Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lady with the Ring; the return of the King

.<< I wanna read from the beginning (my one night stand)

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The Bus to Delhi was about to depart when I reached the Bus-Stand. I asked the conductor (who later turned out to be a helper) that can my cycle also travel along with me and how? He said “it can be loaded on the top, give me Rs 20 and I will help you with that”. Finally, I was on my return trip to Delhi in a bus. I was drinking Bristle mineral water (which the shopkeeper sold me as Bisleri) and searching a seat in the bus. A hit film of Govinda and Karishma Kapoor – Gairkanooni (famous for its song; sexy,sexy,sexy mujhe log bolen!)– was being showcased in the TV of the bus and I wanted to catch it from the close but soon an old lady took the bus and she certainly deserved the seat (and the movie) more than I. but standing was even more fun as I could interact with the helper on how Delhiites are better than Haryanvi guys and every other crap possible. After an hour long standing, I got a seat and a girl happened to sit beside me (actually she was sitting there already!!) She was good with all those baseball cap and sunglasses but her nose ring was, LEGEN….(wait for it)…..DARY. Soon we struck off a conversation during which I came to know that she was a Doctor (allegedly!) and was doing an internship at PGIMS Rohtak. She couldn’t believe that I had come all the way from Delhi on a cycle to a place as 'breathtaking' as Tilyar; all she could manage was an incredulous smile. Before we could know, the bus had entered Delhi and her destination, Mundka had come where she wished to take a Metro. After all, no one wants to miss a comfortable ride of Metro if one is braving a stay in Rohtak and a bus journey on the horrible NH 10.
They say that ‘idle mind is a devils workshop’; well, only if you have slept the previous day; if not, even the devil doesn’t feel like working, sleep creeps in eventually. I woke up only when the bus rammed into Kashmere Gate I.S.B.T. at around 1PM.
I filled my belly with some juice and some more water. I ordered for omelet but it was hotter than the sun over my head so I gave it a miss. I asked the way to Noida from few people looking ‘experienced’ but didn’t really comprehend what they said. I went on my own way which I presumed to be right. The route offered me the opportunity to cross probably one of the oldest bridges in Delhi which I thought would crumble the moment I would ride over it; fortunately, it didn’t. The sun was harsh and ruthless and the hot winds were amplifying that harshness - sun and wind, partners in crime! I didn’t feet as miserable and exhausted in the entire trip to Rohtak from Delhi as I had already started to feel now, only midway from ISBT to Noida. I poured half a bottle over my head but got only few minutes of respite. I was dead sure that I can’t reach home; not alive, at least. Fortunately my ex-society, East end Apartments, was some distance ahead. I called my friend and ex-roomy, Vaibhav but he wasn’t at the flat. So I called my friend Paarth instead and thankfully, he was home.
At his door, I was welcomed by thundering barks of his pet ‘Canis’ and my sleep vanished within an instant. A refreshing treat of Glucon D was all I needed and that was precisely what I got, without a mention; Awesome!!!. A few minutes of chatting and sharing my experience was even more exciting. I don’t know when I slept however, when I woke up my body was fresh and light but my head was heavy; after all, my body had lost some weight but my mind had gained some experience.

thanks for giving it a read, hope u had fun!

<<to the beginning-one night stand

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Welcome to Tilyar; have a Hydro-Therapy

