NERM 2017 – Pasighat


Let’s see now.. Its been over 7 days into the real world, but I haven’t been able to sit down and talk about what happened during the 10 days of touring across North East part of India. I am actually pretty much surprised about it because I was totally kicked about writing all what I saw, experienced, felt and lived. Well, better late than never, so here we go….

Over the last few years now, NERM has been a very lustful desire, an itch, a  dream that every biker has been wanting to be a part of. NERM or North East Riders Meet is similar to the BOBMC Rider Mania that happens in January every year. It is the same concept of brotherhood get-together, riding to new places, hearing new stories and experiencing a slice of this nation’s highway beauty and the experiences within. There is however, a small difference between both these events that can be summed up in one word – Experience !

The North East part of India upwards of Guwahati are many notches tangentially different from the rest of the country. From people, to infrastructure, to culture, to lifestyle and to mannerisms, there is a huge spectrum of difference. Sometimes it shocks you, surprises you to reckon that you are still part of the same country, exchanging the same currency and speaking the same language( most times Hindi) in these parts and people can be so hospitable and broad minded.

I have been touring with the Madbulls for the last 12 odd years, explored many places, felt the brotherhood, experienced the desire of riding together, but this ride was in a different zone altogether. I felt the true meaning of being a traveler, a mustang, a biker and life felt good.

Everyone has a story when they ride for NERM. It’s like everyone’s lustful desire is to reach K-top and take that picture and say yes, I’ve done it too. A week after I have returned, I am pretty much in that zone. I have been to my first NERM.. And this is definitely not going to be my last !

The North East have a riders’ meet because of the plethora of clubs that exist within the seven sister states. There are so many clubs, so many groups, so many communities that ride in silos. This is primarily because of their way of life and also highlights their culture.  This one event brings them together under one banner, trade stories, experiences and mix of cultures. Surprisingly, the NE part of India has so many diverse cultures that would truly amaze and surprise you.

However,  when they ride the same motorcycle that you also love and ride, it is only logical that we party with them as well. This not only adds a new perspective to motorcycling, it also educates and encourages multi- cultural experiences.

And that, my friend, is how it starts ! The desire to see the unexplored, the lust of nature, the joy of doing the extraordinary, the passion of travelling, the ability to meet new people and the never ending love for that single cylinder water pump between your legs.

The registration slots opened up in July. This year, the event was being hosted by the Arunachal Bullet Club, popularly known as ABC. The last time they hosted it, it was quite a show with police escorts and what not. This time, they chose to host it atop a hill/mountain where the road to get there could hardly be called a road. It was strewn with pebbles, rock, water crossings and all the adventure that a rider would want. The view however, was amazingly picturesque.

The registration slots were fairly simple.

Slot 1 – 200 registrants,  Slot 2- 500 registrants and slot 3- 500 registrants.

Slot 1 was sold out in the first 5 odd minutes which left most of us in the slot 2 bracket. Managed to register in slot 2 and that was probably the start of the adventure for me.

MBMC, along with KTMC, RTMC had a whatsapp group going on. The excitement was building, plans were being posted, airline ticket prices were shared and the whole thing was taking shape. August swung by, September went on by and then came October where the plans were becoming more concrete.

There was a Pre – NERM ride and a Post NERM ride. The pre event folks were going through a variety of places, most of them bloody exotic while the post NERM group had a pretty much sober schedule. In all of this, my plans and I were still in the dark.

I did not have the time to pamper birdie and it was quite evident that I would not be riding a motorcycle. A Fly in – Fly out sounded like the best thing to do given the circumstances, but with all the plans that were being circulated, one has to just give in to temptation and put on that damn jacket.  Few quick calls confirmed that I would be doing a post NERM ride. Bra was kind enough to allow me ride his motorcycle from the event to wherever I was going provided I take care of his ride and ship it back to Chennai.

Things were stable so far. Tickets booked, agenda mapped, bosses informed and all the necessary shopping done. Shopping was mostly for thermals, sleeping bag and essentials that one might need on a road trip. Interestingly, Actor Suriya and his brother, Karthi were shopping in the same decathlon ! Incidentally coincidental.

