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Self Start

Updated: May 23, 2021

21 March 2019

I received my bike on 20th March and that was the best day of my life. All the memories of that day is so fresh, like an expecting father I went to the Royal Enfield showroom with my Father and my brothers to see my 'baby'. After doing the necessary documents check and instructions by the staff I was finally able to see my bike. Doesn't it feel good to call something that you have as "mine"?

Now, I was working in Kochi at that time and I had taken leave for 2 days, I was supposed to reach back by the 4th day basically. 20th Morning I reached Bangalore, in the evening I was at the Showroom and 21st I was supposed to ride back to Kochi. After I got the delivery of the bike, I was excited about owning this bike and once I came back home I made sure that I would sleep early because my plan was to start early in the morning the next day. I thought of starting at 03:30 Hrs in the morning and reach Kerala by 11, so that I can avoid riding while the sun was right on top of my head (basically I wanted to avoid the Tamil Nadu stretch). I tried hitting the bed at 9 but my excitement for the next day's ride had no bounds and did not let me sleep, it was very difficult for me to sleep and I somehow managed to sleep for 3 hours (which a rider should never do if he has to do a long trip).

In the morning I get up by 02:30 Hrs, got dressed, wore my biking gloves, wore my jacket, I had got 2 redbulls to give me energy if I need while being on my ride, packed my backpack and loaded it on my bike.

My mom did not agree to send her son on a bike all alone by himself, it was very hard for me to convince her. But, my father is fond of travelling and exploring, in his young age he would do all sorts of trips on his bike ( IndSuzuki AX100) with his friends, I tried and convinced him to let me do this citing his own travelling experiences (which worked!). He allowed, but there were certain conditions:

  1. I should share my live location with him until I reach Kerala.

  2. I should take a break after an hour of riding.

  3. At 10:00 Hrs, wherever I am, I should switch off my bike completely and get off for sometime.

  4. Not to over-speed (anyway the showroom guys had asked me not to exceed 70 Kmph before the first servicing)

  5. Have breakfast once I reach Salem (Tamil Nadu)

  6. Stop the bike if I'm tired/sleepy

One big mistake that I did was that I had an Iridium visor and the visibility with that at night is very hard. Somehow i managed to ride with the visor open till the sun is up. Cruising at 60 Kmph is nothing, but for someone who got the bike the previous day and that too to ride all the way till Kerala which is about 500 KM was a big thing for me. All this was very new to me, I had never done such a long journey on a two wheeler and every second of this journey was crucial for me because I wanted to remember this for the rest of my life.

Before reaching Bangalore, my friends in Kochi had warned me about bandits attacking vehicles on the highway near Dharmapuri. By the time I reached Dharmapuri, it was about 05:30 Hrs and it was still dark. While I was riding there, the thoughts of Bandits attacking me was haunting me, I was very cautious and kept looking through the little light that was there then. At this stretch there were no street lights and the vehicles coming from the other side with a high beam would blind you for a moment. While I was careful riding through this stretch, I saw something that shook me. On the left side I saw a figure like that of Mahatma Gandhi walking fast on the side of the road with a big walking stick in his right hand. I literally froze and kept telling myself that I didn't see anything and that what I saw was not a ghost.I refused to believe that white figure is a ghost and i kept riding without looking back or into the mirror. According to the movie logic, if you look into the rear view mirror of your vehicle, the chances of the ghost attacking you is more, hence I kept riding. Now, some 500 m after i saw the sighting of the "ghost" I saw another one and this was a slow moving ghost with his hands in the front. Since I saw the back area first, I freaked out again, then I started to think as to why is this "ghost" walking so slowly and why are his hands in the front. As soon as I overtook him, I saw that he was pushing a wheelchair. Now, this is some lame ghost who cannot even float is what I told myself. I kept on riding and kept thinking to myself as to why was this happening to me, did I actually see ghosts? After i gave it a lot of thought and analysis, I came to the conclusion that those were Jain monks who were walking on the side of the road. But why were there only 3 monks and that too why were they so far away from each other. I'm sure that I have not done something so remarkable in my life that Gandhiji would come and give me a visit and at least not when I am riding a bike early in the morning. I hope they were Jain monks. I really hope so (fingers crossed).

After riding for sometime the sky started to become blueish orangish in colour and I understood that soon the sun will be up and I so badly wanted experience this moment. I tried to move a bit faster so that I can watch the sunrise in the ghats section. There is something about Sun and the mountains that fascinates me all the time, I get the same zen moment every time I see the sun go up and down in the mountains. I was successful to capture this moment, never ever in my life I had experienced this feeling, this was like something that i have never seen before, everything around me was so beautiful and fresh, I was living in the moment and I was enjoying this moment.

