Mighty Rohtang la

    The shifty landscapes from Gulaba check-post to Rohtang top has always been one of the highlights for every traveler, taking Manali-Sarchu-Leh, Manali-Spiti or Manali-Zanskar routes

The ride-up would invariably expose multiple skies and moods … Some welcoming and some could often be extremely grim.  Rohtang La or otherwise ‘the death pass’ was usually associated with ridiculous stories filled with gutt-wrenching accidents, death defying rescue operations, landslide blockages lasting for many nights in bone-chilling-hypothermia inducing conditions. Add to the list of troubles! the road conditions made sure that every rider questioned the very decision of embarking on this route, in the very first place – at least once, while at it. Many riders would have experienced such  emotions & come across similar situations pre 2014; the treacherous Rohtang stretch got metaled soon after & it transcended to a more welcoming, celebratory ride-through.  As one crawled up to the top, one would realise the ultimate wrath or ‘the challenge of Rohtang’.

Nearing Gulaba check-post

At the highest point of the pass, it continues to rain unpredictably, hail blindingly or even snow scarily…sometimes all of it at once  …although almost every time the weather changed into a welcoming HDR type blue sky right after crossing the first gompa (Buddhist religious structure) en-route Khoksar.

The first Gompa after Rohtang top, welcoming …

Rohtang La has been a highly emotional romantic-indulgence for most of us eversince we crossed it the very first time and I dearly wish to keep the flames alight for the longest. I don’t think I’d trade this kaleidoscopic transit for a blitzy 9km wormhole dash through cement and concrete, even if it comes at the cost of a few extra hours or even a day to make it to the other side. 

We could stop a million times en-route

As I hear about the scheme of things in lieu of the newly opened (Atal) tunnel, I am reminded of a line someone once optimistically exclaimed; it said, ‘some affairs of the heart never change’. I reckon Rohtang is one such affair of the heart. We dreaded Rohtang La through the first half of our acquaintance, primarily for the furyful kinda extreme unpredictability, then we learnt to make-it-through without burning the clutch and after all that we came around to enjoy the stretch as almost every rough edge got smoothened out (by the Border Road Organisation) for a zippy, nippy exhilarating ride. You can’t help but develop a solid relationship with so many emotions (and memories) involved.  Rohtang La will always be special, very special.

Every turn, brilliant

KTM Duke 390: the heart-breaker



A few years ago, I nonchalantly walked into a showroom and bought a nugget-sized, moped-sounding, unassuming motorcycle – the KTM 390 (no points for guessing). A few years hence, I reckon I learnt most of whatever I understand/know of riding has been on this pocket-rocket. In a lot of ways it was the bike that encouraged me to venture into a lot of untouched facets of riding that would have otherwise remained under the wraps while I gloriously munched miles on motorbikes that appreciated only one form of riding, we called it ‘cruising’. I often wish what-if I had someone who would have directed me to the path of wholesome motorcycling instead of letting me enter into an arrogant moto-enthusiasts’ club, shunning anything or anyone dealing with scrapping knees or curving corners. In due time it dawned on me that my pretentious arrogance originated as a defense mechanism to address an innate conflict between ‘all I want to do’ with the motorcycles in my garage and ‘all they couldn’t do’.


FB_IMG_1459521225127About 40,000 km on the KTM390, I don’t see myself going back to anything that I may miss about my earlier motorcycles of choice (on whom I would have collectively clocked 120K+ kilometers). It is important to state at the onset that I’m in no way dismissing any particular type of motorcycle – The KTM Duke 390 has been equally temperamental pitched against any other bike and has given me enough and more technological and mechanical troubles. (I have had 3Xengine seizures on the KTM– the last time I had to re-build her engine from scratch, by saying from scratch – I mean really from scratch – even the crank-case had to be replaced, I literally have a new bike right now  after almost 3 years of purchase).


