ride…which turned out to be the most painful as well !!! as the weather was quite hot & sticky…things got worse when we reached closer to Modinagar & Meerut as the traffic gets seriously painful there…and the fact that it was the Ganesha Idol Immersion day made matters worse for us as there were 3-4 traffic snarls on the way…this always is the worst part of any ride to Uttarakhand…when one is coming back to Delhi…the last part of the ride is so painful, it just spoils the entire fun…but we just can`t help it…maybe in some time to come it would be a smoother ride as sometime back I read that a Flyover is being planned in Modinagar on the lines of the Panipat Flyover…but I trust the UP Govt. completely that it would atleast take 6-7 years !!! and during that time the ride would be even more painful !!! we reached Delhi at around 8 PM…I met Negi near the Ashram Flyover to hand over his bag…had a smoke with him…bid him goodbye…and rode back home…

All in all it was a great ride…new Biking Buddies made…2 new cities visited…some great weather experienced…had amazing food during the entire ride…and the highlights of the Ride were the Snake Show & The Negi Show !!!

I have already started planning for the next ride…most probably it would be to Dharamshala / Mcleodganj in the 2 October Weekend… just have to chalk out the final nitty - gritties…

Till the next time we meet…have a great time…ride safe…and have safe SEX !!!

Che would be back on the Road again….

Photo Albums:
1. http://picasaweb.google.co.in/puneet.chauhan/LandourMussorieDhanoti02
2.http://picasaweb.google.com/cs.deepak.chauhan/LandourRide1209208To15092008And800KM?authkey=p36b8TVf9b8#
3. http://picasaweb.google.com/jha.nishant/TheLandourRiders?authkey=WHOSvjVb7Zg#

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Bloodshed never seems to end...

It makes me feel so enraged in my heart, mind and soul to see innocent lives being lost in Ahmedabad today, Bangalore yesterday and in a Grenade Blast in Kashmir recently… these plans are hatched in the sinister minds of enemies of India whose main aim is to destroy the Communal Harmony in India & kill innocent Indians irrespective of their religion.

In the incident in Kashmir last week, a grenade was thrown at a group of Migrant labourers waiting for a bus at the Bus Stand and the irony was that the Muslim Separatists threw the grenade at a Muslim Labourer family and one hard-working man’s whole family was snuffed away within a second of terror, he lost his 4 kids and wife who were leaving for their hometown somewhere in Bihar, these labourers toil away day & night and ensure that the pace of Growth & Development catches up in Kashmir where nobody understands the word “Progress”… I recently saw so many groups of such people involved in building bridges, roads and other areas of Infrastructure Development and these terrorists just want no such development taking place in Kashmir and ensuring that Kashmir always stay in the dark alleys of Terror, Bloodshed and religious differences. I hope the development work doesn’t stop in Kashmir and all of India can witness the sheer beauty of the state known as “The Switzerland of India”, the way I have seen twice already and wish to see the magnum opus laid out by God every year !!!

Today’s 16 blasts in Ahmedabad are a clear indicator of Indian Intelligence Agencies’ common failure, as in spite of the fact that the entire India was on high alert after yesterday’s blasts in Bangalore and still such planned dastardly act of terror took place in one of the most communally sensitive states of the country, Gujarat…the fact that the Police Forces must have been involved in extensive combing of all the populous areas of the city is a fact known to probably a school going kid, but our intelligence & security agencies were just involved in cooling their heels in the offices and not actually involved in sweating it out on the streets…in Combing operations, putting up barricades and using their intelligence sources pulling out information of any terror activity being planned in the City.

The worst part of these blasts was that the assholes even detonated 2 bombs in the Trauma Centres of 2 biggest hospitals of the city, they clearly knew the time that would be taken in getting the injured to the hospitals and at that particular precise moments they triggered off the blasts using Time Detonators….once again Bicycles and Tiffin Carriers were used to carry out the blats…Its ridiculous to witness such repeat of the same methodology being used…cycles, tiffin carriers, crowded market areas…it sounds so similar…it has already happened in Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi and now in Bangalore & Ahmedabad…

I hope some action is taken on the lines of Israel and Russia where the Anti-Terrorism measures break the backs of anybody planning such terror attacks against the country…I sincerely hope that India would take some help of these 2 strategic partners with whom we had such long Military & Political relations…and the innocent blood of Indians is saved and we all can live a peaceful life without any terror forming a part of our daily lives…

And the fact that today is the 9th Anniversary of the victory in the Kargil War which we won against the same country who is behind all these terror attacks…amidst all this mayhem so many of us are not even sparing a thought for the hundreds of brave Indian Soldiers who gave their lives for us so that we all can live peacefully and happily…hats off to those brave soldiers and my heart goes out to the families of those soldiers who lost their brave sons in 1999…

“When you go back home, tell them that for your tomorrow, we gave our today" ( A Popular saying in Indian Army )

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Chailastic Riders...

