back on the road

I haven't had a chance to do some biking for over 6 months. The last trip had been way back in July 2005. Yep, that long. Naturally I was dying to swing my legs across the bike and ride, ride, ride. I posted to the group about a ride in the Jan 7-8 weekend, while I was still in the UK. After not too much deliberation, the destination was tentatively fixed as Kundapura. Subject to change, ofcourse. :-) The excuse: to treat ourselves to the Chicken Ghee Roast at Shetty's Lunch Home. Not that an excuse was actually needed. Two of us were confirmed a long, long time back - Ashok and I. Prashanth and Sampath joined in last week. Glifford needed a bit of convincing and finally agreed to a half-way trip. He decided to ride back to B'Lore on Saturday itself.

Like I said, the route and destination was subject to change and they changed numerous times throughout the trip. :-) In the end, we rode from B'Lore to Hassan to Belur to Shringeri to Agumbe to Someshwar to Kundapura. The ghee roast was on. The Belur temple is amazing. The intricacy of the sculptures awesome. We reached Kundapura around half past eight in the night. Settled down at Shetty's until about 23:30 and then rode to the Maravanthe beach for some moonlit ocean. Woke up late on Sunday. Left Kundapura around 8:30. Caught up with Vignesh at Udupi for breakfast. After that, all we did was ride: Udupi-M'Lore-Sakleshpur-Hassan-B'Lore.


It was tiring but of the good kind. The roads stretching ahead for miles brought out a lot in me. It was peaceful. It was exhilirating. It turned off all my thoughts. It helped me think better. The people I swished past added to the feeling of being on top of the world. The kids that waved at me were a joy and when I waved back to them I gave them a bit of innocent joy and it added a little more to my stock of joy. The bewildered villagers made me smile. The world is not that bad after all. There is still a bit of innocence left in it. There is a lot more beauty left in the world. The green trees, the low mountains, the clouds, the ponds and a grey road breaking through like a ribbon.

The curves on the road were an ode to beauty. The way they gently wind made me feel overjoyed. It was exhilirating to take a curve, leaning in and wondering how it would feel to touch the road that sped by. The curves enhanced the magnificence of the things that were around me. Don't ask me how but they do. They seemed so much part of the landscape that it made me shudder to think of them missing.

There is monotony in every ride but I noticed that monotony was not really monotonous. There were subtle differences even in similarity and once I noticed these differences there was no question of being bored of the same thing. It could be a simple dip in the road, a car zooming past, an odd looking tree, a lamp-post or an unused hut.

In the morning, I watched the sun rising up in my rear-view mirror. A golden yellow disc promising much needed warmth. I willed the sun to rise up and take away the cold. Then I realised that I can't control anything. The sun has its own will. It will rise to warm you but of its own accord. The wind will blow but only as it wishes. I decided to let the world be. I didn't have to control anything.

In the evening, I rode into a setting sun. There was a glow all around me, a flaring halo surrounded the world. The glint matched my eyes twinkle with delight. Ah, the dipping of light, the beginning of an unknown darkness, the promise of moonlight and stars. Riding in the dark was a surreal experience. The darkness was split by the searing headlights only to regroup and cover realities again. The beam of light can only displace that much of the blackness. There is darkness left, there is darkness everywhere but the beam gave me hope. The beam seemed an unpenetrable truth. The beam was the path of life.

Then there was the moonlit beach. Silence all around, broken by the crashing of the waves. As I stood there on the beach lit by the moon, washed over by the sound, I wondered how it would feel to be washed away by the ocean. To be taken away like the sand and deposited elsewhere. The ocean must be one of the greatest of God's creations. It can be melancholic. It can make you overjoyed. It can numb you. It can excite you. It can be silent. It can sound musical. A mix of everything. A bouquet of beauty.

The ride back was tiring as usual. The expectation of getting back home, the dread of getting back home. The mind pulled me in two directions. The thought of a familiar bed forcing me to want to go back. The dread of getting back to life wanted to keep me away. The clash of the opposing poles.

Then, unexpectedly, I saw a rainbow. It had been ages since I had seen a rainbow. I guess the rainbow beats the ocean in its beauty. As I rode towards it, it seemed to take on an unimaginable clarity. I stared at it and watched it take shape. Now just a bit on the right. Now a quarter circle. All the while, the colours brightened and the edges grew sharper. With lots of open road to ride on, I had enough time to be fascinated by its strange beauty. The beauty of an illusion. The beauty that was immaterial. I could make out every colour in the world. Every colour that the eye was designed to see. It gave my heart the strength to sing. It gave me the power to relax and banish all signs of tire for later. I almost wept looking at it. I guess I did. It's a strange illusion. To add to all the overwhelming emotions I spotted a second bow, a mere fragment of the other. An illusion of an illusion. I felt like a child when I spotted it. The excitement was uncontrollable. I pointed it out to everyone on the road. Look, a second rainbow. Look at what the world has to offer. Look at it and fill your hearts. Then, I was asked to notice that the bow was a complete half-circle. Oh my god. Was it beautiful? It was beyond that. A lovely arch standing guard over the world. I don't think I have known such insane joy too often. It was a great prize, worth every pain in every muscle. I wanted to hold the rainbow in my hands and kiss it and carry it forever within me.

Then I got back home. To "reality". To "life".

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