All plans have a tendency to get laid (hence the name best-laid), and that is exactly what happened ! A last minute close-to-the-heart scenario at work had me rescheduling my flight tickets by 2 days after thereby enriching my credit card and sending all those plans to their coffins. Had to do what I had to do !

New plans were a bigger fatter zero. All I knew was that I was taking the flight on the 10th, landing in Dibrugarh ( Assam) by midday and I was to get to the venue ( 160 kms ) by nightfall. How – was still unanswered, can I – was still unanswered.

Flew out of Chennai with 2 idli’s in my stomach and a pocket full of ideas. Landed in Kolkata and struck conversations with folks who were flying out to Dibrugarh. There was one guy who helped me with a plan… it involved circling the moon to get to the event ! It was encouraging that he tried, but disappointed that it wasn’t a solution.

The flight from Kolkata to Dibrugarh is a wow journey. The view below is absolutely gorgeous. You can see the mighty rivers flowing endlessly, mountains that line up the horizon and the vast expanse of green that takes your breath away. In all of this beauty, my mind was still spinning on how to get to the venue.

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Its not many times that people greet you at an airport, especially in a new place, especially in North east India. I was greeted by a cheerful bloke who thought he knew me and kept asking me to come over.  I wasn’t budging, but still talking to the bloke who I met at kolkata. The best he did was make me speak to the airport assistance who advised me to stay back in the city and then take a bus the next day . What a fart !

So… back to Mr. Cheerful. He then says you are part of the biker group, right ? And I’m like, Hail Mary – how did you know? He goes on to say, we must not waste time. Madhu sir told me you are coming and that’s why I am here to pick you up and make sure you get the last ferry to cross the Brahmaputra.  Once I got the details sorted, I was pretty much breathing easy and assured I wasn’t getting mugged. We were soon at the river banks and saw a rider with saddle bags riding ahead of us. This seemed interesting !

The view of the Brahmaputra is very serene. However, it is a mighty river that is known by multiple names as it flows through China, Bangladesh and India. It is the 10th largest river in the world and it originates in the Himalayas and drains into the Bay of Bengal.

Crossing the river on the ferry is an experience in itself, the steady diesel engine chugging away and the boatman carefully navigating us. The time was nearing 430ish PM and it was sunset already. This is the east part of India where the sun’s rays hit first and die out first.

I still did not have a plan in the making. This lone rider and I started talking and got to know he’s part of ABC. He was riding to NERM and his rear seat was empty.  There was some shimmer of hope in the air.

In between lots of talking and detailed insights of Arunachal and its many tribes, there was a plan being chalked out. Bolin, who was on the ferry agreed to give me a ride to Silapathar, the nearest town across the river. He was on his way to meet his girlfriend and it was really kind of him to agree to the offer. Once I get to Silapathar, the next step was to take a auto/cab/bus or whatever was available and the ABC dude was going to help sort it out.

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It was about 5ish when we got out of the ferry and it looked like midnight. Pretty weird for a guy  like me coming from Chennai to see pitch darkness at that time. First change for me and it was going to be first for the next 10 days.

Alighting from the ferry, the stark reality of the river bed being the pathway to the tarmac stares at your face. The river bed is made up of fine sand and unless you are careful, you could fall. Sitting on the pulsar with a duffel bag, a backpack, a hip pouch and a helmet as luggage wasn’t very comforting in terms of grip or my ass having to be planted firm on to the seat!

Finally on tarmac, it felt I was in a speed warp. Bolin assumed VR was auditioning for junior racers and he was participating. Being a bit scared is an understatement in these circumstances. To put it mildly, the roads across these parts are not exactly smooth tarmac and riding pillion on a pulsar where I weigh about three times more than the guy who’s riding it is pretty much a gulp moment. Maybe I helped the center of gravity of the bike as we were pretty much cruising comfortably across these roads except for some of those potholes that were scattered all around.

