Coastal Curiosity : A Bike Trip across the Coast of India
Chapter 1: Dawn of Insanity
While Oshank was making his way towards northeast India after a month of hitchhiking in Spiti valley, Harshit was leading treks in Uttarakhand in July 2016. It has been almost 8 months for him, constantly in the Himalayas, leading treks. After few doomed love attempts in a succession over past 2-3 years, he had already shut the door towards that direction and decided long ago to dedicate his life to adventure. But Mountains has a way to work on your heart, you cannot live in the mountains and not find your mind and heart in sync. Mountains teach you to accept and embrace the present. Byproduct- your words turn into poetry. “The Smog, The Fork and The Wolf”
Harshit told Mohit he had to go. He must leave, now. He noticed the sign he was waiting for and he must return the call. He didn’t even have a chance to say a proper goodbye to Mohit but he left. He left Uttarakhand in a hurry. Arranged his motorcycle to be in Vadodara by his cousin Shivam who is an aspiring photographer by passion. He didn’t even go home for it was always elsewhere wherever he looked. And he rode straight to Pushkar on an adventure to greet his new found affection.
On that last trek, the encounter with her left Harshit resfeber.
“Universe has plans for me but it is also my task to keep my eyes open for signs. I can’t wait for everything to fall into place on its own. It will if I also take the initiative. Let the universe do its part and then jump in, take that leap of faith. Don’t regret later having not taken the chance. I just need to trust my wings and I will fly. These were the unfiltered naïve thoughts I had in those very moments and oh girl, never did I ever regret it.”
After a month full of hitchhiking in the mountains, Oshank decided to visit North East India again. He had explored Meghalaya and Sikkim and Assam before, this time he decided to went further and reached Manipur.
After having some papaya smoothies Harshit started riding from Jaipur in the late evening. Somehow the direction he was chasing didn’t seem so fruitful. He crashed at a Dhaba on the highway at night thinking about the choices he had made. The habit of thinking three steps ahead always managed to keep himself away from the pleasures of the heart. Thinking of various ifs and buts, he fell asleep only to wake up at 3 in the morning and ride further towards Udaipur – the city of lakes.
He arrived in the city witnessing the sunrise along the peaceful Fatehsagar lake watching other people jog by and some having tea alongside the small stalls. The aroma filled his lungs, he closed his eyes and heard the birds chirping goodbye to the night. But not so peaceful were the thoughts,
“Driving thousands of miles just to see her and then not tell her how he feels about her, Will he regret it? Why the door is still shut?” In a need to calm his mind, he drove straight to lake Pichola, jumped into the waters, swam for half an hour and sat there on the edge for another half.”
In his hope for clarity, he received a call.
He looked at his screen, it was Oshank. Cheering up suddenly, “Hello”, he said smiling.
“Kya haal hai bhai (how’re ye doing brother)”, Oshank asked.
“Roaming around Rajasthan on a motorcycle from past week, how about you?” Harshit replied.
“I’m in the northeast, right now in Manipur” said Oshank.
“Oh yeah?” Harshit couldn’t hide his excitement.
He wondered what the weather would be like there.
“So what are you upto after this? Wanna do something crazy? Let’s hit the coast, just us and our motorcycles and thousands of miles of Indian coastal road.” Oshank asked as excited as Harshit.
“Why not, let’s do it.” said Harshit
“Ok then, give me few days. I’ll see you at Valsad. Make an itinerary.” Oshank said.
“Like that ever works.” Harshit said and both laughed.
“Ok then, how about we… just go south…” Oshank suggested.
“Okay then, No destination, only direction.” after these words, they hung up the call.
Harshit realized what this means now. He must bid farewell to Udaipur. The town was lovely and definitely alluring but It was the time he stops chasing mirage and starts digging a well.
Also Read: How I Summited Stok Kangri in 51 Hours
Chapter 2: Soul Stirring
Oshank ordered his last cup of tea in Manipur. While waiting for it to cool down, he clicked this picture and sent it to his love by saying, “This tea is just an excuse. I am sipping this rain, this evening and you.” Only if she were here for him to see that rhododendron blush, he sighed.
