LOST IN BHUTAN: 6 BIKERS, 20 DAYS, 7500 KMS OF INSANITY!

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Chapter 5: From Bihar, With Love.

If you are interested in long distance motorcycle riding, there are a few rules that you should be aware of. I’ll try and share them as they seem relevant during the context of this trip, and now it’s time to share rule number 1:

You can push like a woman in labor, can wake early and wait on the pot for an hour, or can try to pull it out with a plunger, your morning crap will never happen when you want it to. 

However, as soon as you wear your complete riding gear and take the first step towards the bike, it will be time for a shit emergency.  

It was on that note that I started from Ayodhya, with the next target set for Siligudi in West Bengal. It was going to be one fuck of a ride, 850 kms of hell and beyond, but hey, we had seen worse! We aimed to cross Bihar in 1 go without a night stop for 2 main reasons:

  1. Reaching Siligudi would have helped us to enter Bhutan early next day, useful for getting permits quickly.
  2. Nicky was convinced that staying overnight in Bihar would result in gross violation of his anus in a variety of ways, done primarily by local thugs and out-of-job Bhojpuri actors. 

So it was decided, to not fuck around with anybody, to keep your head low, and to cross Bihar without any incident. In hindsight, we overreacted, a lot. Yes there are a lot of horror stories about bikers in Bihar, yes some of the people look dangerous over there and yes their traffic and general common sense is the kind of stuff you can make an Oscar winning movie on, but not eating solid food all day for the fear of being kidnapped and made a sex-slave to some fat guy with a Bihari accent was not a very good idea. All I remember eating that day is biscuits, a fucking hell lot of them!

And I can live on biscuits, have done it in the past, but no amount of biscuits can give you enough energy for the physical and mental exertion that Bihar puts you through. Everything that can go wrong on a road did over there.  If not for the constant communication that we guys had over Scala Rider, none of us would have made it out alive, guaranteed. Here’s what it sounded like on the Bihar border:

Akhil: Go from right there is space go from right.

Sachin: I”m going from the gravel on the left.

Nicky: I’m following Sachin.

Deepan: I’m going from the gravel on the wrong side of the road.

Sherman: Deepan lookout, the gravel suddenly enters a pond! Get back on the road.

Deepan: The road is too up high, have to go through the bushes.

Glinfy: *Head banging, as he was listening to music and not talking with us*. 

****Lessons from Bihar traffic and road management****

Gather around children, it’s time to gain some insight from the Bihari traffic and road management system!

So you thought that your city had good traffic sense? You thought you people make good use of your resources? You thought you were the best? Go fuck yourself! The Bihari model of traffic and road management provides unparalleled level of sophistication and optimization, that can never be achieved by general pussies like yourself. Bihari traffic and road management system requires you to have balls of steel, and vaginas of titanium! What I’ll share with you now are the secret ways how Biharis manage this incredible feat, so keep your eyes and ears and buttholes open!

  1. You think people should only drive on the left? Bullshit! You can go from whichever direction your heart desires, because what your heart desires is THE most important thing in the universe, like ever.
  2. You think the divider is just a useless piece of concrete and dirt and grass? Fuck that! Use it as a leisurely picnic spot, or to tie your cows and goats and pigs on, or as a place to catch that afternoon nap. Don’t let that space go to waste!
  3. You think the sides of the roads should be left unused? Go rape yourself with a chainsaw! Use them for taking a shit, or for parking randomly whenever you feel like. The sides are also a great place to sell some crappy stuff, and to overtake others when you feel like going off-road! You can even use the sides to dry your crops, rugs or wet undergarments!

In short, grow a pair, be a man, be adventurous! Don’t limit the road usage to what the traffic rules dictate, use your fucking imagination you ignorant cunt! Refer to the diagram for more info.

****End of Lesson****

Bihar makes it very clear, even before you enter it, to enter at your own risk. The roads 20 kms before and 20 kms after every Bihar border are sourced directly from the Moon. This was actually one of the primary missions of the Indian Lunar Probe Chandrayaan, to drill and blast through the rocks on the moon, and bring back a 100 cm thick, 10 feet wide, and 100 km long strip of its surface, to be laid out across all major Bihar entry and exit points.

I don’t think my ass touched the seat for most of these border areas, it was just too painful! Almost all of us got frustrated after a few kilometers, and then went full motocross through the rest of that shitfest. It’s not just that the roads are bad for those 40 kms, the problem is that there are trucks covering up more than 50% of the road for these 40 kms. Why you ask? Because fuck you that’s why.

We did get some much needed entertainment after toiling through the brutal Bihar border, in the form of 2 truck drivers fighting in the middle of the road! One Bihar registered truck was being followed too closely by a J&K registered truck, and the Bihar dude wasn’t letting the Kashmiri dude pass. After a lot of pushing and shoving, they finally decided to go full retard, and stopped their trucks in the middle of a dusty diversion, instantly stopping all traffic on both sides.

The Bihar truck guy tried to enter the J&K truck, only to find stones being shot at him like missiles! The J&K truck driver then started beating up the young Bihar truck cleaner. This infuriated the locals, who all went ape shit on the J&K truck driver and cleaner. By this time we got bored and moved along, but I sincerely hope both of those truck drivers were tortured, castrated, and then beheaded, would have been awesome for India’s gene pool.