A 373cc, 43 bhp, under 150kg single cyl set-up is nothing less than any motorcyclist’s wet-dream. The spec-sheet was hard to beat (even today), not to forget the components it came laden with – ABS, upside down forks, trellis frame and the list takes off. A true beginner to mid-segment sports bike (that too at an unbeatable price-point). I used her as a street-fighter to cut through traffic and also as an able tourer with a few mods.



Has she ever let me down? Oh yes! She did, many a time over – but the width of my grin out-scored the numerous break-downs, against the times she didn’t get erratic. I shifted gears from an (almost over-weight, lazy) highway-cruiser to a twisty (ghats) monger. I began to select roads/routes that would inspire a harder ride than the destinations itself. I was inspired to lean into corners like each were my last – but with certain conviction. I learnt to let go – yet with control.



3 years of bad-times out-shadowed by great times – It’s time to upgrade. Upgrade to a bigger capacity motorcycle which encourages further motorcycling-education. The buck stops here! My search for an effective upgrade has been rough to say the least – Getting a close-to-liter class bike has never seemed ideal in our conditions, as much of the available power shall (practically) never get fondled with.


The requirement at this point is of a motorcycle that never shies away for a spin – short or long – or even a lil longer, a little knee-scrapping track action & the odd unpredictable highway speed run. Maybe I seek versatility (thinking-aloud) but why do I smell a certain compromise in whichever direction I look. 200kg+ motorcycles in our city conditions is somewhat impractical –  add to which all of them have a knack of heating real quick. Apprehensions mount further with the increasing horror-stories regarding after-market service and parts. Is it that difficult to find a bike that accentuates riding and not so much of the peripherals?


R & D:

After 16 test rides, watching a billion reviews on probable options (even the unavailable ones), I have never been so frustrated & stressed at the same time. I have imagined it to be a smooth transition considering more and more brands started to anchor in the subcontinent. Do I seek too much?



She entered my life – scared the hell out of me & made me learn new things – made me fall in love with her – and now she is warning me to stop expecting & hinting me to move-on. With no hard feelings we are coming to terms with a (almost) mutual decision – as I try to find a probable proposition for future.

Unfortunately, I realize now that she had incessantly sculpted my riding-construct, makes it even harder for me to adapt to anything that’s available. Refinement is great – but madness brings excitement and what’s there to ride without the thrill.


Photographs from various rides
By long-time ride-partner & photographer Mervyn Titus

Building the Royal Enfield Himalayan


I have ridden the Royal Enfield Himalayan earlier, but it had left me wanting for a little bit more… and by ‘a little bit more’ I don’t necessarily mean wanting for more power or added braking bite but certainly a little extension of time with the motorcycle. The royal Enfield Himalayan impressed me with the upright stance at the get-go, the comfortable seat with the wide handle bar ticked quite a few ergonomics related boxes.

Photographed by Mervyn Titus

I was apprehensive to start work on a motorcycle on which I have had very little saddle time. In a non-comparative non-evaluative mind I gave it an honest chance. There were nibbling mechanical issues but the workshop (Manzil Motors, Gurgaon) did a good job of it (almost FOC). In a non-pretentious way she came wisely-set. A mix of hurried urgency & leisure, the motorcycle offers a lot of diversity (Mention: torque mid-range). From outward aggression to feel-good grins, it proved to be an able carrier of a wide range of rider emotions. I promised to retain this character if not better it, on day 1 of the build.

The brief:

I had a few design iterations in the form of sketches – but I had realized that I had to redesign very little of the motorcycle’s base construct. Set out for a custom scrambler build – the idea was to create an agile/lighter variant and delight the 20yr old rider-heart in everyone.

Photographed by Mervyn Titus

Need to state, that I did a thorough-check on every possible problem that the Himalayan has been reported to offer. The rumors and reviews had resulted in sleepless nights until every check were successfully conducted. A tight design-brief was laid-out. A few rounds of black-coffee with the patron (project client)  and the final sketches were selected only to get progressively sharper, eventually. I had the responsibility of retaining the off-road/dual-purpose DNA of the motorcycle intact and make it look convincingly different from its stock avatar.

