#NERM2018 – Sikkim

I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to key in the #Nerm18 experience. I do not know if I should blame it on the countless hours at the office, or the raging infection in my chest or the kazillion number of to-dos at home. Well, finally, here I am, so here goes!

#NERM17 was my first and I knew one thing for sure – I was going to be back for #NERM18.  The adventurous ride to Pasighat, the fall on the mountains, the pristine virginity of nature, the beauty of humanity, the simplicity of life, the genuineness of friendship and the true thrill of surprise was so full in my head, that I had to be back for more. Add the location #Sikkim and #nerm18 was guaranteed to be a dream ride.

There is one thing to dream, and then, there is another to work in a corporate. During the last few months where I dreamt about riding the silk route, exploring nooks and corners of Nepal, there came a bombshell of being allocated to a new client, a new project and a new boss! The silk route disappeared, Nepal seemed a distant dream and sadly, I had to bite the bullet of disappointment. What a bitch! But had to suck it in, Sally.

The registrations for #nerm18 opened up, and they disappeared faster than lightning. 600 slots in 2.5 minutes. This was the scene for all the three phases. While there were exuberant and excited riders who registered, there were the disappointed few who were stuck with the pile of reality and a weak smile on their faces, yours truly included.

September went by and October slipped in. The NERM whatsApp group was bustling with updates of bullets being shipped, routes being chartered and venue updates. With the mercury levels in #Ravangla pointing south, carry lots of warm clothes was the constant advice.

If there is one thing I have learnt personally after #nerm17, it was not to make plans! For plans are known to fucking fail. Instead, go with the flow and sometimes what is meant to be, will be.

One such flow was saying hello to once a stranger a year ago, now a friend in #Assam. She was now taunting me with ideas of being part of #hornbillfestival in Nagaland and/or the #orangefestival in Arunachal.

The mortal soul can take only so much temptation and the next few things that happened was a blur as it happened in this exact order.

  • Post up in NERM group asking if anyone was going to be part of any of the festivals
  • Get negative reply for the festival, but IF interested in #nerm18, can secure a slot
  • Check calendar – 2 days this week, 2 days next week – can make the event
  • Check flight tickets/availability
  • Inform boss about the leaves, getting a “very hesitant” nod
  • Book tickets, arrange for the swap with Deepan who had registered but was going to be in Bhutan, hence not able to make it
  • Reply back to the group with one line- I’m in! Shyamal, who first replied in the positive about securing a slot was stunned with the speed of how things fell into place
  • Start writing a shopping list for #decathlon
  • Ping Geet and tell her I am going for #nerm18 instead
  • Heave a huge sigh and silently yell inside – holy molly!

This was going to be an interesting NERM for me. Yes, I was not going to be riding to the event, thanks to the circumstances, but nevertheless, I was going to be there. As days went by and with the project status at work, even this orgasmic planned seemed a distant dream, but one has to hold on to his cajones till the fat lady sings! It wasn’t over yet.

Day 1 – I was flying to #Bagdogra in West Bengal with a layover in #Guwahati for a couple of hours. My flight was at 455 AM on 25th Oct, and apparently getting to the check-in counter at 4AM was too late! The pretty looking lady at the counter was very sweet to inform that boarding was to close at 410 AM and I still hadn’t even cleared security. Mama Holy fuckmolly! I was going to Sikkim and the last thing I wanted was to miss my flight in Madras.

Security check done, I was getting frantic calls from #indigoairlines asking where I was. Apparently, I was the last passenger to board the flight. Thankfully, boarded the flight and the next 30 minutes, ground crew were busy with checking the flight about some passenger fuckup who boarded the wrong flight. My check-in time was right after all.

Loved the view of the sunrise from up in the air.

Thanks to all the multiple bracelets I was wearing, the customs officer at Madras and Guwahati was sweeping me about half a dozen times – apparently, I had too much metal on me. My adventure had already started.

Landing at #Bagdogra, I had to find out a way to get into #Rongpo in #Sikkim. From what I gathered, there was the luxury of a single cab or a shared cab, depending on how much one wanted to splurge. Walking outside the airport, it took the taxi drivers very few seconds to know I was an outsider and present me with several rates and options to Rongpo.

These taxi drivers work on a simple policy – If Driver A does not get business due to Driver B’s proposal, then Driver A will suggest the BEST way to travel. I was presented with a fare option of Rs.1000 by one and Rs. 800 by another.  Having shown interest in the Rs. 800 offer, the driver who presented me with Rs. 1000 suggested the most cost-effective mode of transport.

