Starting off at about 0500hrs its still dark outside. I have to go the opposite direction for 33kms and I have to retrace back for 33kms on the same path back to reach my initial starting point. I disturb the Sleep of Naanu Singh, to open the locks for me so I can get to the bike and finally hit the road. At first, I have no idea about the roads of Bikaner and I start the journey with the little help from the active people who are out for the jogging. So I finally get to the highway from where I shall be headed to the famous Temple. It was total darkness and the cold was starting to freeze off my fingers. Not in a mood to get my fingers frozen, I just re-adjust the layer of clothes to make them air tight on the cuffs of the jacket near the wrists and the neck. Back on the bike I was enjoying the ride. The fun riding in the night is another adventure. You never know what all is on the side of the road and you just are focussed on your own existence of what you are going through. Be safe and make it to the destination. It was not long that I reached the road where I saw a Tea Stall and I cannot hold myself away from the Hot Tea. It must have been about 40minutes ride for the 33kms.
Tea shop owner was just starting his day and I was his second customer for the day, as there was already someone on the counter waiting for his Tea. Next to the bus stop it was good place to chat a bit. The interaction starts over with – my location of visit and where have i come from and the response towards the questions really makes them more excited about the chat we cover. Finally a Cuppa hot tea arrives. And I warm up myself with the first Tea & a biscuits to fill up my stomach. Asking on the directions to the temple, I was just about 2kms away from the temple. And his finger towards the east gives me a strong directional help. Woow… I m here.
Finishing off the Tea and getting back on the bike, I come across a lady who was carrying a big suitcase, I just intended to offer her a help and with a smile on face, a good start to the day was not far. She was on the bike, and I wondered she was going to walk for 1.8kms with the suitcase in the biting cold.. well, it was all set for her to get the help and she gets a drop till her home. Coming back from Jodhpur to her hometown for the holidays. A little chat was nice, with her inviting me for the Tea in the cold but I just had one and I respectfully told her about my planned journey and we say good bye to each other. Oh, she stops to ask for my name – Mani & introduces herself. And we say bye to each other. Through those empty lanes the ride was so different, I was liking it. Clicking few shots of those streets which I would not have had seen – had I not dropped her. Coming back to the Temple, it was still dark outside.
I parked my bike and I handed my helmet and gloves to the shop outside the temple, The Guy was courteous enough to keep my belongings. I went inside the temple and the morning drums were being played with the rats around all over the place. I walk into the small pathway into the main building where the rats were considered sacred and the whole temple inside have rats who would jump over your feet but will not bite you. Something at first which sure was knocking my head but the fact is, everyone else is there too. So I see the temple and click loads of pictures of those rats and they certainly don’t bother what you are going to do. Of course, I paid the camera fee to click inside.
Coming out again, the daylight was showing up at a good pace. I just was enjoying the drums and the beats of the music with it in a calm place not so crowded at this time and it was sure a moment to watch. Out of the temple, the darkness was no more there. The day as usual outside the temple was about to start. People and life was spurring faster than anything you can imagine, the Temple was getting its share of visitors and the shops getting their customers. I head back to collect my belongings, and I bought the waterbottle at the same time, I saw him getting the fresh milk from the milkman, I order a hot glass of milk.
And a smart well dressed gentleman asks me, where am I coming from – the usual tourist interaction, for a moment he considered me to be a Foreigner !! Do I look like one, He says no one dresses up those biking jackets and the protection and the helmet and then I tell him, its not easy to see people die on Indian roads, when you are off to somewhere, the safety comes first. He got my point and I was going to rush back to Bikaner. It was a nice and not so cold now. I was more relaxed to get back to the ride.
On the way back, there was school bus with kids and they were at a surprise when I vrooooomed across the bus but I slowed down to give it a little more excitement, I started clicking them while riding and they sure got smiles on the faces. A ride together for about 2kms next to the bus was good slow moving moments captured in the frame of my pictures. I rushed back clicking my shadows and the empty smooth roads, it was soon that I reached back Bikaner.
Almost the time to leave, and I ask Didi for a photograph and she asks me what I do, so I told that I keep a track of all my memories capturing those moments and people I meet. I spend the little time with her husband who gave me the places reference to stay in Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. Besides, I havent had a breakfast but I told them that its nearly 9 and I need to rush so the talks were getting frozen in the past memories. We shake hands and I pack my stuff on my bike, I am ready for the next destination. Another 450kms ride.
It was a very homely stay that I enjoyed with these people. I loved the ambiance and the people. The next section of the ride was going to be different than the others. I was more enjoying the moments. Crossing the traffic of the city into the highway, the ride was getting smoother. Soon I was away from the people and into the long desolated roads, where I can just do anything .. yea.. I say anything – It was a mere illusion of being a ride. I can sleep while being on the bike and I do not have worry for anything.
I came across three bicycle kids on the side of the empty road, and they kids just wanted to run away. I called them back – showing some toffees, and there they come, we have good time sharing the names and the stories about them. They come away so far on the bicycle and we clicked some shots. One of them was so enthusiastic, he just wanted to be on the bike, so I capture him in the frames. A small break for me rejuvenating my tired butt. They soon run away as I finish taking the pictures.
Back on the ride, I come across the army trucks, actually a convoy of about 70 trucks with the canons on some of them, it was tough time battling my way across these group of trucks. The part to see in those trucks were the faces of those soldiers who might be leaving there homes or the families and the loved ones. They sure were not excited or not even have a smile or a happy feeling for where they were being taken to. I know I should feel more lucky to see people for what they do and what they get in life. A ride can make me feel almost the whole world in front of my eyes with the emotions going through. My emotions were disturbed with my hunger.
