28th November 2014 – Krishnanagar, India
The blood gradually disappeared, and so did the tshirt. Sleep was shy and distant, as two eyes gave me the haunting blues. And when the road welcomed me back into its bosom today, I realised that my biggest fear may not be memories, its a minuscule fuse.
I could barely sleep last night. The eyes of the first girl who came out of the innova yesterday, the one who blinked, kept staring at me from the hotel wall. I don’t know what it meant, but there was more than a hint of accusation in those eyes. I was part of a larger thread, that formed the road traffic in India, wasn’t it? So, anything that happened on the road, I had to claim a remote responsibility for it too. Around 4 AM, I managed to shut those eyes from my sight, and got some well-needed sleep.
I stepped out from my hotel in Malda to continue towards Kolkata. I had thrown the tshirt away, as the smell of blood was still strong on it. I looked fresh, but was stale inside from this road. This has been a dogged ride for the last few days, and I couldn’t wait to get it over, and get to Kolkata.
But the NH34 was only beginning its torment. Hands down, this has to be the worst highway in India right now. Yes, it does crawl through some very beautiful sights, like the 3Km Farakka barrage and the paddy field stretches of Berhampore, but the road was 80% under construction. And for those stretches which were already constructed, the potholes were large enough to bury me inside them. And so I went, dodging bumps and potholes, and mostly falling into them.
After one of those bumps, my bike stopped working for the first time on this trip. No ignition, no display board. Just stopped working, right on a national highway. I pushed it to the side, and looked around for help in the form of repair shops. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I had to try and do something myself.
I consider myself extremely lucky that I didn’t have to do any repair work on my bike myself so far, barring the footrest episode in Pushkar which I don’t think was much of a repair. But this was serious. It was my first case of the bike entirely breaking down.
I was trying to organise my thoughts. Obviously, there was a problem with the wiring, since even the display boards were out. The display boards take power from the battery, and worse comes to worst, I might have done something horrible with it on these bumpy roads. I decided to take a look.
After removing the cover, I was going to take a look at the battery, when I saw a small little box which I have never noticed before today. The fuse box. I know of cases where the fuse blows out in an enfield, when taking bumps at high speeds. And true to my thought, one of the fuses was blown. Luckily, enfield keeps a spare in the fuse box, and this was the easiest repair for me. I switched the blown fuse, with a functioning one, and tadaaa. My bike was alive.
Not for long. After a while, it blew again on the bumps. And this time I had no more spare, but there was an electrical shop nearby. So, I bought a fuse for 10Rs and made the switch again.
Actually, I bought 3. I now ride with spare fuses in my pocket. Oh, well!