Take the local bus for Rs 15, get a shared cab at Siliguri junction for Rs. 350 to Rangpo. Pretty simple huh! Total expense ~Rs400 and the experience of a fucking lifetime.

Travel is all about making friends, making memories and creating smiles. Befriended my first stranger on the local bus from IXB to Siliguri Junction. Alamgir had traveled on the same flight from Madras and was surprised to see me board the bus. A friendly person from Darjeeling, we were soon chatting away, sharing corporate stories and having a good time. This guy even paid for my bus fare. Here is where I was experiencing #payitforward in its true essence.

Getting down at Siliguri junction, I befriended two new strangers from Denmark – Sarah, and Anna. Interacting briefly with them, they were on an adventure exploring Darjeeling and Kerala. Helping them find a shared cab, they were soon on their way towards #darjeeling sitting with 8 other cab mates. Must have been quite an experience, but hey, this is India and this is how we roll.

Next was my turn to hunt for a shared cab. Had to find a cab going to #Gangtok. After a bit of waiting, I got my cab. Interestingly, my seat was the same as Anna and Sarah- The middle seat of the last row! Daimm.

House full, we set off towards Gangtok crossing the army barracks of West Bengal and amidst the busy market roads. A short distance later, the driver pulled over to pick up another passenger! A live chicken! How fucking more interesting could this get? I was going to find out 🙂

In all my travels so far, I have now learned to appreciate the #Tata Sumo. The roads to Gangtok are all uphill, with the first 50km traversing through a mix of no roads, dirt roads, and tarmac. Yet, the sumo did not feel concerned by any of it. The driver kept plowing through and the vehicle with all 10 humans and 1 chicken kept munching the miles. In all of this, the beauty of the #Teestariver was too hard to miss.

Shimmering in the color of Jade, the Teesta River is a 309 km long river flowing through West Bengal and Sikkim through Bangladesh before emptying to the Bay of Bengal. It flows through Rangpo, Jalpaiguri, and Kalimpong and joins the Jamuna (Brahmaputra) in Bangladesh. The river is truly a sight to see and as the altitude increased, the view got better and better.

We halted at #kalimpong and I couldn’t be more grateful for the stop. According to the driver, it was a chance for the tires to cool down as well!  According to me, it was a chance to restore blood circulation to my numb butt and a chance to stretch my legs. It was also a great opportunity to taste the local cuisine of the land. Having eaten only a sandwich at Guwahati at 9ish in the morning, the warm plate of momos and chai felt like heaven. Back on the roads, we were now snaking through the mountains, the roads getting narrow and the air growing chill. We were exiting West Bengal and crossing the border into Sikkim. Personally, it was a wow feeling to be able to get this far. Rongpo was not too far off and soon I was on the phone asking for directions to the place for the night.

The local cricket stadium in Rongpo was the planned pre-nerm assemble point for all the #nerm18 riders courtesy one of the local clubs in Sikkim. Dinner and breakfast were on the house, but the lack of toilets saw all the madbulls get out and explore alternate options. It was a good decision taken by the boys and with the air becoming chill, sleeping on a bed was much better than a cricket pitch.

Meeting the boys at the hotel was quite a happy moment and my #nerm18 experience had officially begun.

Rangpo to #Ravangala was roughly 50 odd km for which there was no plan yet. Right now, beer and food was the only requirement I wanted.

Chatter, food, beer plus Bhutan stories kept us awake for a bit. I was starting to get a flavor of the Sikkim chill and it was quite obvious that the next few days were going to be COLD!

Day 2 – Wakey wakey on a cold October 26th morning, all roads led to #Ravangala, the venue of the 10th NERM. Hosted by the #openroadwandereres, this event had promises of good times, good memories and an unforgetful experience. Little did I know how true this was to be.

Ravangla or Rawangla or Ravongla is a small tourist town situated at an elevation of 7000 ft in South Sikkim district. Apart from the 7k ft elevation, this also happened to be the COLDEST place in South Sikkim. Another trivia –  Mt. Kanchenjunga and several snow-capped mountains are clearly visible from Ravangala. Fun, fun, fun!

My ride for the day was an Innova. Traveling with Madan, CEO of Ezeeclutch, his son, Ajay, and Partner, the views were fucking orgasmic, while the drive was pathetic! The driver was throwing the car around and it was not a nice experience.

Note to self – M for mountains, M for a motorcycle! Period.

