GMail Priority Inbox

Its another 4-5days of wait before Priority Inbox feature of GMail is unveiled. This feature looks to be most promising feature of GMail after the concept of clubbing mails into thread. The threading feature made it easy for reading chain mails.
This algorithm in their video promises to improve with time. Check the nice video for more.

Delhi 2 Bangalore

For the first part of the trip from Delhi towards Leh, click here & here & here & here.

13th August, I took my bike to Gurdial Auto Works @ Karol Bagh in Delhi for a quick service before I start on my trip down till Bangalore. The mechanic fixed new clutch plates, cleaned the decompresser, cleaned the carburettor. Filled up some more engine oil.

He: acha hua aap idar aagaye (Good you came here)
Me: kyon (why)
He: Bangalore me koyi dang ka mechanic nahin hai (there are no good mechanics in Bangalore)

After all servicing and payment. He was of the opinion that I shouldn’t ride till Bangalore since my vehicle drinks lot of oil and there will be short circuit. If its 200kms or inside Delhi city its ok, not otherwise. You need to change piston rings, get a new bore and fix it.
If he is the best mechanic in India then am the best bullet rider in India. For such a situation of vehicle I managed in the end to ride 2600kms without any issue. Am not the best rider in town and so he is not the best mechanic.

This is something I have noticed of many Punjabi’s that I have met in my journey’s. No doubt they are very friendly and affectionate and with lot of passion. But some of them have this attitude that Indians are good for nothing. They only thing they are good is in producing kids. Everyone except them are dumb and they are the best. They are proud to talk about themselves and show what they have done in the past.

After all the servicing, in the evening we walk down to have chaat and yes we had it. Little did I realise that that was the starting point. Within time my stomach got upset and my system got screwed up badly. I was unable to eat any further anything and dinner was just curd rice.

    Delhi to Jaipur: 14th August:


Route: Once you leave Delhi head towards Gurgoan and continue on NH8. There is lot traffic in this stretch. 270kms approximately.
After crossing Gurgoan, there was huge pile up of vehicles and I hustled my way through all vehicles. In this my bag got stuck to side of truck and fell down and side part was torn off. I put the bag back on carrier and fastened it. And squeezed my way through. This was for a distance of 20kms and reason an accident.
Further down when I was riding inside Rajasthan, my bike suddenly stopped. I tried to start and it refused. I understood what the problem was. I pushed my bike for 3kms, yes with all the luggage and all alone. Luckily found a garage where there were servicing trucks and jeeps. I stopped, crossed over and asked for electrician. I told him the problem after initial reluctance agreed to help me out. I told him the steps and the soldering of the wire connected to ignition coil had come off. This was soldered and he refused to take money.

He: Aap se paisa nahin loonga (I wont take money from you)
Me: kya baat karthe ho (what are you saying)
He: Aap pareshani se mere paas aaye (you came to me in distress)
Me: tho (so)
He: Aap ki madad karne se dil kush ho gaya (my heart feels content in having helped you)
Me: thank you

Inside Jaipur I asked an auto guy for way to hotel and suddenly one guy pounced out and offered to take me to hotel “Hotel Sanu” near the market place. He wanted Rs.20/- and bargained and later gave him that for bringing my luggage into the room.

Jaipur was not the same. There are petrol stations just outside the Jaipur gate and there was nothing pink about the city. Get out into the side streets there is garbage all over and smells so yukky.

    Jaipur to Udaipur: 15th August:


I wished the Hotel Sanu receptionist (guy from Orissa working here) since it was Independence Day and he didn’t even acknowledge. It seemed as if independence was immaterial to him. JAI HIND.
Route: From Jaipur continue on NH8 in the direction of Ajmer. Before Kishangarh take a left turn into NH79A. Few kms down it joins NH79. From Chittaurgarh it joins NH76 and into Udaipur. 415kms.
The ride was awesome. I met bus full of Gujarati’s near Kishangarh and talked to them. Moment I started talking, all the guys inside the bus were around me. One rushed to get me tea and poori. Another gave me tips on the route. They were so happy and they felt it was an honour to talk to me. In reality I felt the other way around. Such a sharp contrast between Delhi and these people. They all waved me goodbye and waited till I started on my journey.
Udaipur looked to be more beautiful city than Jaipur. Little smaller and cleaner. I checked into “Hotel Gokul Palace” near the bus stand. Always bargain for better room prices. Do not go by what they quote. It was damn hot during the entire day. Today I managed to have a meal in the noon and my stomach was still upset.
Next day I woke up early in the morning around 5:00am and went into the old parts of town in the direction of city palace. The houses, the lanes, the lake all actually give a feel of Venice. Its for no dumb reason that Udaipur is equated to Venice of east.
There are lot of shops catering to the Western tourists. Gives a feel that many travellers here are either from Europe or Israel.
My stomach started to give me problems again forcing me to return to the hotel. After a sound nap when I woke up it was raining heavily. Rest of the day I was forced to remain indoors. And I couldn’t take a walk again to have a look inside the City Palace.
Sankalp is a South Indian Restaurant and going by the crowd here, looks like people like South Indian food especially dosa and idlli. This is priced on the higher side and is definitely not a value for money restaurant. They do have branches in lot of cities around Gujarat and Maharashtra.

    Udaipur to Daman: 17th August:


Route: NH8 from Udaipur till Mumbai via Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Alternatively one can head towards Godhra and reach Vadodara. There is an expressway from Ahmedabad to Vadodara but this is only for cars. At Vapi turn right to Daman. Turn left and you are into Silvassa another Union Territory. 640kms.
Though we call Daman & Diu, both are seperated by a distance of 300kms on road. The other way is through sea.

The stretch is pretty scenic and earlier day’s rains just enriched the greenery. The roads have been laid by cutting through the mountains and this is pretty much evident. Kids walk long distance to go to school. Not much traffic on Rajasthan side. One guy who walking to work stopped, talked to me and even explained a bit of his work too. Another on cycle waved to me and wished me. Everytime I stop my bike for a break there will be kids around eagerly waiting for me to take my camera out and click their pictures. Of late I stopped clicking pictures of these kids except on occasions.
Once I cross Rajasthan into Gujarat there is lot of traffic. People in both these States of India are very friendly. “Athithi Devo Bhava”.
The entry to Daman is not what one would expect. There are no roads and only gravel. A left turn would take you to Moti Daman and continuing straight would lead to Nani Daman. I stayed in Nani Daman at “Hotel Holidays”. Not the best of hotels. But everywhere I could bargain for a lesser price. I would not recommend this hotel though. I found about three cockroaches in the room. Hopefully nothing beyond that.

Following day woke up early as usual to the sound of water only that it was raining. Slept again and when I went for breakfast around 9:00am it was still raining. Its amazing feeling to watch rain with glass of tea in hand. And drops of raining falling on you flowing with the wind. After watching the rains for 1hr nothing much to do but to retreat into the bed. When the rain did stop I took my bag and went walking around the town. Man, it was humid aggravated by the rains.
Moti Daman is very quite place compared to Nani Daman. The entire population of Moti Daman resides inside the fort. The inside of the fort is designed in such a way that entire town would be inside. Properly planned layout of residential area, police, court, hospital. A visit to Jampore beach is a must. Walking around the fort is not all that good idea with the area being 36000square meters. Maybe someday when it is not raining I would return to this place to walk around the entire fort.
There is a fort in Nani Daman which is very smelly inspite a church being inside the fort. Devka beach is not as beautiful as Jampore. Nani Daman is more noisy. I had planned for some sunset shots but it started raining again in sometime, forcing me back to room.

    Daman to Bangalore: 19th August:


Route: Reach Vapi and get onto NH8. Continue on NH8 till Godbhundar. Turn left into Thane and proceed towards Kalwa Bridge. Turn right after that towards Panvel. Its one straight road. Finally turns left into NH4 towards Pune. Do not leave NH4. Cross Satara, Kolhapur, Belgavi, Hubbali, Davengere, Chitradurga, Tumkur.
Distance: 1250kms. Travel days: 2 Night halt: Gold Star, Kolhapur.

NH8 roads towards Mumbai have been damaged due to rains and fresh laying is also happening. The traffic is also heavy that its not a fast moving highway. Godbhundar is signified by a very big river that flows out there. With good amount of rainfall and raining at that time of travel it was a magnificent view. It looked really majestic.
On reaching NH4, bikes are not allowed on expressway so I continue on NH4 and at Lonavala for few kms one would get onto the expressway and have to leave at the Lonavala junction. Since this was the first time on this highway for me, I was confused when I got into expressway and did not know how to get out. I see an luggage carrier auto in front of me. I go by his side and stop him.