We soon came across a group of bulleters from Nagaland who had a misfiring carb. Stopped to check and advise what needed to be done and that is when inspiration struck ! Kashyap from ABC was like – why don’t I ride pillion with him all the way to the venue?  Well, who was I to say no !! This sounded like fun and it meant that I  was definitely going to be able to attend the event the first night. Pretty good if you ask me for someone who had no plan but working on come-as-you-are mode.

From a pulsar to a Enfield – Man, you got to love the single cylinder. Peaceful thump, star lit sky, conversations here and there , we were making steady progress. The chill was biting through the jacket, but it felt good. The roads were illuminated by the stars and things were falling into place. I had a smile on my face and could only thank God for this intervention and on the fly plan.

It was also a reminder that sometimes one shouldn’t or needn’t worry about too much planning when you believe God is doing all that for you.

Mild conversations here and there and more conversations at a rest stop, I got to know who Kashyap was ! He was a Judge of the state of Arunachal and a pretty prominent person in the government. Gulp gulp ! What do you know !! We were waiting for a friend of his to catch up with his who also happened to be a top advocate of the state !

The night was just getting started.

Those two idli’s that i had eaten in the morning were long burnt and my layers of fat were probably burning up to compensate for my hunger and the chill around me. At close to about 9ish, I eventually told them that we should stop for dinner. There was no way we were going to get to the venue and have a morsel to eat.

That being said, it was not easy finding a restaurant that was open at this hour. This is the North East where life comes to a standstill at 5ish or at the latest at 6pm and everyone is probably snoring away at 10PM. But the man of the law knew the land and also knew which hotel that would be functioning even if they had their shutters down.

A quick knock and a bit of conversation later, we were having hot steaming rice, chicken curry and Dhal fry to munch on. I was just beginning to be surprised at how certain parts of the country worked.

In Chennai, I am Dhal intolerant. Back home in NE, I was totally tolerant ! Surprising !

Our stomachs were happy and personally I couldn’t be happier. Sitting pillion in the chill was numbing my feet and the food was just on time.  Kashyap, Lolan and myself rode past Jonai into Arunachal Pradesh  and we had close to 30 kms to get to the venue. Riding the road less taken into the mountains, our “road” was a mixture of broken rock, pebbles and loose gravel. It did not feel right, but well.. we rode on.

Drilling ahead, the three of us made good progress until we came across a ditch that had a few other thoughts in mind. Kashyap and myself jumped, the bike spun and just like you see in the movies, we crashed ! With blood gushing to my head and making me sway, I sat flat on the road and let the still of the night and its eerie silence sweep through my insides until I knew I was alright. By God’s grace, I didnt have any injury or wound.

Kashyap on the other hand was still strapped on to the bike. Thankfully, we hit the culvert as falling into that 5 feet pit wouldn’t be a nice scene.  Somehow the fall reminded me of the scene from “motorcycle diaries” where Che and Alberto fell off the motorcycle.

Lolan and I managed to lift Kashyap and seat him atop the culvert which proved to be a mistake as he was totally drained and fell back. Adrenaline pumping, we both managed to grip and sit him down on the road.

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The bike was damaged, but with other riders riding uphill, we managed to get some help and bend the mudguard that took most of the brunt. The motorcycle was ride-able, but we needed some time to materialize some things.

Kashyap was not wounded, but badly shaken up. His knees had taken the brunt of the fall and was giving him trouble.  A scorpio that passed by recognized Kashyap and protocol took over. With him being sorted, it left us with 2 Bullets and 2 riders. My hand was hurt and swollen, but my grit was not shaken. Hopped on the saddle and we were off, this time our speeds ranging between 10-20kmph. While it felt awesome to be riding, the route looked absolutely scary. There were deep pits on either side and one wrong mistake could mean a long fare-thee-well !

After 2 river crossings, slipping pebbles, rocks and slippery mud, we were at the venue. It was just past midnight at Rengging and the cold was biting, my hand was throbbing, I could sleep right at the registration desk and my back was killing carrying my bags . But, none of that mattered when the tag was tied to my right hand. I was registered and accounted for. I was at my first NERM. I made it ! The feeling of exhilaration lasted for a good 5 minutes and then I was yelling out for Hari to show me where the madbulls were sleeping.

