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Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

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  • Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

    What happens when you decide to ride solo 1600 kms, crossing three states, to witness a friend get into the holy bonds of matrimony! Throw in a roaring bullet, rains, a mundu to handle, and a few niggles here and there. The resulting dish is a mixture of excitement, stronger bonds, tiresome legs, leap of faith, and love for the road.

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    It all started on a rainy day. There I was sitting on a tea shop, sipping probably one of the best tea (Suleimani??) ever, when my friend broke the news. She was getting married soon in the heavenly lands of Kerala. Happiness soon overpowered every emotion and the realization of the inevitable dawned in. The invitation was there of course, plus it was a long weekend. I had always fancied a solo trip to Kerala. The state offers you so much diversity that it is hard not be enticed. Be it be the curvy roads which by the way are a real challenge, the green hills or the vast blue sea, the place has everything. And it was my turn, finally.

    Day 1: Bangalore – Salem – Dindigul – Madurai – Vattakanal

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    I left Bangalore at 4:30 am following my rule of start early and reach early. The bullet was giving me some problems but I was feeling confident. In one’s life, there will always be moments which will demand courage and a leap of faith. This was one such moment. I decided to move ahead and prayed to the Gods for some mercy and care. Soon, the thunderbird was chirruping happily on the highways, and I was enjoying my favorite moment of the day. Sunrises have always looked better on the road and this one was no different. After a few stops to admire the pristine beauty and basking in the fresh sunshine, I was soon in Salem by 7 am. It was time for some breakfast and what better place than the Sarvanna Bhawan. A 45 mins break to enjoy the delicious food and I was back on the road. The next stop was Dindigul where I had initially planned to take a right turn towards Kodaikanal. But as luck would have it, I was near Dindigul by 10 am and saw a board which mentioned Madurai as only 40 odd kms apart. The travel spirits took over and I decided to give Madurai a visit. An hour later, I was in maddening traffic and scorching heat but the sight of Meenakshi temple helped sooth the mood. A few minutes at the temple and it was time to head to Kodaikanal. The ghat roads awaited and I was excited.

    It was 2 o’clock when the ghat section welcomed me. Merrily I embarked on the curves one after the other. However, an hour later, I realized that I had over-hyped the entire thing in my head. Crazy buses with even crazy bikers flocked the road and it made the entire experience not so great. I have always loved the Ooty, Valparai, Yelagiri, and the Wayanad - Kozhikode ghat stretches but this one was getting on my nerves. I prayed it to end soon and soon it did. Reached Kodaikanal and the thunderbird informed that she needed a breather too. Thankfully, I found a bullet mechanic right at the beginning of the town and sprayed the chain lube. It was 4:30 when I reached my stay for the day at Kodai Haven. The place did not disappoint, and soon I was in the midst of cloud and lights. The valley view from this place is excellent to say the least. Had my dinner and was tucked in by 9:30 pm. The Odo had read 609 kms and it was already my biggest single day bike ride. Busier moments were in store the next day, and I couldn’t wait.

    Day 2: Vattakanal – Theni – Kumli – Kayamkulam

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    I left Vattakanal at 7:30 am to continue my journey towards Kayamkulam. This is the part I was looking most to since I had heard a lot of praises for the Kumli stretch. But it seems my bullet was not in such a good mood. Close to Theni, few of the niggles made themselves highly apparent. Fortunately, I could find a Royal Enfield showroom nearby. I was informed that there was no problem apart from the alloys which were bent. This was the turning point of the trip because I had a ghat stretch ahead of me and a good 800 kms before I could reach back to Bangalore. Though unconvinced, I asked the mechanics to check and confirm if there was any other problem. When they were convinced that there was nothing else wrong, I decided to continue. I cursed my decision to get alloys but was adamant to finish what I started. I wanted this to be a tail of victory and courage, rather than losing and giving up.
    Soon the broad roads gave rise to narrow one, and I was staring at green hills. It had started to drizzle and right then was my moment of letting the tension go, and believing in my decision. The cool winds and whispering forests helped and soon I was traversing the lush green surroundings. There was renewed hope and excitement, and I was singing to the tunes again.
    The tunes turn into horns as I entered the busy town lanes. Too many vehicles on the narrow roads, I was soon sweating. I decided to take a deviation which passed through less popular roads rather than the highway. Turned out to be a good decision, as I was making good time. Come 4 o clock, and I was at my destination. Checked into my hotel and took a deserved nap. The evening was welcoming when I met my friends. It was so much different than I am used to. Prayers, blessings and calm complemented this evening filled with tradition and warmth. The discussion won’t be complete without the mention of the pretty ladies I interacted with that day. It was an interesting evening.