Me: Expressway me kaise aagaye, nahin aane ka (How did you get into expressway, you are not supposed to come here)
He: {gets tensed and thinks am an officer} nahin saab galti se aagaya (came into this by mistake)
Me: bahar kaise jaoge (how will you go out of expressway)
He: saab udar poochoonga, galti ho gayi saab (i will ask there, mistake happened sir)
Me: ok

Then I also got to know how to get out of the expressway into NH4 again and I continued my journey. From Kolhapur after night’s sleep finally my stomach seemed to be doing better. Almost 6 days of being upset made me lose appetite and managed with just a meal a day.
And I met Nash of IndiThumpers who was riding solo to Velankanni. We both continued on the journey together. Between Davengere and Chitradurga construction activity is still ongoing. After Tumkur, got into Nice Road to reach Bannerghatta Road much faster and avoiding all the traffic.

Upset stomach did not mean that I missed good food on the way. Kichadi and kadi in Rajasthan. Dokhla in Gujarat. Poha and vada paav in Maharashtra.

Click here for photos.

Trip to Leh – Part 4

The last part of Delhi – Leh – Delhi Trip that was planned but did not happen. To read the third part of the series, click here.

    Day 10

, was spent in lazying around in the bed. A slow breakfast at a Tibetian joint. Tibetian bread with butter and Kissan Jam was awesome. Tibet herbal tea is what my mom makes and serves when we have cold and fever. Down south its called kashayam. Time for some more rest and some more rest. And of course it was raining outside this time even during the day. It wasnt pouring but still was a lazy feeling to go out. Later in the evening finally decided to go to Old Manali.

    Day 11

, bags were packed again and plan was to reach Chandigarh by evening. Then enroute a small change to reach Ambala. But rains decided otherwise. It was not easy to ride down the mountains in the rain, but there were no options are alternatives. The only option was to ride since we had quite a distance to cover. Finally this time though we had good lunch at a dhaba. As time progressed both Ambala and Chandigarh looked out of reach and we settled for the night in a dingy hotel at Pinjore.

    Day 12

, with no further wastage of time we headed to Delhi. On reaching Delhi we made a small mistake of heading to New Delhi railway station. For this we had to bike through the traffic of Old Delhi. Anyone familiar with Delhi would advise against this. After 30minutes through the traffic I was struggling to breathe. The pollution level is really high. We moved over to another lane went about a km parked my bike and panted for 10minutes. Finally I was able to get some oxygen back into blood. While others went to look for hotel and found “Hotel Southern” at Karol Bagh, I pushed Anand’s bike for 1kms since it refused to start. My bro came back and they both towed the bike to the hotel.

This trip was most adventurous. While last year during monsoon ride I faced tough situations it was nothing compared to in this ride. There were lot of learnings during the ride. We had all parts in this trip, fluctuations of moods. On 12th August when we got into hotel there was sigh of relief and happiness on faces of others. I was preparing myself for the next leg of the journey.
That we were unable to reach Leh this year does not mean we wont try again, we would plan again for a trip next year.

Though not affected by the floods, an understanding of the situation stems from the fact we were stranded in our paths on all directions. Another direction which we could have tried but did not was due to the riots in Kashmir. May peace return to the valley soon. And people have a good time in future. Let there be no more such floods which affects not only the people but also the army and overall economy. The amount of goods that got wasted led to loss for not only farmers but also other distributors.

If you are on facebook do your best in contributing to the efforts of providing shelter to those homeless people in Ladakh region. Click here. Alternatively you could also follow this link, click here. Let us help those in need.

Click here for photos.

Trip to Leh – Part 3

To read the second part of the exciting trip, click here.