As the lightning snapped him back from his fantasies, he realizes he has actual things to do rather than sit there imaging his way to heaven. In the episode of next few hours, he booked his train for Delhi, reached there and started making arrangements for Valsad, where he had to meet Harshit.
His mom who had grown used to him coming and going just like the waves didn’t care much now until he promised to stay safe. He packed in a hurry, obviously leaving some important things behind which he will later realize thinking and smiling to himself, chaos and spontaneity are his old friends.
He grabbed his Sun chaser (that is what he named his bike) by the throttle, kicked it and rode into the sunrise to start a journey which will later come out to be the turning point of our lives.
As soon as Oshank reached Valsad, Harshit made his respective arrangements and they both took off to calm their costal curiosity. With every passing hour and every passing city, Harshit was feeling something stirring inside him. He began to breathe and live and every moment took him to a place where goodbyes were hard to come by. He was in love. With someone, with something, but most of all, he was in love with his life and for the first time in a long while, everything was inspiring.
The Sun Chaser in Gujarat
With the bond going stronger with every mile they covered, they felt they existed. Hell yeah, they existed.
Day 5. Ganpatipule to Goa, it felt like the finest day of them all. Carefully assessing the downpour, they decided to take the coastal road. And as the route got more beautiful by every passing minute, they decided to take a break and sit by the ocean.
As they sat down, feeling the cool breeze pierce their faces, Oshank thought about how free he felt. At that moment, he had nothing on his mind but a painted picture of the ocean before his eyes and he started to pen down, how he felt.
“Took a break, went to the beach, sat on the cool sand and got the comfort which I needed. Looking at the waves coming towards me with a cool breeze penetrating my skin. As if sea wants to ask me a question, what took you so long to come down to the coast why are you here and what you need?. I told her about my journey and I asked for her blessing. Then I saw a sunray coming out from the point where the ocean meets the sky. A tear came down on my cheek with a smile that I won’t forget in my lifetime. As if she gave me a hug with her colorful hands and blessed me with her warm heart. Telling me not to worry she will be with me on my whole journey. I stood up with a beautiful feeling in my heart, picked up my bag and started my journey with a new day and her on my mind.”
The Wind Surfer
But life is funny, just as they started feeling invincible – Harshit saw Oshank slip off his bike a few miles ahead and everything came crashing down.
Chapter 3: Rough Metaphor
After some self-reflection, they put their butt on the seat, their palms on the throttle, their feet on the gear and their heart to the journey that lay ahead. When they took the highway, it got dark and because of the heavy downpour, Oshank couldn’t see a thing and following the tail light of Harshit’s bike, Oshank saw him dodge a pothole and he did the same, unaware of a bigger pothole that was waiting for him. Harshit stopped a few meters away.
Harshit: I thought Oshank might have lost his balance and dropped the bike. When I stopped and looked back I saw Oshank standing in his red rain jacket taking off his helmet and slamming it on the road. He was trying to pick up his bike and screamed my name. I took a U-turn and rode towards him. Few people started to gather around and when I put a beam of the headlight on his face I got scared. He was bleeding like hell.
The first thing he said to me was ” Harshit take out the first aid box, start the bike and let’s get going. We have to reach Goa.”
I told him you are bleeding from your chin we need to rush to the hospital.
Someone from the crowd said, “There is a hospital nearby, I will take you.”
Oshank said: Ok, I am going to the hospital with him, Harshit you take care of my bike.
Oshank left for the hospital and I was standing in the middle of the highway scared and trying to figure out what to do next.
Oshank left on a strangers scooty towards the hospital. He constantly tried to stop the bleeding from his chin by pressing a cloth against it but all attempts were in vain. While he was still recovering from the aftershock of the accident, he walked into the emergency room, soaked in blood where 4 doctors just gazed at him in disbelief.
After his wounds were examined, he was informed that his chin needed to be stitched, while the rest of the wounds, however, deep would suffice without it.
Oshank: After I signed the documents, the process of stitching started. I had never entered an ER my entire life until now and every moment spent there was like a knife twisting in my gut as I knew that this accident could jeopardize the entire trip before it really even begun.
Every time the needle pierced my skin, a pain shot up my brain making me desperately want to go back in time to dodge that pothole. While I was being operated on, I just stared at the corner of the roof as a tear silently rolled down my cheek at the thought of going back home.