Fighting waves of nausea, we were soon at #namchi thankfully. Got to meet the rest of the boys who were chilling after riding down from #Nepal.

Puking out from the nauseating drive, it was such a relief to be able to breathe easy. As enthusiastic I was to see the guys and exchange pleasantries, I was too winded. Thankfully the boys understood.

The roads from Namchi to Ravangala are butter smooth till #Damthang. After that, it is all WIP. Scary is an understatement as you travel amidst hill cutters and road layer machines. At some points, the gap is just enough for one car to pass by. Looking down or admiring the landscape( which was bloody beautiful) was not exactly the right option.

Traversing through sex-on-toes curves and chills, we were soon at the venue. The Kanchenjunga standing tall on the left, the venue to the right, the forest which was going to be our home for the next three days – I MADE IT! Whoopdeefuckingdoo!

A dream come true and now to hopefully enjoy #nerm18 for all it offered.

As I settled down, breathed in the fresh mountain air and as my lungs felt a whole new level oxygen, it started! The phone that would ever receive any calls or messages started buzzing. I was getting calls from work. Flabbergasted as I was, I had no option but to give in as this was not going to go well if I didn’t oblige and go with the flow. The project had unrealistic revised timelines and everyone’s ass on the line- and I was in Sikkim. Fuck! It was not a good situation to be in, but then as the old Chinese saying goes –  Catch bull by horns, not balls.

That phone was a fucking rocket queen! I do not recollect receiving so many calls/messages on the phone for the last two years I have had that device. And now sitting 7000ft above sea level, shivering my cajones, that device kept buzzing away with an equal number of outgoing and incoming calls. Praise God for unified networks, thanks to Jio, else I would have paid a small fortune just on the calls.

All that aside – the #madbull party spot was identified, a large tent-house was created and #nerm18 had kicked off, #madbullstyle. We had the views, the shade, the rum and as various clubs rolled into the venue, one could not miss the Madbulls.

Settling down to take in the sight of Enfields filling the venue, tents being pitched, warm greetings, hugs and smiles flashing everywhere, #nerm18 was finding its sweet spot at #Makhim.

The party spot was privy to all the known faces and bums of yesteryears, newfound friends and anyone who wanted to have a good time. The place was getting filled fast and as the sun set, the mercury started her ” let me go down ” dance as well.

It was time to bring out the thermals. The last-minute shopping at Decathlon helped and as the first band for the day finished their sound check, it was time to clear the tent area and head out to the stage.

The event was about to be officially declared open and the club had invited the tourism minister of Sikkim to do the honors. Now, that was something! It showed how much time, effort and dedication these guys had invested to make this event a success.

The cultural events reminded me of the Chinese dragon dance and it was entertaining to watch. Sipping on #Tongba – the local millet beer, I was enjoying the festivities, culturals and the chill of the evening.

With the flag hoisting completed,  Her Illegal Practise was set to take over.

With a female lead vocalist, I thought this was going to be just another band… until she started singing! Led by Chimie Dolma, this band knows how to rock.  Chimie is an all-out razzle-dazzle rockstar and her band certainly hit the sweet spot.

By the time the second song was on, I was in rapt attention listening to Chimie belt out classic blues, alternative hits and rock numbers. She has a voice between husky and dusky and an attitude that redefines sexy!

She and the band are a mass of talent. Reading more about them, they are no amateurs. Her Illegal Practice were finalists at the Sikkim Red Panda Winter Carnival Rock Competition and Winners of NIT Rock Fest held at Ravangla.

In between the orgasmatronic music ballads, I was busy shuffling between the Ezee clutch sales counter and the stage. I thought multitasking was only at work, but here I was juggling three things – managing my office phone calls, charging my phones and being a part-time sales guy for Ezee clutch.

Lesson learned in all this – clearly, I was born to sell!

Her Illegal Practice’s act was over and there was another band on stage. They were good, pretty good, but not as good as HIP.  For Day 1, things seemed to be pretty good even though there was the rocket queen was the elephant in the room.

Day 1 of NERM was ending, but little did we know that it was the beginning of a lot of things. Taking a walk through the pathway, I happened to see Dude standing by his doorway in quite a helpless situation. He was puking and not in a good shape. This did not look good at all.

Running around, I was able to get him some dhal and rice for dinner, which he puked out again. The situation did not look good at all and it certainly required extra help. It was time to attend my daily standup call and trying to juggle two phones, between work and calling Jai & Mukesh, I had that feeling this night was going to be a long one.

