It was the 3rd of January 2010, I was riding back from Pune to Bangalore. The past year had been super eventful on the biking front. I had to been on numerous different trips and a 2 week sojurn to Ladakh too. My riding abilities had considerably improved and I was a on a all time high. Just a week before I had done a successful Bangalore-Mumbai run covering about 1000+ kms in around 13 hours comfortably. And I believed the return ride would be boring, but a cakewalk.
That was not to be, lady decided to frown upon me that fateful day. For a day that started out riding with 16 other bikers from Pune it ended up being one of the worst days of my life. Me and my dear friend Veda split up from the group of 16 others after breakfast and we headed on our way south towards Bangalore. I was doing speed in excess of the 80 Kmph speed limit close to 110-120 kmph. But the visibility on these arrow straight roads was something that din't let me down. About a kilometer away I spotted a lady with a bunch of wood on her head wanting to cross the road. I immediately lowered my speed to a much more controllable 60Kmph, and after started alternating between the horn and pass light to indicate my coming. I had two fingers on the front brakes too just a precautionary measure. As I neared here, what happened in the next 3-4 seconds is just a blur of images in my head. The lady actually ran across the road at the last moment, there was little time that I don't even remember hitting the breaks. I went and hit her head on at probably 50-60Kmph.
What happened from then on was just a blur, from villagers threatening me with machette's, to whirlwind tours of a village police station, hospitals and district courts. It was a horrible time, and thanks to the support some really really helpful people around me I managed get out of there the next to next day. I was mostly unhurt except for a few bruises here and there, my bike was rideable too, me and Veda took a quick call to ride back to Bangalore. I would have had too come back later for the court hearings and all the mess in life that these things bring with them. But I was happy that atleast nothing extremely major happened, to the lady, to me and to my ride. But even that miniscule amount of happiness was short lived.
On way back we stopped over at Davangere, about 250Kms short of Bangalore for lunch. Here we got pulled over by cops and detained by police on account of being terrorism suspects. It was just a stupid move just to harass us. To think about it, why would a terrorist turn up in a flashy bike with riding gear completely standing out of the crowd. Anways 2 hours later with mind completely irritated on two counts, 1. Mindless harassement by the police 2. Delay caused due to this meant we ride in the dark, and my bike did not have a headlight post the crash. But still atleast we were free and on our way back home. I had just about had enough of seeing the indoors of Police stations. Again lady luck was frowning on us....
A few kilometers out of Davangere, an errant state transport bus took a U turn from the extreme left lane to cut across to the other side much to Veda's surprise who was in the process of overtaking the bus. I was just a few meters behind Veda and I actually saw him TBone the bus at 80Kmph in slow motion. All I could do is scream inside my helmet. I rushed to pick up Veda from the crash site and put him on the side of the road. Riding gear saved him mostly, except for I could see visible see that he had broken his left thigh bone. Cutting a long story short, my worst nightmare had just gotten worse. Again without the help of some wonderful friends I would not have made it through this ordeal. Veda was sucessfully operated a few days later at an hospital in Davangere, he now has an steel reinforced thigh bone.
The next few weeks were trying times for the both of us, Veda had to deal with an all new way to live life going forward. I had to deal with the mess of our Legal system, Healthcare system and worst still the Police force. It took me about 2 more visits to the place where I had crashed to wrap up the legal and healthcare matters. It would not have been possible due some really wonderful people out there in Pune who extended so much help to me. A special thanks to Alok aka Inflammable, Vishwas aka Trustvishwas, Rohan aka TenHut, Niranjan Vaidya and Praveen aka Hydroxide. No amount of words can express how grateful I am to you guys for being right there through the worst days of my life.
It was a slow progress for me going forward, the shock of these 3 incidents had left me too scared to even cross the road, leave alone riding a bike. It took me a few days to get back onto the bike, it took me even longer to get back to riding normally. About 4-5 months after the incident I did a small group ride and I could feel my confidence return partly. It took another ride with about 80 other fellow bikers to completely get comfortable with riding my bike with as much ease as before. But still something was missing, I was still scared to ride the way I usually rode. Hard and fast, but not rashly and above all doing this alone on a highway.
Finally after 7 months of staying in hiding I decided its time I break the shell and fight back all my fears with one shot.....
...And Coorg Happened!!!
550 Kms....12 Hours.....Yummy Food...and a bit more...