Travel to Pune

Yesterday, I along with three of my colleagues had to travel to Pune late in the evening to attend a workshop scheduled for today afternoon. Normally, I prefer to travel early in the morning and return back on the same day, however yesterday, I decided to tag along with my colleagues. We left office at about 9:15pm and decided to have lunch at this restaurant (Inside China) at Kharghar. As the name mentions, it serves Chinese cuisine. The food at this place is simply awesome and I would recommend anyone who goes to Kharghar to have dinner there. We reached this place around 10:45pm and finished dinner around 11:55pm. The Chocolate Mousse was simply awesome and we just kept ordering for the same one after another. Post dinner, we left for Pune.

We crossed the Khalapur toll gate and had just entered the Khandala ghat when we got stuck in a massive jam on the Expressway. I had read about the traffic jams on the Pune – Mumbai Expressway and knew that they are of the worst category and sometimes take upto 3-5 hours to clear. We were parked on the shoulder on the left side of the road and waited there patiently for the traffic to clear. After waiting for almost an hour, we moved a little ahead and were stalled again for another 30 mins. By this time however, some truck drivers had moved all the way to the right side of the road and had created an opening big enough for an SUV to pass and get on the road going in the opposite direction. We drove on the shoulder on the left side and reached the opening where we asked the driver, if we should drive against the traffic going towards to Mumbai. At first, the thought seemed pretty entertaining but we decided against doing the same and turned around to head towards Mumbai.

We decided to take the old highway to Khopoli and head to Pune using the old Mum – Pune highway. The old highway was relatively empty and free of traffic and we reached Khandala ghat in no time. We were constantly praying and hoping that we don’t end up stuck in the traffic jam again. As luck would have it, we had crossed the traffic jam and merged with the moving traffic towards Pune. In all this, it was already 1:45am. By the time we reached our hotel rooms in Pune it was around 3:00am.

The entire experience left me thinking that while we have such good highways, we need to have a good way to inform people of the traffic conditions on the road ahead. In the US, while traveling there used to be warning sign boards on the road informing people of the traffic condition of the road ahead and whether any diversion can be used to avoid the traffic. I believe a similar system needs to be set up so that people don’t get stuck in traffic when there are alternate routes available. I hope such boards are set up soon on the highways.

Bike trip to Valsad

Last Sunday, I along with my dad, went to Valsad on bike for some personal work. Valsad is about 180kms from Mumbai and would have taken me approx. 3 hours of reach there. We started at around 6:50am in the morning and took the NH8. Once we crossed the Ghodbunder junction, the roads were simply awesome. After crossing Virar, the road turns into a 6 lane highway.  There was not a single pothole that I encountered on the entire journey. Coming from a city where roads are littered with potholes, riding on such smooth roads was unexpected and a dream come true experience. I wonder why don’t these engineers make roads in Mumbai, I am sure we would have much better roads.

I couldn’t resist speeding looking at the empty highway and smooth roads. I feel once the R15 crosses the speed of 75kmph, it really opens up and it easily slips into a mode where even riding at 120kmph feels like a breeze. The bike was completely stable and I couldn’t feel any vibrations. I could achieve the max speed of 124kmph with a pillion rider. I feel that the bike can reach speeds of 135kmph (though that’s a target for a different trip). The best part of the riding is that it makes me feel free and clear. For those few hours, I leave everything behind and just focus on the road and enjoy the surroundings. Overall it was an awesome experience and now I am looking forward to more bike trips this year.

Ekla Chalo Re

I heard this song yesterday in the movie Kahaani. This song is sung by Amitabh Bachchan. Since the time, I have heard this song, I have fallen in love with it. The original song is written by Rabindranath Tagore during the Indian Independence struggle. I found the original translated lyrics from Wikipedia and have pasted them below.

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.
If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.
If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.