I am sure that after reading this blog all of you would start thinking that this guy has gone crazy riding on his bike!!! But believe me its one helluva experience…I bought my bike on 6 March and within these 4 months I have completed almost 8000 kms already !!! Bhangarh, Rishikesh, Neemrana, Ladakh and the latest ride to Chail…all these in 4 months…Phew!!! and I am not gonna stop also…a Mcleodganj ride is planned for the 15th August Weekend…and our Gang “Bulls on Parade” has named it “The Independence Ride”…now lets get to the basics !!!
This Ride was done without much of planning and still we had 7 Bikes and 9 people in total…the bike riders were:
1. Diptinder Singh Chhabra aka Dips & Kenny
2. Manpreet Singh aka MP
3. Varun Doegar aka Lambu
4. Nilu Hazarika aka Sinha Sahab & Cena
5. Gyananath Moshahari aka Gyaan
6. Puneet Chauhan
7. Nishant Jha aka Che

There were 2 in an Alto as well…Manish Garg and Jawed Hazarika aka Maalu with Manish driving and Maalu taking turns for clicking snaps, being a passenger and also a bike rider !!! he surely is a multi-tasker !!!
The major high points of the ride were Dips’ Navigating skills, Doegar’s accident, My Taping skills (or the lack of it !!! ) , MP’s continuous blabbering, Maalu’s continuos search of his 2 kinds of maal (both used for intoxication)--- Girls and Gaanja, Lambu’s photography & SLR flaunting and also Puneet’s very very fast riding without his brakes functioning properly !!! I would discuss each one of them in detail in my blog…
The most important and the most disappointing was Dips’ bad bad navigation skills and also his Map reading abilities !!! he modified a 350 kms ride into a 520 kms ride and we na├»ve & trusting guys went by his route and suffered damage !!! and to top it off the roads he led us to were the worst roads to ride…full of dirt, slush and stones…though he would differ but I am sure the rest of us didn’t stop abusing him throughout the ride for his blunder… DIPS you have been FIRED !!! now stick to riding and leave the route planning to others…please for heaven sake don’t let the trust break again !!!
The ride started infront of the Leisure Valley Park in Gurgaon with me, Puneet, Dips and Manish starting towards Delhi where everybody else was supposed to meet…here also Dips chose the worst possible place to meet…infront of a Landfill Site…imagine standing at a road where all of Delhi`s rubbish is thrown…this one was Dips’ discovery !!! good he stuck to Software otherwise the world would have been a worse place to stay with Dips discoveries !!! then Maalu, Doegar, Sinha Sahab and MP joined us and we started for Panipat where we were supposed to stay overnight at Gyaan’s home…soon we were riding at top speeds on NH-1…it was a short distance of 100 kms which we covered in 1.5 hours and then reached the Indian Oil Refinery Township gate where we were abruptly stopped by the sleepy and ever-so-alert security guard who was zapped out of his senses by the thump of so many bikes !!! firstly he could not understand why we all were there…then Dips used his English Vocabulary skills and we found our way in (now don’t ask me what Dips told him, as it might be too tough for us poor & uneducated souls)…but still it worked !!! on the way we had picked our share of Beer and Whiskey…we got fresh and got busy with the main tasks of the night…eating, drinking and Bakchodi !!! that night the entire quota of Haryana’s chickens had found their way to gyaan’s kitchen for all of us hungry demons to devour them !!! believe me there was endless supply of Chilli Chicken for us…initially we managed to gobble up but then we could not match !!! it was like the Great Wall of China which never ends…Sinha Sahab was at his best…gulping away pegs like a hungry villager first getting access to clean drinking water…it was tough matching his pace for anybody…Dips tried as he always does but didn’t succeed (again as always !!!)…soon we were full till our necks and decided to call it a day as next day we had to get up early to start our journey towards Chail…but nobody knew what was in store…as Dips had some other plans…of leading us to an endless journey !!! on the smashing (yes literally spine smashing) roads of Haryana !!!