Day 1 was a brilliant adventure. I started my day on a flight with 2 idli’s and zero plans. At the end of the day, I gained three friends, learnt some local culture, experienced the local cuisine, tumbled, rode through a perilous terrain and I couldn’t be more happier to have survived it all. God has certainly been having a busy time watching over me.

The Madbulls were bunched up atop a small hillock. Walking to the hillock was more herculean than ever and I couldn’t be more grateful to Bra for being awake and allowing me to sleep in his tent. It was a super long day and after all the adventure, once i had settled down in my sleeping bag, all lights went off for me ! I was probably way out in Jupiter all night long.

Morning came by a few hours too soon. There was a bustling in the air, excited voices saying hi hello, greetings, friends meeting after ages and it felt like home. The view ahead was divine – mountains on all sides, tents beside you, bullets parked across, the smell of trees and the chirping of forest birds. Something that one can get so used to and never want to turn back home.

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Day 2 and Day 3 went in a haze. Chilling out by the beer counter, lazing around, visiting the various stalls that were exorbitantly priced, clicking pictures and catching up with sleep were some of the highlights.  There were folks who were enjoying themselves by the river Siang ( another name of the Brahmaputra).  It was quite warm during the mornings, but as the sun set, the chill breeze filled the air. The food was overall alright – very simple cuisine. There was rice, some chicken, pork and fish for the non-veg and the vegetarians probably had all the vegetables possible. I didn’t visit that side, so no idea. Ha ha :))

As the evening settled in, the stage was lit with music filling our senses.NE india are known for Rock and Roll and they did not disappoint one bit.  It was brilliant to lay back in the grass, feel the chill air slither through your skin while classic rock streamed through your ears. Not to forget, the side eats and the alcohol added to the entire symphony of awesomeness.  At the end of the day, this is what we live for – the adventure and the experience of life with a motorcycle.

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Day 4  – My post NERM ride group decided to stay back another day. This was going to be a bummer as this was not going to help my plans. I had 6 days and I wanted to make the best out of it.  It seemed that I would be riding alone, until Madhava, a rider from the Matadors ( Hyd based club) and Navaneeth had the same riding plan. Another new development!

The plan was fairly super simple – Take the ferry across the river and while Navaneeth headed back to Dibrugarh, Madhava and myself would head to Kaziranga. Having come so far and not seeing the park was not fair.

We rode upto Jorhat before we pulled over for the night. We would have covered around 200 kms, but the roads weren’t all that great and I was not going to whack Vulcan down those roads.  Having had my share of night riding adventure, riding into a national wildlife park in the dead of the night did not sound like a good plan. The last thing I wanted was sharing the road while the elephants crossed.

Day 5 – Rode into Kaziranga through very mediocre roads and was very thankful we stopped at Jorhat for the night. En-route I also got to meet a good friend who I knew through SM. We were strangers chatter over twitter that were able to actually meeting face-to-face. Roads bring people together and craziness always keeps the friendship alive.

Once within the wildlife sanctuary, we stayed at a home stay. The KTMC boys had identified this place and highly recommended the place for the hospitality and we followed suit.

When in Assam, do not miss out the Assam thaali. It has so many green leafy vegetables that I am very sure have never eaten even half of it.

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Suraj and Madhu ( friends who were travelling by a bus/train/car/whatever they could find also landed at Kaziranga and at the same home stay.  More the merrier!

There was a cultural show happening and well, did not want to miss it. We had to pay for the show but apparently the same dancers also performed at the government cultural center which is free of cost. Here is where I got hold of the Dhol ( Drum ) and also danced along with the native dancers. and attended a cultural show and I danced with the natives as well ! When in Rome, be roman… When in Assam, just join the jam 🙂

Day 6–  Woke up pretty early for this one. We had to be at the safari start point by 5 AM as that’s when the first batch of elephants go into the forest. Which means we had to be up by about 3:45AM and we had tucked ourselves in by 1AM. This was going to be fun.

We had 17 kms to ride to the safari point from where we stayed. Unlike Arunachal where it was only chilly, Kaziranga had a lot of dew in the night. Surprisingly lots of it!