Photographed by Mervyn Titus

The Build process:

After hacking off a few body-parts – we were pleasantly surprised with the build quality and the components on the stock machine. This was probably the first time that I didn’t have to rework the suspension set-up of a build. I have imagined thick rubber for wheels, but the lanky  21” section was disrupting the picture, swapped with an 18”rim it got closer but to maintain the height I opted for a higher profile front tyre. A sprightly hyper-motardish feel asked for a wider rear wheel for better stability and traction – Hence, a custom 4.5” wide lighter (aluminium) 17” rim with a wider tyre section was installed.

Photographed by Mervyn Titus

The exhaust was re-routed and I found an interesting muffler that was well-built and did not weigh an island. The rear hoop was re-made & lowered to match the design blue-print. Up-next was the decisive tank and the (multiple) headlamp set-up. Things kept falling in place and I couldn’t have been happier until the final day of metal-sculpting. By now the bike has been stationary for over a month– I spiritedly swung my leg to take the first spin on the new structure; all I remember is reaching home with a roasted right leg. I reckon I could use the exhaust-pipe covers for barbecue sessions – the metal heat covers failed to barricade the rising temperatures off the pipe. After trying a few different types of heat-resistant wraps, teflon washers and the likes – I was beginning to get uncomfortable as the build stood at the doorway to its final stage – ‘paint’. Almost hesitantly, I resorted to treated wood to carve-out wooden covers that could replace the useless metal ones. The stock cat-con was edited which made the engine exhale better and the titanium heat-resistant wrap seemed convincing after prolonged test rides (under various temperatures and riding conditions).

Conclusively: ‘From it to her’

I have had extended testing periods during this build – and it was not because I was not convinced with the ride quality, but I felt I was slowly developing a relationship. A fond one at that & knowing we had limited time – the feeling was further alluring.

As this project comes to actualization, I am convinced that the Himalayan chassis is a customizer’s delight to work on/with. During my stint with the machine I figured a few things that had gathered complaints regarding the machine –  few of them originating from sheer rider-ignorance apart from the equivocal ones that could have been avoided in this day and age. Albeit there shall be updates and there shall be upgrades but it doesn’t take anything away from the motorcycle for being so welcoming to the rider, it definitely delivers joy, the kind of  joy we call ‘SCRAM212’.

Photographed by Mervyn Titus

SCRAM212, Motokraft customs’ expression of the Royal Enfield Himalayan will soon exit the workshop after almost 3months and something tells me, she is going to leave me wanting, wanting for a little bit more time with her.

3 points before you plan a ride with your lady this season….by a failure

The riding season has begun.

The maps are out,

The calendar is being synced.

These are not new for the ones who are already baptized into the religion of motorcycling. The average trip-prep time has reduced to a few hours from almost months. The art of packing has achieved 6 Sigma precision with many years of practice, so has the bike-work. But as bikers we always tend to seek new challenges, sometimes the route and other times the companion we choose. And when the plan is to expose the joys of moto-touring to our respective partners – the challenge multiplies many folds.

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I have no qualms in accepting the fact that I have botched miserably in the past in my trysts of riding with a pillion, but with considerable retrospection I have been working consciously to smoothen the glaring rough-edges in these type of touring situations. I was in denial and made myself believe that I was doing the basics right – it has taken me a while to turn around and I’m still working at it. I hope the realizations of my mistakes help my fellow riders enjoy their trips with their partners without going through a few completely avoidable errors.

The article is a quick checklist that a rider may / should consider while planning to partake a journey with the stronger sex as pillion (especially for the first time). A trip of this ‘construct’ demands new perspectives. The following are my insights that have been instrumental in making me be a better co-rider than a pilot of a riding-group.