We started at 7:30 in the morning…stopped at a fly-infested road-side Dhaba for our breakfast with flies constantly giving us friendly company…they were in millions !!! Doegar opened his SLR and flaunted his camera to all of us…sadly nobody was giving him much attention but still he continued clicking snaps of all possible things…of the engine, tyre spokes and what not…then the mother of all journeys started with the worst potholes greeting us with unstoppable good mornings and our minds and hearts were abusing non-stop as well !!! we reached our first stop…the Gurudwara Paonta Saahib in the afternoon…did the Darshan and had our Langar…the heat was energy sapping with the Humidity making us wet (don’t think otherwise with the word “WET” !!!)…after some time the mountains started and the weather cooled down a bit and we started to enjoy the roads finally !!! the Shivalik ranges are beautiful with loads of greenery around…there was a lot of Mist and Fog and we were riding with our headlights on…Chail was still some 100-150 kms away but our spirits were not down and we had to reach Chail for sure…we navigated the tricky & curvy roads and finally reached Chail at 8:30 PM in darkness with the town almost dead by then…our Hotel guy was waiting for us with baited breath as I am sure nobody would come to that hotel…it is called Hotel Pine View but mostly we got sights of Buses and Monkeys staring at us !!! we freshened up, changed and went to have dinner but sadly the entire town was dead sleep by then…we had to convince a restaurant owner to open up his kitchen for us and he happily obliged to us hungry mad riders’ delight !!! the food was amazing to say the least…once again chicken…the poor dal kept staring at us with open & misty eyes but nobody even touched it !!! we were happy gobbling up the chicken…then we went back to the hotel with the usual drunkards drinking away to glory and this time Maalu leading the way with his literal Bottom-Ups !!! there was a deafening noise with everybody talking at the same time and I am sure the entire town could have heard Sinha Saahib’s rendition of “LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUDAAAA”…it sounds so good…believe me it does... MP was happily munching away packets and packets of Kurkure without even thinking of sharing them with others…literally sitting on them !!! he must be made the next brand ambassador…but I am unsure about Juhi Chawla’s safety as he might just jump on her and try to munch her as well !!! that is what scares me but I am sure his love for Kurkure personifies Shahjahan’s love for his beloved Mumtaz !!! we all slept at 2 in the night with a long night ahead and no more riding after what Dips did to us !!! we all decided to relax the next day and visit the local places with the exception of Maalu who wanted to go to Kufri in search of his Gaanja but sadly nobody obliged and he was left lurking away in Chail only for his share of intoxication and believe me he had tones of dedication doing that with him talking to every imaginable shady looking person in the small town and checking for Gaanja !!! some of them actually talked to him and gave him a different story !!! but sadly he could not find the Maal and anyway not many people visit Chail so his search of the female maal was also left in the lurches !!!
The next morning we were all fresh and had our breakfast and went for a nature walk which soon turned out into a very long walk indeed !!! our destination was the World’s highest Cricket Ground @ 7500 feet and also the Sidhi Mandir…on the way we enjoyed the views with tall Deodhar & Pine Trees, Ladybirds making Love, and great weather making our poor walking abilities appear good !!! we reached the ground and wasted no time in getting ourselves clicked and then entered the ground…and what a sight it was…manicured grass…basketball courts…an ancient dead tree with a Machaan…and kids playing with gay abandon…Manish fulfilled his lifelong wish of climbing a rope with his bare hands and feet and succeeded !!! and felt damn good about it…Puneet also tried but didn’t each the heights which Manish reached…Maalu was gleefully viewing these sights without even remotely thinking of touching the ropes !!! then we moved out to have something to eat at the nearby canteen where MP tasted Maazaa from each bottle and almost finished each one of them !!! smart bugger he is…then we all reached the Sidhi Temple with the utmost unease !!! some of us went inside and some of us stayed outside aka Amitabh Bacchhan in the movie Deewaar !!! then we started our descent with almost empty stomachs and straightaway headed towards our restaurant to have another bout of Chicken and Rice !!! poor birds… but some of the guys decided to drink first and then eat !!! I mean crazy guys…having alcohol in the middle of the day…I am sure the great weather did them in !!! after satisfying our empty tummies we headed towards the Kaali Mandir which is built on the highest point of Chail atop a Mountain and the ride was superb fun…almost off-roading thru the way and once we reached it was a freaking memorable sight…the entire valley below was invisible due to the Fog flowing like wind !!! we all got the bikes lined up and started clicking pics…it was an amazing place…with Bhajans playing in the Mandir and the priest looking at us and thinking whether these guys would come up to the temple or just click snaps and go !!! his look was totally confused…me, Sinha Saahab and Manish obliged and went up to get our share of Prasaad and tikkas on our forehead !!!
