The Assam Rifles flagged us off towards Imphal. It was momentous. We all stood under the flag and in that brief moment all bonded with a patriotic super glue.
The road was nice, not nice and then back to nice. It’s under reconstruction. Shall take time. I’m told it’s the same all the way to Guwahati. Well, that’s life. Bikers on Enfield’s and one Triumph, besides mine rode together. It was fun. We took it slow and easy.
A short break for watermelon and coffee, a most unlikely combination, revived us. It wasn’t hot, since we were in the mountains. Checkpoints stopped us for documents. We had just come from the border.
Everyone was asking me a hundred questions each and I tried to answer all. They were mostly curious about the problems I faced, how much did I plan, etc. I tried to pump them with enthu and practical injections, so that they do plan, but without getting carried away. For there were no shortcuts.
It was nice to see the excitement in their eyes, when I would narrate my few chosen moments, that would be enjoyed by all, before I would give a lecture about discipline, etc. Discipline-wow, I didn’t know I had that in the first place.
So I would often see myself in their eyes and relish my achievement. If I could see in the future a few years ago or someone would foretell my trip, I’m sure I would laugh it off.
This would be the most unbelievable activity of my life that could be accredited to my own doing. When I was riding to Imphal, I would see labourers repairing the road and life would seem normal by Indian standards. But then a fleeting thought would take me to my khichdi cookout outside Montblanc. Did I really cook khichdi outside this mountain. So these moments of my trip would flash past at corners on the way to Imphal. There was an awesomeness about it, as if I was admiring someone else’s trip. Very very unreal.
But as wheels move me closer to Mumbai, I start the process of Indianising myself. I now only speak in Hindi. It was amusing.
Well, Imphal is here.