It was one of those IBW Chai & Pakoda Rides. The entire parking lot at Hotel Fountain, off the NH8-Ghodbunder Road intersection had turned into one huge mass of motorcycles and their riders. From the ginormous Harley’s to lightning quick sport-bikes, the Royal Enfield’s and sub-400cc single cylinder machines – they were all there. Amidst this two-wheeled ocean, was one group – whose bikes weren’t as shiny or new as the rest of the lot, but heads turned when their exhausts smoked. Yep, that’s right, the two-strokers were there. A relatively small family of 100cc to 350cc machines, their owners united by their love for these old beauties – they stood there taking in the sights and sounds.
As the briefing wound down, everyone was to proceed down the lovely stretch of tarmac that is the NH8, for some, well, Chai & Pakodas. The two-strokes though are a temperamental lot. One day they’ll be singing beautifully, the petrol-oil mix burning to perfection and the other, they’ll be spitting and snarling, threatening to throw the rider off at the next turn (or even on a straight patch of road). This day, it was the latter with a few bikes. Since they’d arrived together, they’d ride together and so it was decided to go for a short spin, instead of risking a painful fall. With that, the group began to make their way down to the narrow, twisting tarmac of Gorai-Manori, the lone girl in the group was having a bit of trouble on the only four-stroke of the lot (it was only much later that we’d learn that she’d ventured out beyond her area for the first time). Three of the boys decided to bring up the rear, playing the role of support staff, in case the need arose. Someone suggested a backyard trail that was a mix of walking paths and meandering roads; and the group needed little encouragement. Having a two-stroke means you surrender yourself to the Gods of acceleration and soon, pretty much everyone was having a go on the trail. The girl however was having a tough time on her steed, a little out of her element but still riding along. Egged on by the troika bringing up the rear, she managed to make it down to the jetty without any hiccups.
They got talking and soon were lost in their own world. Oblivious to the ferry that was leaving them behind, the conversation flowed smoothly as if they’d known the other forever. Boarding the next ferry, it was obvious to the others that sparks were starting to fly. Even as they bid adieu, ways were being thought up to cross paths again. What helped was that she lived in the same area as a few of the ‘boys. And so began the courtship, innocuous at first, but obvious to the few that had seen the signs. As weeks turned into months, the conversations had flowed thick and fast. Interests were matched, fears shared. Confessions were made and a silent determination had taken over of starting things on a clean slate. Every pal possible, both old and new, was told of the thrilling developments. The families met and thrashed out the details. As was typical of the duo, there was last minute chaos galore despite the planning and the fretting over things. But in the end as D-Day arrived, people came in droves, from near and far, crossing cities, states and oceans – to witness the moment that’d go down in history.
The Beginning, Officially Speakin’ Credits: Team Fotomartin
They say love finds us in the most unexpected of ways, well, in this case it surely did. If someone had said that these two lost souls would cross paths and find themselves driving each other crazy for the rest of their life, then they’d have been laughed at on the face. But strange things happen and sometimes, to beautiful effect.
So that is how this beautiful journey began, and as Pooja & Me look back at the year that’s flown by (Yes, that guy in the above tale is me), we’d like to thank each and every one of you who have been a part of our life all this time. For only ‘coz of you’ll, did this memorable beginning happen…