On our way back…the group divided into two with half stopping en-route to click more snaps & they went to the Palace in Chail , some of us backed out coz the entry charges were 100 bucks for each !!! and me, MP,Lambu and Puneet went to the Elite 5 Star Tarika Jungle Retreat…we really had to convince the Security Guard to get our way in…the rates at the resort were atrocious…the minimum being 6000 bucks for a night…and it was superbly built but still I thought too expensive for a place like Chail…Puneet thought otherwise and decided to come with his wife in the future… the die-hard Maal Fanatic…Maalu stayed back looking for somebody to sell him Maal so that he could sleep peacefully and also reach Delhi with satisfaction in his mind…but cruel God didn’t hear his pleas and he had to wait there aimlessly…we all returned back and started a Bakar Session again in my Room with Maalu gulping his grief away with Blenders Pride and Old Monk in tow !!! we all had our dinner after that but the poor guy Maalu again vanished from the scene and after a frantic search session was found drinking in a shady restaurant with an Old Monk Quarter…he told us that he would safely reach the Hotel and we all must not worry…the look in his eyes was of a lust-lorn lover who could not find his quota of lust in a town full of hot girls !!! but he didn’t know that the next morning had a full town of girls coming his way…well almost !!! we all bid good night wishes to each other and slept early as the next morning we had to start our ride back home…
The Morning was as always extremely beautiful and peaceful…with birds hustling and Monkeys bustling…the buses getting washed and the entire sleepy town waking up to another quiet day… we started at sharp 7 AM and reached the Solan Crossing by 8:30 and then Maalu made his most important discovery !!! a bush of Gaanja Plant where he plucked the leaves like a hungry maniac and tucking it away in a packet he was carrying…the llok and shine in his eyes was visible till Shimla which was 30 kms away…I am sure the locals there must be thinking of hitting him as he was gleefully destroying the greenery around !!! after this amazingly happy tryst we started the best ride of our trip…the excellent roads from there till Parwaanoo…amazing turns and curves on the roads with the bikes zipping to 80 kmph easily…the mild traffic helped us though !!!
Then the first and the last Tragedy struck us !!! My bike`s battery cable snapped and the bike just stopped dead !!! I tried my best but could figure out the fault so decided to take the bike till Parwaanoo taking advantage of the slopes on the roads…with MP helping me with his not-so-strong legs from behind pushing me…he made a mistake of calling out to Lambu to go in my front and honk to warn the incoming traffic…imagine my bike not throttling and inspite that at 30 kmph and Lambu`s bike working perfectly and riding at 20 kmph…and then he came in the front for reasons best known to him…I overtook him and he could not control his bike and fell !!! rolled for some 50-60 metres and then stopped…amidst all this mayhem MP came from behind and hit him !!! Poor Lambu…I am sure after this mishap he won’t help anybody !!! but the scene was crazy…he had minor injury to his knees…I pulled out my First-Aid Kit and used Savlon, Cotton , Betadine & Gauze for the first time and really felt happy to put it to some use after the kit had witnessed 4 rides without getting used even once !!! Thanks Lambu !!! we soon reached Kalka taking perfect advantage of the slopes and found our way to the Mechanic where he gave me a big shock…I taped 2 wire joints and left one of them untouched and voila…the third one had snapped !!! I thought myself to be a nerd…riding 12 kms on the slopes with my bike dead and sweating like an elephant and thinking how could I make that mistake…but I guess that’s the way I would learn !!!
After my bike was up and running again I started blasting my way again on NH-1 reaching the maximum speed on “The Mighty One”…120 kmph !!! what exhilaration it was…crazy fun…then I sanity prevailed & I slowed down considerably and never went beyond 90 kmph…we reached Haveli near Karnal at 1 and had a sumptuous lunch…Vegetarian this time !!! after hitting the roads again, mild drizzling started which soon became pretty heavy but we didn’t stop and kept rolling till we reached Delhi Border…we were all drenched but enjoyed the great weather with cool breeze hitting our wet riding cargos !!!
We all bid goodbyes with a promise that the rides would continue and the fun times would never end…MP won’t be accompanying us for any further rides as he is leaving for Canada in August for his MBA…Lambu and Gyaan would be soon off for the Nirvana Ride to Ladakh…and our Bulls on Parade Gang has planned a ride to Mcleodganj in August so the roads would be conquered again and more fuel would be burnt !!!
My promise stays the same…
Che Guevara would be back on the road with more pics and travel blogs…
Till then Ride Safe and enjoy life…
LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION…