Dude had some kind of food poisoning somewhere in Siliguri and along with the chill, things were not going well for him. Dude is a 70+yr young active rider of the MadrasBulls who has been riding for many years. A two-time cancer survivor, he had the grit and the stamina to ride from Chennai to Ravangala on his trusty UCE 350.

With my call getting over, I was able to help mobilize thermals and make Dude comfortable, but this was not enough to withstand the bitter cold of the night.

We were not very convinced of Dude holding up at night and as we went back to our tents, we were quite worried. apparently, Jai woke up in between multiple times and by 5 AM, Dude had gotten worse and had to be hospitalized. I have no idea how Jai managed to find the strength to wake up multiple times in the night to check on Dude and to arrange what he did while most of us were snug and snoring away. Hats off to him!

Day 3 – I got the news at about 9ish that Dude was in the hospital being treated for weakness and food poisoning. There was a lot that happened during the time I was orbiting the planets. The agenda of the day was to see how Dude’s health could be improved as we had two more days at the event and we had to think of his journey back to Madras as well.

Walking in between the pitched tents and parked Enfields, I finally met up with the #RERAM boys and say hello to so many familiar faces. It was a year ago that I had met them, but it seemed like yesterday.

Moving on from the merry boys of #RERAM and towards the edge of the venue, I was able to glimpse the mighty #Kanchanjunga yonder. Truly, it was a sight to watch the mountains stand in such majesty with its enchanting beauty and eternal timelessness. For those few minutes, time just stood still.

Walking on and greeting the riders from #nagaland with a hello resulted in an invite to join them for chai. Now, who can say no to chai, that too lal chai?  Through the chatter, it was interesting to know their lifestyle, eating habits and their food patterns. While a pot was lal chai was constantly brewed, they were making lunch as well.  Their lunch consisted of boiled chow-chow with Dhal and white rice. Marinated and pre-cooked beef, prawns and pork formed the sides and together, it made a fucking awesome meal.

Got to love the hospitality of these guys. I was a total stranger to them 45 minutes ago, but now I was sharing a meal and bringing them bottles of beer to down the yummy meal. This is what NERM is about – Good food, good hearts and cold beer!

By late midday, Dude was back at the venue. But on closer observation and thinking out loud with the guys, he being at the venue was not a good idea. He needed warmth which meant that we had to shift him out of the venue and get a room with a heater. This needed to be done at the earliest as time was of the essence here.

The organizers were really helpful in getting things mobilized. Plan B was in full swing.

  • Dude was to relocate to the resort
  • I was to ride Dude’s Enfield from the venue to Siliguri
  • Once we get to Siliguri, ship bullet to Madras
  • Dude travels to Siliguri in a cab and then flies back to Madras with us

Plan B was a good plan. We needed Dude to improve his health and we were pretty sure he would. Time would be the decider of this plan though.

As the mercury dipped towards late evening, my project started to heat up and the escalations started to pile.  I was back at the counter, charging my phone, coordinating multiple things, people and requirements while my team was coding away to kingdom come. The only comfort was a few momos and tiny sips of Tongba in between the chaos that was building far away from where I was.

To add to the nerm stories, the #madbull camp had a visitor on the tarpaulin! A baby python! Yep, a baby Python. I was seeing a snake up close and personal for the first time and I was certainly scared. Sailu, on the other hand, had the presence of mind to pick up a log and take the baby back to the lush of the forest.

There were several bands on stage for Day 2. Except for #joesapartment, the rest of the bands quite sucked. They were predominantly thrash metal bands and it was blah. Maybe I was hung over HIP, I guess.

Hari and Bra were at the resort with Dude which meant, I was going to be alone in the tent that night. It was a really cold night and I can recollect shivering multiple times even after 4 layers of thermals and a woolen head mask.

The baby python was lounging about 5 feet from the tent and as the night crept in, a silent prayer was at my lips as I bid good night. It was not going to be an easy night. Somewhere in between the shivering and the warmth, I fell asleep.

Day 4 was shining bright and beautiful and the hope was – things would look up today. Many of the riders were already packing and leaving. Why? I did not understand. NERM is a 3 day/night event and what was the point of leaving when the last night is the best night!

It was a standard relaxed Sunday, whether be it Chennai or Sikkim. Taking it nice and easy, watching riders pack and leave, getting our goodie bags, making light conversations and generally joking around. Spent a bit of time photographing people, the place and collecting memories.

The most important event of the day was Kiki’s birthday! He was quite the host – throwing a party for 1250 people and bringing in Parikrama. LOL!

