16 years !!! Let me spell that out.. S.i.x.t.e.e.n !!
That is quite a number to awe at, a landmark to appreciate and a journey to raise a toast at.
16 years of madness, fun, smiles and downright craziness that has inspired us, changed us, transformed us and has branded us Madras Bulls!
Happy 16, Madras bulls ! May you continue your journey in making us love life, enfields and the freedom of motorcycling!
Believe you me, it was not a walk in the park journey all these years, BUT in all of the craziness – the sound of an Enfield and a glass of chai is all it takes to strike a conversation, develop a bond and then out of nowhere become best friends for life !
To me, it seems like yesterday where I was talking to Dodo about the 535 lightning I saw that night, buying my own thunderbird, joining the madbulls, bugging D for the sticker and gloating to everyone i knew about being part of the fraternity.
Fast forward 12 odd years, the feeling of happiness was still the same as I was riding on the all familiar NH45 highway, this time to Kodai where the #mbmc16a party was organised.
Initially planned to be hosted at kuttikanam in Kerala, we changed plans to Kodai. While Kuttikanam was a great destination, riding 650kms with a large group would be a logistical nightmare.
We had over 40 registrations this time – about 40% madbulls, 40% Bullet Crusadors – Mysore, 15% from KTMC and 5% from Rtmc. The month of August was filled with rides and with many of us fresh out of #pudustory ride, there were not many who jumped in at Kodai. But that did not dampen the excitement and the experience planned.
The group I was riding with was called the ” slow riders “. It was ironic as most of us are not exactly slow riders, but it was fun taking the ride slow and enjoying every break, food stop and chatter time.
Everyone were in sync with Madbull standard timing where we start exactly 1 hour later than planned. Initially planned to ride out at 6 am, we rode out at 7 am ! Some things never change irrespective of the number of years.
The gst highway is pleasant till about 8 am after which it gets jammed with office goers. This particular Friday, it was lovely being on the highway with the boys who’s agenda was only good food, full stomach and good times. Simple pleasures of life is all we ask for. That and a steady salary of course 🙂
Riding a steady 80-90 km/ hr, we crossed Chengalpet and kept on. Very soon our stomachs started to rumble as well. Pulling over by a roadside eatery, Nithi and I were surprised to not find Sailesh and Sesh behind us. While Nithi went searching for both of them, it was funny to hear that the battery case from Nithi’s Bullet had flown out while riding and Sailesh and Sesh had stopped to pick it up !!
Finally settling in, the last to arrive was Navneeth. It was time to get some breakfast !
After quite a sumptuous meal, we were back on the highway. During breakfast, the topic slipped into food on the NH45 and so we had to stop at Chakra milk parlour to binge on the famous lassi !
Riding steadily through thin vehicular traffic but heavy crosswinds, we continued to crunch miles until we reached the parlour. This is a milk factory and they have their own outlet for travellers like us to enjoy fresh produce.
Chilled out in the mini play area for a while but our impatience needed to taste the lassi.
I picked up the mango lassi while the others picked up the badam lassi. Initial taste was not so great as such. For one , it was way too sweet and the taste of essence was overpowering the drink
Overall, it is a nice setup, but having drunk a few varieties of lassi, this one wasn’t quite there.
The ice cream was tempting, but we settled down for the buttermilk. Now this one was totally worth it. Had the right mix of spice and curd and felt good for the weather we were riding in.
Stomachs happy, it was time to get some lunch and the destination was Dindigul where the place to go to was Venu’s biriyani. Touted highly for its deep flavour and spice, it had all the promises of a great meal.
Thanks to Sailu, we were bypassing trichy by going through a village and landing up on the Dindigul highway.
Interestingly, we came across a railway crossing and with the gates being down, just could not resist clicking pictures
The trichy to Dindigul highway is a bummer of a stretch. The roads are wide open and that’s all there is to it. Whether be it rain or shine, this stretch is straight as an arrow and when your motorcycle does only 110-120km/hr, it does wear out one’s patience.
From where we were, we had 80 odd kms to reach Dindigul. Maintaining a steady pace of over 3800 rpm, we were cruising through. The intensity of the sun was decreasing with every kilometre towards the biriyani town. On our left were hills with black clouds looming over them.
The black clouds were busy in their business of pouring rains down on the hills. A rain ride seemed a possibility given the intensity of the clouds.
