The motorcycle diaries


kariyathan para kakkayam kozhikode 4
My back was beginning to ache.   I had expected the 70 KM ride from Mahe to Vayalada to be relatively easy, given that I am used to much longer rides. And it was indeed easy, up until Balussery in Kozhikode district. But nobody warned me about the uphill and rocky climb to reach Vayalada. From Balussery, the road gradually kept winding upwards. A few kilometres before the Vayalada point, the paved roads gave way to potholed roads. As I got even closer to Vayalada, the potholed roads gave away to rocky strips. With rocks not for the faint hearted. […]

Places to visit in Kerala that you’ve never heard of: Vayalada and Kakkayam Dam


kerala to kolkata
18th December 2014 – Chennai, India I felt like an amputee today, who lost his wheels somewhere on the way. To wake up in a foreign land, and start looking for his bike keys. Only to realise that the motorcycle episode has ended now.  After a fight with myself, the victor is clear. I am totally at peace. I came to Chennai today morning, and slept at my brother’s house. Almost the whole day. Only to wake up at night, and realise that I have not clicked anything for the day. I took my bike keys, and was about to […]

Project 365: Day 170 – Thats all from the motorcycle, folks   Recently updated !


17th December 2014 – Kolkata, India Three weeks. No, they appeared more like 3 decades, Have passed through along with the winds, wafting with a curry flavour. While the city of joy gears up to shop for a not-so-cold christmas, I am heading south today. I have fish curry to savour. I sent the bike through Gati today, and I think those guys did a good job of packing the bike thoroughly. One of the risks with send your motorbike through parcel, is that something always tends to end up broken or bent. So, I had to oversee the packing. […]

Project 365: Day 169 – Goodbye Kolkata



kolkata, india, travel, photography,
16th December 2014 – Kolkata, India The beast has to go, I arranged for departure, And for myself too, leaving the clutches of this dogged city. The time here has taken a toll on my writing skills too. I can’t think of anything funny, or even remotely witty. I finally booked my bike transfer today. Gati KWE is a leading provider of transport services in India, and for the process of packing and shipping my bike from Kolkata to Chennai, where my brother lives, they quoted me a total fee of INR4900. Pretty sweet deal, if I try to compare. […]

Project 365: Day 168 – All set. Leaving soon.


hogg market, kolkata, india, travel, photography
15th December 2014 – Kolkata, India When laziness and a lack of motivation, come calling When the warmth of small cups of tea, are more appealing Than the varied sights in the city, and the city itself, It’s probably high time. Inertia has hit the wall.  So, kolkata is literally becoming a drag now. I need to get out of here, since it is already 3 weeks now. I moved back to Sudder street yesterday, and should have arranged my bike pickup today, to ship it to Chennai. But laziness prevailed and I ended up just sticking around doing nothing. I […]

Project 365: Day 167 – The drag sets in


victoria memorial, kolkata, india, travel, photography
14th December 2014 – Kolkata, India The people come by, and make a delightful few days out of nothing. And then they leave. To their own world, and to their own problem. What remains of me is still my motorbike, my own beast. But even that has to go, and I am contemplating rock bottom.  So, Victoria left last night, after an amazing 5 days in Kolkata. With a promise to see again in Maldives. And again in Prague. But because it is people that give you company, and not promises, I am back to the lonely road again. The […]

Project 365: Day 166 – Alone. Again. in Kolkata.



kolkata, india, travel, photography
13th December 2014 – Kolkata, India The midday sun came sweltering on him, but there was  No one else. Only the sun, and not a hint of a misguided tourist. The sweat was yet to get worked, and the legs were ready to move, as he licked his lips, tapped his heal, and awaited another tryst.  One of the pictures that many foreigners have about India, is the hand-pulled rickshaws that they have seen in so many documentaries. The fact is, these guys don’t exist anymore. Atleast in 95% of the country. A notable exception is the hill station of Matheran […]

Project 365: Day 165 – The pulled rickshaw lives


Kolkata india clay tea cup
12th December 2014 – Kolkata, India The visa was ready, and a long-pending wait was over, I was ready to leave kolkata, for the cobbled European streets. But a little cup of chai, was first to be taken on this crowded road, Sometimes it is not the sublime, but the subtle, which we enjoy among our feats.   I got the visa! I Was called by the VFS guys in the morning to come pick up my passport. Went over to their building, and collected the passport in a sealed envelope, opened it, and erupted into joy after seeing the ‘Estats […]