    Seventh day

morning was not a good day to begin with. Open the tap and only hiss sound came out. Current was there, no issues but no water. Finally my brother managed to hunt down the room for motor and got his leg cut but not able to switch on the motor. When we got around to the guy in the guesthouse, he switched on the motor. Even after 30minutes no water only to realise other occupant had left the tap open! Hope people realise that you cannot behave like tourist in such villages. Respect the place, people and be respected. Water on taps finally. We get refreshed quickly and pack our bags, load the bikes and start on towards Koksar. The route is from Koksar to Gramphoo and turn left to Spiti Valley. If you go straight it leads to Rohtang Pass and back to Manali.
Enroute some photos and maggi breakfast at Koksar. My friend’s bike and my bike by default headed towards Rohtang. It had got used to that stretch that it wanted to be there again. We turned left to Spiti Valley.
This is not tourists paradise. This is a valley where you will find trekkers, hikers and adventure enthusiasts. People who love and want adventure. You cannot expect cozy life once here. Some stretches where roads split and you will get confused which one to take. No one around to ask.
We had to cross streams of water on the way. Apparently three of them are called “Paagal Naala” for the force with which they flow down. We crossed two such streams. With my damaged leg, my bro had to take the bike out while I helped in pushing the bikes out along with others. The water not only flows with such a force that it can drag you along, its damn cold that it freezes your legs. After crossing this paagal naala we removed our shoes and socks, rubbed our feet dry.
A bus which passed by every passenger including the driver waved at us, till they were out of sight in the next turn. People in trucks, trekkers, waved at us. We even danced a bit here to lighten the mood.
In one such stream of water I fell down yet again, third time so far in the trip. Luckily no injury anywhere on my body and none to my bike also. After 100kms of riding we reached Batal. This place is not a village nor a town. Its just a transit point. One shop with bunkers run by Buddhist (referred affectionately as Chacha and Chachi) and another by the working class. So damn cold that they kept stove near our legs for heat and comfort. Nice maggis and good bunkers to sleep on. As for toilets, do not even ask. Just go out in the open and return. No electricity so keep torches with you.
In the bunker we stayed, there is this guy Vikki who is like a caretaker. All that he is interested is in alcohol and money. Moment you give them to him you wont find him again.
I would recommend to stay at the place run by chacha and chachi.
This is alovely place but. Mountains towering on all sides and river flowing by side making loud noise. And chilly winds. Hot tasty food is available, so is pepsi, lays chips and anything you want.

    Eight day

, we plan to go ahead towards Kaza and way down to Shimla. We heard of bad stretches before Kaza but we were brimming with confidence and having crossed this stretch to Batal. When we sat on bikes and started, one of the bike had a flat. What else to do. Remove everything and check the options. We had all the tools except the foot pump to fill air. We remove the wheel, tying it other bike, the plan is to take it to Losar and get it fixed. After 1hr, guys return. The stretch further up is still bad, between Losar to Kaza would take another 2 days to be cleared. And no mechanic so the tyre cant be fixed. We put the tyre back and check out on options.
Finally we decide, we cant separate out, lets take all the bikes down to Manali by truck. We call up our contacts through BSNL Satellite Communication, Rs.6/- per minute. The only phone in Batal. In the meantime we meet other set of guys who are dropping off a group of trekkers at Losar. We talk to them and things are arranged for our pick up next day morning.
Rest of the day is spent laughing on myself over my falls three times in the trip. Of course I cannot forget making fun of the guy.

He: Jitna bhi piyo, bahar jaane se sab utarega. (How much ever you drink when you go out it goes off)
Me: Phir peete kyon?

    Ninth day

, by the time we come out of the bunker, the trucks are waiting for us. We load our bikes on to it. And a group of trekking guides and a french lady join us in the ride to Manali. I have a long long talk with the French lady during the ride. It was actually interesting to share stories with her and her confidence to trek alone with 6 guys around. Indian girls would never do it. By the end of the journey, I knew almost everything about her, her family, her sister, her boyfriend. Back to Manali by evening and same place “River Bank Inn” for accomodation and infact we got the same room number and at same rate. Of course the hotel staff knew us so cant charge extra.

Click here for photos.

Trip to Leh – Part 2

First part of the trip, click here.