#1. Never be the one to impose a ‘ride’ on your partner…

Let her get interested herself and reveal her excitement, it automatically smoothens a few unnecessary creases. Having said that, as bikers, we eat, sleep, and drink motorcycles. This is not necessarily the most exciting topic for the lady to be immersed-in, that too 24×7. The trick is to balance the excitement with cautious regard to her mental make-up, it is an ongoing process. Keep an eye on how she is prepping herself for the ride – you will see traces of her anticipation – it is our duty to address her apprehensions.338876_10151085025340329_2110093604_o (2)

The translation of the commonly used rider-phrase, ‘expecting the worst and hoping for the best (on a trip)’, needs a careful narrative as well. The worst and best have very different connotations for her unlike you. If we know a few extra things about the road, her intuitive sense has much more learnings to offer than what we can ever fathom, consider them. Share your insecurities like you would with another friend and verbalize your concerns – it will get the both of you on closer pages before the ride.

#2. It is not how safe you make your partner feel on the road

It is how emotionally comfortable you keep her throughout the ride.

The very fact that your partner has admitted her interest to take a moto trip with you means that she trusts you and knows that you will take care of her safety, already. We all know the basic pointers, ‘not to ride after sun-down’, ‘find the right kind of accommodation well in-time’ etc., but we often miss out on one of the most important concerns, the riddles of how to make her ‘feel comfortable’ emotionally.

IMG-20160330-WA0081 (2)A woman’s mind works a little differently from ours. The fact that she is behind your helmet, stuck under hers – riding with you for miles on-end makes her strong, so she seeks acknowledgement for her patience and (this new form of) resilience that she portrays.

Making her comfortable – the code: Unlike the earlier rides, this ride is not just about you and your bike – the bike this time is simply an enabler for the journey. The oil-leakages or your back-pain are not what she wants to hear the moment you dismount the bike. It doesn’t mean she is not participative or empathetic – these issues are just not on top of her concern-list, she is most likely to be excited about the cluster of clouds that looked like helicopters against the bright blue-sky. Be with her on that conversation, park your issues for a while. If your back is hurting – it is almost obvious that hers is too – she might not admit,’coz she feels it will dampen your spirits – but stop worrying about your back and show some spine, get her that last sip of water (a pain-killer or a muscle relaxant if she needs one), she will repay your thoughtful gestures in more ways than one – prepare to be surprised!!!



#3 Converging expectations from the journey

When we ride with fellow bikers – our expectations are simple – kill miles, stop when the moment demands – kill more miles, eat, drink, rest – ride again. We have been cultivating this routine for years. Consider this, it took us almost 15 months to learn how to walk – now we walk like pros; it was a process – riding as a pillion is no different, she would need her time to learn the codes – give her time to acclimatize; your patience and understanding can fast-forward her process. Pace out the trip, give her space to breathe (easy) after a hard day’s ride – walk with her (without talking about the bike and the nibbling issues hovering in your head – park them), click pictures, get those selfies with her even if you detest, smile a little more than usual – your smile is her source of courage. Write a story in conversations with her – it builds the excitement for the next day – almost like the next episode of your favourite sitcom. You would sail through the journey if you can unite your expectations with hers.DSC_2289 (2)

To conclude…

Our physical strength helps us go places, but it is our ‘might’ that helps us take-on challenges. Life on the road would have been simpler, if we all knew how to provide ‘might’ to our respective partners on the road, when a situation demands. You have taken the first challenge – by inviting her for the ride, now you cannot avoid the bigger challenge involved in it’s success. Training your mind to look at the ride with a fresh perspective not only assures great returns, the investment usually runs for an entire life-time, provided you do it right…

After all for a biker, it is the biggest joy to experience ever changing landscapes with our partners, knowing that she is smiling under her helmet, when in reality – all you can see is her glimmering eyes through the visor.


5 points to someone touring on a KTM 390 (or the likes)


Before we proceed, we need to realize that the KTM 390 is not a touring motorcycle; it is essentially a street motorcycle. However, we can make it tour-worthy.

