Help for donation!!

I have signed up with The Akansha Foundation which helps educate children from low income families. I will be running the half marathon and try to raise as much funds as possible for them. Please find my donation page below:

All the money donated would go to The Akansha Foundation. Would request you to help donate in whatever possible manner. Any donation will go a long way in helping these kids change their lives.

Watch what you pay for

I was in Pune recently – my post on solo bike trip is available here – and decided to fill petrol at the Bharat Petroleum fuel station just outside the main entrance of the Magarpatta City. The bike already had some fuel in it, however, as I was traveling to Chincholi Morachi next morning and from there to Mumbai, I wanted to be safe than sorry and hence decided to completely fill up the tank. The below is the conversation between me and the fuel station attendant:

Me: Fill up the tank pls

Petrol attendant: ok

At Rs. 200, the attendant suddenly stops filling the tank

Me: What happened? The tank is not full yet.

Attendant: Sir, there is already petrol in it and it is full now.

Me: It is not full yet as I know how much capacity my fuel tank has, so pls fill it up.

Attendant: OK. 

As the meter neared Rs. 500, I asked him to round it up at Rs. 500 and stop. I handover my credit card to him for payment. He swipes the card for Rs. 700 and comes back. I look at the receipt and was lost.  I asked him:

Me: How come you have swiped the card for Rs. 700, while I have only filled the tank for Rs. 500?

Attendant: No sir, we filled the tank for Rs. 700 only, earlier we stopped at Rs. 200 and then we added Rs. 500 worth more of petrol.

Me: No, we filled total Rs. 500 worth of fuel and not Rs. 700. I asked you to stop at Rs. 500 and then handed you the credit card.

At this point, he reiterated the same sentence written a couple of lines above. At this point, I was really angry and raised my voice.

Me: I am not paying you Rs. 700 and need to speak with your supervisor.

Attendant: Sir, I am saying it was Rs. 700 only.

Me: Sorry, pls call your supervisor.

The man reluctantly calls his supervisor. I explain him what has transpired and he calmly asks the attendant to handover Rs. 200 in cash, post which I signed the receipt and left.

I came home and mentioned the incident to my friend. He told me this is very common in Pune and most likely the guy ahead of you must have filled fuel worth Rs. 200 and this guy was trying to earn extra by passing that charge also on to you.  I then realized the guy ahead of me had actually filled fuel worth Rs. 200. It was a good thing that I was alert else those guys would have cheated me. I am surprised people don’t pay attention to such things while filling up the cars or bikes. Well next time when I am in Pune, I am going to be extra careful while fueling up and mostly pay cash to avoid such issues.


Bike trip to Pune

Last week I did a solo bike trip from Mumbai to Pune taking the Mulshi dam route. I started from Borivali, Mumbai at around 645am on my Yamaha R15. The best part of riding in early morning is the fresh and cold crisp air which hits your face and obviously less vehicles on the road. It took me approx. an hour and 15 mins to reach Panvel where I took my first halt and had a cup of chai. Post chai, started my journey on NH-4 towards Lonavala. Somehow, I like riding on the old Mumbai-Pune highway (NH4). The tar road is virtually pot hole free and it is a dream to ride on. The power of R15 can be felt on such roads. As soon as the bike hit 4th gear, I could feel the engine just going to different level and riding the bike just felt even more pleasurable. Plus the fact that very few vehicles use this road makes it even more enjoyable to ride the bike.

I reached Lonavala and decided to halt for breakfast. I decided to stop at McDonalds assuming that they have better rest room facilities so I could use that and also have decent breakfast.  However as soon as I asked directions for washroom, I was informed that there was no water and restrooms can’t be used. Good thing I carry a hand sanitizer with me. Finished breakfast and decided to explore Lonavala before taking the route to Mulshi lake. While riding on the roads in Lonavala, I realized that state highway roads are much better than the shit we call as roads in Mumbai.  Most of the roads didn’t have a single pothole. I continued on the same road, until I reached a road split. One road goes towards Aamby Valley and another road heads towards Mulshi. Since I wasn’t sure, I decided to ask a local to make sure I was going in the right direction. I was told that the road ahead was bad and I would have to drive very slowly to get to the lake.  At this point in time, I was in two minds, whether to go ahead or turn back and head on NH-4.

I decided to take the road less driven and just like the local person had said, it was a horrible road – full of stones and gravel and mud. I was cursing myself for taking this road and was apologizing to the bike for driving her on such bad roads.  The road passes through forest and there are very few people who use this road. The road was really bad and at many times I was praying for the bike to not break down as that would have left me stranded in the middle of the forest. After riding on this road for about 60 mins, I reached an area where there were a lot of houses being built. This was right behind the Aamby Valley and I suspect there must be some road which would be leading to Aamby Valley. However the best part of the area was there were tar roads. Looking at that road my eyes really lit up. I felt like “ok, I guess the worst roads are over and will have smooth roads going ahead”. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After riding on the nice road for 2-3 mins, I rode on possibly worst road ever. The road was full of stones and mud. Just that. It was really horrible to ride. There were many times where I felt I was going to slip from the bike, but was able to control the bike somehow. I rode for another 20 mins when the road got finally better and I saw the glimpses of the Mulshi Lake. I continued riding on the road and reached the first village which was right by the lakeside. I stopped the bike and got down and took some pictures of the place.

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After crossing the village, the road for considerably better and was a pleasure to ride on. There was lake on one side and mountain on another and absolutely not a single soul on the road. I stopped the bike in between at many isolated places and took pictures.  It was a very peaceful drive, just me, bike and birds. I continued on this road until I reach Mulshi village at SH 60. Pune is approx. 45 kms from this intersection. I decided to head towards Pune as I had already been driving for more than 5 hours and was exhausted.  I entered Pune via Warje toll booth and headed towards Magarpatta.

Pune city is a very confusing place to ride in, especially if you are riding in the city for the first time. I feel the entire city has been designed in circles and getting lost can be very easy. I had trusted my GPS to provide the right directions, but unfortunately got lost and was going around in circles for more than 30 mins before finding the right road. While riding in Pune for approx. one hour, I saw the worst bike riders ever. No regard for the traffic signals and riding on foot path is very common.   After riding for approx. 7 hours and approx. 300+ kms, I finally reached my friend’s place in Magarpatta city and decided to call it a day. My shoulders were paining like anything since I was carrying my backpack all throughout the journey. However, the pain was nothing as compared to fun that I had while riding solo all through the trip.