Date: 27th August 2012
2nd Lap: Sambalpur- Bargarh-Patewa-Raipur (300Km approx.)
Waking up 7:00am in a room that has its roof dripping on one side and wet floor beneath your bed is not a pleasant sight, first thing in the morning. But did I have any option the previous night, when I was red, wet, dirty, tired and hungry? I don’t think so! To top everything off, the hooker who was ready to jump on me the instance I would have said yes, was definitely a very scary situation that I didn’t want to think about. Today I wanted to go as far as possible but then why not go and stay with Rahul for the night as I told him last year itself that if I would cross Raipur in any of my road-trip, I would stay at his place for at least a night.
I know, I know, you must be thinking that this man woke up at 7:00 and left at 1:00 in the noon, what was I busy with for so long??
“Hell!!! I have to pack up, load and move, better get going Raj!”
That was what went into my mind after I decided that I am going to see Rahul and spend the night at his place in Raipur.
At night I didn’t wash my jeans though but just beat off the dried mud off it, which left it with a very powder like a coat of soil that would not go even if I gave it to the dry cleaners. Spoiling the other jeans was not an option, so packing it up was the first thing to be done along with the other red oxide laundry. Packing done, riding gear ready, time to load and roll. I called the attendant, the boy was a bit more scared than last night.
“The hooker must have bashed him up for making her night have a bad deal,” I thought to myself.
The boy took the bags and I walked behind him with my helmet and other accessories, which I didn’t want to carry down with me on my own with the other things that were up in my room. He carefully kept all my stuff on the table next to my babe, and stood silently for my next command may be. I told him to go and he shall be called if so required. The boy walked off quietly. It was time for me to load up all the things and then get dressed and get going to have lunch with Rahul. It was already 8:30.
All loaded, covered and tied up to perfection. I turned and went up to my room, there was still a little packing to be done after finally freshing up; one last time. All small things that could have fitted in my tank bag were settled, the camera pouch was to be worn at the end. Since the jeans was already packed so the knee-guards would be going over my bare knees and shin. Yes, me in my boxers wearing knee-guards and the track-pants made by thin parachute material to protect my skin from the extremities of weather. The expandable T-shirt was the only linen beneath the body armor I was to put and over that it was the red old hoodie. The rain-pants were resting in peace, in the garbage bin for they were torn and dirty to be of any use, anymore.
So Raj all loaded to roll, went out the room, locked and down at the parking lot. I pulled the babe off her main stand and out under the open sky. The best start of the day, the front tyre was again inflated. There was definitely something wrong because the previous day the same tyre was inflated and repaired. No other option but to detach the tyre and get it fixed. I got my tool-kit out and removed the tyre promptly. The shop that fixes punctured tyres is at a walking distance, that’s what the boy at the hotel reception told me. Walking distance my @$$, it was a good long stretch of a kilometer. The repair guy was amused to see me there, maybe it was my attire. We removed the tyre from the wheel and pulled out the tube, the tube was old and would not run anymore for long. He suggested that we replace the tube with a fresh one. There was a shop nearby, which kept tyres and tubes on the way whilst I rolled the tyre to the repair shop. Immediately went and bought a tube and voila, 15 minutes and the replacement is done, old tube is fixed for spare usage, if so required.
Already 11:30am but going back to the lodge was very fun as there won’t be a flat tyre anymore, on its own. Little did I anticipate what was awaiting right next to my babe. Reached, fixed, checked and confirmed the fitting of the screw on every bolt that kept the apparatus in its place. Can’t take a chance on the open highway. Time to wash my dirty hands and rinse my face before I put on the balaclava and helmet to leave. I looked around and no one was there, yelling at these scenes help.
“Koi hai kya?” (Someone there?)
“Jee sahab!” (yes, sir!)
The hooker from last night, but in far sober cloths than the night. I was taken aback, what is she doing here?
“Kya chahiye saahab?” (What do you want, Sir?)
“Haanth-munh dhona hai. Paani chahiye.” (I need to water to freshen up.)
“Aaiye sahab.” (Please follow me, Sir)
Reluctantly I followed her. She led me to another corner of the lodge where a bucket full of water and a mug was kept, a tidy corner to be precise. She filled the mug with water and gestured me to come forward and take her help. It was cold, very cold water but refreshing. I thanked her and she just smiled and said;
“Aap acche aadmi hain sahab.” (You are a good man.)
That was a compliment I heard after a very long time. I smiled in reciprocation and walked back to my babe. Got ready and rode out, she shouted;
“Thik se jana saheb.” (Go safely.)
For the first 200km I rode without taking a break and halted right 100km before Raipur to take a little break and let some blood flow through my sore buttocks. I called Rahul and told him that it will take me another 3 hours to reach. The landscape around me was barren fields, nothing was sown there to reap. Pity, such huge chunk of land and no agricultural activities, but that has to be due to the apathy of the government. The break was over and I continued towards Raipur till someone in an old Ambassador car didn’t overtake me to slow me down. I stopped and they indicated towards the rear of my babe. I looked and noticed that my umbrella was almost at the point from where it could have dropped off the edge without even making a noise. I smiled and waved at them, and they did they same before accelerating away.
At 8:00pm I reached to the largest mall right before Raipur where Rahul asked me to reach and call him. I reached and called him, and he was fast to ride down to the mall within 5 minutes. This guy is punctual all the time, every time. He came and was astonished to see the way I appeared in real on the babe. Till now he only saw the pictures. He asked me if I would like to eat first and then go home or go home, freshen up and then come for dinner. No more rides for me that day so I took the first offer. We rode to the nearby Dhaba, an ordered the fine delicacy made of cheese and potatoes. It really felt good to be with a friend over a meal in a long lonely ride.
After dinner we rode straight to him place, a nice 2 bed-room, 1 sitting-room, kitchen, covered garage area but bit far from the highway. Never mind all that, I was at my friend’s place who is more like my own brother. I parked the babe and removed only those things, which were necessary for the night. Rahul’s room mates were very kind to let me into their shared house and stay for the night. Once inside and done with my shower, we chatted till 1 in the night before we all went to sleep.
I really appreciate Rahul for coming to receive me and hosting me at his place. His roomies are no doubt, excellent. However, I should have stayed a bit longer in Sambalpur and chatted with the young lady (won’t call her a hooker anymore) to know the side of her story, which seemed way too different than the previous night.
A very friendly fruitful day went by but a long ride was still ahead in a couple of hours.