Oshank after discharge from the hospital
After the surgery was done, I texted my love about the accident, hiding about the intensity of it as I knew extremely well how worried she would get.
The only relief I got during this entire episode was when I saw Harshit walk into the room. I asked him to get my bike fixed as I wanted to commence the journey the very next day.
Harshit: When Oshank asked me to get his bike fixed for leaving the very next day, I realized the insanity of this guy I now call my brother. Though I wanted to pat him on his back, I angrily told him to hold his horses and looked questionably towards the doctor. When he told us that Oshank had to stay back for 2 days, Oshank eyes begged me to get him out of this gloomy place making me feel helpless.
Oshank couldn’t sleep the entire night because of the dilemma he was in; whether to ride ahead or take a flight back home. Every minute seemed like an hour and he spent the entire night tossing and turning on a bed that was too small for a man of his height. But, when the first ray of the sun finally shot some warmth inside him, he decided to give a shot at catching some sleep.
Few hours into his uninterrupted sleep, Harshit woke him up, trying to make him eat something. With a better-rested mind and a full stomach, Oshank felt positive and this time he did not ask Harshit but ordered him instead to get him out of that hospital. Knowing there is no falling back now, Harshit pulled up his socks and got to the process of doing what his brother had asked of him. After multiple tries, he did, finally, got arrangements done to get Oshank out of the hospital on terms that Oshank would have to sign a document that stated that the discharge was being taken on patients own risk.
Desperate to get out of the hospital, Oshank, without thinking twice, signed the documents and exhaled a sigh of relief.
Harshit dialed some numbers and made arrangements for the night, feeling relaxed that the worst was behind them. He also managed to find a mechanic who would fix Oshank’s bike in a day so they could be back on the road by tomorrow.
When Oshank came out of the hospital, he found it hard to even walk to the parking where Harshit’s bike was parked. A constant fear in his mind made him doubtful of him being able to ride further. But whenever Harshit would ask him the same, all he had to say was, “Come on bro, it will be LEGEN*wait for it*DARY” and they both would laugh it off with the same fear in their hearts.
After reaching the guest house, Harshit further arranged a beer for Oshank and very ceaselessly, Oshank gulped the entire beer with his antibiotics and faded off to sleep.
Next day they were on the road with bandages on Oshank’s face and adventure in their hearts.
Chapter 4: The conclusion
For the Next 20 days, Oshank and Harshit rode together; a pack of two, they would call it. Every day after the ride, Oshank had to dress his wound(s) and Harshit’s duty was to inspect and fix both the bikes. They covered 6500 km of an incredible land in 25 days, covering most of the coastal area of India, but what they cherished the most was the fact that they learned to live their life, to live in a moment, like a free soul, and during those moments of vulnerability, they swore to have a spectacular life.
Stopping just to sleep, eat, piss and shit; they rode through
Bandipur National park
Bangalore (where Oshank got his stitches undone)
Until they made their way back to Valsad; Harshit’s home city and the starting point of their adventure.
The last day, the last stretch, they rode for about 20 hours; slept for thirty minutes only to reach Valsad at 6 a.m. ; just in time for tea (Harshit’s mother prepares tea at exactly 6:15 a.m. every day and ‘maa ki haath ki chai’ was something they did not want to miss on after all the beating and bruising they brought on themselves).
Oshank: I won’t lie, it was downright painful to ride my bike. Hell, I dropped it a few times because I couldn’t handle the weight of the machine that practically set me free. But I never gave up, I never said I wanted to go back. I still remember the moment when I saw the sunset while riding and riding right into it. I remember feeling the glowing orange light hit my soul; I felt like a raven with its wings spread wide, flying high into the blazing ball of fire.
Harshit: We were like wolf and raven; taking care of each other, okay yes, I took care of him while he downed his medicines with beer but nonetheless it felt right, roads felt like home, the sky was the roof. We made a lot of plans, one of which is now Trekmunk and the other, Insane Traveller. It felt unreal then, but we were too stubborn to let go of what out our hearts were telling us to do. We knew this was just a starting, starting of never-ending adventure, a story that was yet to be written, a story of brotherhood, a story of a spectacular life.
And They felt alive.