Life on the fast lane
I alerted the room boy half an hour before our starting time, to get the bill ready. We were ready as per plan and rolled out of the hotel at 4.45 AM. First stop was tea to tackle the long patient ride ahead. We found a shop by a major junction that was quite alive and an old fast number was on. Dancing to the tunes early in the morning, in biking suits, we sipped the tea patiently. It was a comical sight to the rest but we enjoyed it as well!
Our route to reach Chennai was the NH-45 passing through Trichy, Vilupuram and Dindivanam. We were promised about good roads and were already quite happy the way we reached Dindigul from Udumalpet. Until the sun broke in, we had no choice, but to ride patiently in harmony. As the sun slowly appeared, so were the roads in front of me. I could now switch off the lights and judge the roads with confidence. I couldn’t take it patient any longer and started riding at my own pace. We were closing in on Trichy, where we met each other for a tea break.
Beyond Trichy, roads were worse, just like the Salem – Erode stretch that we had to face on our way to Pollachi. I was cursing the guy who led us this way, but not long, the roads were getting better. The highway was open and complete. It was time to have some fun on the empty roads and chose to ride fast until I had enough of it. Exactly as the odo read 200 kays from start of the day, I stopped to sync up with Allen. Searching for a shady location, I found a small hut where I asked for permission to rest outside for a few minutes. The old lady was very glad to let me and the way she responded made me feel like home. Three songs had completed in my iPod and I’d already checked my mails on the phone and had even posted on xBhp. Then comes Allen, slowing down his bike on sighting my bike on the highway.
Allen was surprised that we had done such a long distance since start. We were half complete and it was only 8.45 in the morning. We planned to have breakfast and entered the next town which was about 20 kays from where we were. Searching for a good hotel, we were directed to Vasanta Bhavan, which seemed to be crowded, but at least food was assured to be good. We stuck to the usual dosa/vada menu and a little coffee. I had already received calls from home inquiring where I was. I had plans of Chidambaram on the way back, which I instantly canceled on receiving the call.
Remembering the same tactic as the previous day, we exchanged our rides to help our minds keep occupied after the meal. It was so different to be driving the bull on the highway. I was touching speeds of 110+ for the first time and the feeling was so special. It gave that strong sense of sticking to the ground and that real powerful feel. I waved goodbye to jeeps that had kept pace with me so far and felt very confident through the curves. This bike is a ruler in a reign of its own. The fuel indication on the bike was quite positive and it didn’t need any fuel to reach Chennai. My bike, on the other end was half done. We decided to tank up somewhere near Dindivanam, from where Chennai is pretty close by.
The sun was already right up and the heat was building. It was now becoming quite hard to wait in the hot sun. We bought ourselves some water to drink and tanked up as planned. Getting back to our own rides, the sun forced us to complete the remaining 130 kays as quick as we could. The highway was a boon beyond Dindivanam and I didn’t bother to stop until I spotted a tender coconut stall about 0 kays before Chennai. Allen arrived after I had completed about 2 tender coconuts. The water wasn’t that great after all, but that’s how we people in and around Chennai get it. The small boy who sold us the coconuts was quite energetic and talkative. He asked us so many questions about the bikes and our attire. He was glad to pose for some pictures with us.
Starting from there, we knew there would only be one more stop, a final one to bid farewell. Traffic was increasing as we approached the city. I had to reduce speeds to cooperate with other vehicles and I was finally in a familiar place, Vandalur. I used to take this route to office quite some time back, when the usual roads to work were under construction. I was already feeling as if I was home and halted just before the Chennai bye pass fly over. I waited for Allen at a bus stop as he arrived moments later. We were so happy that the trip had ended with expenses for food, fuel and stay coming to a figure less than 4000 bucks! Glad to have completed the ride safe and happy, we posed for a farewell picture and parted.
I rode home with patience as time was only a little over 2 in the afternoon. On reaching home, I softly honked as the gates opened and I parked the bike and unloaded the things. Just as I stepped away, I turned back to the bike. The way I looked at the bike, I was sure it’d know how much I was in love. I walked into the house imagining all the places I had been, and told to myself, “Kerala, I’m coming for you, again!”