Crossed Salem, Erode and Tiruppur without any hassle and then from there I skirted Coimbatore while cruising on the NH 44. After the first toll booth, outside Coimbatore, my fuel gauge showed that my bike was running on reserve. I wasn't sure how long can I keep going because I did not know about the mileage of the bike since it was brand new. I kept praying to god that I could find a petrol pump so that I can refuel and reach the service center by 12:00 Hrs since I had an appointment. Finally, I did find a petrol pump and I could breathe a sigh of relief, after the topping up my petrol tank, I saw this tender coconut seller and thought of rejuvenating my body as the sun was right on top of my head by now. I removed my gloves and helmet, opened the zip of my jacket, took a sip of tender coconut water and tried talking to this seller. Palakkad was some 50 odd KM from there and I was ready to go. Royal Enfield Service center Chandranagar (Palakkad District), Kerala was were I had booked an appointment for my first servicing.

Started my ride from there and the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border was some 20 KM from there. I was excited and exhausted by now. Excited because Kerala was just a few Kilometres away. I have always noticed this about myself that every time I travel to Kerala or hear the word Kerala, I become super happy and excited, there is this sense of belonging that Kerala has somehow imbibed in me. I maintained a good speed and reached the Walayar (Kerala border), I stopped my bike, got out, welcomed myself to the God's own country and the took a few pictures. Now, I have heard from a lot of friends that the Kerala Police is very strict and given the not-so-good relation that Kerala has with Karnataka, I was scared to take my bike to this state and in such a state. Here I was, a Malayali, riding a Karnataka registered bike ( with no number plate as I only got it after 1 month or so), but subconsciously I was ready. So, i kept riding and at the first toll booth after Walayar the Excise officials made me stop the bike as they wanted to "search". I stopped my bike, one official came to me and said that he wants to "search" and made me remove my bag from the rear seat. During this he asked me all sorts of random questions like, where are you coming from, what do you do, what does your dad do, where are you going, how much did you pay for the motorcycle, what's the mileage that you are getting, so on and so forth. Once they were done, I strapped my bag-pack back to the rear seat and off I went, i just had to ride about less than 10 KM for the service center.

I reached the service center by 12:00 Hrs, the executive came, checked my bike, took my bike manual, gave me a job card, tore the 1st service card from the manual book and told me that from 13:00 Hrs-14:00 Hrs it is their lunch break and the bike would only be ready by 15:00 Hrs. I was exhausted completely exhausted by then, the sun had sucked up all the energy that was left in my body, so I told them that I would wait at the visitor's lounge by the time the bike gets serviced. As soon as I entered the room, I kept by bag down, removed my jacket kept it on the chair and removed my gloves. I also realised that everyone in that room was staring at me as if I had come back from a Ladakh trip and they are trying to think of my story. Through the glass window I saw my bike getting serviced and I was at peace (also the AC was working properly in the lounge, so I was happy and relaxed). After a while, I saw them take away my bike, I understood that the service was done and I was eagerly waiting for them to call my name. at 15:30 Hrs roughly I asked the executive if my bike is ready, he said "yes", but they are having some issue with the billing, only once the billing is done I would be able to take out my motorcycle and leave. I waited to half an hour more and I was getting frustrated, I just wanted to go home and sleep. After one hour of waiting I had enough, i went up to them and asked them about the issue, they just stood clueless saying that they are having a billing issue on my bike because the bike job card is not closed from Bangalore (meaning - the bike has not been registered and is not owned by a person). I first called the store manager of Bangalore showroom, but he did not pick up my call. Then I called the Royal Enfield customer care and addressed them the issue, they tried connecting me to a executive who would handle my case, after multiple failed attempts of calling someone or the other related to Royal Enfield, I was able to talk to the Regional Manager of Bangalore and she asked me to pass my phone to the service center manager here at the Palakkad. After that call, everything was butter- smooth. In no time my bike was ready to be rolled out.

Such a mixed emotions experience this was, but I learnt something that day; if there is something that you call it yours, you need to be with it through good and bad times both. Probably you'll be facing a very strenuous time, but at the end of the day it will be just fine. All you have to do is just wait, wait patiently, the movement will happen, let the process begin, let it take it's own time.

Who might know, probably all that you need in life is just a self start.

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