Solo ride,Mist,Sunrise, grey and colours
It had become quite on the riding front in the last couple of months. Li’l beast was getting bored with office runs. It is happy on open roads and groans in traffic. I too was thinking of at least a small ride. So when I saw the FB event for the Melkote from BAC, I lapped it up. It was a trip to Melkote temples and some (Balmuri) waterfalls or some such thing. I wonder why my bunch of riders keep temples as the destination for group rides ? Ankit the admin man gave details on the ride and the tips on joining it. One could start from Orion mall in Malleshwaram or join the bike train at Nellamangla Hassan road junction.
On the said date I started off on the Nice road towards Tumkur to get to the Hassan highway. It was at the crack of the dawn. While rest of the country was searing with heat in the month of Jun, my dear Bangalore was flirting with clouds and rain, courting mist in the morning. So the early morning ride was cool, wispy, pleasant grey. The li’l beast found its rhythm on the highway and I was peering through the pleasant haze and making out the shapes and shades in the world of grey that was fading fast. Corner of my eye peered through the visor of yellow helmet and glinted a typical orange pink of the dawn. As I glance to the right I saw the sun push the horizon and evaporating the mist.
“I watched the day wake up, opening like a stage curtain,
spilling long sheets of sunshine over everything.”
Taken from Sylvia’s blog Spanshwoods
The world became richer, green fresh trees, glittering grass, colourful trucks, black tarmac, white markings. What those sheets of sunshine can do. Marveling at the light I turned to left – out of NICE road, on to Tumkur highway. Once I saw the Sign for Nellamangla I existed there and stopped at the chai (tea) shop.
Meet, form, ride
I knew I was early yet little doubtful. Where is the actual meeting point ? I just waited for the troop to come in. How can one miss twenty Avengers cruising the highway headlights at high beam ( that is the club rule). Minutes ticked and I thought of killing time with chai. And then Mr. Murphy rode along with the BAC Bengaluru. I gulped the tea, gunned the beast and caught up with them on the Hassan road fork. The ride on the four lane highway, with the group, is art. The formation in double file comes alive on this stretch. Rushing, stretching, deforming, reforming. Set of riders becoming bigger than sum of each. It captivates each. Simple rule of keeping even distance with the rider ahead causes it to keep firm while being fluid. Mesmerising. Perhaps overtly so. One urges to keep it, risking a lot. May be it was this hypnosis or the thought of keeping other riders safe that was unfortunate for a dog on the road.
And presently we rode into the Swati restaurant near Kunigal, the favorite joint of the bikers. It is there with the gear removed that I saw the familiar faithfuls. Meeting old friends is fun. The eyes light up, smile are a huge curve. Meeting, greeting and inquiring done and we gobbled up the idli, wada, upma and coffee. Ready for next leg.
Joy from Kids, passers by, Country roads
Guided by the GPS and mobile maps we left the highway and entered village roads for the next leg. Pace changed we went to single file formation. At the restaurant the third biker’s electricals had developed some bug and I was thrust into that position. While I had nodded vigorously then, I was little apprehensive at the start of this part of the ride. But past rides and comfort with the li’l beast meant is was ok. So with that settled I was looking at streaming country. Nippy sharp air, clear blue sky, sun, reflecting headlights. Freedom. Happiness. Thrill. Guess that showed despite all the safety gear and covered faces. We could see it in the eyes of the passer by and the kids. Smiling, waving, feeling, participating. It was simple, pure feel. Distance and time swallowed, we started the gentle climb and reached the parking lot of Melkote.
Yellow temple on top of a hill. Temple for Yoga Narasimha, the Vishnu form of lion and man. People believe Prahlada for whom this form was born, himself installed the image there. We split into two groups first one went on to climb the 250-300 steps to the temple while I with the second stayed on to guard the bikes and the bags. Played with the goats. Later we swapped places. Saw the lord and clicked scenes.
Next on agenda was a visit to the main Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple. We had planned to eat temple food for lunch but could not. The lunch is no longer served there. Been few months since they stopped. So we decided to have Puliyogare and sweet Pongal plus curd rice. We parked in a small lane near the temple. One group went to visit, a scouting party went to look for lunch. Rest of us solved world issue in shade by the bikes. Yes we posed and selfied as well.