I recently concluded a successful Spiti Valley (Himachal Pradesh) trip. Honestly, I was a victim of apprehension and a patient of anxiety. Spiti is revered as the ultimate test for a motorcyclist, a homage of sorts. Exciting proposition!!!

The prep-process was underlined by a few important functional mods

Point#1: Save your Crank

The KTM 390/200 comes with a fibre-plastic bash-plate—the mod is extremely minimalistic: reinforcing the stock fairing with a similar shaped steel plate works just fine. Remember to keep all mods as simple as they can be. I riveted the steel plate (less than 200gm) to the fairing straight up with a little hook detail in the front.

Point#2: Keep the back covered but do not forget to hold tight

KTM users know about the problems they face with the stock mirrors. I went scouting for the mirrors of the old Bajaj Boxer CT. They are solid, do not have a mind of their own and the vibrations are minimum. They also give a retro-enduro feel to your ride. The stock handle though sturdy and beautifully finished, feels the need for a crossbar. Fortunately I had a few cross-bars lying around.

Point#3: What shoes does she wear?

An unforgiving route deserves pragmatic shoes. I shod the KTM with a Michellin Sirac street 100/90-17(front) on the stock not-so-reliable alloys (though my wishlist had an 18″ spoked front wheel) and a Ralco Speedster 120/80-17 (rear) comes with a 150km/hr speed rating (I had a Metzeller Tourance on a 17″ spoked rim on the wishlist for this one).Though I can vouch for the tire set-up after completing the trip without a single puncture or the need for the foot-pump (that I carried all the way up and back), I did keep a close watch on the air-pressure each day.

Only complain: the front felt a little wobbly after crossing 135km/hr on the flat plains (without discounting the luggage on the back)

Point#4: Luggage-lumbar

Motokraft Customs has a reputation of making usual things look beautiful. I did spend a few hours on the drawing board + computer to render and test a pannier-frame that replicates the pressure-science & design of the trellis frame of the KTM. The frame was built to carry weight on the higher side of 30kgs (almost 15kgs more than one would actually need on a 10-15day trip).I had tested the Rhynox Nomad saddle bags before and they sat beautifully on the frame taking care of the luggage department (remember: water-proofing is an art supported by intelligence, the Rhynox bags work fantastically if packed smartly). The frame was an additional 450gms built with hollow tubes without any structural mod on the KTM390. It stuck to the job it was given and never gave-up on the relentless tarmac-less stretches of mysterious Spiti-valley. I also had a strap-on gel seat to keep my behind from getting sore.


Point#5: Get the air off your chest

Though a few visors were up for the grabs in the market (online and on-shelf), I thought of bending one myself. Thin metal sheet was used to build the front visor that held-up like a rock deflecting all that wind-draft off my chest and shoulders. A little glove compartment in the set-up added functionality and a little drama to the street bike trying to dress-up like an enduro-moto. Also it made space for an extra go-pro mount for some interesting footage. The visor along with the stays weighed around 600gm.

Random trip ramble:

Keep the MOTUL chain-cleaner and lube handy – check the condition of the chain & sprocket almost every other day of hard-riding. Understand the function of ABS (I did turn it off for some added fun). Check engine-oil every day as a habit (keeping half a liter handy is good advice). Palm-rest on the accelerator does help your right hand to relax, if you really need it. Changing the grips to the KTM RC would be a good idea. Auxiliary-lights are not required, but they add to the character. The stretch from Kaza to Manali would need extra (3-4 ltr) fuel (depending on riding styles). Keep both winter and summer balaclavas handy. Keep one of those athletic big frame sunglasses to protect your eyes from burning. Sunscreen if you feel optimistic. By the way, your tan is your temporary natural tattoo, don’t let sunscreens ruin the new shade. Wind-cheater is a must. Waterproof/repellent riding pants and shoes. Waterproof warm riding-gloves. Riding jacket with water-proofing and thermal-liner is good enough to take you through this epic-route.

