Date: 14th Friday-November-2014
Its not the destination but the roads that inscribes our experiences of journey.
It begun over a few KFC chicken nuggets and buckets at 12 in the night.
We were three people, in Pune, in comfort of our rooms, having a good time, grinding chicken by our molars and canines and gulping drinks when the idea spontaneous…
Life is so fleeting, changing its colours so sudden, in less than 60 seconds we planned a biking trip to destination “we dont know” at 1 AM.
No fun in becoming belly pouching creature with eyes ogling on a computer screen 24*7 and bodily stamina residing just at finger tips so as we can type for long and be fast at it.
(though I m reaping benefits writing this post)…
Maybe this was the flood break of this frustration that made us rabid for the fresh air.
I.T. frustration is an impending volcanic burst!
And Voila! we broke the shackles of “thanks & regards” and the 4 walls and set out for the sky as roof!
My friend had a Pulsar 180 and me and the other guy set road on fire with my bullet classic.
The weather was chilling cold, our souls unsure, yet by strong instincts we started.
The engines grunted, the gears flexed, the silencer roared as the bikes warmed themselves to life, ready to roll…
We set on the deserted asphalt roads, sky pitch black, light drizzle and cool winds brushing by us…
As the bikes came to full throttle, we exalted as the winds screamed past our ears and tears of speed went parallel from our eye corner to ears!
(speed thrills but kills! not recommended)
We started out from Vishal Nagar in Pune and had not yet decided where do we go!
Just was we were to cross Wakad, our bike begun to grunt as it was hungry for fuel and meh…, before embarking on the journey, we had to obviously feed oil to the bike as well…
So firstly, a quest for hunting petrol pumps begun and at this time they were closed on the Wakad-Hinjewadi road, for which we had to go to Pune-Mumbai highway and search for petrol…
Sure after going 3 kms from Wakad on the highway we found a bike restaurant (read petrol pump)and had the bike gulp its share and we begun on our journey.
Yeah finally we are moving!
But wait to where?
Just after crossing Hinjewadi bridge, we stopped and took a piece of time out of this purely-silly madness to re-think: WHERE ARE WE GOING? WHAT ARE WE DOING!
Lavasa, Tiger hills, Mahabaleshwar, Khandala, Panchgani were some of the places that came up… we chattered, shattered our grey matter, battered on options, decisions scattered, with no singularity over a destination.
Finally out of the blue came out : PANSHET.
Eh… What? Why? When?
Well there is no reason or logic to it. Maybe none of us objected to it and thus it became our target destination.
However, shortly, the pulsar rider complained of not feeling well in the cold weather and opted to go his shack.
Meh…but what can be done…
The Pulsar and the Enfield detached their ways 😦
We continued roughing our tires to destination.
So the remaining two of us decided to chart the way we shall be scaling to Panshet.
It was decided we shall be taking the way from Chandni Chowk to Giridhar Nagar and taking a cut just before Wadgaon burduk.
Then we shall be taking the zig zag roads passing by the central research power station over to Khadakwasla village to reach our destination.
And thus it begins:
Phase 1: Wakad to Chandni chowk: [Time 1:45AM]
Maybe its the less traffic at this hour that we were feeling a sense of freedom but the occasional humongous trucks and lorries did make us feel how feeble our lives were.
Safety and caution are always paramount irrespective of occasion!
With the bike thumping and speed roaring , we were on a travelers high!
The spontaneity over decision to travel, the uncertainty if we will have the will to keep continuing the journey added just the right concoction of adrenaline and travelers’ intoxication!
The machine on two wheels zipped us forward, our eyes scanned sideways predating for any chai walas if they would be there to nullify the sudden cold that befell us.
We kept rolling but none, the town was sleeping and we the anarchists had just begun!
If only we had some Pakodas and a hot cup of tea on this cold night along the way.
The combination would have been electrifying!
Phase 2: Kirti Nagar to Khadakwasla: [Time: 2:10AM]
Anyway, we kept moving and swerving through the roads we finally made our turn at Kirti Nagar and took road crossing the Pandurang industrial area and further towards the central water and power research station.
The industrial area seemed ghostly, covered in sheath of the night sky and what was a bustling market near the water power station is now vacant and empty.
The roads getting rougher , more twisted in directions , the streetlights getting dimmer and lesser in appearance as we reached towards Khadakwasla village.
We switched to high beams as the presence of roads underneath the tires was replaced by rubble and way getting even more treacherous…
No vehicles, No humanly presence, no movements, just us with the roar of engine shearing the peace of night!
Soon we reached the Khadakwasla lake and took a moment to stop the bike and just enjoy the serenity.
The sky sure was clearer moving away from the city bustle.
The Khadakwasla lake was placid.
No movement of water. Just the eerie reflection of night stars and dark backdrop of trees.
This was in such great contrast of the unfathomable depths of the chillingly cold water containing itself in peace!
We set off again, and the roads started facing elevation as we rose up, and yes, as usual roads were getting more an more twisted with sharp turns hence and now.
