Eyes wanted to dream but the sleep proved to be elusive for us. Probably our souls were too excited! Yes, we were about to embark on our new and the longest trip till date on bike...to the white sand beach of Ganpatipule..full 350 kms drive from Mumbai. We decided to leave as early as possible because we wanted to beat the traffic as well as the scorching heat of the sun. We went off to the bed at 1:30 am and we were planning to leave at 5:00am. Blame it on mosquitoes or the adrenaline that was flowing, there were no signs of sleep. When i was taking my (n+m)th turn on bed, I realised that even this fellow, Anurag was awake! And guess what he uttered in the middle of the night? "Its 3'O Clock, Chalein kya?" Now avoiding sun is OK but we also made a resolution few months back not to drive in dark! Some how I could convince him to continue his struggle with mosquitoes for one hour more! Alarm was set at 4:30 but we were off the bed at 4:00am. A round of chai (obviously prepared by me) followed by the map reading (i duly forgot the map in office but fortunately my friend brought it from there).
And there we were, on road at 4:45 am sharp. Resetted the distance meter which was supposed to show some large numbers this time, enveloped with the excitement, we hit the road. Withing 15 minutes of drive , i realised my blunder. I forgot to bring any jacket and at 5:00 the breeze was as cool as u can imagine. So, for the next one and a half hour, my destiny was to become an icy flesh. I was desparately waiting for the sun rise, this time not for the photoshoot but for its warmth. Although we were pretty early, still, as they say, this city never sleeps, and even at that time there was considerable traffic on road whose full beam flashes were causing some trouble to Anurag. First halt came after 81kms of drive. At a filling station, tank full and we were on road again after a 10 minute break. Roads were smooth and we were flowing on it. Sun showed its first sign at around 7:00 and it simultaneously put some life in me.
Our first halt came after 157 kms of ride at a stretch. This time it was our turn to get the refill. Filled ourselves with idli dosa stuff with tea coffe...bought a packet of "chingum" as Anurag pronounce it. and we were on road again.. After covering a mere 30kms we were forced to break the journey again! Reason? We were dozing off on bike! I can count atleast 3 occassions and even Anurag confessed that he too dozed twice! So, it was the time for the much needed Chai!
From there, ghats started which were not looking so beautiful as they were devoid of any greenry, but still we enjoyed those curves! We continued to float on the black beauty (roads) and our third and the final break came at 50 kms prior tp Ganpatipule (GP Pule as we call it). Anurag forced a 'kokam' sharbat on me and a round of bhurji pav followed...In the backyard of that roadside hotel , i spotted the beautiful location and literally dragged Anurag for a photosession and after satisfying the photographer in me we moved ahead...
As soon as we took the turn to Ganpatipule, the total scenery around us changed completely. Instead of large mountains and ghats, there was large barren land on both sides of the road with no signs of vegetation at all..We were nearing our destination..Just before 7 kms to ganpatipule, i clicked the snaps in front of a mile stone showing "Ganpatipule-7kms". Somehow i like to capture the mortals with different milestones..Strange na? As soon as we touched GP, we got a divine glimpse of the vast sea which promised a lot...We knew we were on the right place!
Now first challange was to get an accomodation as the fatigue and heat took its toll on us...and we had to book hotel for 13 of my friends including my room mates who were scheduled to reach there in the night....We decided on a tent in MTDC resort and more or less finalised it but the lady luck played the cruel joke again. It was available for just a day and we wanted it for two! From there the torture of finding a place for 15 guys started that too in 2'Oclock sun and after a drive of 350 odd kms! The three hotels that we spotted on the net were running in their full capacities and it seemed everybody on the earth came to ganpatipule to play holi as if it is the only place on planet where you can get the colours!
We were exhausted, tired, tortured and about to die and still without roof! Just imagine...two night stay under the open sky on the beach!
To be continued....