Mysterious Spiti – go before humans spoil the unspoiled. Have at least one truthful dialogue with yourself. Drink lot of water. Keep smiling, even when the going gets tougher than you imagined. Keep in mind, it is  you who signed-up for this bit of unknown.



what FEATHER are you?

….continued from last post

Riding gears are beautiful – they are sharp – purposeful and almost makes a rider combat-ready. We like that bit about our gears – whether it is all black, red and white or classic browns – our gears effectively make us feel (borderline) invincible. But truth be told – gears don’t come cheap. Hence, riders of the sub-continent need to carefully select without over-shooting credit cards.


So he who rides the year-round in Mumbai and plans to partake his big trip to Ladakh is often taken completely by surprise as he emerges out of the Aut tunnel (Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh) – the nippy wilds of Beas river rubs on his nose in an urgency that he has never encountered in his entire riding-life-time (on the southern highways). South is mostly moderate (apart from a few places). The coastal wind is mostly pleasant but as a rider I had a tough time negotiating the heat and moisture. I remember hurling all my warm gears as I reached Ernakulum – but by evening I was shivering – We had ridden the entire day and reached atop – Munnar, thermal liners were called back in action.

Many seasons, various destinations, multiple climatic conditions

Ideal upper half solution for an Indian rider for every condition would comprise of a multi-layer jacket. Inside out: equipped with a thermal liner, Mesh composite with a water resistant top layer. One can play around with the options based on the weather. Comfort is of primary importance which is directly proportional to the fit on a given structure of the rider.

Revvit Excalibur: One jacket for all seasons


A versatile option, with four season performance. It features a removable thermal liner and waterproof membrane providing significant insulation from the natural elements. One can wear the jacket as an airy summer jacket by removing the layers.

…to be continued

What FEATHER are you?

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The sheer length and breath of this topic had kept me away from blogging on it for the longest time.. If the heading didn’t help you understand the context, then  you may navigate away from this blog-post – Albeit you would read-on if you want to take-up riding as a serious hobby in the years to come and who knows – even become a moto-professional

Also remember – “There is no better way to live than living on a set of 2-wheels and an engine”.

It’s the beginning of the Indian riding season. Soon groups of riders would embark on their rides across the country and few beyond that. As always we will find enough and more content to indulge in riding banter. It is untold but almost customary to attempt atleast one 3000+ km moto-trip in a year if not more, if you truly belong to this flock.


As riding season gets stretched by the all-time-eager riding communities – we couldn’t help but notice the increasing amount of riding-gear-awareness. Throwback 2006 – I was riding in cut-off denim bermudas and gym gloves, on my experimental chopper across the dunes of Rajasthan. As far as I was concerned – I was doing my bit as a responsible biker by wearing an open-face helmet (which would be nothing but a consolation if put to some real-test). Whatever happened in-action on-route became folk-lore and a few will go down with me to my grave. Over the years we as motorcyclists have matured and the motorcycles we ride have also come off age. Bikes have become faster, more robust and it is upto the rider to harness the power and remain powerfully on-top of proceedings.

Motorcycles are reasons of revelry for most of us. Any form of two-wheels and an engine brings a grin to our faces – often comprehended as complete lunacy. (Nowadays) I wear a full face helmet with tinted visor to remain invisible to people, who mostly consider me as a complete retard- seemingly smiling at them from-under the lid (in no intention to bother/mock anyone – its just a grin I cannot control once I’m on a mo-bike).  Helmets are extremely important otherwise aswel (great revelatiiiiion!!), however we invariably seem to give it the least importance. It is about time that every rider wakes-up to the responsibility of wearing appropriate helmets every time he/she is astride a motorcycle –I will continue on this episode of moto-gear-banter assuming my reader is mature enough & realizes the importance of proper riding gears (read feathers).