Combine this with the ever diminishing coverage of street lights and the grounds below could no longer be defined roads.
Phase 3: Khadakwasla to Panshet: [Time 2:30AM]
It felt as if we had detached ourselves from human civilization.
Just oodles and oodles of forests. Silence in all possible directions. Nothingness and pitch darkness. And yes, scary as hell.
These are the moments when you think should have I done it?
Just the tires crunching the cold dead leaves as we made through a ribbon like road climbing hills in this night.
There was fear of the uncertainty, what may happen next, and on ever revolution of wheel an ever growing urge to take a U-turn and run our way back.
Phase4: Panshet to Ambegaon[Time: 2:45 AM]
Soon, we saw dim lights coming through a screen of densely packed leaves…
We had reached Panshet MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Dept. & Center) and after coursing much elevation we reached a flat terrain.
Well, we thought at least the roads were flat!
We took a moment off and stopped our bike to soak in this hazy mixture of fear, uncertainty and excitement!
Then many similar synchronized aggressive snarls…
And a pack of sharp teeth ,nails and anger, whose land we had violated were on our tail.
Tearing the peace of the night calmness were these hooligan street dogs, a pack of them barking wild and started chasing us!
We kick started our heart, roared the engines but it dint start, damn, we could feel the packing closing in upon us, the whoof whoof and the gnawing teeth and at-least 10 of them zoning for us…
But voila, the bike started just in time and the hell we zoomed our way making them breath the nasty exhaust!
uff….a close escape…we did not even think to stop as they kept chasing and dint even notice we had crossed the Panshet dam and the lake in all this canine escaping…
Only after the clamor had calmed down did our brains woke up to think again and we had breached into Ambegaon…
Phase 4: Ambegaon to unknown[3:15 AM]
Damn, this place was a new definition of desolation.
Nothing nearby, just dead silence and a narrow stretch which defined our way of travel.
Weird noises here n there, from bushes, from trees masked in darkness…
Maybe its the mind, In the background of the velvety night sky , the dark outlines and figures of trees really start to take frightening shapes!
Then to our notice we saw a light, which really defined the idiom of ray of hope in sea of darkness!
We continued our venture towards the light and after many bumps, puddles, twists and turns reached a tree house shaped structure with parked bikes and van.
Woah, looked a perfect scene out of Texas chainsaw massacre serial killer house!
And sure to add to our fear a man stepped outside hearing the thump of our bike.
He inquired who we were and etc etc blah blah , while we were in apprehension and fear.
Sure, we could not trust and felt like running the hell away!
But gradually he seemed a normal guy and invited us to his house. He was a travel company guide who carried out adventure sports in the region.
The tree house was awesome, a stark contrast to the unforgiving cold outside. TV connection, wifi and all!
Felt like a cozy sophisticated nest!
We watched TV for a while, had some chips(again apprehension, what if poison :P) , luckily nothing happened and we had a nice chit chat.
We were told how the place was developing and they had taken some part of land for adventure sports.
Incidentally, there used to be villages down the valley but after construction of dam and the rising water levels, villages soon displaced themselves upwards and moved out of area and hence the now desolated look!
We asked if there were wild animals nearby to which he informed of never seeing such ( that’s not equal to saying NO! )
After approx 30 minutes we started off from his shack to look for whats next.
We drove a few kilometers ahead from there into uncharted territories and parked our bikes and switched off the headlights and sat down on the rubble.
The serene yet intimidating realization struck as how we broke apart from the cozy confines of our sedentary lives and came out to nowhere sitting in middle of nowhere in absolute darkness
with background orchestra of frogs and crickets!
The skies, the wind, the leaves, the rustle of trees left a mesmerizing imprint and we felt one with nature.
We had reached @nowhere and the feeling was: EXOTIC!
We sat for a while, soaking in the experience and it was a big breach from the mundane and plain lives we lead!
Meanwhile, The sky had changed its hue from asphalt to royal blue to velvet and shades of maroon and streaks of crimson red.
Yes, earth had revolved its quota and sun was makings its entrance to the night sky.
The trees fluttered with early risers spreading their wings…chirping galore…yes , the world was waking and we were experiencing it!
Soft amber light splitting the sleepy night and such an idyllic mood it set.
Phase 5: Return[5:15 AM]
With much ado, we started on our way back.
Swirling , rolling downhills , lift, right, hither tither, as if the roads were in a hurry to push us back to concrete jungle!
We made our way back and reached Khadakwasla lake again, this time in morning light.
The water seemed tame and we stopped and with no thought gushed for a swim.
First the legs, then the torso, next the neck, and finally fully immersed.
The body that initially went frigid with cold slowly came to life as the cold water felt more warm and a comfort than the frosty atmosphere outside.
It was exhilarating, just floating in the water and sloshing like anything!
With wet clothes and dripping hair we again set on our way, this time back to the city.
The rising sun behind us as we chased the remaining darkness away.
Reaching home, we changed and achooooooooooooo…..
Okay, caught cold but surely I don’t remember much afterwards as I melted into sleep.
Living in confines of four walls is a defeat.