I’ve always been a person of limited sensibilities, which is just another way of saying that I understand very few things.
There are some things in life that make complete sense to me and need no rationale behind their existence, like a parent’s unquestionable love for his child, A R Rahman’s music, Sachin Tendulkar shattering every record possible, Elvis Presley, Manchester United, The Beatles, Bryan Adams, Priyanka Chopra and so on.
At the same time, I just cannot figure out certain things or the reason behind them, like Windows Vista, the I-Pad, the success of movies featuring Akshay Kumar, Size Zero, Rahul/Rakhi ka Swayamvar, Barrack Obama getting a Nobel Prize, Abhishek Bacchan getting married to Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bacchan getting an award, Abhishek Bacchan being called an actor and so on.
It may not work for everyone but this is how it has always worked for me. Simply put, I’ve always been able to categorize the events, happenings or relationships in my life into one of these categories – Those that make sense or those which don’t. This trip, at the very outset, fell somewhere in between. I was never sure where this belonged, and five years down the line, I still don’t know.
As planned, we hit the road by 5 PM and set out on the craziest thing either one of us had ever done.
I think it’s fair to introduce the most important and active character in the story- My Bike. My parents were nice and gullible enough to give me one when I went to Kota. Their rationale was that unlike most of the other children who had cycles; I’d spend less time travelling and more studying. I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong THAT went. I like to feel less guilty by telling myself that since I’ve never been much of a listener, I probably got it mixed up as I spent ALL my time travelling and hardly any..you know..studying. Common mistake. Aal eez well.
I got a shining, new silver Hero Honda Passion, which was a BIG deal, back in the day, for a tenth standard kid. I was given the liberty to splurge on my bike and I did, by installing a Sports-bike handlebar, alloy wheels and wider tyres.
Like most guys, I was dreamily in love with my bike. To the extent that if, like Spiderman, I was asked to choose
between my girlfriend or my bike, I wouldn’t even blink before choosing the latter. It was just perfect- the right look, low maintenance, completely in my control and was equally nice to all my friends as well as my mom. I think I have my reasons quite clear. For some reason, I can sense all the guys in the world, reading this, are nodding their heads in agreement.
The first hour of the trip was pretty relaxed and we covered around 80 KM. Dusk was upon us and the light was fading rapidly. From this point onwards, the villages started and things got a little tedious as the road, sometimes, went through the middle of the village.
I don’t think it would be fair to say that there were potholes in the road; rather a more accurate description would be that there was some road between the potholes. And absolutely no lights. None. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Animals, children and other villagers wouldn’t really care if a bike or a car’s coming at 70-80 KMPH. When they’ve got to cross the road, they’ve got to cross the road. Period. I almost crashed into a couple of villagers and said a silent prayer every time we had a close shave.
Meanwhile, Mr. Devansh was happily chattering away, sitting behind. He was in very good spirits- singing, joking and extremely proud of the fact that he came up with this ‘brilliant’ idea. “Imagine, years down the line, when you think about our friendship, you’d look back at how awesome and fun this trip was.”
Big trouble. Double Check.
We were cruising along fine until we had the first ‘incident’ of the trip. As we were leaving one of the village roads and approaching the main highway, due to bad/no lights, I couldn’t sense a HUGE pit dug in the middle of the road. We were riding at around 60 KMPH and went right through it- Me holding on to the bike and Devansh holding on to me, for dear life. We were plain lucky that I could manage to handle the bike and we came out of it, without any major damage to us, or the bike. Or so we thought.
Nevertheless, we continued our quest for the Holy Grail, that elusive McVeggie. The rest of the journey was pretty much uneventful, barring a petrol pump selling ONLY vegetables and a creepy lady, completely in white, asking for a lift.
After travelling non-stop for about 5 hours, we managed to enter the city of Jaipur by 9:30 PM and after expert guidance by Devansh, reached McDonalds by 10:00 PM.
Only to find it closed.
On asking around, we were told that due to "reported terrorist threats", the city police ensured that all shops shut shop early that day. Score. Lord Murphy One. We Zero.
Devansh looked like someone who’d lost all his life’s savings in one shot. I turned around to tell him, “So, I guess you aren’t really LOVIN' IT now, are you?”, only to be almost thrown off the bike.
I learnt one of life’s most important lessons that day:
Never fuck around with a guy who’s been denied his McVeggie. Never.