You can view the pics at the following links :

1. http://picasaweb.google.co.in/puneet.chauhan/ChailBulletiers02

2. http://picasaweb.google.com/varun.doegar/ChailTrip?authkey=0XmnSN_n9mU

3. http://picasaweb.google.com/jha.nishant/TheChailasticRiders?authkey=JGfkEfJ481c

4. http://picasaweb.google.com/nilu.hazarika/ChailTrail

And the Videos at :

http://www.4shared.com/dir/8145121/6203d990/Chail_Bike_Ride_Videos.html

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Stunt Riders

The Mind Boggling stunts which the Stunt Riders had always amazed me and I always longed to watch it live atleast once…I could sense the opportunity when Ankit aka atleast 1000 nick names sent me a friend request on Orkut after watching my bike as The Mighty One had fascinated him a lot…soon we started interacting and he sent us an invite for the RODS Meet…RODS is their group name…Ryderz Of Da Storm…a group of youngsters on their Pulsars and Apaches…

The Venue was The Dhaula Kuan Crossing and the time was 7 AM on 1st June 2008...a guy named Anuj had reached the first and that too from Shahadra….and this was his first Bike Ride and he hadn`t even told his folks about it !!! Hats off to his passion…there were 15 bikes and some crazy riders…with the odd ones one being me and Negi on our Royal Enfield Bikes !!! the thought of not matching to our fellow bike riders’ speeds on their much faster machines made us decide to go back homes and not spoil their fun but nobody allowed us to fade away and soon we were off on an amazingly brilliant pleasant morning with smashing weather and cool wind blowing…the destination was The Neemrana Fort on the Delhi – Jaipur Highway which is an awesome road for riding at high speeds…

Our first stop was the McDonalds on the Highway and the first rounds of Stunts started with Mohit aka Akon aka The Venom Boy on his bike doing wheelies and stoppies on his bike !!! an amazing sight to say the least…I mean he had such an awesome control on his bike I just could not believe my eyes !!!

We moved on and while on the way saw 7-8 super bikes ( Suzuki Hayabusas) doing their own stuff on the Highway…its tough clicking them as the kind of speeds they reach it becomes really impossible to click them in a camera…but somehow I was able to click one snap…our stunt guy Akon showed off some stunts to them and it bucked the other gang so much that they started doing wheelies on theis super bikes !!! an even incredible sight…soon a large crowd built up with people coming out of their villages to see the stunts…n then the next obvious thing…POLICE !!! we left that place quickly and started for our destination…

Then the first major fuck-up of the trip struck us…one ancient old guy was crossing the road with presumably his 2 wives !!! and his feet simply got stuck to the road and he just dead stopped…Negi could not brake in time and his handle got stuck in that oldie’s hand and he fell…and I was witnessing this mishap from behind on my bike…fortunately there was no major damage to either Negi’s sexy body or to his sexy bike !!! he washed the wound and as a brave fighter was soon back on the road !!! a brave guy I must say…he gleefully got himself clicked as well with his wounds !!!

We soon reached the access road to the Fort and that road was perfect for some stunts and we all decided to stop and start the fun again…this time 5-6 bikes doing their stuff…it was a great sight…high speed biking, wheelies and stoppies !!! some 30 minutes into it we all moved to the Fort…parked our bikes infront of the Fort but then witnessed a shocker !!! to gain an entry into the fort every visitor has to shell 200 bucks which was unacceptable to all of us so we decided to get the snaps clicked atleast to show that we reached the fort !!! and then headed back to the same spot where the stunts were performed…this time for a longer time with more riders participating…

We reached the spot, lined up the bikes in one formation and got the machines clicked with all the helmets lined up as well…it was a brilliant sight for sure…And then the Extravaganza started…the riders soon were at their very best…doing their wheelies, stoppies, Drags and what not !!! amazing sight it was….soon a huge crowd built up to witness the magic !!! we were demi-heroes !!! and me the official photographer while the stunt frenzy was in full flow…clicking pics and making videos !!!