Soon, we were at the board that said welcome to Dindigul . Parched as we were, all we wanted was a juice or something that would help quench our thirst. The first thing we saw was a sugarcane vendor and we immediately pulled over. Despite knowing we were going to binge on biriyani a few minutes later, each of us downed a couple glasses of juice. The weather was quite dehydrating and the palette was happy to be gulping the delicious juice down the throat.
Juice done , it was time to hunt for Venu’s. A few roundabouts later, we were sitting inside the restaurant where everyone’s tongue was salivating in anticipation. Little did I know that this meal and the after effects of it would completely transform my mood.
The food arrived and it went down the stomach ! There was no oomph factor, no special tinge in the tongue, no stomach agreement to exquisiteness. It was plain jane biriyani made out of seeraga samba rice. That’s it ! Jeeez.. all that trouble for this ? Sheesh !
The biriyani made me miss Ya mohideen biriyani ! If you are in Madras, you have got to try this biriyani. Succulent pieces of meat, deliciously flavoured rice, the right tinge in your tongue and the happiness in your stomach makes waiting in line totally worth it.
Navneeth was still riding and we decided to wait for him to join us. An empty bench meant only one thing.. Power nap ! And it was so nice to rest after belting down about 400 odd kms!
Now here is where everything changed ! While I was sleeping, the restaurant maintenance guy was busy sweeping the place and eventually swept my bandana that I had treasured for 11+ years. Woke up as Navneeth arrived, I was starting to saddle up and to my rudest shock I could ever have, my bandana was missing. Sesh was able to recollect the guy sweeping it but it was too late. We weren’t going to be able to find it.
It was probably the most dumbest thing. I mean, how fucking dumb can the guy be ? He sees a guy sleeping and still, he sweeps a large bandana off the person ! Was he that blind or he was in such a hurry that he didn’t bother what he was sweeping.
Waves of emotion swept over me , but it was done ! That asshole had swept away something that meant so much to me like swatting a mosquito.
Totally irked and anguished, birdie and me rode on to the Hero service center where Navneeth was getting his bike done up. The impulse he was riding had carb and air filter issues.
With the conversations growing, my happiness was returning, but still deep inside, the feeling of loss was irreparable.
It was going to be a long ride now even though there was only 120 kms to go !
Supposed to have reached the resort a few hours earlier, we started off after some good chai and jokes.
The Dindigul- Kodai road is a two lane stretch that is amazingly scenic and equally dangerous. One needs to be really careful as buses zip across lanes without a care in the world.
The air was getting chilly and after re-grouping at the foothills, the next 57 kms up the hills was going to be a ride in the dark. Past the check post and the villages, riding through the hair pin bends and the curves was the real deal.
Follow the white lane, they said ! In some places, there wasn’t any sort of line and with the limited visibility, it was no time to play superhero and yank the throttle to go fast. At some spots we were doing a bit of speed and soon the miles to Kodai town reduced where we had the last 2 kms to get to the resort.
I was the happiest wearing the leather vest. The weather was great, but riding uphill chattering my teeth for 55 kms would not be a good way to enjoy the terrain or the ride. All said and done, leather is quite the thing for a biker. It is just that the Madras weather gets so hot that I would be barbecuing my body if I went all leather. But then again, it’s something to think about.
A few turns and a few climbs later we were at the resort ! 550+ kms of a fun and a safe ride. Lots of memories through the ride, not all of them happy, but memories nonetheless. I was riding into Kodai after a long time. The last one being Rtmc 10a I guess. Not sure though.
Meeting fellow madbulls, Ktmc boys and bcm boys, it was going to be a good night. The barbecue was in full flow and the boys turned chef were keeping the drinks and bites going in good sync. The music was not quite there, but bring the first night, it was a lot of catching up with friends that mattered.
Fast forward – Dinner done, catching up with everyone done, it was time to lay down and catch some shut eye. The heart had seen too many waves today. Getting into the bed and letting the blanket slip over you while the outside temperature is just over 10 degree c is really a happy feeling. That and coupled with the fact the body has just travelled over 570 kms. I was soon orbiting the 10th planet in the galaxy and slowly moved to other realms of the universe.
The next morning was smooth as silk. Woke up to cloudy skies, a parking lot full of motorcycles and crisp chill air to make sure your lungs felt good !
Loads of folks were out to see the sights of Kodai, but all I was interested was to chill, crank up the music and clink the barley ! Pretty sweet agenda if you ask me.
I have been hearing about the Kurinji flowers that blooms once in 12 years. Incidentally this year it was bloom time after 2006 and we were lucky to see them growing right at the resort. The flowers are beautiful to look at, and that is the case with most flowers. Now I understand the reference to the feminine species of being as gentle as a flower !
