Whenever one’s faith in life and all that it contains begins to waver, we reach out to the one that really matters to us. We escape life as we know it and take shelter in the inviting, safe bosom of their saviour. And suddenly we are able to breathe.
Believers have their Gods. I have my motorcycle and the open road.
I was about to begin a new chapter in life. It seemed apt to close the last one with a communion with my God – the open road. So I packed up and trundled into Kumaon, the lush green hills and jungles of Uttarakhand. And it was good!
Back in February, I was invited to speak at the TEDx Conference at NMIMS, Bangalore. My entire exposure to TED till now had been through the remarkably interesting videos made freely available for the world to watch under the appropriate tagline – Ideas Worth Sharing. I hadn’t really thought that my own experiences were really worth being shared from such a large platform.
If at some point your do not ask yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?”, then you are not doing it right.
Fishing? Attending weddings? Visiting Durga Puja pandals?
The options are many. Then I saw this image.
It was way back in November that the Bullet moved last. Struck momentously by a cow’s ample rear, it smashed face first into the smooth tarmac of Spiti. So serious was the impact and so impeccable the timing that it is now four months and the Bull is still lying injured, snow covered and unable to move in Manali. At such a juncture, the rather incredulous call from a highway-hero friend (Deepak Dongre) evoked the obvious question – what will I ride? The time of the Classic 500 had come.
The morning of March 3, 2012 seven motorcyclists met for breakfast at Manesar. Five proceeded to Rewari Railway Station, 90 kms from New Delhi.
The signs were all there. I just chose to ignore all of them. I had just decided to go on a roadtrip to the most inhospitable of all Himalayan regions with two city slickers who wouldn’t sleep on some sticky pillows if their life depended on it. I just didn’t see it coming.
There are a lot of romantic stories about entrepreneurship which have sprung up over the last decade. Things have started working out for people. The success stories keep you pumped up in hope of that elusive finish line. Despite everything, most entrepreneurs believe, and very strongly, that eventually things will work out. What no one prepares you for is what will happen in the meantime.
A lot of people ask me why I went to Ramlila Maidan.
Why was I there?
There were more than enough reasons not to. There were questions and doubts about what will come out of the whole show. There were questions about whether this was the right way of doing things. There were questions about people’s morality. There were questions about people’s intelligence and whether they even knew what they were doing. There were doomsday predictions of the country going down the dark path towards complete anarchy.
How many mistakes is a man allowed in a lifetime? I think I may have made one more.
Every time I look at the mirror, I see an unknown face. Eyes closed. Hands wrung. Wrinkles on its forehead. Look of dejection in the lines running down from his lips to his chin.