Temples and philosophy of god
Esha returned and told us they found lunch on a cart near the temple and there is a queue, a long one for getting into the temple. That made all others drop their plan so it was just two of us, who went, walking bare foot on a road made hot by sun directly overhead. Black tar soaking the heat, send it back to our soles, burning, hurting. The wait for Darshan, the heat at the top and the bottom made us philosophical. We talked about how there is priority given if you can spend more or have power. How even gods have demi gods and smaller miracle beings to manage the universe. Perhaps without the hierarchy humanity itself will cease. How Gods need helping hand and how despite all that faith is strong and good.
Fluid fluent dynamic motion,Golden pearls,hay fall, yin and yang
With the main Lord Cheluvanarayana Swamy seen and general spiritual philosophy done, we went for lunch. The group rode to a shack with few trees giving little shade. We got down to gulping Puliogare, Pungal and curd rice. Ankit and Shivaram promised us nice good butter milk and vanished on the little beast. We waited, wondered and joked when they took their own sweet time to comeback. Those discussions will not be part of this blog but will evoke a smile in the memories . Like lot of those shared, little and inconsequential secrets. After finishing lunch we did photo op at the mud arch on the road and at the huge pillars at Rayogapura.
Multiple photographers asked us to jump and we did. For. THE. Photo. Selfies, groupies and stick selfies too. Then the trip to the Tannur lake/tank started. The riders in formation, the formation alive and dynamic. Fluid, together and progressing. From my rear view I could see the headlights lined up on straight slopes and graciously bending on the curves. A sensuous, golden string of pearls eager to please the viewer, enhancing the beauty of our formation. I was marveling at this fickle, transient, pretty formation and wondering at creation and harmony in general when a Yin and the Yang moment happened. The seed of good is in the bad and vice versa.
As I said before, this beautiful formation extracts an unflinching commitment from the riders. We need to line up for it to exist and keep to it. So it draws us into that line, commanding. And this very hypnotic urge made us break the formation and break the protocol for the group too.
On the village highways the farmers use cars to do the work of separating the grains from the stalks/hay. They lay down the hay on the road. As cars go over them the grains get separated and later they collect them. We were passing over one such stretch. The group was riding on the far left but one of us little more in the middle. When he saw the rest he veered to left, the wheels lost their grip and a slow accelerating skid to the ditch followed. The rider in front of him stopped but rest of the group carried on. Guess the rider at the end of truncated line was under the spell to keep the formation and there by actually broke it.
The protocol for the formation ride is keep an eye at the rear and if you do not see the sweep, slow down and then stop but humans are not good with these rules. The guy who fell into the ditch had his bike fall on him. We were grateful for the slow speed and the rider for his knee guards. Though the bike fell on him the guards protected him. He got up, dusted and we were good to go again. Once more the risks of bike riding and the safety gear and precautions were made obvious.
Lake, cool Ride back, traffic chaos, Wrap up
We caught up with the group at the Tannur Reservoir. It is 2000 Acres big Cauvery water lake. We had a small dip in it. Cooled down, chatted , posed for few pictures. Listened to a lecture on riding and staying with the group from the Admin, lead. Nodded. Left for the ride back. As the sun sped west we were bound east retracing the highway. A quick tea at Kunigal and the ride into Bangalore traffic closed it for the day. We re-grouped on the Tumkur road. Bade our Byes and I hit the NICE road. Cool breeze on the Nice road and easy pace I decided made my mind go back to the day.
The temples, the monasteries were perhaps made to get us back tothe pre-history and pre civilisation. Humans are machines best tuned very close to nature. Survival was prayer for us. Mind, body senses were sharp and perceptive. With civilisation, agriculture and settling down we got a tad bit dull. The feeling of selfishness, ego moved in. Spiritual beings understood the need for communicating with nature so established a presence at the most serene and fabulous places. Set rituals for us to go there and feel the awe of nature there by think beyond day to day. So I say the Gods knew about location and its importance. And because they set the temples at the best location with nice routes, we from BAC get attracted towards them with blood in our tanks and fuel in our veins.