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Soon the day broke and the gentle and cool breeze picked some speed. On both sides of the highway, there were farms mostly of wheat with the crop ready to be harvested. ( After all, the festival of harvest in northern India, Baisakhi is around the corner).
It was around 6 and I had almost entered the outskirts of Rohtak when I encountered another bifurcation. On asking a local which way to go for Tilyar, he told me either way I will reach the same place. I rephrased the Question and asked which way is better in his opinion. Pointing towards one road with his finger he said, “This one”. I thanked him and took the other road! That road passed through a village where people were busy with their chores (which includes defecating in the open!).
Finally I could see Haryana tourism welcoming me to Tilyar. The tourism minister couldn’t come up with a garland so instead he put up a Welcome-board to compensate for it. The Tilyar resort was getting prepared to welcome its guests. The Garden around the lake was lush green but the lake was still an enigma. I asked a guy, busy with his exercise, “where is the lake”? “Right here”, he said with a hand gesture. And there it was - a huge lake with a mini ecosystem with dense growth of trees in the middle of it and lots of ducks, fishes and polybags and filth everywhere else in the Lake of my fantasies . A perfect tourist spot, whatsay..??I walked around the perimeter of the pond; even lay on it with my bag as my pillow but couldn’t sleep because I became too cautious of the clumsy looks of the passing joggers. Dropping the idea of boating, I headed towards the mini zoo they have with some native and exotic birds, leopard and their prime attraction – tiger. Something coerced me to think like Menka Gandhi when I was in front of the cage of the Indian parakeets (tota). There were parakeets inside the cage and there were parakeets mocking them or probably giving them moral support outside the cage as well. I thought how bad the ‘inmates’ must be feeling to be inside when their fellow members are having a rocking time outside. Braving the monkeys, I got a glimpse of the leopard but missed the Tiger which I hardly bothered about in that state of mind. I was done here; time to move on but had to fill my bottle and so I went into the resort’s restaurant. I took permission from the manager but before giving the permission he gave me a preaching. “You guys set off from home with a bag for school or college but end up visiting Tilyar. You don’t have studies to take care of; all you do is loitering around.” I couldn’t say anything to him, I was amusingly surprised. I only said since we have exams, our college is closed today. I asked for his permission again to which he replied, “You rather have milk than water but keep in mind what I said”. That was amazing.
I knew what I have to do next – swimming. And I knew the places as well; either the pool of sector 14 or kendriya vidyalaya (central school). I chose the K.V. but I was severely misguided by people whom I asked and ended up at the sector 14’s pool. It was 8 AM, time slot for women. Although, girls were screaming and shrieking to convince me to join them in the pool but I am a man of ethics and principles and couldn’t trade them for a paltry sum of Rs 50 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so,….. I went back to the K.V. pool; fortunately, finding it this time. It wasn’t just an hour long swimming session worth Rs 50; it was an exotic session of Hydro-therapy worth thousand dollars– what a steal! My legs were in pure bliss and so was I. all my pain and exhaustion was a history when I came out at 9 and that too because I couldn’t stand the cold water any longer. I asked the pool owner if there are any places worth visiting in Rohtak. He said, “go to Tilyar”!! But he was really amazed to know that I have come there on cycle from Delhi. He offered me some tea (I wish he had offered some Marie biscuits as well !!). he told me that I can check out Kila road if I wish where the market was. I thought, “why not”. So, I headed to kila road with a glass of litchi juice and few bananas inside………….my stomach (of course!). To my disappointment it was a road full of garment shops with hardly any restaurant or dhaba. The sun was going stronger and there was no point delaying my return any further and to cycle all the way back to Delhi was a lengthy and more painful way to commit suicide. So I headed to the New Bus stand, Rohtak.

