Away and Beyond

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– By Namit Chugh, CCAP Batch V
CRISIL – Infrastructure Advisory

I was passionate about learning finance and joined CCAP, the two year entry level course blah blah and I guess by now all of you know what I am going to say. So without wasting my energies, let’s come to the point.

One lazy evening, my friends and Anish and Kshtij were fighting – “to go or not to go for a bike trip”. I was, as always, enjoying the fight and needless to say was keen to go. At the back of my mind, I knew, we’ll go. But it was priceless to watch Anish Nair literally begging in front of Kshitij Gupta to come along for another fun filled bike trip. Gupta Ji (Rank-34) was enjoying the attention he was getting from Anish Nair (Rank -1), and finally after two hours of persuasion and choicest of abuses, agreed to zip zap zoom the next morning. Task one – complete.

Now we had a bigger task, where to go? As always, we checked some stupid websites, saw some Adobe photo-shopped snaps, read some travel blogs and figured out that Harihareshwar was the least talked about place. Bang on, we decided. Task two – complete. Harihareshwar is said to have been blessed by Lord Shiva, which apparently, was not a reason for us to visit there.

After incessant alarm rings, we got up next morning, to leave at around 5am for the village town (taluka). None of us knew the directions but two of us had SMART phones, one thing I hate the most. The ride began with Mr. Gupta doing the navigation as a pillion with first ranker, and I was riding the second bike. Google maps, which is assumed to be very smart by people, is in reality not very smart. The directions it gave were not just unexplored, but at stretches, made us feel this could be the last ride of our life. There was nothing at all for kilometres, except a wild boar which had crossed the road, and thankfully didn’t attack us. Kshitij continued giving the directions; we continued riding on roads with no people in total darkness on a chilly winter morning. This sounds like Raaz-4, but I am not making any of this up; it’s all true.

We managed to reach Harihareshwar by noon, to realize there is no petrol pump in near vicinity; we hadn’t seen one for the last 100 kms we had travelled. But not thinking about things you don’t have control over is what bike rides have taught us in the past. So we decided to hit the beach at 12 noon, who does that, when I think in retrospect, I laugh at it as well J

Next thing on the checklist – EAT Konkani food. But before that, just a brief description of the place – one MTDC resort and no other hotels, home stays run by KAKU (Marathi word meaning aunt), food cooked by Kaku’s daughters, no men in family  (seemed they were fishermen families). Coming back to food, there we no menu cards and speaking in Hindi was a strict no-no. Thanks to Anish, he knows Marathi, always helps to have him around for trips in Maharashtra (language barriers solved) and otherwise (his appearance intimidates others). We started with Chicken and Fish and Prawns and Rice and Rotis, I am again saying just the truth. And the bill amount was just 420 bucks; we were shocked in a happy way. Because we all knew we will be over eating in the next few meals.

The evening was all the more remarkable, we went to different part of the beach and to our utter amazement – we were the only three human beings there. Sunset on a beach like that could be romantic, but thanks to life, I was with two MALE FRIENDS.

The next couple of hours were spent in water, another few in the bathroom to get rid of sea salt and the later few hogging Konkani food. Just to mention, the village sleeps at 8pm, so were advised to eat dinner around that time. The only task left was finding booze – this was one difficult. With almost the entire village having slept, no street lights, no soul on the roads, Anish and I went out in search. We started Kshitij’s bike and 100metres later, the bike stopped. We were in the middle of nowhere, and yes we were scared. We dragged the bike back to the home stay, called Gupta Ji out, and to our amazement he had locked the fuel tank at a place where people did not have vehicles, forget about petrol being stolen from the bike in night.

Back to the initial task – a dazed security guard saw his youth in us and told us where to find what we were looking for. We ended up knocking doors at KAKA’s house at 11 pm, paying him one and half times, and eventually succeeding in the mission.

By now, I am sure the readers (if you’re still reading, that is) must be bored of all this food-and-fuel descriptions and must be wondering, from where does switching off from life, running away from CCAP etc. come into picture. It comes into play the next morning. Again on the beach, the three of us, sitting quietly and wondering what we want from life. The answer – we wanted to stay in Harihareshwar, be fishermen, assist Kaku, teach the village kids and just be there till eternity. None of us wanted to come back to Bombay, but we knew we had to. May be some day, we will quit the corporate life and do something crazy of this sort. I wish!!

As he said: The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.

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Quick facts:

Total distance covered-480kms
Ride time without using Google maps-2hours less than with Google maps
Experiential inputs and official navigator – Kshitij Gupta
Content writer and photographer – Namit Chugh
Content reviewer – Anish Nair

It’s not your rank in life that matters; it’s the human inside you that makes a difference.

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