Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bike Ride to Bandipura

 
A famous quote:
There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could ride motorcycles”.

It’s not about speeding above the 3 digit mark, its not riding like there’s no tomorrow, it’s not a speed rush; it’s riding… and riding a bullet. The feel you get while riding a bullet is next to none and definitely can’t be expressed in words here. The engine roars to a start and the thump you feel is something only you can feel :)

Coming back to the post, I wanted to take the bullet out on a long drive (well, this was to be my first long drive on a bike with more than 150cc capacity) and with an eager buddy, Guru, more eager to accompany me on his Rx, we made a quick weekend dash to Bandipura covering about 500kms in 2 days. Incidentally, this was our 2nd bike ride to Bandipura, the first being a double ride on his Rx sometime back.

I was a speed fanatic some years ago, but with age come wisdom and with that wisdom, I control the urge to speed and ride within safe limits. The bullet is a rider’s delight, a perfect recipe; it shall behave as you want it to and responds in sync with your pulses. I love riding and that halves the tiredness you feel and the urge to ride keeps you moving.
We left early to reach Bandipura by afternoon, but as it was destined, the Rx had a bad puncture near Bidadi and getting a person to do it took nothing less than 5 hours! A regular stop for Bidadi Thatte Idli became an unending wait for the mechanic to turn up. A rare day, when the mechanic failed to turn up at his regular time and by the time he came, there were about 10 customers from the entire town waiting for him! Argh! From there, there was no stopping me and the bullet and I only stopped next at Mysore city (Columbia Asia hospital circle) and Guru was wondering where I had vanished! Another of my habits is that I never attend calls nor sms while riding unless I feel it may be something important, if so I pull over and take the call. In short, I never realized the vibration of the cell and had completely missed his calls. After a super quick lunch at Kamat café, Mysore, we went ballistic on the road towards Bandipura with the only stop for ATM at Gundlupet. The road all the way from Bangalore to Bandipura is in good condition for 95% of the stretch with a few small bad patches in between.
We took the customary safari bus ride by the department to get the feel of the wild. Being summer, it was dry, hot and humid. The deers, peacocks, jungle fowl, gaurs, and boars were all there and were waiting for the first showers of the season. We stayed at the Vana Vihar (http://www.vanavihar.com/index.html) right opposite to Bandipur Plaza, our regular place of stay. The cottages look good for families to stay and the food is decent enough; don’t expect anything extraordinary, but better than the food at Bandipur Plaza. Next day another customary safari ride (this time a jeep ride with the Jungle lodges) and we got to see a young tusker chipping away at a tree for its bark repeatedly. The weather was dry and so was the forest, forest fires happening in some places, scarcity of water and dry throats, its tough for the animals and the monsoons are eagerly awaited. Very few waterholes survive the summer onslaught and some are filled by the department to beat the heat and the bigger ones shrink to quarter their size during the summer months.
But, it felt good to be back in the forest and enjoying the magpie robin’s show at every nook and corner, on every branch and stump, the peafowl’s in group waiting for the rains, the jungle fowl cuckooing everywhere, the faint alarm calls of the sambar deer or the barking deer far away hinting of a predator movement, the 7 sisters or the jungle babblers babbling all around, the numerous birds who can only be heard but not seen owing to the dense canopy and growth, the fearless wild dogs who run, chase and eventually eat their prey when still alive, those tense moments when you wait without luck for a cat to stride out from the rustling bushes, a monitor lizard on the tree, a star tortoise having lost its way on the jeep track, the hoopoe’s and mynah’s sharing the same trunk of the tree, those elusive raptors soaring high and mighty, the crumbling of branches indicative of a tusker nearby, a ton of black mass revealing itself as a lone gaur giving you a quizzed look, you blink and miss the elusive barking deer; the barks, grunts, and whoops of the silver coated hanuman langur’s high above, the wonderful win-win co-existence of the deer’s and the primates, the sounds of the bamboo cluster or the trees made by the howling winds, the eerie silence you encounter in the middle of a jungle – well, I can just go on and on… :) The joy of being in a forest can only be felt, not said!
After an eventful stay, we were on our way back home on the bike’s and starting mid afternoon, we reached Mysore pretty fast and early maintaining a decent speed and riding single lane. After a heavy lunch, Guru started feeling the tiredness, hampering our ride back and taking numerous breaks to stretch. Finally, reached home before dusk set in and hit the sacks right away recounting each and every moment of the wonderful journey we undertook.

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