Next >>> Lady with the Ring; the return of the King

The noble Highwaymen

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I crossed Bahadurgadh and soon I came across two factories famous for their products; Surya industries and Parle. I tried to make an entry into the Parle factory to see how Parle G or Hide-n-Seek is made but was declined by the guard. Of course he had to; it was 3 something in the night. Those guards of Surya factory said so crappy and scary stuff that it kept banging in my head for at least 5-10 minutes until I deliberately rejected those thoughts. one guard informed me,” sahab galat time choose kar liyacycle chalane ka aapne, vo bhi is ilake main, jahan 30 rupye ke pauye ke liye logon ko maar dete hain” (you chose the wrong time to cycle, and that to in such an area where people are murdered for a 30 Rs quarter).
It was time for another break and the Cadbury’s made the moment even more sweet and special. I was sitting on sewer pipes lying by the side of the road, relishing the chocolate. Here comes the twist in the tale. When I was almost set to move on, I was confronted with two fat guys on a byke, one of them wearing a blanket and their interrogation started in a very hostile way.
“kya kar raha tha yahan?” (What were you doing here?)
“Acha, fatafat bol kya kar raha tha?” (oh, really, now come up with the truth)
“Nothing man, I was just taking some rest after a lot of cycling.”
“yeh tu pehle bhi bol sake tha. Kahan se aa raha hai?” (You could have said that earlier also. Where are you coming from?)
Now this was a very dicey question because if I said Delhi, they are no way gonna believe me and even if they did, I would become an easy target to them. So I preferred to say Bahadurgarh to convey that I am no sitting duck, after all, i am from bahadurgarh, which literally means 'the abode of the brave'!!
“kahan ja Raha hai?” (Where are you going)
“How does it make difference to you?”
“farak to ham batavenge ke pade hai” (Let us tell you what difference does it make).
…(after much deliberation)…….“rohtak”
To this, they talked among themselves, “bhai, ghani gadbad laagey hai mane toh” (there’s something really fishy man). “Bag main ke le raah hai?(what's in the bag)
“There are my books. And why are you so much bothered about what’s in the bag?”
“ham security ke in charge hain (although they didn’t look like). “Pure ilake ki security ka zimma hai mhara”. (We are the security in charge. It’s our duty to look after the entire area)
“checking karva apni” (let me frisk you) and he didn’t wait for my permission to go ahead; he frisked my pockets before he even finished his sentence. Fortunately my mobile was in the side pocket of my bag and it didn’t ring at that time. I got hardly any money which again was in my bag so they didn’t find any in the pockets and finally I got their go ahead (as if they were customs officer and I needed their clearance before I can sell my product in their land.
A ‘Thank you’ came out of my mouth involuntarily; blame it to the courtesy heavy doses we have been subjected to everyday.
They replied in their typical Haryanvi style, “tere thank you ne to ham dekh lenge aage, tu abhi nikal le”. (We will see to your thank you later, you better f*** off).
So I was on the road again, making sure that I am not caught again, especially in a secluded and dark section of the road. A dhaba came by the roadside and I was too hungry to overlook it. I ordered an aalu parantha and tea. I paid the bill, washed my hands and hit the road with loads of energy but was I missing something?? Oh man, not again...... My bag was lying on the chair. I cycled back with a frantic speed to get back ASAP. Fortunately the bag was still there. I made it a point not to lose hold of the bag even for a second from then on.

next >>>Welcome to Tilyar; have a Hydro-Therapy

The dark knight

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I was feeling hungry now; one reason may be because I hadn’t taken my dinner yet. But I had Parle G, a perfect recipe to curb hunger and get some energy. My munching didn’t let me realize that I had finally reached Peera Gadhi Chowk where I could see the Direction board – Rohtak 56 KM. this gave me some hope that I was finally on the road which would lead me to Rohtak but the distance that separated me from Mallika Sherawat’s hometown was Humungous and to make a bad situation worse, my thighs were paining and my right knee was stinging. Meanwhile I spotted an ATM and though I had planned it to be a trip with as little resources as possible but my almost broke situation (I had approx. Rs 120 at that time) forced me to hedge myself by withdrawing some money lest anything should go wrong. To save my thighs from cramps, I took some rest in which I gave them a good massage (I could have earned some real money if it wasn’t my own body!) and made a glucose drink with whatever I had in the packet (yeh, I carried one from home). It was a much needed break as I was able to pedal comparatively faster than earlier but there was something else also that was adding to my woes.
Riding a cycle with jeans on is a very unwelcome proposition. It doesn’t let you breath; even a ‘jockey’ doesn’t help you here! ‘It’ was smothered to death and at that point the thought came to my mind that girls should make a good cyclist!! The ride was bumpy but it was quite reassuring to see the KMs decreasing with every subsequent board – 55..54..53. I loved it. Although I was still in Delhi, It didn’t feel like with all those Farm-Houses appearing off and on, on both the sides of the road. Soon I crossed the borders and ventures into Bhupender Singh Hooda’s territory.
I have always thought that National highways are likeBollywood actors; pampered the most. But, I guess NH-10 is the 'Shayan Munshi' of national highways, whom no one really cared about (see, even you don’t know about him!). Few kilometers after crossing the Delhi border, it became quite apparent that policies of highway modernization are only made on papers when the lights suddenly seized to make even a guest appearance. I was making use of the headlights of the passing vehicles which were blinding me out than showing me the way. At one point, the vehicles stopped coming from both the sides and there I was, in the middle of utter darkness with elephant grasses growing on one side and barren land on the other. Above me was a quarter moon in a star-studded sky with unparalleled clarity. I could see a 100 times more stars than I could have seen while in Delhi. The cool, gentle breeze was making the moment even more enjoyable and worth cherishing. It was still not comfortable in the jeans but I guess I became accustomed to it.