It was nearly 1300hrs and subtle food inside my box, I had to stop on the small road side eating place. Not at all modern. I halt and I get those looks again, firstly the bike, is it an Enfield, where you coming from, a disc brake.. I tell them all and make them know who I m. Wow..
Soon I get to share the talks and I enjoy the meal. Was not so good to eat but I had to fill my stomach without any excuses. I still have a long day to go.
Back on the bike, I was seeing the camels on their own, the trucks and the cars but not a single bike on the whole road since I have been on a highway… ummm…. well the mind is playing games inside my head but who cares, I m just going to ride and let the moments go.
I click and I click and I see some strange birds across the road, the white eagle… ooo – I cant shoot it, I havent got the equipment. Ohhh
I just ride till I realize that my memory card are going to finish over, I switch the card and I empty the card into the portable storage, where I stopped to empty it, the guy walks across me asking, – "Aapko CAT dekhni haii" (Do u wanna see a cat), I was bit shocked, I said CAT – with a little strange expression. He said, he has one. I said fine, lets see your cat. and wow.. he had this small black furry cat.
I start my clicks again and the Cat was not willing to look at me, it was hard but i was enjoying those moments. Possibly the cat feels that he may have brought it out so that he can sell her off. But That was not the case, and the minute he left the cat, she ran so fast, I have never seen a cat run so fast, she was just like bullet. Disappearing inside the house again.
Back on the ride, I come across the small intersection, where I see the kids with their mom and I realized I got some toffees, so I just ask to come over and I offer them the sweet toffees. well, at first who may take it from the stranger but on a bike I, myself am a stranger in this land. I saw Peacocks along with their small peacocks crossing the road and me trying to stop a good distance to capture them… was really a shot for me to re look at it.
It was 1600hrs I reached Jaisalmer. Not going into the city but finding the small cheap hotel to stay in at the very outskirts of the city. I bargained over the over night stay prices and I download all the stuff from my bike into this room, which was not really too good but .. I wasn’t staying here longer than few hours in total. With a brisk talk, the hotel guy wanted to elude me into the talks of his to book the desert camel ride. But I was stubborn for doing it all on myself. The Destination was Khuri for the evening. The first Sand dunes of my life.
It was early evening, with just one meal in the day so far, I pickup the biscuit packs and fill my water quota. And I m going to take my seat again. It sure is getting crazy… I again followed the instructions of a local guy, He asked me if I can drop him, and along with him came his friend too. So I was doing one + 2 on a two wheels. It was a small hitch but it lasted for 5 kms. The talks were endless besides he was a carpenter all the way being in Mumbai and back to his own hometown. Life is an endless game some play it large and some just keep playing it again & again.
The road to Khuri was single lane road at which only one big car can drive at any given time. To ask for a side from a big vehicle could be a pain and I had to go through the pain not once but twice. One army truck blocked me for a long while and I kept on asking for side.. honk – honk – It hardly matters.. Ok… BloooDeey hell.. I go the hard way.. get down the road and pull the gas, no second options.. you have to get pass that truck.. and I just did that. It was scary at first but I knew I want to reach the desert before the sun sets down.
I reached Khuri with sun still around and now, the hunt for the desert location.
I gave another lift to Madan Singh, a nice chap who helped me reach the last point on the road and his village is about 5kms into the desert. I asked him about his home and he got a Camel for me in no time. He borrowed it from a guy – a return favor, I gave him a ride on the bike, now his turn on the Camel. I could Certainly Shout WohOOooo – Loudly.
The view looks amazing.. I would rather want to play in the sand and be a kid… I m sure I wanted to just go and play.
I was on the camel for few mins and off i Come.. playing into the sand… It was one fun, watching the sun set down and people who have come to see the desert all sitting enjoying on the dunes. I was capturing the essence of the first fun. It matched nothing else for me.
The sun was down and the Moon was on the brink of its peak… wow.. I was in no hurry to go back. I spent as much time as I can.
On the return, I and Madan singh exchanged our numbers, for he wants me to come to his home. I m sure I will go again to Jaisalmer and stay with his family. He stays where there is no electricity but the Mobile works… wohoo.. isn’t it fun. It sure is. Take my word for it.
He leaves and the two kids follow along … I told them, I will drop you to the village, and they were excited. They posed for my cam and those two kids were so full of life… Gosh.. I cannot believe – One day and so much to live.
On the way back, It was a full moon.. This is a Fact of life, that me and my travel gets me the most full moon nights.
All under the dark but the moonlit sky was so amazing.. I found one corner on the road and at 2000hrs I was playing with my camera for one hour. In the middle of the strangest place in the world … I was enjoying myself like no where before. It was calm, peaceful and all mine. Not a single man made resource in a distance to where my eyes can see. Life at large.
I reached back to my hotel room and it was 2300hrs.. My jacket was wet due to my sweat and I was trying to keep it airy. I reached hotel room and I ordered a hot water so I can take care of my throat which was indicating me, Its about to go poof pooof..
Soon I head into bed and the sweet sleep.. but It was like living a one whole life in a day.. .
So much excitement .. it never ever happened before. !!
A day that lasted so long, I lived it so much..
0030 hrs – Jaisalmer ( In a dingy hotel) I am about to sleep again.
A day that lasted 20hrs and I covered nearly 500kms .. it was simply … Life.
Next series shall be here soon (3 of 4).