The other day I was at a premium moto-convention held in the national capital and I was pleasantly surprised to see the sheer number of modern day knights dismounting their respective steeds. Suited-up from tip to toe – they walked with the flamboyance of a drunken monkey who is still unsure of how far their tails waggle. Their jackets though branded were definitely off-size, putting them off-balance as they dwindled along the corridors of the 5-star property, there seem to be no concept of helmet sizes – it was the responsibility of the bandannas to keep the helmets snug enough & not fall off.Most of them had riding lowers – but what’s with the thermal liners in the heat of March? Nonetheless, they strode around the place with bewildered glances – sweating, panting and dropping their gears all over the place. It was only later that I was informed that most of the people whom I had observed barely had any riding-cred to themselves, they were guys with big bikes and their moto-explorations were limited to high-flying events and weekend run to a coffee-shop and back.

Riders with experience tend to understand the tiniest nuances of proper clothing, if done wrong; it often becomes a reason of resentment on an otherwise pleasant day of riding, be it on the track, city or the highways. For instance the clothing combination of a long-route-tourer would be diametrically opposite to a daily-moto-commuter. The given season/s of riding also play an equally important role in attire selection. We have been exposed to various make-shift arrangements for various riding conditions, given to the fact that our country still lags in producing or importing enough purpose-led-clothing yet. We still drool at half the products that are not available in India in comparison to other moto-evolved countries.

to be continued…

Wherever you may roam… its August

Continued from previous article…


There is an inevitable combat between time, its paucity and destination in regards to its travel-time. Destinations by themselves are often not as important as the route. The curves, tarmac-age, the amount of possible water-logging – one cannot completely wish to partake a ride which is low on challenges, also he wouldn’t be as stupid enough to  take up a route which has a probable break-down or two written all over. The mix is important, quite like the macro spices of life. Too good is never great although too bad is also not somewhere one wants to reside forever.

The route from Delhi to (approx) 550km upwards offer a decent mix of challenges with plenty of good and average road-conditions. As Indians we have an extremely low threshold as far as road conditions are concerned in respect to our western riding counterparts. Placing one of the ‘Canyon huggers’* on the post-Mandi stretch (upwards) is definitely a success-recipe to please any sadistic (Indian) rider’s fantasy.


To be continued…


Wherever you may roam its August…

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Month of August in the subcontinent ushers a mid-yearly vacation. There are a few Govt offs right in the middle of the month, club them with a weekend – walla you have a vacation, albeit a short one.
For bikers, it’s a unique urge that overwhelms. The motorcycles reach the workshop for nibbling-fixes – almost automatically. A list gets scribbled in the head, mostly consisting of riding gears and utilities (without even knowing which direction they might eventually head). The Tibetan flags of the mountains usher a rhythmic-tune convincing every rider to head upwards (especially for people in North India, in and around Delhi). The Himalayas make perfect sense after the scorching summers of the plains – though the roads around this time is tarmac-ed by question marks; potholes widen to become craters, gravels transform into something like quick-sand (arguable analogy, I agree – But bikers are neither known for their vocabulary or rationality anyway).
Men start smiling like boys without apparent reasons by the beginning of this month. Its a sign that indicates that they have started contemplating the places they can ride-out to – they start living a given place/road/stretch right in the middle of a meeting or while having coffee with an uncle. Important to note: it would showcase ‘great understanding’ if  the close ones (especially non-riding ones) let them ride within their heads at this time – the journey has already begun. Even the city skies begin to look prettier – teasing each one of them of what awaits above.

Its a meditative period, extremely intense and personal. The feeling is similar whether one rides in a group or solo. The semantics of Clubs, type of bikes, destination – fall in sync as the day rolls closer.
Family members and close ones may take note that there would be a surge of continuous activeness amongst the said cohort. They would be seen much lesser infront of the computer or TV or even with their phones, they might even forget to pick up their phones once in a while – just to return hours later with a patch of grease on their pants or slimy palms and fingers. Lost in their imaginations, they struggle juggling the current-present with the immediate future they want to be in. The skies would be looked at more frequently and accu weather would become the most used app on their phones, during this period.

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To be continued…