Next>>>the noble highwaymen

Hitchhiking on a truck

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Cycling in the night has many advantages; you don’t have to face a chaotic traffic and merciless sun. According to my calculations I should be reaching to Tilyar somewhere around 7:30AM (if I can cycle 40 KM in 3 hrs, I should travel 100 KM in 7.5 Hrs plus an hour of grace time. Good haan..) But this wasn’t the day when I was feeling the strongest. By the time I reached Akshardham, my thigh and knee of the right leg started aching. A thought of making a U-turn flashed my mind but fortunately I didn’t give it much consideration. It is one thing to study a route on Google Maps and quite another to actually drive on it – a bifurcation came and I was stuck. Thankfully, a truck was standing few meters ahead. I asked the driver if he knows the way to Rohtak road or NH 10; he declined. It was only when I said ‘Peera Gadhi Chowk’ did he say “yes” and continued “main bhi vahin jaa raha hoon, aap apni cycle truck main daal do, peera gadhi chowk vahan se do kilometer door hai” (I am going that way too, u put your cycle at the back, peera gadhi chowk is 2 KM from where I’ll drop you). I was too skeptical to accept this gesture of help of a truck driver at midnight but then I thought, “It can’t be that bad as I am thinking it to be, after all, what I have to lose anyways”. So I hitchhiked. I was sitting like a king in the cockpit of that mean machine which, till that day, I used to think can’t go beyond a speed of 40.! He was zooming at speed of 70 and the entire truck was creaking as if children were jumping on a broken charpoy or cot (u can think of a better analogy yourself, can’t u? just let your Imagination go wild). A truck is very much a home for these guys. There were clotheslines crisscrossing the back part of the cabin and few clothes stuffed forcibly into a bucket. I am sure they haven’t worn ironed clothes since ages. Both the driver and his helper were in Delhi to work while their families were in a Village of UP in Mainpuri. The Driver was in the job for the past 20 years! “Cant think of doing anything else now” he said. 12:30, it was time to part our ways. I thanked him for all the help and offloaded my cycle with the help of the helper guy. I had only moved an inch when I realized that my back was feeling quite light. Where was my bag? Oh crap, I didn’t’ take my bag. I immediately turned my cycle, baffling the trucks coming behind and stopped in front of my truck (though not exactly mine), took the bag and thanked them again.

Next>>>the dark Knight

My One Night Stand - Expedition to Tilyar Lake, Rohtak.

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, the possibility of life is destroyed." ------ Chris McCandless aka Alexander supertramp, (Into the wild)

Movies inspire life, very true indeed; at least I can vouch for that. After I watched the movie “Into the wild”, I just couldn’t remain sitting on my bums. I had to go somewhere I had never been before and experience how it feels like. I wanted to try my limits. I knew that I can cycle a distance of 40 KM without facing much difficulty but I didn’t know how far I can go beyond it. This time, I set my upper limit to 100 KM and I googled precisely that – “places worth visiting within 100KM from Noida”. It threw up many results but I couldn’t make my mind. Soon I left to college but the bug didn’t die. After having a session of “I-know-nothing-teach-me-Finance” with my friend Azhar and Garry, it was time to go home, only if I could.

I searched again and decided to see Tilyar Lake at……………….Rohtak. It Qualified on all the parameters- within 100 KM (91.3 KM to be precise), Swimming Option, and easy on budget. I packed some Chocolates, a ParleG, orbit white and a water bottle before setting off to this Lake where Exotic birds would be waiting eagerly for me (no pun intended). It was 11PM then...more......