As the day progressed past lunch and into the chill zone, all ears and eyes were waiting for Parikrama to start jamming.  The band that opened the evening had a major thing for #U2 and were belting out pretty tight songs and even got #bono’s voice right.

Parikrama is an Indian rock and roll band that fuses Indian classical musical instruments with traditional electric guitar, percussion, etc. From what I have heard about them, they are an icon and a legend in the Indian rock music scene. I had not gotten a chance to ever see them play live, but today seemed like my lucky day.

The night was young, the boys were out, the rum was a brimming, my phone was charging and for the next 45 minutes, it was a big fuck you to every elephant I ever knew.

I finally got to meet maloi #1 – Po! The man is a legend by himself and is someone I got to know last year in the back seat of Babit’s Gypsy. He speaks very few words but is always fun to be around. I was not able to meet Babit this year for #nerm18, but maybe sometime down the road, I will meet him soon.

Kickstarting with their “Am I dreaming” number, Parikrama, had without any doubt, stole the night!  Nitin Malik – the lead vocalist has a voice that can really stretch across the horizon and still maintain vigor and tune. The night was chill, the crowd was up the hill, all the cameras were out, but none of that mattered. Standing in front of the stage, I was transfixed with the music being churned out by these pro’s and they knew what rocking the stage meant.

From their classic first track, they went on to play a few covers and then dedicated “But it rained” to the fallen brothers – especially for NMC. Nitin rocked a high voltage version of “highway to hell” and then wrapped up their act. Just like that!

It was too fast, too quick to wrap it up, but they did it. No one budged, everyone asked for more. It was musical orgasm right there –  a mass of talent, the maturity of age, the respect of classic rock being belted-out by classic rockers, the professional etiquette of being at ease on stage and the charisma of entertaining a biker crowd. These guys had it all!  They just could not leave!

As if on cue, Nitin came back on stage with his guitar and did “Wish you were here” in THE BEST version I have ever heard live.

There is something about this song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. The officer’s band did it in Kundapur, the same thing happened in Shillong last year and now this! That song is dope and it takes you away to a mystical place where peace and shadows are one and where life and memories intertwine in a cyclic maze that leaves me staring into my soul with a kazillion thoughts and tears trickling down.

It was finally over. Parikrama had wrapped up the night. Personally, to me, this was the perfect ending to the night, to #nerm18.

I had tons of worry on my head, the weight of responsibility on my shoulders and the burden of life on my chest – but at that moment, it disappeared. It was probably life’s way of saying – Shalom.

Some fuckall band came up to play after Parikrama and the crowd thinned immediately.

NERM2018 was over, almost! Come Monday morning, plan B was to fall into place and we had to execute it in the best possible way. Let us not forget my project, escalation calls, client meetings, conference calls, coordination and all the urban jungle things.

That Sunday night was a night to remember. Being the last night, the night was filled with music some band was playing, loud revving of bullets, chatter from different pockets of folks huddled together in front of a bonfire as I held on to my phone coordinating with my team and boss. The time was 11PM and my project was to go live tomorrow (Monday) and a decision from the business was pending.

I had a call setup for 7 AM the next day. Wide awake just before 6AM and going through my emails to find what the business debated about it, I was relieved to see the decision was a no-go! This was a relief as it meant one thing – I could ride out in peace.

Day 5 was all about waking up, packing, gearing up, charging phones and riding out. The Madbulls are famous for one thing – timing. Initially planned to ride out at 9, we rode out exactly at #MST – which was 10 AM!

Shouldn’t miss breakfast you see! Breakfast was a healthy 4 boiled eggs and bun with some chai! We had 7000ft to descend and it was important to make sure the tummy was full and healthy to ride. The idea was not to plan anything, but just go along with the flow.

I was going to ride Dude’s Enfield. It is funny how some things just fall into place. Traveling in the Innova uphill, I was extremely disappointed not being able to ride birdie to any NERM, let alone this one. And then out of the blue, comes this opportunity as a veiled option which was more than relief for the dejected soul.

Riding a standard is not the same as riding a Thunderbird. Dude had maintained his Enfield rather well and in a matter of a few km, I got used to the lady. She was kind and reciprocated well.  Being gentle along the curves and the broken tarmac saw me lose track of the group ahead. A few calls and a few turns later, I was back with the group and this time, I was very comfortable in handling her dynamics much better than earlier.