    Fourth day

we started off from Hotel Chaman just as planned. An early morning start to avoid the traffic at Rohtang Pass. This is quite funny actually. All tourists who come to Manali go to Rohtang Pass for what to have a view of snow. Though it was clearly raining throughout. From reports we heard that it starts raining in evening from 7:00pm or so and continues till wee hours of morning. We did experience the same too. This brought with it landslides at Rohtang Pass. Tourists go till Rohtang Pass reach the top click photos and return to Manali.
Few kms from Manali, there was a big patch of mud on the road from last nights rain. I took my arm to signal others to slow down and thud I had a fall. It was second fall and the worst fall. I did not check how bad it was. But my upper right thigh was paining real bad and so was rest of the thigh. I still managed to ride not showing discomfort. Any signs of discomfort would make all others to stay put. Close to Marhi the bad roads started. Seems there were roads there and laid fresh. Due to landslides it was completely covered with feet high mud and converted to slush. It was making riding difficult and an experience. At many places the bike skid what with so much of luggage behind. At worst parts I asked my brother to take the bike out for me. Keeping my leg hanging gave such a pain. Getting onto and out of the bike was getting worse each time too. There were few stretches where the sludge was real bad. With lack of food and heavy pain on thigh it was only worse. A Japanese guy was also travelling the same stretch and a special mention about him. He was not only alone in the ride, the leg rest was also broken and he had to support his leg keeping it on brake pedal.
At one point after Marhi when we were standing by the side lot of traffic was moving up slowly. Due to the slush, traffic had come to halt too. One of the truck guys asked if we wanted to eat. Another truck guy called me inside and there was mini house inside. They were cooking sabji and offered alcohol and nicotine. They were completely equipped.

5kms before Rohtang, unfortunately my bike stopped and refused to start. Same was the case with my friends bike. The clutch plates were gone, burnt out.
Lesson 2: Keep clutch plates also in stock.
There were GREF (General Reserver Engineers Force) officers who had come to the place in the morning for servicing their bulldozer. After knowing that we spoke Tamil, one of the officers Rajasekar came to us and enquired on the situation. There were two possibilities, either take a truck stop go up to Keylong or take a truck to Manali. Decision has to be made in less than 5minutes time. This was also second real-time soft skill training on decision making capabilities.
The first was team work when everyone had to help in pushing each bike out of slush. This way we pushed all four bikes out.
Taking into account all possibilities, I tell them we would go down to Manali. They load our bikes into their truck. We start off from here by 6:30pm. By 8:00pm we leave Marhi after a brief halt for tea. First sip of tea from morning for my friend and myself. Till then we both have had about 3 pieces of wonder cake and a banana. When we reached Manali it was 12:00am, yes midnight. GREF officers went into the hotel “Royal Inn Palace” on Rohtang Road and woke up the hotel staff talked out for room for us. Then they helped in getting down the bikes.

GREF Officer1: Kyon Rohtang aata hai tourists. Idar kuch bhi nahin hai. Baraf nahin hota hai. (Why do tourists come to Rohtang, there is nothing here, no snow)
ME: Kisi ek tourist se poochna idar kyon? (Why dont you ask a tourist why Rohtang)

GREF Officer2: Neenga en Sir Leh ellam vandu kashta padureenga. Naanga thaan inga kashta padurom. (Why do you come to Leh and suffer, we have no other option)
ME: Adan, neenga kashta padureenga nu naanga anubhavika thaan. (We also want to experience the tough times you face out here)

GREF guys real friendly guys, they even offered to take us around town looking for dinner which we politely turned down. We did not want to trouble them anymore. All this and they also refuse to take single penny. They do not allow you to even pay for their tea.
At 1:00am we walked out of hotel and found a restaurant shutters going down with the owner still eating. We explained our story and got a bread omlette for two of us. First meal in the entire day. And the feeling of bread omlette going through the pipe cannot be explained but only experienced.
We did survive the entire day without eating and still managed to lift our bikes up and down and to sit uncomfortably in the truck. In all we had lost all our energies.

    Fifth day morning

, we are now two days behind schedule. While we should have been riding from Keylong on this day we were running to the nearest workshop and got new clutch plates fixed. This time we took additional ones to stock up for later usage.
Rest of the guys moved from Koksar to Keylong on this day and decided to stay put for us to join them. Beyond Keylong there is no network communication and would make it difficult.
By evening, we got our bikes serviced, had good heavy lunch of almost 7 rotis per person and rice. Still we were feeling hungry!! Also got sometime to check my leg. I was limping down the stairs and was able to climb up or go down only one step at a time. My upper thigh had a big clot of blood which was why it was difficult to move it freely. Applied moov ointment and some hot water. Was walking up and down the stairs like a limp, one step at a time. It would take another 4-5 days for healing but cannot relax.
In the evening, we go around town hunting for a truck who would take us to Keylong. We do not want to risk again at Rohtang pass. Moreover my leg would not allow for an easy passage also. On second thought we go to “Bony Sony Motors” in Old Manali. We talk with him and a truck is arranged for us within 15minutes. Thanks to mobile network communication is so fast these days.
Old Manali is a place to go for. You will find maybe zero Indian tourists but you will find only firang tourists. What is there here? Nothing a lane full of shops with boards calling for trekking, skiing, and other adventure activities. No wonder you dont find Indian honeymoon tourists out here.
There are other things to see in and around Old Manali.

