Day 4: Come away with me
The winds from the ghats were strong and chilly and they hit my dried and tired face. My chin itched. Over the past week, I had grown quite a beard. As I glanced in the mirror of the Enfield I was sitting on, I noticed her walk behind me. Dressed in a black sweatshirt, denim shorts and boots, she bought a cup of coffee from over the counter and walked up to me.
“Do you have a light?”
Mentally caught between answering the question in the most macho manner and in sucking in some air, I managed a not-so-weird nod in disagreement. The man beside me however had one and helped the damsel in distress. After a quick drag from the Wills Classic she just lit, she brought the white coloured plastic cup of steaming hot coffee, to her pink lips. A second later, a smile followed and then a glance. Smiling to myself, I took a sip of coffee from my cup. There I was, with a smokin’, hot, chic, on a cold December morning, in the very green, very hilly, very beautiful, Sakleshpur.
The tarmac was in fantastic condition. With yellow fields on either side of the road, I banked along the twists and rode hard on the straight roads that were lined with trees on either side. The air was fresh and the weather was good. But as Shenaz (whom I seem to have forgotten while writing these posts) and I crossed Hassan, a very different landscape greeted us. We were on National Highway 48.
Most national highways bore me quickly. Especially when I am on a bike that isn’t made for cruising at triple digit speeds. At times, I was doing more than 125 kmph and I sensed the instability owing to the cross winds. Then there were times, when I was too bored to and hence did not cross 60 kmph. No matter what I did and how I rode, it seemed as though there was no end at all. As though I was stuck in a Norah Jones music video.
After nearly 170 kms of highway and lunch at a roadside dhaba, we were finally approaching Bangalore. It was just 5, but it had gotten quite dark. Vehicular traffic had also increased. As we took the right onto the Tumkur road, a sense of unfamiliarity began to set in, even though this was Bangalore. Over the past four days, I did not remember seeing a flyover and yet I now was on one that led home. There were numerous times when I was the lone soul on the road, and now, I was stuck in traffic. The air was dusty and polluted. I no longer heard the sound of Shenaz’s engine amidst all the honking on the flyover. I did not want to go back into the city and return to the grind.
A part of me wanted to do a wheelie and jump off the flyover back onto the highway to Mangalore. Stop on the way to meet the hot chic from Sakleshpur and catch that missed sunset at Bekal fort. We would then ride into the wilderness of the Bhagamandala forest and climb all the way up to Talacauvery, where I would sit down on the rock and forget my worries, staring into the beautiful Brahmagiri hills.
As I looked right, instead of the hot smokin’ chic by my side, sat a family of four on a Bajaj Chetak trapped like me in the madness of a thousand red lights.