Its “The” Friday.
Work dictates two more hours at office.
Plans dictate two less hours at office.
I pretend to look at the mundane computer screen as I scan my cubicle from the corner of my eyes.
I can still see that shadow behind me.
shadow of Mr. Manager.
I gulp for a breath of air in this moment of pinch.
Eyes nervously flicker at the wrist watch.
Tick… toc…tick…toc… Time is passing.
A bead of sweat emerges from the corner of my head and slowly settles at corner of my chin.
Heart pounds fast, fingers twitching, legs restless and breathing fast.
Classic symptoms of “The Friday fever”.
My mind is unsettled as my body is firmly settled in chair.
Here I am, confined in my chair, doing a work that I have no interest in, with an ever increasing thirst to escape.
I pretend to scroll down a few documents, grind the mouse on table…zig-zag…crush…crush…
Hit my fingers loudly on the keyboard, pretending to type…type fast…
My phone vibrates in my trouser pocket but how do I pick!
A slight deviation from my dutiful work and the monster behind me will shove another fat piece of work up my … desktop.
Dammit he should leave me alone!!
As per our last night plans, me and my friend had planned a biking trip to Mahabaleshwar.
We planned to set out foot by 6.
The plan was to collect some travel items and begin sail by 10 PM for an over-night ride.
But getting out of office seemed no less than crossing the Indo-Pak border as time ticked 5:30PM.
Tip top…tip top…tip top…
Tap of leather boots on the hard tiled floor as my ears scans the entity’s movements out of the cubicle.
Ears sends signal to brain that manager is out of direct visual range.
Reduction of voice signature of managerial footsteps signals brain his presence is away.
On command from brain, eyes make a direct visual contact with the horrid entity.
My eyes meet the back of his head.
Eyes confirm ear’s report and sends signal to brain to activate legs.
Legs, impatiently waiting for that “go” signal finally receives it.
Hands, not wanting to fall behind, grab the bag as I prepare to whoosh out of office.
Every cell in body calls: Run!
Bag flap stuck to desk corner as upper body resists to a halt and the lower half is still running away.
The desk shakes loudly and sends alert to the horrid entity.
His neck slowly turns as I swiftly detach my bag from the table and make for the run.
As I run away, I swear I could hear “STOP”!
Unable to stop, partially due to the slippery floor and completely due to will, I bolt out of office.
Save Monday for misery and excuses!
I notice that whizz in my trouser pocket…damn phone vibrating…
12 missed calls!
Damn, he shouldn’t leave me to travel alone!
I call him but no response!
Meanwhile I whizz speedily to the bus stop.
Damn…dont he dare leave!
I call him again…still ringing…
Again rang…still no answer…
I reach the bus stop, huffed and puffed.
My arrival at bus stop is almost always coincidental with the deprature of buses.
Even today was no such exception!
I use my last bout of strength as I frantically push the ground below me and leap of the bus.
Hanging by one hand, my bag dangling off my shoulders, 1/3rd of my one feet on the bus pedestal as the other hangs in air (with phone vibrating again)…
I have successfully boarded a crowded Pune bus.
An achievement in itself.
No more stopping. No more waiting. No more a delay.
My dear destination, here I come!
The above two lines were a joke.
Friday frenzy traffic awaits me.
And there is no such frustration like a Hinjewadi traffic!
Hordes of buses and auto crawl as snail as public breathes the nasty exhausts.
The collectivity of vehicles were in deadlock with each other.
Each vehicle reluctant to give up as to which one will go first.
It seemed as if years had passed sailing through the traffic.
Surprisingly you need not balance yourself while inside an immensely packed bus.
People are so densely packed that you just stand, without support.
And when your bus stand comes, you automatically spill down the bus gates onto the road along with the crowd.
First thing I do while running to my home is checking my phone.
More missed calls, more frustration.
I skip through the stairs, and so does my heartbeats!
I call him up.
Kilograms of slangs and tons of abuses exchanged as I explained my unwanted date with Pune traffic.
I felt as if our trip was coming coming to a closure of failure… and I did not want that!
I did not want to suffer a mundane weekend!
The ratio of good to evil, weekend to weekday is so unbalanced and poised at 2:5.
Unwilling to give up and waste whatever free time we had,
I throw my shirt north, pants south, belts and socks east and west respectively as I change my clothes like hurry-cane!
And whoosh…a rush to his house.
knock, knock-Who is there? …the door cracks open.
There he was! Still having swigs of beer and legs of chicken!
I, an Idiot, thought he will leave me behind and ride alone!
I shock my buddy to action, as we collect items for the journey, the tempo and the mood for adventure sets in…
Water pouch check.
Dynamo torch check.
Sleeping mattress check.
4 BEER CANS CHECK!!
The only missing item on the list: tent.
This is gonna be quite a adventure.
Good or Bad, time will tell.
We have decided to explore Mahabaleshwar and camp by the night in a place nearby.
Buzzing through the streets, its almost 10 in the night that we are collecting our pre-requisite for the adventure.
Rented tents from a guy on Quikr.
We reach our homes, don the rucksack over our back.
Then, we load the rear of the bike with the mattresses and tents.
Its surprising how much time flies by in checking the smallest of things in checklist for a journey.
Donning full biking armour, we stop by the nearest petrol pump at Wakad near the Bangalore-Pune-Mumbai highway.
Filled the tanker with petrol along with check for tire pressure, engine lubrication, clutch and brake.
With no further intention to look behind,
Settling our asses on the leather seats.
Kick starting the metallic heart,
The upshift of the gear,
and the roar of silencer,
and the burn of the tyre rubber…
There is no stopping now!
The trip begins…
More in upcoming Part-2…