    Day 3: The Wedding and Kochi

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    And the day had arrived. The significance of this day has baffled both the mortals and immortals alike. It was the day my friend was getting married and I was so looking forward. I had already decided to blend in as much as I can. The getup was all set and it was my first day struggling with the mundu. It was my first tryst with it and believe me it wasn’t easy. God bless the soul who created belts and I have never been more grateful. Anyway, all struggles aside, driving a mundu in a bullet and mundu did gave a different feeling all together.
    The ceremony couldn’t have been more beautiful. The bride was grace and prettiness personified, and the groom complimented with his elegance. It was a short albeit sweet ceremony. The couple was blessed by the relatives and friends alike and all were treated to sumptuous food.
    It was 3 o clock when I decided to start my journey back to Bangalore. Decided to visit one of the beaches at Kochi to refresh myself and what a decision it was. Spent some on the serenity of Mararikulam beach and spend the night at Ernakulam.

    Day 4: 550 kms to Bangalore

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    There were noticeable problems with the bike’s fork the moment I started from Kayamkulam. Luck was on my side when I saw another Royal Enfield service center. Discussed a few things on the longevity of the problem and was convinced enough to continue. It was at this moment the rain Gods decided to have mercy on me. I love how the experience and the landscape transform themselves with just the right amount of rain. Although, the broken roads after Thrissur were a pain, but soon I crossed into TamilNadu and there was great tarmac all around. However, the landscape took a drastic dip and there was scorching heat. Decided to zoom all the way till Saravana Bhawan in Salem. As always, good food lifted my spirits and I was on my way to Bangalore. Come 6 pm, and I was sipping hot tea at my favourite spot. A sense of achievement rolled in and it soon took away all the tiredness.

    This trip was important on so many different levels. First, it helped me overcome the big entry barrier towards longer road trips. This was my first big solo trip and I couldn’t have chosen a better setting. Second is definitely the bond of friendship which only grew stronger after the trip. And last but not the least, I felt better as a rider and now have the confidence to take on bigger challenges.

    Ride Safe, Ride Hard!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by joabhi; 12-29-2016, 03:12 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

    Travelogue Approved
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    Give your details here if you want to help your fellow xBhpian stranded in your city

    Touring Blog: Cycling in Mongolia!


    • #3
      Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

      Nice ride and pics.
      Pulsar 150 DTS-i(2005-present)
      Royal Enfield std 350(2010-2012)Sold
      Pulsar 200NS(2013-present)
      Royal Enfield Bullet Electra(2014-Present)

      Hero Octane(2011-2012)Sold
      Cannondale Trial SL 5(2012-present)


      • #4
        Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

        Dude, was this during the Christmas weekend? I was on the same route till Madurai on the 23rd (Was headed to Tirunelveli). Saw a lot of Bulls on the road, even waved to most of them.


        • #5
          Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

          Nice pics...

          Once I have donned my black helmet, I become anonymous. My face ceases to identify me. My black visor shields others from the rigours of my passing glance while shielding me from their attempts to peer into my soul. I am an anonymous rider shrouded in black. I am no longer a specific self. I am a passing Traveller.


          • #6
            Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

            Nice one. Good pics.
            Hope you go on many more long rides and solo trips.!
            Good luck. Ride safe.


            • #7
              Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

              Originally posted by Jon Niranjan Paul View Post
              Dude, was this during the Christmas weekend? I was on the same route till Madurai on the 23rd (Was headed to Tirunelveli). Saw a lot of Bulls on the road, even waved to most of them.

              This was a few months back in September! Couldn't take the time out to pen down the experience. Better late than never though, right! Also, great to hear that you waved at the riders. Believe me, it feels really good!


              • #8
                Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

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                Solo Rides are Special Rides

                @joabhi ji
                Ride from Cuttack to Manipal University , MahendraGiri- Odisha ,
                Dream > Explore > Discover =Zanskar & Ladakh Bike Ride,
                Deomali -highest peak of Odisha & Duduma Waterfalls
                S3=Sikkim, Sandakphu & Sohra , Ride to NEHAsthan , RIDE TO KISS


                • #9
                  Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

                  Originally posted by sajalsheth View Post

                  Solo Rides are Special Rides

                  @joabhi ji
                  Indeed [MENTION=60815]sajalsheth[/MENTION] ji! Here is to hoping for many more! Cheers!


                  • #10
                    Re: Friendship, Marriage, and the Bullet

                    Nicely put brother!
                    A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.

                    Weekend Rides Around Kolkata
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