It was middle of July.
A typical Saturday…
Irony lies in the fact that we have so less time in weekends and so much to do!
And then comes weekends when time is so ample that we think what to do with it!
We were four people in flat.
One of my room-mate has gone for his engagement. And he is really excited about it.
Time will tell if that excitement persists but he has left house with a “wider than highway” grin across his face.
The other is married.
In weekdays I have seen him sleeping and on weekends he vanishes.
I have never been really able to tell his height but I know his length by his sleeping posture.
Another one has left job and relocated to Delhi.
He was the silent guy and our TV remote operator.
His only expression would be those “uhh” and “duh” over NDTV and Aaj Tak.
What used to be a bustling house once is now dead silent.
Yes. I was missing their company.
Here I was, brewing hot cardamom tea at 4’o clock as I looked out of my kitchen window.
The Radio in backdrop played “Jo haal dil ka from Sarfarosh” (yea, I listen to radio)
In background of the blue sky, heavy inconsistent black clouds loomed over, almost as if they will kiss the ground.
The slight persistent drizzle continued as I would see the far away hills covered in thick consistent lush carpet green.
The roads were a tinge of reflective asphalt black as I saw a group of children frolicking their way to home.
Then there is this ever busy roadside vada pav shop and a coffee brewer.
The aroma of the coffee vapors and “steam & hizz” of the Pav touching the buttered hot iron plate was a contrast to this soothing weather.
Yet so stunningly romantic!
I sipped my tea and rested myself on the balcony wall soaking this entire scenario all in!
Damn! Pune, how can I not fall in love with you!
It seemed all so horribly wrong to waste this day sitting inside.
I did not want to be a spectator to all this.
I wanted to be a part of this romantic setting of Pune weather.
I wanted to immerse myself!
Enough with the “wants”.
I grabbed my jacket, donned my jeans, put on my shoes, took helmet and keys.
Started my metallic heart of 350cc and rode into independence!
Crossing the Vishal Nagar bus stand, I sped across this lively city.
The roads felt wider and blacker, the trees by side appearing greener than usual, the sky more azure than usual.
The wind sang past me as I upshifted through my gears.
Misty with rain over Hinjewadi flyover
It is as if the motorcycle is an extension of your soul.
The self-actualization of independence.
The realization of un-restraint in physical dimension.
I and my bike sang in simultaneous synchronization as we traversed over the Hinjewadi bridge and soon made way to Hinjewadi chowck.
Hinjewadi chowck, the epicentre of traffic.
The songs of freedom and the kisses of breeze were replaced by the honking of vehicles and the slaps of nasty exhausts.
Rain took a completely different meaning here as there was inches of thick sticky dirt and occasional splashes of muddy water here and there.
The road was decorated in potholes and came in way so suddenly giving some of the biggest shocks to a steady riding.
From Hinjewadi, I saw two options.
Either travel straight to Phase-2 and Phase-3.
The usual road.
Or take the road right through the Mezza-9 drinking bar. The road less taken.
I opted for the latter.
I made the right turn and after dodging many auto-rickshaws and cars, entered the Hinjewadi-Marunji road.
The road was cluttered as hell. Traffic and more traffic.
More noise, more congestion and added frustration.
I thought if I had taken the right decision to come here.
But turning back was more of a challenge than going forward.
No time to repent, I continued my endeavor.
Sure, as I kept on moving, the density of traffic reduced and it all became a complete opposite of what I was feeling moments earlier.
I had left the chaos behind.
I see this rustic face of Pune.
Flat greens adorned my faraway misty hills.
The road was narrow and not that awesome, yet it struck a special chord at heart.
I kept rolling through the road as I saw A1-vada pav shop to the left.
The hot vada pav in this awesome weather looked all too enticing.
Parking near the shop I chatted with the locals in broken marathi and hindi.
The people all too simple. Their outlook and views all too straight and honest.
We discuss the awesome weather and the simplicity of village life in contrast to the fakeness and plasticity of the city.