Next>>hitchhiking on a truck 

Friday, April 2, 2010

A mis-adventurous Cycle trip to India Gate

It all started with an 'impulse'. The room of my friends was pretty calm when I broke the silence with my uncalled-for baritone. "What are you guys going to do today? If not too busy, let’s go to India Gate". I was quite ecstatic about it but couldn’t find the same enthusiasm in anyone of them (RC, RN, DM, I refrain from taking their names lest they should mind it). I even got into an argument ‘to go or not to go’ which, needless to say, I lost, as I always do. This incident was one more confirmatory evidence in my 'why I won't make a good manager' list. I mean, if I can't persuade 3 people for a thing which they are most likely to enjoy, how am I supposed to persuade or motivate 300 people as a manager for a job which most of them would hate to do; Tough life ahead.
But it was really hard to sit on my bums once the idea made inroads in my mind. After all, sitting with your lappy cant be more fun than roaming around. And so here I was, all set to set off for India gate. Google maps come handy for you get exact route and the distance you are supposed to cover. With a large shot of glucose to support my muscles, I started my night safari at around 8:30.
The initial few kilometers were most trying as the muscles were not used to that kinda exertion, the rest of it was relatively easy. Its something like your semester exams, the first two papers play havoc with your mind, body and sleep, for the remaining ones, well....., you get used to it.
It was fairly a straight route with not much loops and hoops to bewilder me. I was there at around 9:30 but the place was bustling with activity, even at such odd hours. I guess, all were enjoying a nice, no-frills weekend in the heart of Delhi. India gate has become one of the favorite picnic spots for the middle class of Delhi, offering ample space, greenery and a relaxed atmosphere and the fact that so many other people have come there to spend time with their families give a feeling, transient though, that entire Delhi is vacationing and that Nuclear family is still a western concept!
Ice-creams, cold drinks, bhel puri, you name it and its there. And then there is something (if you can call it a toy) which glows with red and blue light, catapulted to sky like a rocket and comes down much like a helicopter. In fact, they are so many in the sky; it appears as if a swarm of giant glow-worms has infested the India Gate.
You can find virtually anything at India Gate except ….. (U guessed it)…. A washroom. It’s kinda strange that so many people come to the place, including foreign tourists for whom The Indian tourism ministry has roped in no less than Aamir Khan under the movement “Atithi Devo Bhavah”, and yet they have failed to spot the dire necessity of a permanent Washroom facility and not an Ad hoc one which closes down by the time the clock hits 7, ironically, the time when people actually start coming. Thankfully, there are sprawling and dimly lit parks all around India gate with dense shrubs and nitrogen deficient plants; you know what I mean.
A mini Ice-cream sundae and a plate of bhel-puri was sufficient to recharge myself and now I was ready to cycle back to Noida, with only one hitch, I didn’t know on which road I parked my cycle out of the 6 almost identical roads. I finally found it on Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg, this time, with a flat rear tire. I was totally screwed up, it was 11 PM and my cycle had a flat tire!! Where am I gonna find a mechanic now? I asked an autowala how much would he take to Noida Sec 82 and he said, “300!”(the max I had was Rs 104). I wasn’t willing to shell out such a ridiculous amount of money (despite my vulnerable circumstances!) for a trip which otherwise would cost half the price or even lesser.
I called my friend Lokesh for some cool advice. He suggested that there are few routes on which buses ply round the clock. I didn’t know and neither did he, but why not try my luck to find a bus which may drop me somewhere near noida. I had to reach ITO (Income Tax Office) for that, which was quite easy but would have been a daunting task if it wasn’t a cool breezy night. I reached ITO and a good and a bad news awaited me. The bad news – there wasn’t any bus at that time to anywhere near Noida and the good news was – an Autowala told me that there was a sardarji near Pragati Maidan metro station who fixes punctures all through the night. That was a ray of hope. In fact all my heaviness and despair vanished in a snap and I even started singing some peppy numbers of bollywood like, “piya tu ab to aaja”, “jeene ke hain chaar din” and likewise. However, on reaching there, I came to know that sardarji had left an hour before due to some reasons and would only come back at 6 in the morning; I couldn’t wait that long. Dejected, I made a return tourney to ITO when, at one of the traffic lights, I met a guy (whose name, unfortunately, I can’t recall) from Amity doing MBA (general) with me. He helped me negotiating the price with the Auto walas and finally we struck a deal with one of them – 100 bucks (which was 4 Rs lesser than I had) while sharing the auto till Noida Sec 37. It was a real pain to mount the cycle in the auto but once inside, the rest of the ride was easy (of course, comparatively). In the meanwhile I tried to convince the driver to drop me till my home (i.e. Vivvek Vihar, sec 82) and not till Sec 37, to which he, thankfully, agreed. And this is how my out-and-out mis-adventurous trip to India Gate ended. I paid the driver Rs 100 plus a tip of Rs 4.!!!