The heat had already picked up, but so had our zest for another long bike ride. The last big one was back in 2017. It was getting difficult to think of a destination as all directions north and south of Mumbai (atleast realistic distances) promised only one thing – rising mercury levels.
It was going to be our first big ride with our larger machines
BMW 310 GS for me
KTM Duke 250 for Kanade
Dominar 400 of DevD
Thoughts of Himachal Pradesh were quickly out of the window with its 3-day one-direction ride to reach Manali or somewhere close which entailed atleast 7 days of just riding to get to a place and back home. Central India would’ve sizzled, which left us with only 2 options. Either pack our bikes in a crate and send it somewhere or go down south. With Devendra’s bucket-list item of riding in Bandipur reserve and mine to visit the Jog falls created a perfect union of a plan falling in place.
A tentative plan was hatched
day 1 : mumbai to outskirts of Davanagere : 730km 12hrs
day 2 : towards mysuru 350km 6hrs
day 3 : mysuru palace, and roaming
day 4 : mysuru to ooty 3hrs via bandipur
day 5 : ooty roaming
day 6 : ooty to mangaluru 383km 9hrs
day 7 : mangaluru to jog falls 220km 5hrs – (back to gokarna 120km 3hrs or honnavar 68km 1.5 hrs)
day 8 : jog falls to kolhpaur – 6hrs – 362km
day 9 : backto mumbai 374km 7 hrs
day 10: ??? backup
This plan was along a similar ride that I had done 9 years back. Well – nothing wrong in history repeating, definitely not when its sight seeing.
Day 1, to Hubli
Mar 26, 2022
Davangere was the original destination, but we got caught in a massive Lonavala traffic jam (where some Chemical tanker had turned turtle). It costed us an additional 1 hr just to reach Pune.
The bigger machines under our crotch meant we were riding faster than what we had done in our earlier rides. By the time we crossed into Karnataka it was 3pm post our lunch. And as expected the AH-47 just opens up like a new engine after a few 1000s of km and a nice drink of synthetic oil.
Coming into the Belgaum area, the clouds had started to thicken cooling the weather from high 30s to sub 30. But it also meant that precipitation was about to be encountered. As we hit the wretched single lane Dharwad-Hubli section – it hit us, and hit us hard. I didn’t pay any heed to Kanade’s suggestion of waiting at a tapri for tea and seeing out the rain, so we continued into a drenched halt somewhere on the road. We lost another 1 hour for the rains and Davangere was well out of sight as it was already 7pm by the time we reached outskirts of Hubli and decided to call it a day.
It was the 8th month of 2021 and yet – No bike ride in the year !? The rains had eased, so had Sars-Cov-2, atleast around Mumbai, so …
एक ride तो बनता है
So the quest began for a route, and as usual the eyes always get stuck on the blue amongst the outer reaches of Mumbai. A straight line on a blue body came up slightly north-east of Igatpuri, The Waki dam. Looking around, the ever elusive Upper Vaitarna gave the sly. It turned out to be a fairly long 330 km. ride.
The early morning started with rains, damn ! Luckily by the time we hit roads it was dry. At the Vakola junction, across the road I saw burly guy with a big bike and a bigger top box, it had to be JK. With his newly wed lady, the Tiger 900 Rally Pro! Up ahead we met with the Kanjurkars and soon we were blasting on NH3 till… ofcourse the Bhiwandi – Kalyan morning traffic caught us.
Post Kalyan, it was faster and the stomachs too seemed to have dried up making us have the Asangaon pit stop at the food mall. There on, nearing Kasara the rains welcomed, I was having no protection unlike some and we continued to ride through the recently land-slided Kasara ghats reaching Igatpuri in hard hitting heavy rains.
Drenched completely and cold, at the Khambale junction we stopped for tea. And immediately ahead the scenery changed, rains stopped, roads, vehicles, noises dropping away for paddy greenery, lush wet earth and winding roads navigating through sleepy huts. Around, far away in the distance the hazy blue-green hills around igatpuri gave a grand-canyon-ish look with random tall columns, cones and plateaus. Of-course, the silly bike photos with hills and greens in background coursed its way through phones.
The golden era of black and white songs 🙏🏼. This song, an epitome of simplicity and melody of an era with Geeta Dutt’s brilliance and of O.P. Nayyar’ music riding the waves. One of my favourite songs.