    Sixth day

, morning 4:00am. We both are ready. A phone call to Sonu. 4:30am we are on the road on truck to Keylong. While on the truck we actually realise how difficult it is to sit inside cramped for space and with a paining leg. We stop at Marhi for tea and Koksar for breakfast, maggi with eggs. Wow, so great the taste was. Actually maggi’s tastes so damn good in those places.
Just when entering Keylong, my phone rings. Anita calls from Bangalore and enquires where I am and tells me about the situation ahead. Cloud Burst in Leh. Thanks to her for the warning.
We are welcomed at “Nalwa Guesthouse” with claps all around. And there is no current in the village. And looking out from the guesthouse towards Monastery up on the mountains and the mountains beyond is a view just beyond words.
Three days behind schedule is what actually made us survive, looks so at the end of the day. If there were no delays GOD knows where we would have been and in what shape. Like they say, “Everything happens for ones own good”.

Post lunch we strategise our next plan of action. Now that the route up to Leh is closed for another few more days, the next option is to go down via Rohtang Pass. But a strike of wave and we decide to do the Spiti Valley. Let us go somewhere we have not gone and also make a different tour, so what if we did not get Leh’ed.

We meet a lady with German accent who enlightened as to why cloud burst happened in Leh. China took over Tibet and they cut all the trees over there for development of road & rail infrastructure. Due to this, unprecedented rains are observed all over the Himalayan range in India!! We were about to laugh but the topic got changed to MNS in Mangalore and women oppression.

Night was complete entertainment. We walked into a restaurant for dinner. Two guys started talking with me. We built up a nice conversation and where laughing all over. Another table of diners were very serious and didnt smile still. Now we asked for fork and got to know its hindi name. Then I sing loud “Kaanta lagaa aa aa”. The entire restaurant started laughing including the serious table. The lady who was making food also burst out laughing. Everytime we asked for fork, they would give and sing kaanta lagaa.
Around 9:00pm the current came and we all started clapping and shouting. The place looked very lively in just few hours.

Click here for photos.

Trip to Leh – Part 1

Yes, we did not get Leh’ed like others proudly write and talk about. We were in a way lucky to have got delayed in our journey towards Leh from Delhi. We were in a way unfortunate to have missed the extra bus of excitement if we were travelling on schedule. In the end we had a different kind of excitement and adventure which most other people missed out. We had fun, we had our tense moments, we had moments of depression, we had moments of dance on the roads.

In the train journey from Chennai to Delhi on TamilNadu Express we kept eating like anything, little did we know that would have been last times of hogging. Once we got down in Delhi, we got into Ginger Yatri Nivas Hotel and occupied half the space in the restaurant. Had a good breakfast and took the bikes from the parcel office. Checked the bikes, added small carrier to another bike at Karol Bagh.

By 2:00pm we were on the road towards Ambala. A brief halt for food. Remember don’t think you would get non-vegetarian food on this stretch. Most of the dhabas are pure vegetarians, no egg’s too. When we reached Ambala, we checked into Hotel Royal Place. We were on schedule.

    Second day

was a delayed start from Ambala, and we went hunting for ATM to withdraw some cash. Finally an ATM where we could take money. This city has Fun Cinemas multiplex too!!
It was almost 10:00am when we left Ambala limits. We had to reach Manali but then we did not take the route towards Chandigarh. We took a longer route via Dodhara, Rupanagar. Just after Ambala at the petrol station when checking tyre pressure we found that in one of the bikes, the tyre was getting cut due to hitting against a nail at every hump or pothole. This took another 2hrs of our time. In the meantime we finished our brunch too.
This route that we took towards Ludhiana and another deviation to Rupanagar through Dodhara is really scenic with river flowing by the side. Funny incident was cops told us not to take photo of passing train!!
At this place we had first brush with what might have been in store for us. A river bridge had broken off and we had to wade through sand to get across to other side. Slowly with delay we were losing time and close to Mandi it started pouring. I was having visibility issues and decided to stop riding further and went under the shade of a shop. Others joined out here. But my friend Anand, kept riding ahead in search of what? And he also has visibility issues in the night more when it rains. To top it all.

