How Kutch happened…
Sanju first planted that name in my head. The statistical sound to it was so different that it stayed back to echo in my subconscious till I googled it and reached www.60kph.com. The view from the Outside was cool. I wanted to check out the Inside so went knocking at their door at yahoo groups. Gaurav, the gatekeeper opened with a bouncer @ 180kph asking who you, what for, why us?! My defense was a suitable googly @ 100kph. Voila... the door opened and I was in, cruising @ 60kph
Romancing the Roads! Hmm... with the road in-laced with bouncers. I wondered how the romance would be? Soon I found out. This wasn't going to be the easy, let's ride down the road types. An agnipariksha (trial by fire) was waiting in the form of a long long ride to the Little Rann of Kutch. The scowling faces of my family popped up in my head; IBM was standing there hitting me with an attendance register; incredulous friends were shouting - "Oye paagal hain kya?" (are you mad?) and standing in front of them all was a giggling Sanju. Tugging at my hand saying "chal yaar, main hoon naaa..." (come on buddy, I'm there with you). If all that pressure was not enough, the Kutch virus invaded the emails. The run-up to the D-day saw Kbs of email exchange, several weekday and weekend meetings with Sanju, lots of shopping trips to JC road for spares and a primping for Titli and Dhanno at the Bullet workshop. Hectic it was and I was feeling a bit under the weather.
I had planned a Hit n Run strategy for home. After I finished packing, I quietly told Dad - "I'm leaving for Kutch tomorrow morning". He said calmly "OK, since you have already planned for this, I won't say anything. Next time, you talk about a ride, I will ask for a transfer to my native place". Then came the clincher - "When are you coming back?". I muttered, "in 15 days". The Hit was done! He looked away and turned slowly on his heel without saying one word. And it was time for me to... Run!
Poor dad. With me turning into the local atlas ever since Titli thumped into my life, he must have thought that Kutch was some place I discovered on the outskirts of Bangalore which is why he agreed to it in the first place. 15 days floored him. That was the last time he spoke to me. In fact he continued like that for a few days after my return as well! He's calm now.
PS: The journey from Bangalore to Surat with Sanju, meeting Gaurav & Nicky on the Ahmedabad highway, riding with them to the city, greeting the gang from Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, watching the Ram Gopal Verma's Company setting in Gaurav's pad at Ahmedabad, the logistics team's (Amol, Jay and Anuj) pre-Kutch planning was pretty interesting too. So interesting, that I had written 11 pages on it click here to read it. I'm now leapfrogging from Dec 30 straight to Jan 04.
Woke up next morning with butterflies in my stomach. Excited and eager to ride Titli with all my new friends, I jumped out of the sleeping bag, got ready and was out fiddling with her. (read on)