There are Sirens within the roads. Singing, calling for the rider to take to the roads. These are everywhere and not just on Sirenum scopuli/Anthemoessa. These sirens mean well for the travelers unlike those of the ancient Greece. And their call cannot be ignored by stuffing ears with wax or getting tied up to bedposts or ship masts. Their songs penetrate deep to the core of the rider, especially ones who are smitten. It was these Siren’s calls that made me buy the Black beast and a year back her li’l sis, the li’l Beast.
The li’l one was doing city traffic and office runs and felt shackled. I was getting restless and wanted to take to the roads. So when the companies senior managers conference was scheduled at Mysore things fell into place. Bangalore to Mysore is 150 Kms or so. Good for the first ride. Without a question I decided to do it on the li’l beast, the small matter of how to carry the luggage pushed to back of priority list. Some Jugaad will have to be done. I cleaned and waxed the bike to a shining “Binaca” finish, on the Sunday before the conference which was to be a Wed-Friday affair.
Early morning on the Wednesday I bathed and strapped the bag to the back seat of the bike with shoelaces, securely. It was time to Hit the roads. Gleaming beast started with the choke on and hummed. At the gate Wify dear and Dotty dear were waiting for the 7:10 school bus. Bus came and Dotty wished me luck and went away for another day with books. Wify dear said take care. Anxiety clear in the eyes. She could not get it, why would I do this trip, why so early in the morning ? Why alone ? Yet, that minute she just asked for caution.
With the last glance I was on the way to the Nice road and then Mysore highway with a tense testing start. The air was nippy, I was glad for the jacket, the photo-chromatic glasses and the yellow helmet’s visor. As the miles accumulated on the odometer the road felt better. Settled at around 65 KMPH and found my rhythm. 70 was ok too. When it was time to do that overtake a small throttle and the beast would lunge, overtake and I could get back to 65-70. Soon it was Ramanagara and time for breakfast. The Balckberry said 8:34 am. Kamat Lokaruchi is the favorite food-ing place for the Mysore bound and it was crowded. I joined my Coffee group there. They had reached the famed joint a few minutes before. A long leisurely chatty session ended with coffee and around 9:30 I set-off, fuel tank in reserve.
Petrol bunk, 9 liters in the tank, Idly Wada and coffee in the belly, beast and I were back into riding. Chennapatna, Maddur, Mandya were counted down. By now the Bajaj Avenger was fully unshackled. I never heard the engine purr so beautifully in the city. The Balance was nice, seat comfortable. As the miles were digested my mind was relaxed. It was pure joy of hearing the wind flow around the helmet. A steady, power-full engine knocking between the legs. See what your were missing the Mysore highway siren whispered smilingly.
The highway was nice with Paddy and sugarcane fields on the sides. Cauvery canals. The route has huge billboards too. With pretty bejeweled beauties making the husbands feel guilty and the girlfriends give hints. The silken models draped with handi-crafted ethnic dresses with modern cuts. Resorts promising restful beds and restaurants dishing multi cuisine fare. I stopped once more for 5 mins to stretch . Click. And then after Srirangapattanam stopped to call home. A missed the right turn to office, a U turn for course correction and few enquiries later I was at the Infosys Mysore campus. Odometer read 159 KMs.
Three days at the conference is the stuff for another blog, another theme. Saturday early morning again I cleaned the bike and bathed and set out, cutting the mist. Room checked out, security checked the bags and wished me luck. The misty, wet, chilly air on the face felt nice, eyes were happy and fresh. As I hit the high way after the buildings gave way to open fields. The mist thick, heart pounded, adrenalin flowing. Mind made the senses alert, machine was knocking steadily, headlights on. All in all a radar installation on high alert.
Mysore outskirts and the village life was waking up. School kids and white uniforms and dangling Ids cards were busy. Pigtails and plaits on the girls and oiled, combed orderly hair on the boys. Few of them looked at me for a ride hopefully. I could only smile and disappoint them. The pillion was taken up the by bag with sweaty clothes.
Cows were being milked. Ladies were depositing milk in the collection stations. To be trucked to the Nandini Dairy, processed, packed. The packet will come to my home tomorrow. Wish I could cut the middleman. But this was a trip for me and the beast alone. Nandini man need not get worried. The reverse countdown was going well, a milestone said 110 KMs.The Dimpled beauty of Khajana jewelry looked alluring. Mind said watch the road mate, there will be time enough for spending once Wify dear sees the glittering gold. A break later it was Maddur and a quick breakfast at the Tiffany’s. Idly, Wada, Sambar. Hot, Spicy, complete. Another break and I was back home. Odometer – 302 KM.
The trip satiated the urge for now. The machine was efficient, optimal. The man felt accomplished, content. Till the next siren call the smitten. Perhaps the Otty one ?