Niranjan: Anand poitan (Anand went)
Me: Enga (where)
Niranjan: Straight aa poitan (He went straight)
Me: {Given Anand’s visibility issue and the way niranjan said I was like f***} straight aa??

Then I understood he went in the wrong direction and went up straight towards dam.
There was one guy among in this place who started a conversation with me.

He: Aap idar se Mandi ki mod pe jao. theen kilometer ke baad rehne ke liye milega. Acha hai. (You go in the direction of Mandi after 3kms you will find a nice place to stay)
Me: Teek hai (ok)

Since his breath was smelling of alcohol we did not want to be coned like what guys on Chattisgarh side tried with me during New Year. So, we rode in the other direction and later came back to same place which he had mentioned of!! To realise guys in these places are not crooks all that.

It was dark and we could not ride any further forcing us to stay at “Mid-Way Resort”.
This resort is almost like an exact mid-way to Manali. The staff were very friendly here and made sure that everything was comfortable.
Now we were a day behind schedule. We were supposed to reach Manali by night-fall. Here we were mid-way.

    Third day

, we thought we should be able to cross Rohtang. I was aware of the traffic and conditions on Rohtang from people who were there before. Little sceptical but looked like possible. We were still not aware of the conditions completely. About 20kms from Mandi, I had my first fall. I was slowing down for an overtaking truck in opposite direction and the bike behind me touched mine. I lost my balance and fell down. Luckily it was not a bad fall and I didn’t fall with bike on top of me and neither on side of the traffic.
I got up to notice bit of oil leak from the clutch case box.
We continued our ride and decided to fix the leak at Kulu. Now again getting delayed we decided against and to halt at Manali. Lunch was near Kulu by the river side. We were dead hungry since we hadnt eaten anything from morning. We took breaks but no food break till then.
Now it was not only hot but more humid from rains. At Kulu we fixed the bike oil leak. Got a new luggage carrier for another bike. The mechanic Salim is close to them temple after the bridge and reasonable and knowledgeable. While we were fixing the bike others caught on sleep and others bought new sunglasses, only to lose them further down in the journey.
Before entering Manali, there is a GREEN Checkpost. All vehicles with registration outside Himachal Pradesh have to pay this GREEN TOLL. Of course there are some hotel guys also sitting here, whom if you approach would take you to hotel. And our stay happened at “Hotel Chaman”.
New Manali is crowded with lot of Indian Tourists. Every inch is a honeymoon couple flashing bangles and all smiles. Some with tired look on faces. So many honeymoon couples that even a club at a basement of shopping lots is named “Club Honeymoon”, not strictly for couples. Entry at Rs.200/- non-redeemable.
Few firang tourists are also here on this side of town, New Manali to have walk through.
I walked around too with Anand and had ice-creams. And wondering why people do shopping here when everything can be bought in every other city. It was not cheap by any means too, being a touristic place.

Click here for photos.

People during the trip – A Thanks

No trip is complete without a mention of thanks to all those who helped me, who took time to talk to me.

1. Mechanic Seshan, Velachery Chennai. He rectified my engine and made it go the distance it is going since then in many trips.
2. The restaurant @ Ginger Yatri Nivas near Delhi railway station. They allowed us to keep all our luggages while we collected our bikes from parcel office.
3. Mechanic Salim in Kullu who fixed oil leak after the fall I had.
4. Rajasaekar and others working at GREF (General Reserve Engineer Forces) stationed between Manali and Rohtang Pass – Koksar clearing the landslide.
5. Numerous others who pushed our bikes out of slush at Rohtang.
6. Bony Sony Motors in Manali.
7. The truck guys Sonu and Vikki and Mohinder.
8. Mechanic Rahul in Manali.

9. The electrician on highway to Jaipur from Delhi. He works only with trucks and jeeps. I explained what needs to be done and how. He soldered wire to ignition coil and did not charge a penny.
10. A bus full of Gujaratis who shared a cup of tea and poori because I stopped to talk to them.

11. Nash from Mumbai (IndiThumpers) who was riding down solo to Velankanni decided to accompany me till Bangalore.