The afternoon biriyani for lunch was lip smacking and thousand times better than the so called Dindigul biriyanis ! The day was progressing pretty well. Playing DJ for the afternoon, it was nice cranking up some songs while the barley was flowing freely through the chilly afternoon.
Hosting some events as the evening set in, it was nice to see the boys be sportive and share a laugh with everyone. The night was coming by soon enough and as much as we wanted to continue the games, the night chill was biting as well.
We had a virtual DJ rock the night ! Virtual DJ – where he DJ’s using music videos. A very new concept and the first live experience, it was interesting to see this in action. Dheena has done this before and it was actually pretty swanky
Time kept a rolling and it was time to cut the cake ! Cheering the club for 16 years of madness, it was time to #letsgo !!
The night afterwards was busy with more music, dances and few old monks !
Shutting down the scene at 11, it was time to rake up some more madness. All those who had said that early good night, “macha- wake up at 5 am and ride out at 6am” got a wake up call at midnight. Most of them did not know why we were banging on their doors at half past midnight. Sleepy eyed and wondering how to react, the madbull train landed at room 102 for a discussion on who’s riding at what time ! Lol – craziness at its peak. But going by madbull tradition, this was always the case. This was missing for so many years and it was nice reliving a part of history.
By 130 ish , everyone hit their rooms to continue their sleep ! I’m guessing there must have been a few curses uttered too .. lol !
Good morning Sunday at 8 am ! Ride out was scheduled at 9 but MST in full swing and we knew for sure we were getting out only by 10 ish if we were lucky.
A quick breakfast and freshening up later, the watch was inching towards 930 am. Saddling up after all the laughter and jibe, we were greeted with a slight drizzle. The slight drizzle was turning into a steady pour and it definitely didn’t make sense riding out now. More laughter and jokes later, we were finally going to start riding.
With clear skies and smiling faces, we were revving our Enfields out of the resort. It was a good 2 nights and a lovely weekend well spent. The weekend ran by really quickly and as much as we wanted to spend more time relaxing and soaking in the weather and the good times, the reality of the 2×2 cube was constantly there.
The return ride was pretty much vanilla. For all the eating we did on the onward journey, the return was only binging on chai. The formation was tight, we were taking minimal breaks and with steady speeds at 4000 rpm, we were able to crunch miles quite well and quite fast this time.
Passing by Trichy, it was lovely seeing the river Cauvery flowing below. The recent rains in Kerala has brought about inflow into the river and there were plenty of people who had stopped over to see this sight.
Riding hard past Perambalur and Veppur, we pulled over just before Tindivanam for a quick break. Nithi had ridden ahead a while back and we had not heard from him since. Finally after a few phone calls we got to know that Nithi’s bike had stalled just after Tindivanam and he was not able to ride ahead. We got there in a bit and saw that Jai and Mukesh had reached there and they were trying to troubleshoot the issue. After changing the spark plug and tinkering around with the carb, we diagnosed the issue to be a dead battery. While jump starting from birdie didn’t work, it was time to jump into the next best thing – Tow ! Now this was going to be fun.
Towing a Bullet is quite an experience and there are plenty of stories around how the boys generally tow at speeds not less than 90km/hr. This was going to be another of them memories too for sure. We needed a new battery and the day being Sunday, all of the shops were closed. The only other plan that we came up with was to leave the motorcycle at the nearest town, get into the car with Raasu or Jai and get a fresh battery the net day. The nearest destination was Melmaravathur which was about 20 kms away and we were going to tow the motorcycle.
The plan being made, Sesh was towing Nithi. Birdie and I leading from the front, Raasu and Jai holding traffic behind, we were soon towing at 80+ km/hr ! It brought back so many memories, especially of Dosai who used to tow enfields at 110km/hr. The good old days !
Bullet parked at the station, Nithi sorted out in the car, the rest of us got back to the roads to get home. It was a long day already and getting home was the top priority. As the miles towards home got closer, the grocery list, the to-do list, the reminder list was starting to appear in my head. Sigh – back to reality !
It was nice getting back home ! It was a good ride with so many things that happened during the ride and time spent with the group that added to life’s memories.
It is difficult to believe we’ve crossed 16 years as a club and as friends. The boys have been the same since the first time I saw them and that is what makes us who we are – MadBulls !
Time flies by rather quickly and it is truly God’s grace that gives us the ability to collect memories, share laughter and face the curveballs that life throws at us.
Praise God for safe travels throughout the ride !
More pictures at : http://bit.ly/2BaxrMc