The elephant Safari is not to be missed. It is an experience to see the jungle on the back of an elephant. It is majestic, thrilling and exciting to be part of nature and to roam the jungle wild and free. Had the opportunity to see a Rhino, few deer,  wild pigs and lots of birds. Also got to see an eagle perched on a tree. All these are experiences that however captured on camera, it does not beat what the eye sees.

The safari is about an hour long and once done, it was time to head back to the home stay. We had 250 odd kms ahead of us to ride. Madhava to Guwahati and me to Shillong.

After our yummy lal chai ( Black tea), it was time to leave the green and hit the tarmac.  The ride to Jorhabat ( the intersection between Guwahati and Shillong ) is pretty much straight roads. Mostly patches of two lane highways, it then opens up to the really nice four lane roads which was such a welcome treat. In a couple of hours, we were at Jorphabat deciding what to do next.

It was time to bid farewell to Madhava and continue on my journey into the Rock capital of India – Shillong.

The ride from Jorhabat to Shillong is a 85 km song. A song that is filled with long guitar solos and pleasant rhythm that is sexily buttery and charming to ride. Loved the roads and the amazing ride. The weather played up its part too. Cool breeze along the way and the sights of the mountains getting closer with every mile was divine.

From the emptiness of the highway to the mayhem of the city, it was chaos everywhere. A few phone calls later, hotel arrangements were fixed for the night. I was to reach a place called Police Bazaar and check into a hotel called ” Hotel indiana”. I then later found that one of the RERAM boys’ ( Joy) was the hotel manager and the rooms while pricey came at a good deal as well. Apparently PB ( police bazaar) is THE hub in Shillong and is a most sought after place to chill.

I wasn’t alone at the hotel !! Shymaal and Sanath from the thumpers along with Bah Damien and few others from Reram were there too.. and from the looks of it, I was just in time for the evening party. I was definitely lucky on that one.

The night party at Bah Damien’s place provided some light on the next 3 nights of my time in Meghalaya.

For Day 8 (Friday), I had an open invitation to watch ” The officer’s band” play some kickass classic rock at a pub near where I stayed and Day 9 (Saturday) I could be a part of  the Mahindra off road event happening at Cherapunnji.

These were some sexy options which I was not going to say no to. I wanted to know how the rock capital of the country partied on Friday nights and the off-roading competition was going to be a pretty good sight too.

All the planning included a private audience to watch the Officers band practice/jam for their Friday Gig ! Man oh Man – Classic rock over some classic whiskey ! Sweet !

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This cleared the air for many things. First things first – I had to check out the next day and ride through the places I wanted to ever since I saw the pictures Bra had posted up.

The group that I was to be riding with were 2 days behind schedule. Not having the luxury to wait, I decided to move on ahead. On hindsight, sometimes a solo ride does help. Its a refresher for the rider in you and enables you to see things clearer.

Day 7 – With about 30 hours to ride through some of the highlights of Meghalaya, I set out to Pontung. The plan was to visit Mawlynnong, Dawki and Shondpedang , get back to the same hotel the next day for the evening party and the night life of Shillong.

The places are located like a triangle with Pontung being the center. The roads to Pontung are not the roads you want to rip through, but rather enjoy every mile.

The experience of riding through the mountains, taking every curve and leaning on every slope cannot be expressed in words. The view is amazingly ultra-beautiful that if you were to click a picture of the view, you’d have to stop every 2 minutes.

At the junction at Pontung, it was a difficult choice to make. Go right to Mawlynnong or go straight towards Dawki. After a few phone calls and a few slices of pineapple, Mawlynnong won !

Mawlynnong is known for 2 things. The living root bridge and the cleanest village in asia. The trek to see the root bridge is quite something. The trek to see the view point from where you can see the plains of Bangladesh on your left and the vast expanse of mountains on your right is a totally different story.

But when you do eventually trek there, the view is breathtaking. The plains of Bangladesh on the left and the mountains of India on the right.