I am also told of some powerful and shadowy people taking hold of the lands here and converting the place to concrete and brick forest.
Suddenly a white sumo stops to a sudden halt near this shop.
About five people, bulky in built, adorning gold chains and dark shades get down and the locals suddenly changed topic to lighter tones.
Nonetheless, I still had miles to cover.
I take a meetha pan from the adjacent shop and continue trotting towards horizon.
After crossing for about 300 meters, seeing some raw material godowns and furniture houses, I meet with acres and acres of vast expanse of agricultural land.
Fertile and colorful!
I had never seen earth so happy ,hale and fertile!
The farming lands were organized.
Each rectangular patch of land with its own signature hue.
The hue reflecting that farmer’s effort, his expectation, his pride.
This was my India!
Occasionally I faced a few construction sites.
Inhuman labor working in knee deep mud, digging, more digging.
Screaming of steel and iron.
Inharmonic grinding of unwilling machinery.
Thick black smoke trying to tarnish the pristine skyline.
Seeing these concrete blotches created by us, I questioned, is it really worth it?
The way nature had taken course on both sides of this narrow road.
The sustainability of farming and the simplicity of lives really put the rat race to money and plastic progression of humanity at shame!
I shook off my head as I continued.
Travelling is like tasting in the air so many feelings, environs and emotions at every quanta of distance.
There is the good, the bad, the best, the worst…
Yet, overall, its infallibly awesome!
I keep riding.
See a few houses pop up here and there amid the vastness of farming lands.
I see the typical Maharashtrian women draped in Nauvari, carrying twigs and branches overhead.
The clouds seem to have grown significantly heavier and closer to the ground.
I pass by a few more factories and then cross a bridge over a river.
Then meet a dozen of kids in underwear jumping, splashing and singing in all this monsoon romanticism as they plunged into the river water.
The happiness in their eyes glistened by the moisture of this monsoon.
Here I am, in a land, cutoff from the rest of the world.
At their own pace and merry.
Somehow in me there was this tinge of jealousy and resentment as to why I was a passerby.
Why was life not such simplicity for me as well.
It feels I have embedded a part of me on every inch of soil I have traversed.
Moving forward, I come to this cross-roads.
Ahh, cross-roads, somehow they remind me of the typical dilemma I face in my life.
Which way to pick, what choice to take, what decision to make!
Again I see these two white SUV’s standing near the cross-road.
And a few people in white, surrounding the SUV’s, having an intense discussion amongst themsleves.
Apparently they noticed my presence over there and shot me glances that were, well what to say- unwelcome!
I wasted no moment and took the left turn.
This cross-road was no dilemma.
I knew exactly where to go.
Kasarsai-Kusgaon dam was near.
I had left those unhappy white dressed people behind.
It was almost 5:30 in evening and the day was closing in.
I zoomed through the rest of the path, took a few turn, here and there as I reached this amazingly large flat placid lake.
In its far end the lake was contained by gigantic concrete walls.
I stopped by motorcycle and the silence around me stuck shocking.
I had grown too much used to the dug-dug-dug beats of my riding machine.
I had reached the Kasarsai-Kusegaon dam.
The monsoon clouds had painted the sky overhead black, preponing the impending night, but they forgot the horizon.
The sun winked through the unobstructed horizon as it painted the distant sky in shades of deep amber and crimson.
These hues of red smudged so smoothly with the royal blue tone of the twilight.
The twilight sky overhead dissolved itself into pitch black night sky.
It was day and night, at same time, as if they had met after millenia!
And the same composure and mood was reflected so flawlessly on this vast expanse of lake.
It was sky above and it was sky below.
The sun was sandwiched between two night skies, up and down.
My limbs had given up in this overwhelming sensation; my soul went drunk over this unparalleled feeling on just to be here.
There are situations when words fall too short and too incapable.
This was such a situation.
I sat down and rested my back over my royal bull.
Me and my metallic heartthrob soaked in this evening romance as we prepared to ride back to the city under the cloak of darkness.