The leader of the show was Monty aka Akon !!! he is simply superb…the ones you see in stunts videos and he can give any stunt rider a run for his money…I don’t have enough words describing what he is capable of !!! and then the others followed as well…Dhruv, Deepak and others…then the Master of the Ceremonies and the organizer of the ride decide to show us some of his class…he did a Double Handed Chainsaw !!! now don’t ask me to describe it…just take a look at the pic given !!! there was another crazy guy with us (don`t remember his name though) but his identity was bald tyres !!! both rear and front and then he decided to make the rear ones even more clean !!! he made a circle burning his tyre rubber and with loads of smoke !!! the place was smelling of rubber and passion of the riders and me and Negi just awestruck and lost for words !!!

Amidst all this mayhem, Traffic Jams and a huge crowd…somebody shouted the Police might come so off we went to avoid any kind of trouble !!! and we were back riding normally…but still the Pulsars were speeding and zooming on the highway !!! Negi Boss was still at his best…riding at an average speed of 55 kmph !!! man it takes a lot getting him to speed !!!

We all reached a Dhaba and there was chaos all over…bikes being parked…shouting…ordering for tea and stuff !!! but definitely good fun…and in between all this Monty ordered MILK for him !!! there was pin drop silence !!! with jaws dropping all over…there were hundreds of teeth visible at that time with all the mouths wide-open !!! but sadly he didn’t get his demand fulfilled and he had to be satisfied with Milk-Filled Tea !!! we had a feast there and decided to head back straight to Delhi…

All of us were enjoying the perfect weather and a cool breeze hitting our body…it was bliss…I started thinking about my Ladakh Ride and the kind of crfun I soon would be having…it was a great time reminiscing about old times !!! but then the biggest tragedy and mishap struck !!! we saw police stopping us…I had a bike and 2 riders with me…there was a bad accident involving 2 bikes and I could see a victom lying on the road with him bleeding profusely…his head open and shoulders really badly bruised…I stopped as a good obedient citizen…showed the police my papers and then to my utter shock and dsbelief, I was told to come to the Police Station with the Cops as they thought I was part of the same group which had hit the victim…I knew I was in deep Shit clearly knowing the fact that Haryana Police is one of the most corrupt and ruthless in the country…I reached the Police Staion…and there was mayhem there with 2 Murder Cases !!! there was a huge crowd shouting and crying…I could clearly sense that my stay here would be really long, painful and arduos…then my interrogation started !!!the cop in question showered me with all the choicest abuses in Jat language !!! then I decided I would have to get out of this mess only after bribing that asshole…and I tried talking to him but he was in no mood to listen !!! I my plan and talked to another softer looking cop and then he talked to him and tanother shocker hit me !!! He asked for 6,000 bucks which I flatly refused…I tried cajoling him and finally the deal was struck at 2,000 bucks !!! and then the corruption hit me right in my face !!! the cop sat behind my bike…we went to the ATM together…I withdrew money and then dropped right infront of his home to so that he could enjoy the bounty !!! this is corruption for you…a good citizen paying 2000 bucks and wasting 2 hours for no fault of his !!! but then India rocks as a country and I don’t mind these troubles !!! all this while he didn’t care about te victim lying in the hospital…before dropping him I requested him to call up and check his condition…sadly he was not in his senses and still unconscious… I quickly made a prayer for his well being and headed straight to the Highway and back home…I was tired both pphysically and emotionally after going through the pain in the police station !!!

But I was happy for one thing that all the other riders were not troubled and were safeat their homes…as I knew as a fact that none of them were carrying complete vehicle papers and would have been in a big mess should they were caught and anyway 2000 bucks was a small amount for the kind of fun I had with all the riders, Stunts and the bakarchodi !!! so it was a very small cost paid !!!

I reached home…shared the story with Negi, Deepak, Ankit and Dhruv !!! telling them about my ordeal and how relieved I was at the end of this…posted the pics on the net and shared the stories, videos and pics with my parents… they were also really excited after seeing the videos and actually dumbstruck !!! and as always a stern warning to me for never trying these stunts !!!obviously I don’t have the guts nor the kick to attempt these crazy stunts…I am happy watching them from a distance and being the official photographer !!!

I am waiting for the next RODS ride in end-june after I come back from Ladakh and being a part of the crazy fun all over again…I am sure during this time all of them would practice hard and learn some new stunts !!!

Soon I would be back with another blog about my Ladakh Ride and subsequently with all my rides…Life is a roller coaster and I wanna live it up !!!

Pics of the Ride can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/jha.nishant/TheRODSRideToNeemrana?authkey=ndB8Ki643YQ and Videos at http://www.4shared.com/dir/7405475/4dd76cbd/RODS_RIDE_Videos_1_June.html

Che would be back on the road again…