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Walking back to ground level, it had started to rain mildly and the sky looked dark and threatening. It was ~ 3 pm and it looked like sunset any moment now. Managed a peek visit to the cleanest village and I was soon back on the roads back to Pontung.  It is about 18 kms to get to Pontung, but as you ride through the narrow forest roads, it seemed longer. At one point, I even felt that I was taking a wrong route, but then a cross road cleared that doubt. Getting lost here was not my fancy.

The time was about close to 5Pm, the sky was darkening and Sweety’s guesthouse wasn’t anywhere in sight. My mobile signal wasn’t very stable either. I was on the border roads with Bangladesh and the skies were ready to let loose any second. The landscape is so beautiful, that one would just want to stand and admire, but this was not the time. The place was going to get drenched.

After riding along for about a km, I finally found the guesthouse !

Imagine this – Acres and acres of fields and there’s one guesthouse and that happens to be Sweety’s ! What relief !!

Sweety happens to be one of the RERAM boys’ sister. So at the reception, you’ve got the NERM sticker and the Madbull Sticker and you know you are at the right place.

10 minutes post my check-in, the place was dark as midnight and the clouds came down with all fury. I was more than thankful to God for being sheltered. I was tired, wired and wanted some much needed food.  The NE people heavily depend on rice which makes life so simple. Food was cooked in about 15 minutes and it felt awesome to be eating hot food while the rains were pouring down outside. Was able to hear some insider info on many stories regarding border trade, sneak entry-exit between the two countries and the masala that happens at the border. It was very interesting to hear all of it.

Time was close to about 7pm, my body loved the simple bamboo bed and I was lost in translation.

Day 8 – Still raining, time passed by! 6 Am became 7Am and inched towards 8.

The riding group had reached Shillong and were staying at the same hotel. A possible meet up was thought of, but it would take them about 4 hours to get here and that meant my time was running out.

The route for the day was simple.. Pontung – Dawki – Shondpedang – Jowai – Shillong !

Dawki is the border village between India and Bangladesh. The feeling of riding through border roads between two countries is adrenaline in itself. The roads were not really in great shape, so while I was riding at snail’s pace, the views were worth it.

As one crosses over the bridge over the river, it feels awesome ! Just like in the movies. One half of the river belongs to Bangladesh and the other, India. I was tempted to take the ferry, but didn’t and settled only to click pictures. Crystal clear waters and the serene feel of being at the intersection of multiple cultures was awesome. Wars were probably fought to draw that line and then there were stories of how international border lines were moved to accommodate a football field ! Makes you wonder !!

Passing by Dawki, my next stop was Shongpedong.

Shongpedong is yet another spectacle. The initial plan was to camp out here.. Maybe I should have, but the thought riding into Shongpedong drenched to the bone wasn’t very encouraging.  There is a huge steel bridge across the river where one can walk across. It is thrilling to walk the bridge and to see the crystal clean waters below.

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Incidentally, met a couple who were riding through and camping there for the night. Roads and a Bullet bring people, passion and ride stories closer !

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Back on the roads, this time through Jowai and vulcan slipped into reserve. Looking at the roads ahead, it wasn’t going to be pretty pushing vulcan through the hills. Reserve was about a liter which meant, I was good to ride for 20 odd kms. Stopping at the first village after riding about 10 odd kms,  I was overjoyed to hear that a petrol bunk was 6 kms ahead. Whew !

Tanked up and ready to ride again, I was back on the roads. The clouds were in their own time warp and soon enough, they dropped down onto the roads. I love the phrase- I felt like I was in the clouds !! This time, it was for real. I was riding through the clouds. Visibility dropped to 5% with all traffic using indicators and headlights as they zipped across. The miles to shillong became shorter, but the rains weren’t letting go.

The green was disappearing again and I was soon back  in Shillong. My ride was complete on vulcan and it was time to ship her back to Bra. Found the closest Safe express and after sorting out what was needed, it was time to party !

Time was flying by pretty fast and as my room for the night was getting sorted out, I had to find some time look around the bazaar and absorbed my surroundings.

Stepped onto the street to realize so many shops selling wares. Shillong is a very popular tourist destination and there were wares from so many parts of NE that were trying to please the spend-happy tourist.