The scary roads that I traversed sitting in the comfort of a four-wheeler were now in front of me. Riding through the WIP roads, the narrow pathways of development and the sheer drop of 6000ft at my side was enough to pump the adrenaline through my veins. In hindsight, isn’t this what we crave for, to explore life on the edge, to live life to its fullest every single minute and to enjoy them on 2 wheels.

The roads from Namchi to Rongpo were butter-smooth with a few pockets where construction work is in progress. The only downside is, if you fail to slow down on time, you’d be biting the dust – literally 🙂

Mukesh had a flat tire just after Rongpo and I being in the lead, did not know this until I reached Kalimpong for much-needed chai and momos. Ended up waiting there for about 2 hours till they had fixed the tire and we were back on the roads, this time full speed ahead towards Siliguri.

Maneuvering through the bad trails and admiring the Teesta in its jade beauty took some skills. But very soon, we were exiting the calm, peaceful, no honk traffic and getting into West Bengal, NJP traffic where everything was exactly the opposite. In many ways, this is what makes the country special where cultures, habits and behavior changes with geography.

With the sky getting darker every minute, four bullets steadily made its way to the safe-express warehouse where we dropped the bullets off to be shipped to Madras. Task achieved, partial dream satisfied, mini orgasm attained, it was happiness all the way in my head.

Our return ride was at the back of a tempo, an electric rickshaw that stalled halfway, rosagollas and cake for the birthday boy – Sailu. The short trip in the back of the tempo reminded us of the movie ” Kolamaavu Kokilla” – a Tamil movie.

Everyone had landed up at Hotel Amaravathi in Siliguri and as the night seemed young and we looked forward to the comfort of clean bathrooms and clean beds, BUT we were in for another surprise.

Dude had traveled in the Innova along with Party and Madan and had reached the hotel successfully,  His health, however,  was slipping from bad to worse and we were in a huge fix of what the next step should be. Add the fact there were many hurdles to cross, which did not make things easy.

The Madbulls that we are, we sure know how to get something done, when we want it, how we want it! Plan C was already in place and as Dude slept through the night, the rest of the folks celebrated Sailu’s birthday, enjoyed the chatter and hit the sack.

The next day was going to be busy with some much-needed shopping and a few west Bengal delights.

Day 6– As the sun rose on Tuesday, we were all in for a huge shock.  Dude had slipped in the bathroom and we had to figure out something really quick. Things were cascading from worse to critical faster than you can say – oh fuck and we knew we had to admit him in a hospital ASAP.

Quick calls made, his family apprised of the situation, we were soon inside the emergency room as the doctor made his diagnosis.  Dude was in safe hands for now and it was time to address the rumbling in our tummies.

From here, everything moved in fast forward for us. Breakfast – sweets – another trip to the hospital – back to the room – freshen up – shopping at Hong Kong market  – getting the taxi to IXB – checking in and sitting in the flight to Guwahati. Crazy was an understatement.

Plan D was in effect now and Dude’s son was on his way to IXB. As we landed in Guwahati, things seemed to normalize for us. We were all heaving sighs of relief and feeling much better about how things were addressed and controlled. Sometimes, things can go wrong that can affect multiple people, situations and have bad repercussions. Thank God we did not have any of that to handle.

Stepping outside the airport at Guwahati, there was this raging temptation to go to Shillong, but the reminder of my project going live kept me chained. Haha 🙂

Dosa and Chai later, we were in the nick of time to check in and settle in for the long 3.5hr flight to Madras. The NERM experience was getting over too soon, but we had no other choice. With each mile crossed, the stark reality of the urban jungle, the monotonicity of mundaneness and the pallidness of nothing stared at our faces.

Landing safe in Madras, we were soon going our individual ways. My love affair with my work phone still continued as I logged into the webex bridge for the go/no-go call for the second time.

God’s mercies are new every morning and I believe each of us experienced this in our lives this time.   From sleeping in 8 deg colds and waking up to face a new day, to be able to handle the health scares of Dude, to the safety of each and every rider as they rode through terrain where one small mistake could be their last, to everyone being free and living their life to the fullest – God had been with us all throughout.

NERM is not just a ride where one hops on to their motorcycle, open throttle and cover miles. In the last two years of NERM, one learns life lessons, humility, simplicity and revives the word called brotherhood.

Life is very simple when you kick ego, pride and cunningness out the door and live life for what is really worth – Happiness.

Now.. here’s hoping there is a post NERM ride… where there is no project calls or health scares.

All pictures clicked on the iPhone. The link is at https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0eGWZuqDtXeHFl

Cheers, Mustang

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