So long that I have been out on the road. So long that I have felt alive. So long that I was stuck within the confines of my house and the office. So I left.
Hitting the highway felt liberating. Dark clouds ominously lined the horizon. But there was no fear, there was anticipation. We WANTED to get wet. We rode on.
The highway was full of weekend revelers. Everyone going to Khandala or Lonavala or Pune or further. The problem with these people is they come out in hordes and have no sense of the world around them. They do not even understand that there are other people around. The drive to heaven for them passes through the lanes of hell.
So what starts out as this…
…ends up like this.
We took our break in the ghats.
Once we reached the crossroads of Lonavala, my ride partner Sethi enticed me to this rather quirky place called the Rainmaker Shack. It has a whole set of stories of its own. I couldn’t resist. But once we were in striking distance and called up the owner, we realized he was away doing a offroad jeep event for Team BHP. So much so for that.
Off at Lion Point (or was it Tiger Point? I never had a thing for these points), it started drizzling. Then it started pouring. Within minutes, the water had spread to all my special places. Slowly but surely, we were back in the bustle of Lonavala but no respite from the rain.
The turn into Pawna Lake is rather uneventful. Uninviting even. And thank God for that. Barely half a kilometer into the turn the traffic opened up. The road was narrow but not broken. Probably due to the fewer people who end up here. The air was cool and clear. The green cover stretched from end to end. The rain also took a break and a meek rainbow peered from behind the clouds. This was more like it.
We kept riding on and on. We were never quite sure where the place is and what it is like. But the villages were quaint and the people curious. Having curious people is important. Village people not being interested means the have seen too many wannabes around and don’t care any more. That is a nightmare. If you want to know a people, you need them to be curious.
The lake itself was much as I had imagined it in my head. Its quite large by Maharashtra standards. Stretches all the way to the horizon. There is wind all over and you don’t see too much built up around it. The sad part, however, is most of the coastline has been taken up by private parties who have built their holiday homes there. Which also means they have taken up the right for others like me to visit that shoreline. Lakes such as this are public property and no one should be allowed to own them.
There were ducks and chicken and even a solitary emu at the restaurant where we settled. Nice sight to see them looking at you cluelessly and then wandering away in a group. We ate our fill and sat by the shore invoking various old memories as well as hidden powers to do various things (like throw stones 100 metres away and calling upon a magical boat). The lake was beautiful but somehow it didn’t hold much sway. Maybe I was distracted by the 40 odd people also on the same stretch of land. Maybe I was just sad that I couldn’t walk further. Maybe my mind was elsewhere. I do not know. But the lake just wasn’t as magical as I thought it would be.
We turned around and split paths. Sethi headed back to Mumbai. I tread down a village road towards Pune.