Agumbe and the rains

23rd Sep 2011

Whenever I do something I always tend to add a pessimistic streak to it. I always say - What's the fun if everything goes off smoothly! But then that was me being pessimistic. Then again, I grew up, I stopped believing, I became less superstitious. But, still, that part stayed with me. I still do believe, that there is no fun if everything goes off smoothly.

And that was exactly what I had in mind when I was an hour into the bike trip which I started with not much of a plan, but only a rough one; one place to start with - Agumbe, and couple of other if time and my lazy mind permits.

Everything went fine and smooth for quite some while. The start was good and early. I got out of the city soon enough. Weather was good; sky was cloudy, but rain wasn't near. The roads were marvellous and I was enjoying the solitude. I stopped - moved - stopped. And contrary to what I thought, the gap between subsequent stops was increasing. I must tell you, it had been a while since I rode a long stretch on my bike; so it did surprise me that I was able to go for longer stretches without any breaks.

Now, about my bike. It's an old (think 1982) Royal Enfield Bullet. And, it's the first time I am taking it for a trip alone. I had no plans in Agumbe, I am not much of a trekking enthusiast. For me, I just wanted to ride alone, somewhere far. So there I went.

The places, the routes were all wonderful. I had a map with me and the names of the places en-route. Once in a little while it would drizzle a bit, then it would go away.

The roads were bordering excellent till it reached Bhadravathi. After that they started deteriorating. But as if to compensate for that, the view started become exhilarating. It was awesome. The valleys and occasional winding roads - not quite ghat roads, but beautiful ones. Couple of people asked for a lift at occasions, which I was happy to oblige.

At about, 30 odd kilometers before Agumbe, it started to rain heavily. I carried on for a while, but then thought I would stop for a while. That I did. Then I found that the rain is not going to go away, so I started again. But not so fast. The bike didn't start. Just like that. I kicked and kicked and kicked. I rested and then kicked again. It spluttered and started, voila! I didn't know why it didn't start at first, but I didn't bother.

Well, that didn't last for long, because, the bike stopped mid way, this time in front of a house. I started the ritual of kicking it again (and again (and again)). The dude from the house came down and started offering advice. And it wasn't bad advice. He brought it my notice that there is some smell indicating that there is some problem with the fuel mixture. Then I noticed that the air filter breather pipe - the rubber bellow - has broken. Don't ask me how, but it was indeed broken.

Usually, it is not a problem, the bike should still run. But, it was raining heavily and it was pretty cold. Maybe that added to the problem. The bike did start after sometime and off I went after thanking the dude. It did go for another 10 or so kilometers and when it was just 2 kilometers more to reach Agumbe, it died again.

This time, all the kicking and thrashing didn't start the bike. And I was in the middle of the ghat road with maybe another hour and half of daylight. I started pushing but then found that it's not going to happen that way. Couple of vehicles went past, without stopping. I first showed the thumb, then the arm, then I threw myself in the way. They stopped, offered empathy and left.

Then again I tried pushing. Didn't work out. Two young ladies were coming down path and I asked them how far is Agumbe. They gave the answer I already knew - It's far enough for not practical to push the bike all the way. But they did do me a big favor - they waited for the next vehicle to come and stopped it for me. It was an auto-rickshaw. The guy was reluctant, but I used the Brahmastra - I begged. He obliged.

I locked the bike, took my bags and went to Agumbe. I bought some insulation tape and brought back. The driver dude helped me plaster the pipe. I tried to kick start my bike. It didn't start. So we were left there wondering what to do. At that moment, there came a goods auto, which was returning after delivering milk. He stopped and we three put the bike inside and off we went to Agumbe.

Thus me and my bike reached Agumbe.

P.S. :- Agumbe was an awesome experience. I stayed at the Doddumane, basking in the hospitality of Kasturi Akka, to the sound of incessant rains, in the beautiful and majestic old house where the Malgudi days was shot.

Like I always say, what is the fun if everything went on smooth and fine.