Song is in the scale of G
[Chorus] [G] तुम जो हुये मेरे [Am] हमसफ़र, [D] रस्ते बदल [G] गये [G] लाखों दिये मेरे [Am] प्यार [D] की राहों में [C] जल [G] गये
[G] क्या मंज़ि[D]लें [C] क्या कार[Am]वाँ,
बाहों में [D] तेरी है [C] सारा [G] जहां [G] आ जान-ए-[D]जां, [C] चल दे व[Am]हाँ,
मिलते [D]जहाँ है [C]ज़मीन [G] आसमान [G] मंज़िल से भी कही [Am] दूर [D] हम आज निकल [G] गये [G] लाखों दिये मेरे [Am] प्यार [D] की राहों में [C] जल [G] गये
[G] आया म[D]ज़ा, [C] लाया न[Am]शा,
तेरे ल[D]बों की बहा[C]रों का [G] रंग [G] मौसम ज[D]वां, [C] साथी ह[Am]सीं,
उस पे न[D]ज़र के इ[C]शारों का [G] रंग [G] जितने भी रंग थे [Am] सब ते[D]री आखों में ढल [G] गये [G] लाखों दिये मेरे [Am] प्यार [D] की राहों में [C] जल [G] गये
Not really a span of time to talk a lot about, but we did manage to scrape some dust of gold from it and trek to Devkund after a cool 150km motorbike ride.
We started from our homes around 5.30am and met each other at Vashi and headed towards Khopoli. The route we were gonna take was Mumbai – Khalapur – Pali – Rawalje – Tata Bhira power plant.
The bike ride
We were on our motorbikes, the road to Khalapur was pretty much flawless ( old Mumbai Pune road ), after that towards Pali was a hit and miss, more of miss-miss-miss-few-occurances-of-hit. A lot of construction work is going since 2-3 years, some stretches of only few 100-500m is concrete while other is work in progress, older tarmac or plain old dirt. From Pali, the road is better as there isn’t much of vehicular traffic towards the TATA Bhira Plant. We reached the location by 10.15am.
We decided not to take a guide and started off by 10.30am. However on our very first fork, we were clueless, luckily a villager was at sight and he helped us through. Further ahead there were at-least 3-4 occasions where we had to move left-right to confirm the path. The Path is more of a trail which at times crosses the water. Whenever that happens, you’re bound to lose it. On our way there was another lonely trekker from Pune whom we tagged along or vice-versa. It took us 12.30pm to reach the destination. The waterfall was a little anti-climatic. The strong flow had reduced to a stream under which one could easily stand although it does fall from quite a height.
After 7-8 months of large inactivity even the simple trek did make us feel tired, especially the last hillock climb. Before heading in the pool we decided to have lunch to prevent cramps swimming through our bodies. The pool water was crisp and cool, it took more than a minute to actually complete submerge ourselves in. After a quick refreshing swim, we were back on our trail by 1.30pm.
At the base, we had a stomach full of anda bhurji, omelette, pav staple and by 4pm the bikes were firing again taking us home.
What we are really doing over here is asking the system to use Noto Sans Devanagari font whenever language is hi (Hindi) or mr (Marathi) and consider the same font for both serif and sans-serif families.
Some of the really beautiful fonts that I’ve seen in Devanagari are
Note: I’ve tested my settings on Ubuntu 18.04, so anything newer, should work as well.
Update: Focal Fossa (20.04) / GNOME 3.36
I recently updated to the latest Ubuntu LTS, and… the above changes didn’t work. 🙁 After a lot of tinkering (and reading man fonts.conf) I managed to get them working by creating the font config file ~/.config/fontconfig/conf.d/10-devanagari-substitution.conf. The 2 character numerical number is a priority and is a necessity according to Font Configuration – Arch Linux.
Also personally, I’ve found to use just the Noto Sans font downloaded from Google fonts as it tends to include the roman Glyphs along with Devanagari ones.
[E] खोजे [A] अपनी गंध ना [E]पावे
चादर [A] का पैबंद ना [E]पावे
बिखरे [B] बिखरे छंद सा [A] टहले
दोहों में ये [B] बंध ना [E] पावे
[E] नाचे हो के फिरकी लट्टू
खोजे अपनी [B] धूरी [E] रे
उमर की गिन[A]ती हाथ न [E] आई .. ओ [D] … [E]
पुरखों [A] ने ये बात ब[E]ताई
उल्टा [A] कर के देख सके [E] तो
अम्बर [A] भी है गहरी [E] खाई
रेखा[A]ओं के पार नज़र [E] को
जिसने [A] फेंका अन्धे मन [E] से
सतरंगी [B] बाज़ार का [A] खोला
दरवाज़ा फिर बिना जतन [A] के … [E] [E] फिर तो झूमा बावल हो के [E] फिर तो झूमा बावल हो के
सर पे डाल फि[B]तूरी… [E] रे
Have a proper agenda, if available, use a bulleted points list that could / would be discussed.
