24th November 2012
Woke up at 4:30 A.M , again thanks to my noisy neighbours. Suddenly I realized something wrong with my left arm. It was paining pretty badly, I started to contemplate what might have caused the pain, I guess the bad roads or maybe unbalanced saddle bags were the culprit. Since I had already woken up, I started blogging. At around 6:30 A.M. I started feeling very sleepy and decided to take a nap for 30 mins. As usual when I woke up it was around 7:40 A.M. I quickly packed my stuff, and was on the road within 10 mins. The road is the place where I belong, i confide in the road, I trust it, it gives me everything I need, its the place which I can be ME.
The sun was up but it seemed that it was also in a lazy mood, and to add to it the distant panorama was kind of foggy. I was enjoying the view and riding towards Varandha Ghats, yes the infamous Ghats, which people avoid, courtesy the bad roads. I was doing moderate speeds, around 70-75 kmph, when suddenly I noticed a snake crossing the road, it was the commonly found non-poisonous ones, well that’s my guess, I plunged into the brake levers and somehow avoided running over it. I decided to take a photo break to cool down myself and to click the panorama. After a few clicks I started to move ahead but soon I had to stop again for clicking the mystic looking mountains in the background with the Nira- Deoghar Dam in the foreground.
I kept moving ahead on the Varandha Ghat Road, now I was riding along the banks of the Nira-Deoghar Dam and it took me through some small villages and some rocky patches. I love to ride along water bodies and hence try to find some water somehow.
Soon I came to a bridge, a small one, but a picturesque one, without delay I tried to capture the beauty around me in my camera sensor. As soon as I moved ahead I could see a trail on my right. As I turned into it I saw a person carrying a bundle of dried tree branches, he asked me “where do you want to go? This road end a few meters ahead.” I said I know, I am here to wander, and I guess he wasn’t too happy with my reply and hence moved ahead. Here I got a wonderful opportunity to click the reflection of rocks and mountains in the water.
I returned on to the State Highway a.k.a Varandha Ghat road and decided not to stop anywhere before Varandha ghat itself, I was surprised to see that a considerable patch had been re-laid with fresh tarmac, well by considerable I mean 6-7 kms. Soon The infamous Varandha Ghats were in sight. I stopped here to click them from a distance. This is one of my favorite places. It gives us an idea of the hugeness of the ghats.
The Mighty Varandha
Soon I saw some tourists stopping by in some of the newly opened ‘dhabbas’. I always stop at the tapri (small shop) in the Ghat, near the temple. As usual I stopped there and ordered for kandha bhajji and tea. I kept my helmet and other loose items with the shopkeeper as Varandha is also famous for notorious monkeys, who tend to pick up anything and everything. I continued on with the sometimes-smooth-sometimes-potholed road.
It was 11:00 A.M. and I felt that I spent too much time on the highway and hence decided to do one of my favorite exploring routes, the route from Mahabaleshwar to Kaas Plateau. The thought of that route excited me so much that I didn’t stop anywhere and reached Mahabaleshwar via Poladpur in the next 90 mins. I needed to get my right rear-view mirror fixed as it had loosened up and was dangling left and right all the time. I went to a mechanic in Masjid road in Mahabaleshwar and got it fixed for free and also lubed my chain. Then inquired about the entry point for the Kaas Road, most of them would tell me to go via Satara, as they felt the route I was asking for was in a very bad shape, all I said in reply was “I did that route this monsoon, I guess it can’t be worse than what it was at that time”.
Different people gave different directions and I finally found a person who sounded confident about the route to Kaas. Following his directions I went ahead on the Tapola road, but I knew that this was not the route I was looking for, but en route everyone said that this road does go to Kaas. The road was fun to ride on, as it had smooth tarmac with smooth flowing corners.
I had to stop again to click the wonderful vistas that forced me to look on my left more frequently that I would have loved to while riding a bike on a narrow road.
After riding for 2-3 km, I could see the waterfront, it was an amazing view. Then suddenly disappointment struck me, I saw a board that said that this road goes via Bamnoli, the route to Kaas I wanted to avoid. Hence I decided to turn back. Nonetheless I stopped to click the scenic view.
After clicking the above pic, I decided to make a move, but something unwanted happened. I was clicking the pic standing on a rock. I slipped, in order to save myself I tried to get my hands to something. For those few seconds I had completely forgotten that I had my DSLR in my hand. As I placed my hand on the rock the Camera took all the impact and literally broke into two pieces. I could see the internal circuit and all. I was numbed, I didn’t know how to react, what to do. Only one thought came to my mind “The ride is OVER for me”
After a few seconds I called up a few friends, they said calm down and continue with the ride. But I couldn’t continue without a camera, I mean then nothing could be documented. A friend from Pune, Ashutosh, suggested me to come down to his place and take his camera, which was the same model. I don’t know what happened but then within a few mins tears started rolling out of my eyes, but I decided not to give up and started towards Pune.
Upon reaching Pune, I took his cam, had a quick lunch at 5:00 P.M. and again started for Mahabaleshwar. Tanked up en route, and rode up to Mahabaleshwar. Found a room through one of the millions of agents roaming around and then tried to blog. But all I could do was post the blog that I had written in the morning. I guess the impact of this major setback was still there and I didn’t allow me to think about anything but the broken camera….
Total Kms done on Day 3: ~ 390 kms