Project 365: Day 164 – The biodegradable tea cup


hare krishna, hare rama, kolkata, india, travel, photography
11th December 2014 – Kolkata, India While the frenzy of shopping was threatening to take over, I found some recourse, in an unexpected fervour of devotion. While the market had all its baits and adequate pitfalls, The man on the street, had his hands clapping to his own emotion.  After the gruelling interview yesterday, I had to deal with shopping again today. So, I went with Victoria to the Hogg market in Kolkata. And while she shopped for saffron and sweets, I did the bargaining. I had to be useful in at least some way! Outside the hogg market, there was […]

Project 365: Day 163 – Hanging with the Hare Krishnas



cathedral, kolkata, india, travel, photography
10th December 2014 – Kolkata, India Today I found, that my story was unique, and my passport  was a possible and likely foe in this tale written from the crypt. But then, my passport is only a part of my identity, the pages on it define me more. So, sometimes, its only me who can write my own script. I was finally called for a Visa interview today, at the French Consulate in Kolkata. Pretty unusual, since most applicants never had to go for an interview. But hey, my case was unique. Or that is how the interviewer felt. We had […]

Project 365: Day 162 – The European Test


kolkata, india, books, writing, authors, travel, photography
9th December 2014 – Kolkata, India Travel had numbed my senses, and there was a deep calling, for something to read, away from the glaring screen of my macbook. In a distant street of North Kolkata, and then in a bookstore, I found what I needed. And I also sold a Russian, the hook. Turns out that Vladimir Putin was visiting India today, to strengthen the diplomatic ties between Russia and India. Well, even I had to do my part. Last night, I picked up Victoria, from the Subhash Chandra International airport in Kolkata. Victoria is from Russia, but lives in Singapore. […]

Project 365: Day 161 – The search for literature


8th December 2014 – Kolkata, India The money is beginning to flow now. Well it always does, When there is a new visa to be applied, or a bike to be serviced. Diligent hard work, is the call for the day, but at the end of it all, There are things to be thought of, and the future is reflected. It has been more than a week now in Kolkata, making this my longest pitstop in this trip. And I will be here for at least another week. And there are 3 reasons for this lengthy stay in the ‘city […]

Project 365: Day 160 – Reflecting on the trip so far



horse, chariot, kolkata, india, travel, photography
7th December 2014 – Kolkata, India As if a billion people are not enough, this country has its share of animals too. From the camels of Rajasthan to the donkeys of the Rann, They weave through the urban fabric, and even in Kolkata. Only thing is, they are harnessed to a chariot here. Well, more fun! The Maidan area of Kolkata has some of the most touristy locations of the city. Apart from the Victoria Memorial, there is also the St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Birla Planetaurium, and the Eden gardens. So, no wonder that you would expect to find a […]

Project 365: Day 159 – The folks with a chariot


howrah bridge, kolkata, india 1
6th December 2014 – Kolkata, India What’s with this country, and its ban on the shutterbugs? Its ok to do whatever you want, but forbidden to click? Ridiculous as it may sound, there is a invite for rebellion in it. And so I clicked, every inch of the steel frames, and every single brick. This ban on photography is really getting on my nerves now. Yesterday, it was the Victoria Memorial. Today, it is the Howrah bridge. The Howrah bridge is technically called the Rabindra Sethu after a renaming in 1965, but the old name by which it is famous, […]

Project 365: Day 158 – On a forbidden bridge


5th December 2014 – Kolkata, India There is a giant marble museum, often wrongly believed to be a mausoleum, Right in the middle of a crowded Kolkata, that hogs the space around it. And set in the middle of a green and vibrant park, It greets one and all. And become whatever they seem fit. Today, I finally went to check out the Victoria Memorial. Despite being so close to where I stayed, I managed to only go so far to the Maidan so far, catching a faraway glimpse of the Memorial. The Victoria memorial was opened in 1921, as a […]

Project 365: Day 157 – Staring at a memorial



cricket, kolkata, india, bengal
4th December 2014 – Kolkata, India A forgotten street, turned into a sporting ground, And the passerby joined in, to hit the ball out of sight. Where mere men become gods, and stadiums turn to temples, Such is the allure of cricket in my country. It’s just too tight. So, today was another day spent completely at the guesthouse, preparing documents for a Shengen visa application.  I had planned to fly to Belgium in March. But after calling them yesterday, I found out about something called ‘regional jurisdiction’. So, Belgium outsources their visa applications to VFS. And in a large […]