Join by default on “Muted” option
Preferably use headphones (mic inbuilt)
Be loud, clear and slow in communication (There is no Words/min record to be beaten). No harm explaining the point again especially in a patchy connection.
Before going ahead, introduce / say hello (specially if its big room 10+ guys with new members) and ask if you were audible
Before going ahead with screen-share/presentation, please check once if the screen-share is visible
While presenting and talking – Try using your mouse and pointing to the data that you want others to follow.
If you’re presenting numbers, worksheets As a rule of thumb zoom 2 points (120% in modern browsers).
If there is a long silence, there is a good chance you’ve got disconnected. Confirm with the audience if you’re audible and then reconnect
Still a long silence ? if you’re expecting an answer or comment from somebody, ASK THAT GUY/GAL. Or take a lead and ask, “shall we move on?”
As soon as you’re done talking, mute yourself (Ctrl+D on google meet) is a nice toggle shortcut in google-meet.
If going through periodic/weekly-syncs, it’s good to give a brief intro of the task and then give details on it.
Give verbal signals in long conversations that you’re not dead and following the conversation, eg. “hmm..”, “ok…” Backchannel (linguistics)
Before the end of the call, reiterate the points finalized and get an agreement from everybody. (I learnt this from Manwar)
Say a goodbye and then drop-off the call, Don’t just simply exit.
As a listener, try avoiding to read / work on something else, it’ll lead you to ask, “sorry could you repeat that ?” (Even I’ve been the culprit many times :/ ). The poor guy at the other end has to reiterate and explain things. You might as well drop-off from the meeting.
Don’t have long monologues. Keep your statements short and direct.
If you plan to have a longer discussion, others might not be interested. Schedule another call (let’s take it offline) with the concerned person and keep the current meeting light and specific
Long distance commn. is difficult. It’s difficult to get emotions across correctly, Please refrain from using accusative language, harsh words.
अरे कशाला जायचं अश्या जागी बईक ने ? रस्ता आहे ना ? चालवा न तिकडे !
Kanade’s words echoed…
Just the earlier Sunday I had been to Kamshet’s Slope of Hell with 3 others. What we ended up doing there was dragging our motorbikes through the rocky steep incline and when our bikes got stuck pushed with help of each other. We managed to scale less than half of the road with our bikes, rest we ended up trekking all the way to the top. By the time we reached down, 3 bikes and 4 lads were tired. It was my 2nd trip to Slope of Hell and the first offroad encounter for others. It was then Kanade had uttered the words of wisdom.
Rewind a few more weeks back… I had got a call from BMW Sales about holding a GS Trophy specifically for 310GS owners. I wasn’t quite sure about it as I couldn’t really find a relaxing weekend for few months AND I had no experience in such competitions! I dilly-dallied till Devendra said, do its just ₹2k, or else u’ll rue the missed chance for your whole life. I managed to book a ticket just few days earlier and I woke up at 5am on 15th for the 7am reporting time at Royal Palms, Aarey Colony, Goregaon, Mumbai.
The road to the place was quite an offroad section. Event was held in an adventure park that was specifically created for offroad activities for ATVs, motocross, etc. As I reached there a lot of the 310s were already there, with the enduro-ready clan with their high ankle boots, heavily armoured body gear, high-visibility pants and shirts were enjoying the morning with tea, biscuits and samosas. I on the other hand had managed to borrow everything except for my 310 and the helmet. In a simple pair of worn out denims and a blue round-neck T-shirt I looked more like an event-helper than a participant.
Doraemon, Chotta Bheem, Motu Patlu, all seemed to have breached the Model Code of Conduct or आचार संहिता. Everyone of them publicizing and displaying their strengths in full color. However the election officials seemed to have turned a blind eye rather focusing on puny and tiny shards of papers with some silly party symbols. It seemed that the real contestants in the LS polls are these innocent characters and their paintings on school walls resembling or mimicking our aspiring leaders. Only if these leaders could give back to the public the same faith that these characters instill in the hearts of the young.
The typical school venue of an election poll booth venue, an exemplary reflection of our country’s polling and its politics. The walls off-colour with flakes of colour jumping off. The sweaty corridors of an old school reeking of musty damp walls. The only respite coming from a nice breeze stealing itself from crowded lanes of voters and a few unbalanced ceiling fans which were happy to move on to another event of 5-year term polls. These school’s air dispensers probably have witnessed the terms longer than the people it services.