Tuesday, April 18, 2006

615km, 48 hours : Fool's Errand


Scene on the Goa Highway


Once again the fools were on the way. The fat one had convinced all to visit his family home at Mahad. Six of them fell for it. (Actually 5 fools and a Sher) Astride their trusty rides they leave at 6pm having decided to leave at 3. But such is the way of fools. Paying no heed to the dangers lurking on the dark highway, staring blinding lights in the face they make their way to Panvel. No opportunity is left to take a halt and contemplate.

Panvel and the ubiquitous misal-pav at Shree Datta. The road to Mahad (Goa highway) has no divider. It was a free for all ride. Wadkhal Naka, Naghotne (yaha's pump) they all were left in the wake of the smoke as they burned the road. They reach to find the family awake with a good meal of mutton and wada. Spiritual equipment has been already acquired from nearby before entering the homestead. The bigger fool eats and eats grapes too. Only the bigger one has no spirituality. Well, he is like that only : he'll go to hell. After the fat foo's old folks are asleep (or pretending to be) the fools do fun stuff ...

Morning and a visit to the farmhouse nearby is planned. Warm beer is acquired on the way. The landscape has turned into an oven. The farmhouse has tiny mango trees with large mangoes. It looks funny. Warm beer and grapes under some trees. This is life.

By the time to head back has come, the bigger fool takes into his thick head to go visit Raigad. His arcane logic infuriates the fat one. But the wise fool agrees to go. Two creatures in shorts, one wearing a dirty t-shirt, the other a banyan, on a black motorcycle at noon in the oven. The villagers find this very fishy. No wonder there is no traffic on the road. Light as the breeze, they make speed towards the mountain fortress. Awed by the vastness of the spaces they reach the base village. The rope-way there is amazing deceptive. They chicken out and decide they have no time on this visit. After cheating an old lady for the parking fees they head back.

The rest of the fools have the responsibility to collect all collectables and reunite with the intrepid travellers at a spiritual joint. Typically like fools they imbibe the drink before heading back. The journey back goes over the same roads as the journey to Mahad. This was surprising.

The bigger fool drops his fellow traveller at Chembur. He has work the next day. He tries to avoid. But he has nothing else to do. So ignoring that his game is over he heads for Thane. The journey from Pryadarshini to Sion circle and back to Pryadarshini takes about 45 minutes in traffic. From here to Thane is covered in 20 minutes. The fools friends give him a warm welcome and take him to a place where good food and rest lie in wait. The bigger fool is blessed with good friends.

Next morning a new partner and a new journey. They head north towards Kasara. The journey is swift. Kasara is hot. 39C in shade. The arrid burned landscape is what they were looking for. With that they find poverty. They head back.

Finally at around 1830hrs Naka is reached, ending 48 hours of road, lights and wind on the face ...



On the old Thane creek bridge


Sunset on Palm Beach road


Drunk at Sujay's dad's house, Mahad


Dry countryside, on the way to Raigad


Jajamata Samadhi


Hirkani Buruz


Illegal affairs at Mahad


The wise fool and his wisdom


White onions at Wadkhal Naka


Hirkani Buruz, Raigad (150 degrees panorama)

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