This day will stand in my memory for times to come, marked the start of the realization of my dream....a Motorcycle trip to Ladakh! This is it, I am going to be meditating in the Himalayas....well I always believe motorcycle riding is a form of meditation, your mind is no more a monkey during the ride!
The last two months were invested in preparation and planning. Me and two of my college friends, babu and bala were planning on this motorcycle trip. I have to thank my company and bosses for accepting my vacation and even accepted the change in plan fron June to July. The initial plan was to do it by end of june, after some difficulties, Babu had to support an emergency at his gujarat branch and Bala was busy stuck between two teams, they got their vacation approved for july end.
I have to thank lots of my friends online/offline, colleagues and my parents for their support and help during the preparation phase... this will be a dedicated post at the end of my travelogue..I think I will complete this trip log unlike all my previous rides which are only in my memories and my pics..after all this is the trip of a lifetime
Coming back to this important Wednesday, my train was at 8:20 from Bangalore to Delhi...been working for the past three years in Bangalore..Bala will reach Delhi from Hyderabad and Babu's house at Noida was the start point of our ride which we called - 'Mission Ladakh 2010'
Its 11am at office....collected a sleeping bag from Vishwa, my colleague, wishes from my team and some group pics just in case!!!! Was running late on some actions and a technical paper for an upcoming conference. After lunch had a discussion regarding the my work and left office 4pm.
Haven't packed my stuff yet and now I have to rush to ITPL to pick up a pair of walkie-talkies, which my colleague and college senior Srinath had agreed to lend for the trip. Lucky to have Mahendra's splendor, reached ITPL by 4:30, this is truly remarkable considering the notorious Bangalore traffic. Picked up the walkie-talkies and left by 4:50 and reached 6, was smiling how lucky I was to have escaped traffic in the onward trip!
Big mistake : Didn't know a reliable cab service, googled and got a booking at the third guy i dialed. Garden city cabs, requested cab at 6:30, they promised by 6:45. The checklist I had prepared was extremely useful. Packed everything and shifted stuff to the entrance by 7 and still no signs of the cab. Got a call from driver, stuck in marathahalli, very far, they don't have any other cab ready! Panic!
15 mins up and he has just reached HAL. Chances of missing train are getting very bright. Was extremely angry with myself, should have booked a better cab the previous day. Bad mistake. Now I am sure I might have missed something.. remembered Bujiv's technique to remember stuff while packing, he starts from toe upwards and recollects items..looked at my foot, shocked to find my indoor rubber slippers still!!!! The hiking boots should have been there, run back to house, change to shoes. Tat was close! Driver calls and he is near. Relived I forget the toe up check completely and wait for the cab eagerly.
My roomie Paddu arrives, cab reaches finally, dump all the stuff and jump to the front seat. Man I had too many things to carry. Four bags : a 40L wildcraft, a travel bag, my Lowepro with camera gear and saddle bags, all filled with stuff for me and lots for Babu and Bala. Four more carry ons : Riding jacket, Helmet, MRF rear tire for Bala, Tent... coming back, the driver dude is too excited to think clearly, asks me how to go to Bangalore City station! No way I will reach in 40mins, suggest him to try the Richmond circle route and shout at him to drive as fast as he could. 7:32 when we started.
Took 20 mins to reach Corporation circle, completely clogged. Lost all hope, now I am beginning to calm down and use the pre-exam technique of holding the palms and counting the pulse. It does work and calms you down. I am planning about a flight travel tomorrow. Driver dude is back to his senses, miraculously he takes the cubbon route and flies through empty roads to reach near Majestic by 8:03. I never knew this route...am I going to make it?
Remembered platform to be 8, but not sure, reached main entry by 8:12. Dumped the cab at parking entrance, porter asks 200rs, no time to bargain....me the driver and the porter, each carry the items and started running to platform 8, the weight of the backpack with tripod and sleeping bags, the camera bag and the tent exhausts me before we reached PF3, still run on, mouth has dried and am moving forward only by momentum... see 8:18 flashing above, climbed up to PF8 and relieved to see Rajdhani waiting. Reach B2 in another minute and dump all stuff.. 400 to the cab for ride plus luggage hauling and 200 to the porter and I sink at my seat, completely exhausted even to move my luggage.
All my co passengers stare at me, panting like a dog and sweating like a pig.. takes me full 15mins to cool down and feel the first effects of the AC working. I reflect upon how lucky I had been and send a few messages to friends. Did it! Started successfully.. man it was one hell of a beginning.