Monday, September 15, 2008

Be gentle on my curves! O ye curves, be gentle on me.

Yesterday I rode up to Chail, a beautiful town in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The return journey was harrowing. To sum up the danger I was in, I’d just mention that I was in a delirium while riding; I was half asleep in the latter part of the journey back home. The curvy hilly roads were as dangerous as the frequent potholes that embellished it. Riding on low beam I could see the potholes that I was headed for, but not the direction in which the road turned, and the reverse in the high beam. Consequently, I had to keep the dipper pressed on with my index finger and release it for the time there was someone coming from the opposite direction. The shock absorbers took a serious beating, so did my butt, back, shoulders and arms. My ears and neck were hurting from having the helmet on for more than 12 hours. And just to make things more difficult for me, the oncoming traffic mostly comprised of doggone-idiots who did not keep their beam low.

Try to imagine this:

You start the ride a little sleep deprived from the previous night.

you’re desperately trying to stay on the curvy road trying to focus hard to keep a lookout for potholes (pot-wells actually). Every once in a while a broken patch of road or a deep pothole suddenly appears from nowhere and you go over it…JHANK!! Was that the bike or your bones? You don’t know!

you’re going at a reasonably high speed for hills (45-60 kmph),
with your index finger you’re maneuvering the dipper (keeping it pressed most of the time),

you’re dogging traffic and constantly shifting gears from 3rd to 5th,
you have a heavy pillion rider (nearly a 100 kgs) who is incessantly complaining of a sore butt. He can’t help it, the rear seat is a massive torture, especially on such roads.

Your whole body is hurting; in fact an involuntary action sets in whereby your body has started to shut down. Some part of your brain is battling to keep the eyelids open but the eyes themselves have almost lost contact with the rest of your brain.

The oncoming lights become hazy and you’re trying hard not to fall into a gorge that’s just a few feet (sometimes inches) away from you.

You cannot stop, you must reach home. You’ve gotta be back in your lab and do that little experiment that you thought you’d do when you reached at an earlier time…unfortunately you’re calculations, owing to some friendly advice, has gone horribly wrong.

You stop to pee and recognize the landmark; Ah!! The hills are finally going to end…unfortunately that’s just your brain playing tricks on you! That place is still far away! You start again and do not understand why, after an hour, you’re still riding on the confounded hills.

On the dividerless highway, you are blinded by the highbeams, it seems like there’s no place to go, I seem to going in the wrong direction…wait, that’s just a couple of cars in the wrong lane while negotiating a dangerous overtaking procedure.

You get pushed off the road a couple of times by the aforementioned…the other option is to die.

You’re body’s shutting down more and more with the passage of time; home is still far away.

SCENE 2- You’ve reached home. How? You don’t know!

SCENE 3- You're in your lab at 12 midnight, thinking if such adventures should be banned for PhD students...scientists die old, don't they!

I just have one thing to say at the end of it all:
Chail’s beautiful! more thing, i'd do it all over again...yeah, but wouldn't start sleep deprived.


suraz said...

Just to give u an update Jess. i have lost weight so shouldnt be so harsh on you with me riding pillion (if u ever let me that is ;) )

jesse said...
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jesse said...

Don't be silly, I'll easily manage even if you've gained weight. That was the first time I was undertaking such a ride. Not that I'm a pro now but I'm a wee bit better. It would be my pleasure if you ride with me bro. Besides it was all my fault and I owe you an apology for not staying back in Chail that night. The problem is that Harman is a champion at flickering with plans and that is something that I just cannot adjust with. I'm a little weird in that respect. Back then, I'd just started PhD and was under a huge amount of pressure from my guide (not that it's any different now). Had I taken a leave from lab, he would've cooked my ass.