Project 365: Day 156 – Boxed in a cricket country


kolkata, india, bengal, west bengal, travel, photography
3rd December 2014 – Kolkata, India There is one thing that unites us, the local and the foreigner. Its the food, and the abundance of this, in this small street. There may not always be time to relax and just chill away with a beer, but there is always a time to play, but there is always a time to eat. There is nothing much to do in Sudder street, apart from eating. And I seem to be doing that, rather diligently. So, sudder street, and the nearby jawaharlal Nehru road, are lined up with rows of local street food. […]

Project 365: Day 155 – Food trips galore


kolkata, india, victoria memorial, bengal, travel, photography 3
2nd December 2014 – Kolkata, India Sudder street, was chaos and havoc. And my legs led me elsewhere To the only patch of green in the city, where cricket was the only crisis. It’s unnerving to see singular vendors, moved away from the city, And stationed on empty grounds, where the price falls and the city rises. While Sudder street, where I stay, is crowded and congested, there is a vast patch of green nearby which I just found out today. Sudder street is about a 15 minutes walk from the Maidan. And I say walk, because I had to […]

Project 365: Day 154 – The calm in the crowd



kolkata, colonial, india, bengal, travel, photography
1st December 2014 – Kolkata, India The Brits left behind, apart from English and cricket, even architecture. And Kolkata is outlined by many a colonial dome. But while there are people like me who try to capture it in a click, There are also others who etch it, because it is their only home.   Most of my day today, went in preparing the required documents for a visa application, i.e, to Belgium, in February. So, I was mostly on the laptop for the whole day, and realised by evening, that I have to step out, even for a bit. […]

Project 365: Day 153 – The colonial capers


sudden street, kolkata, bengal, india, travel, photography
30th November 2014 – Kolkata, India This nomad had wandered far and wide, his heart never at home. There was a man that searched far and wide. But deep inside, there was a boy, who longed for somewhere to stop for a while, and ponder on which pill to swallow. And home he found, even for a little while, in a chaotic city of joy. Sudder street is the centre of the backpacking activity in Kolkata. And this shall be my home for the next few weeks. I have to stay in Kolkata for at least 2 weeks for a couple […]

Project 365: Day 152 – A new home


barrackpore, Kolkata, india, bengal, west bengal, travel, photography
29th November 2014 – Barrackpore, India The fuse created an unknown fear, of the road, and its bumps. And like the cat that loathes all water, I moved real slow. Through crowded little towns, and past copious railway tracks, Until I was in the city of joy. And I will be, for quite a while to go.  I started the day wearily today. I had only 130 KM left to Kolkata, from Krishnanagar, where I bunked the last night. But the episode of the fuse bust had left me extremely cautious about this highway. And since I had no curfew to break, […]

Project 365: Day 151 – Following the track to Kolkata



Krishnanagar India, with an Enfield fuse.
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 […]

Project 365: Day 150 – I am blowing my fuse here!


Malda india 1
27th November 2014 – Malda, India The road is sometimes a purgatory, where there exists a fine line Between experiencing heaven on earth, or malevolent hell. Today I was fooled. Into thinking that the day was blissful, and joyous. Minutes moved into blatant eons, and a tragedy had me in its wretched spell. I left Siliguri early in the morning today, and the plan was to ride as long as I could, to bridge the gap remaining to Kolkata, which was still 700 plus km away. This stretch of North Bengal is very pleasant to ride in, with its tea plantations and […]

Project 365: Day 149 – Tragedy strikes


Rinpung Dzong in Paro, Bhutan
26th November 2014 – Paro, Bhutan The cold had taken its toll, and I surrendered rather meekly. To the single digit temperatures of Bhutan, I said a silent good bye. But not before I meandered out to the side of a silent stream, And gazed my eyes on one last dzong. Neither afraid, nor shy. It has been nearly a month in the cold Himalayan regions for me, beginning with Nepal and then heading to Darjeeling in India, and now in Bhutan. And despite all the layers of clothing that I had on me, and all the Druk/Gorkha/Kingfisher beers that I was downing, […]

Project 365: Day 148 – I can’t take this cold anymore!