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The unplanned journey

It was one of those moments that metamorphose into events that touch a lifetime. I remember three of us sitting together, facing each other with tired eyes after a long, uneventful day at work - where we negotiated clients, bosses, and team members; often mistakenly putting up wrong masks in front of inappropriate audience.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 19:54 IST

It was one of those moments that metamorphose into events that touch a lifetime. I remember three of us sitting together, facing each other with tired eyes after a long, uneventful day at work - where we negotiated clients, bosses, and team members; often mistakenly putting up wrong masks in front of inappropriate audience. (I shouted at by boss today.) In weariness, we chalked out a travel-plan for the upcoming extended weekend. Once done, as we were to get up, one of us suggested, "Why not take our bikes? It'll be different." Rest two us gave him hateful looks, which melted away on realizing his earnestness.

Next morning, we set out on our bikes, apprehensive that we may have to return from midway. The plan was simple - to Rishikesh and back. Later that evening, in Rishikesh, we sat quietly by the side of river Ganga, catching the mountains turning a shade darker as the sun slowly hid behind them. By the time darkness grew complete, we had reached a tacit understanding that this journey won't end here.

So, next day, with sincerity of a job to be done, we traveled to Uttarkashi. Negotiating innumerable turns on mighty mountains on our frail bikes, we witnessed the depth of Tehri dam that mutely encouraged us to move on. We came across mountain villages, punctuating the landscape at regular intervals, and eased with tea at these stopovers. We lost sense of time and the trail of thought became instantaneous, only to be inspired by the surrealistic scenery around.

On reaching Uttarkashi, we dared to have a go at Gangotri, realizing very well that our bikes may fail us in the process. For once, we were all experiencing a sense of accomplishment that had been missing all through the time after college. We could not reach even halfway to Gangotri. However, not on account of our 150 cc bikes, but for the landslides that had blocked the way.

We returned with heavy hearts, but renewed spirits. Though we took a day extra, the statistics sounded impressive - 1085 kilometers in four days, averaging close to 270 kilometers a day. I remember once doing a non-stop 120 kilometers stretch when we could not find a suitable stopover.

It took two weeks to recover from accompanying sunburns, pains and insomnia. For a long time, I daydreamed about the glorious mountains that we had biked to. Even now, sometimes we all sit together to plan a similar trip. However, at these times, the spontaneity, which had propelled us on that unplanned journey, is missing.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 19:54 IST