I soon realized that I hadn’t eaten all day, except for the Lal Chai and some rice cake. It was about 6PM, too early for the eateries to be open and my eyes spotted a Subway joint. Felt like home !

Just polishing off a sub and I get a call from Babit to meet up at the hotel. I had to run and then realized that these guys were meeting up at a prominent building at the center of the city. It was so prominent that I had jaws open and totally grinning away at the irony of how things worked here.

It was good fun meeting the boys of Reram, sharing a couple shots and tasting some lovely home cooked beef. The evening/night ahead had a bigger agenda.

The Officers’ band was playing at Tango – an upmarket pub in Shillong. The name – Officers’ band was because all the band members are officers in the government, however, deep inside they are awesome rockers. The crowd was a mix of family and friends, so there were prominent people of the city enjoying the night!

Classic rock on a classic friday night is just the right recipe for awesomeness. Add the fact that I was standing parallel to the stage, headbanging and singing along to songs I grew up to and the night takes a totally different tangent.  It felt great and for someone like me who loves these songs, it was a dream come true.

It was soon close to midnight and as the crowd thinned, my stomach reminded me of finding some food. Street food in Shillong is said to be good and surprisingly I was able to find a stall that still had food. Thankfully, I was able to eat a little and calm my rumbling stomach.

Staggered back to the hotel and it was good to get some sleep !

Day 9 – The morning was rough and my liver spat out bile like it didn’t care !

Time was a-ticking and Babbit was waiting. We had the Mahindra off road event at Sorha and I was super excited to witness some hard core off-roading.

Hurried packing and shoving my luggage in Joy’s office saw me back on the roads in 10 minutes. This time on a 4×4 gypsy.  Babbit is part of AHOR – an off-roading club in Shillong and he drives a mean machine !

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I have never been to a jeep off-road event though I have known the “Jeep thrills” in Chennai for so many years. This event was organized by Mahindra as part of their getaway tours and there were customized vehicles of all sorts at the venue.

Sitting atop a hill, we could feel the adrenaline pump as die-hard enthusiasts pushed their machines through rock, water, mud and slush to complete the course and earn their points.

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Sitting atop and seeing nature right in front of you, one can just get lost in the beauty of God’s creation. The mountains, the green, the colors, the beauty of it all is truly an awesome sight.

This was the view just before the clouds came down and covered the entire place

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As the sun set and the event coming to a close, I even got to hang on the back of a Thar and drive through a water crossing, climb a hill and experience what off-road felt like. To sum it up, you better hold on tight because falling meant a lot of broken bones!!

It was a fun drive back to Bah Lenning’s resort,  and incidentally met up with another fellow traveler( who happened to be from Chennai) and then eventually driving to Bah Damien’s place.

Time was ticking and my last night in Shillong was going to be a sober night. I wanted to remember this night, pack my clothes and clean my stuff.

It was my last night in Shillong and it was almost the end of my vacation. As Babbit said – all good things have to come to an end. The memories, however, are still so damm fresh in my head.

 Day 10 –  And it was getting over.. Sigh ! Finally met up with Hari for breakfast and soon was in a taxi to Guwahati where I was flying to Kolkata and then to Chennai. The memories of the last 9 days were still so fresh in my heart, soul and mind.  It was an adventure of many sorts, a road trip of excitement and miles of discovery.

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I must say –  The eye candy in Guwahati are definitely the knock-your-socks-off variety !! Man, oh man, this was sweet farewell !

My first NERM, a 10 day vacation and a lifelong of memories. There’s so much I haven’t written, so much I haven’t documented. If I did, this would be a short book.

The sights, the sounds, the experiences of a biker that started his journey with no plans but yet had a ball of a time !!

I cant thank God enough for all the protection, watching out and going ahead of me during this entire sojourn. I didn’t have company most part of this ride, but yet, never felt alone. The madbull brothers were only a phone call away and the NERM whatsapp chatter was company enough.

There are pictures, of course !  My iphone took most of them and they are amazingly beautiful.. But nothing replaces the beauty my eyes have seen .

Pictures from my camera : Click here

Pictures from my iPhone: Click here

Cheers

Mustang

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