I woke up at sharp 4am, waiting for the mobile alarm to get to 6am!
Feeling ridiculous, I went out to check on Sunbeam. I have a habit of saddling up a night earlier and I went out to my bike that looked so washed and cleaned up with a pre-morning shower. My saddle bags too got a free wash and I walked around the bike, like a dog about to pee.
I didn’t. I really was quite jobless. Saddling up means that all my luggage is onboard and therefore all I have left to pack up is the paperwork, etc. It’s a relief. I came back home and had a cup of tea. In a few hours, I would be taking my bike to Prithvi Theatre and starting a journey that would be taking me all around the world. This would be a 10-month adventure, over some 45,000 kilometers.
I switched on the TV and sentimentally, got to the Hindi Film Song channel. It was nice to see Dev Anand woo Waheeda Rehman in Guide. He was very international minded, that Dev Anand. If he was alive, maybe he would have come with me. The songs were nice and I saw my Dad doing Aye-Gulbadan. He looked fresh and happy. I wish he would be here to see me off.
By the time the alarm arrived, I had showered and had my breakfast; some fruits. I was too nervous to have a full breakfast.
My wife was down with extreme flu, so she would not be able to attend. Pradeep Gidwani, a BMW biker would be driving my car, while I would ride Sunbeam to her 1st Flag-off.
The ride to Prithvi was cool and refreshing. I rode in full gear; that’s a formal riding jacket and pants. Riding shoes and a helmet. I didn’t get the gloves, because it was too hot. Mumbai was waking up to a lovely Monday and a lot of them turned heads to see a fully geared Rider and a loaded Bike, followed by a Toyota. Felt nice for sure.
Prithvi Theatre arrived rather quickly. It should at 8.30 am in the morning. The staff were expecting me and looked in wonder. They had seen me earlier as I was a frequent visitor to the Theatre canteen. This time they all came to meet me. I’m sure they thought this was a joke, about this guy wanting to go around the world on a motorcycle. Maybe a publicity stunt. Maybe I didn’t look the part. But then what looks the part, I wonder. I dismounted and went to meet my cousin, Kunal, the owner of the Theatre and the son of the handsomest Kapoor-Shashi Kapoor. Since my uncle was up, I met him first on my way up and he blessed me. His kind and extremely handsome countenance, showered a light that will stay with me for some time. He made me glow.
Breakfast with Kunal, in his apartment was a delight, since he has a lovely sense of Indo-British balance in life and conduct. His house was a living manifestation of that.
I had wanted a Flag-off from Prithvi Theatre, since this Theatre was a living testimonial to the Spirit of our Family Founder: Shri Prithviraj Kapoor. Getting the drift of my sentiment, Kunal had graciously agreed to host my Flag-off and here I was, now back at my bike at the Theatre. Waiting for people to arrive.
My mother came first and blessed my bike and me. Jackie Shroff was the next. Having a family engagement, he still took time off to attend. He had Flagged-off my earlier India-Bhutan-Nepal trip. Jackie and I grew up together at Malabar Hill. He is a firm friend. Soon, cousins appeared and friends followed. Sponsors and business friends took time off on a Monday morning to check, whether I am serious or not. The Russian Consul General adorned the Flag-off, which became complete when my cousin Randhir Kapoor arrived and we all gathered for that one picture moment.
Seek mom’s blessings as always
At sharp noon, IST, Vineet, the Co-Founder of ScoutMyTrip switched my website to GMT and announced the start of my journey. Aptly titled, Quest, the journey became live, with a map showing were I was. It was an electric moment.
School friends, business friends, just friends and so many others came to bless me. Lt. Col Sohan Roy (retd.) was one. An ex-armyman, celebrated and now challenged in both legs, 70 years of age and an avid biker, rode from Pune to Mumbai to bless me. Indeed, that was great and everyone was delighted to meet him. Along with him came Deepak Amembal, my India-Bhutan-Nepal Ride Buddy. That ride was flagged off by Jackie Shroff. These people inspire me.
The Press, made us stand in all combinations and groups, surely to suit all types of Publishing and Releases. At sharp 12.30, the Cargo people arrived to take the Bike away for customs clearance. Bidding everyone a quick adieu and thanking them for their presence and good wishes, I left in my car, behind my bike which was taken by the Triumph Company, to check and handover.
At the Cargo complex in Andheri, Ejaz, the owner of East West Cargo, was personally supervising the packing and crating at his warehouse. Triumph, took the petrol out, deflated the tyres and disconnected the batteries. A team of seasoned carpenters had prepared the pallet upon which the bike was center-stood. Bubble wrapping paper, soon hid the bike from view and that saddened me. The crating complete, a forklift appeared and hauled the bike onto a waiting truck and Sunbeam went for her first customs clearance. I felt alone. Making my way back home, I completed my packing and its almost 11pm now as I diarize.
I leave on Wednesday for Russia.