It all started a month before Dasara when I approached my tour operator for booking tickets to Mangalore and back on October 13th and 17th night respectively. Since the boarding point is close to our house we usually book tickets at this operator’s shop. He promised to book tickets for us and I told him I’ll call back 2 days later for confirmation. When I called him 2 days later he said he had tickets for 13th but had still not booked the return tickets. He assured me that he’ll book it and call me himself and that I need not worry about it. But it was a matter of worry for me; he had messed up our tickets two times before (once he booked it on the wrong date while writing the date correctly on our ticket and another time he had booked another couple on our seat). But since those cases were 2 out of 20, I decided to believe his assurances. I even landed at his shop a week later and got the same reply. When I did not get a call even after 3 weeks, I decided to call him myself. Can you guess what he said then? He said, “Hey hadn’t you canceled your tickets the other day?” I was shocked. This was ridiculous. And then I decided never to deal with him again. The problem we faced now was how to come back. Yes there were other options – the KSRTC day bus, the Rs. 750 per head private bus. None of them felt as attractive as a bike ride. The last time we rode to Mangalore was in 2007 and the last bike trip we had was last year at about the same time – to Coorg. Been too long a gap, so why not? 🙂 The first thing we did was cancel our tickets of 13th and get the bike ready (check tyres, check brakes, fill fuel). And we were set.
We decided to go via Coorg this time since we knew the roads were good as compared to the route via Hassan. Packing the bags the previous night we went to sleep. It was already midnight by then. We left at 3:00 AM the next morning (Thursday, 13th Oct). Bangalore roads were not as isolated as I had expected. Dozens of taxis and trucks plying the roads at 3 in the morning!! Since we wanted to cover a considerable distance before the sun came up, Ashwin rode the first leg. I was to take up the riding later – from Coorg to Mangalore that is. We stopped for some amazing tea and vada somewhere near Channapatna. The roads were good and we rode at 70 – 90kmph till we reached Mysore. Mysore was adorned with lights for Dasara. We lost our way here and went round and round and wasted about 20 minutes. With the help of a kind gentleman who directed us to the right path, we were back on track. After Mysore the roads were less of dryness and more of green.
We reached Coorg at about 8:30. Coorg, as usual, was heavenly- fresh air, green fields, misty mountains. Till here was 275 kms. After a quick breakfast at Coorg, we proceeded towards Mangalore which was another 160 kms more. The roads from here were bad – potholes all over. And so Ashwin offered to ride himself while I sat back and enjoyed the scenes just so that I could take the concentration off my aching butt. Every pothole/hump felt like someone hitting my bottom with a thick ply wood. If you are wondering which bike we rode on, it’s an ancient Hero Honda Passion Plus, turning 7 end of this year.
We were lucky that we did not get stuck in the rains anywhere except the last 2 kms. We did not get scorched either since the weather was cool and soothing.
We reached home at 2:00 PM. I was finding it so hard to remain on my feet. My entire body felt like it was broken to pieces. After a quick lunch and bath, we crashed for the day. I woke up only at 9:30 in the night for a light dinner and crashed again by 11:00 PM. There was nothing much to do the next day other than visit my parents. We went after lunch and only when we were returning that I noticed that the entire city was decorated with lightings. It was beautiful. If only the same attention was given to constructing roads! There are no roads in Mangalore; you would be lucky to see one amidst the potholes. Hopefully roads will be constructed by next year.
Got up at 6:00 AM the next day. This day we had to attend Ayudha poojas in 3 places. While Ashwin and his dad went off to the first one, I helped my mother in law in the kitchen with the lunch preparations. Had to finish most of it by 9:30 after which we had to rush to the second place for the pooja. Back for lunch and immediately drive to the third place. It was 6:00 when it all got over. MIL wanted to go to Kudroli temple and so we went out again. The crowd was so huge that we spent 30 minutes near the chappal stand just to leave it there and take a token. Another 10 minutes to get in and decide not to stand in the queue and another 20 minutes to take our chappals back. Will cover the Dasara in another post.
We planned to sleep early since we were going to start our trip back early the next morning. We were going via Hassan this time. But as you have guessed by now it was midnight when we slept. When the alarm sounded at 3 in the morning, neither of us got up. “Get up”…”mmm hmm”…”its time, get up”…”u get up”…”blah blah”.. “blah blah”..We kept nudging each other till 4:30. We realized that it was no use even if we had gotten up earlier since it was raining. We started from home at 5:30 when the rain stopped. We had hardly covered a km when it started to rain. First a drizzle and then heavier and heavier. It kept raining till we reached B.C.Road, drenching me (Ashwin had a raincoat, I did not) and also reducing our speed considerably.
We stopped at Laxmi Nivas Hotel for KT :D.
Somewhere between Kalladka and Uppinangady we caught a misty mountain and stopped to click photos. It was an amazing place. Stopped at the only shop there for tea again while enjoying the scenery.
Sadly we couldn’t stay there much longer. We wanted to cover as much distance as possible before sun or rain.
After that stop the roads were bad, very bad. The ghats were the worst; you could bury a full grown adult dead body in those potholes :P. Only good thing about it was the weather, neither hot nor cold and no rains thankfully. I sat behind happily clicking photos which all came blurred. And then came the worst part – just as the battery went dead, the scenary got better and better. There was no point crying over it and so I went back to enjoying the scenery.
I could not recognize the highway from our trip before. Roads were now four lane, but at a price. The lovely trees that were there the last time we went were cut down and the surroundings were all dry, even though it was rainy season. It was a sad scene.
We stopped at a Dhaba on the way for lunch. They were at least 5 pups there. The smallest of them was a bundle of cotton I adored so much I wanted to bring him home. Played with him awhile and with the other pups and continued our journey.
Bad traffic jam between Peenya and Yashwantpur ate up at least one hour of our time suddenly making me realize that I was back in the land of chaos and traffic jams. We saw a group of Bengalis in trucks, cars and bikes on their way to Sankey Tank for Durga idol visarjan, their colorful faces reminding me of Holi. It was almost 6 when we reached home. A quick shower later we went out for dinner and crashed for the day. It was going to be a start of another mundane week the next day onwards.