Back on the road, every intersection is an officially designated suicide spot, where people, animals, and people with animals cross without giving a fuck about you. By the end of Bihar, we had lost count of how many near-misses, panic brakes, and near-death moments each of us had. You always need to keep your hand on the front brake, never sure what’s coming up on the next turn. It feels like a fucking haunted house ride, with the potential of turning you into roadkill in an instant.

I feel bad about “normal” Bihari people, as they may find this description biased and probably racist, but I really don’t have a single good memory of Bihar. It’s all just bad roads and last minute saves, and pure madness on the streets. If all of this wasn’t enough, we had to fend off innumerable Roadside Rossis on the way. Riding through Bihar leaves you with a very strong urge to kill yourself with a fork.

A LOT of riding, a very sore ass, and very no food later, we reached Purnea. Purnea is just 40 Kms from West Bengal border, and we couldn’t wait to fuck off from Bihar. But as expected, the roads kept getting worse as we neared the border, and so did the driving sense of the people. At one point, there were trucks lined up all over the road, with a small gap on the left hand side barely big enough for a bike to push through. We went in through this gap, only to find an asshole of  a Swift driver with his car wedged between two trucks and blocking our way. After a lot of wait, we finally said fuck it, and did something that we waited too long to do.

We became Biharis. 

Cutting through traffic, going on the wrong side, jumping over the divider, riding at top speed into oncoming traffic, we did everything possible from the Bihari Traffic Rulebook. Was it fun? No, absolutely not. It’s such an inefficient way to use the road! But that was the only way to cross that giant traffic jam, and that’s what we did. It was at that point that we learned something. We learned that if you want to ride through the bad parts of India, you have to become one of them, you have to throw out the window every shred of common sense and decency, no matter how painful it may be.

We were hungry, almost at the point of agreeing to cannibalism. As soon as the border was crossed, we stopped at the first available dhaba on the left. The food took a while, but we didn’t complain. It tasted heavenly, but I guess a cake of horse shit wrapped in 6 month old bread would have tasted heavenly at that point. We had done it. Frodo had nothing on us, and neither did Mordor on Bihar. 

A LOT of food later, we were ready to hit the road again, only to find all of us to be sleepy. A whole day of brutal spanking, without food, followed by a binge festival of scrambled eggs and rice, what else did you expect? Nicky and Glinfy were the hardest hit, and the Scala Rider again came in handy in keeping him awake and alive. We stopped at another restaurant some 70 km from Siligudi, to push in some coffee and get going again.

The last 50 kms were probably the longest ones of my life. It just never seemed to end! To make things worse, the road was rather deserted, with just darkness on either side, which gives one nothing to focus on, nothing to think about. Everyone did what they had to to make sure they stayed awake. Some people slowed down, some people sped up, some people listened to music. At about 11.30 in the night, we somehow managed to make it into the hotel in Siligudi.

The hotel rooms came with only 1 double bed, with no option of extra mattress. We were not in a position to argue, so 3 of us each collapsed in those 2 rooms. Tired to the bone had a new meaning for all of us. It was now time for a dreamless sleep, one from which I didn’t want to wake up. But then Bhutan was calling, and that’s what motivated us to get up next morning!

73 Responses

  1. Avinash Ambekar says:

    Lovely intro. Let the rest roll out soon. How stupid I was to miss this epic ride 🙁

  2. Sachin Nair says:

    We wish you were there Avinash to care of photography 🙂

  3. Mihir Naik says:

    Hey Sachin. Awesome 🙂 I am having goose bumps. 🙂 Is it possible to join you in your next ride? 😀

  4. Uday says:

    Yes, the road before Chittorgarh is horrible with lot of dust in the air. When we rode, we could ride following a bus which had tail lights. It took a better of 2.5 hours to cover this behind this. And added to it, my colleague had a misfortune of hitting a rock and having a fall. But the roads till then are heavenly, sparse traffic and well marked roads.

    • lost_rider says:

      Uday – Yes, I agree the roads till Chittorgarh are awesome but the last 40 kms bad roads we were completely unaware of and that caught us by surprise

  5. Bhakti Engineer says:

    Beautifully written guys..

  6. That’s Hell of an DAY! *Touchwood* for the fellow rider’s company you had! 😀

  7. Rajdeep Roy says:

    Epic experience and narration guys! Keep up the good work. Waiting for the next chapter. Ride Safe!

  8. amit says:

    Amazing i use to get goose bumps only during lisnin to music and nw after reading this is like damn .. What twists and turns hehe

    • lost_rider says:

      There’s more twists and turns amit. The trip has just began and wait for further updates to here the complete story!

  9. Ashwin says:

    Bihar part is epic! xD
    The description is just too awesome but thinking of what you guys went through makes me feel horrible.

  10. Sushil Ayarottil says:

    Amazing writeup!!! And more importantly an awesome experience!!! Waiting for the rest of it.. Waiting for Bhutan!!!!

  11. Ashish Gupta says:

    Awesome experience for you Sachin and your folks for a lifetime.

  12. Rishabh says:

    Never got a chance to ride through Bihar, but I’m sure ur experiences gonna help 🙂

  13. drpratik says:

    part5 was one of the most entertaining read i’ve read in years…cheers you guys !

  14. Shishir says:

    Buddy,
    This was an amazing read. For a guy who’s passionate about riding this epic write-up only serves as a kick. I now dream of taking this path, not that I am excited to ride on it but just to see what our roads really like. To experience the flavours. Like you said, when the destination calls, all these stand trivial. More so when you have accomplished what you set out to achieve

  15. Swadhin says:

    Brilliant. You guys are new age Xuanzang 🙂 . One suggestion please take a polarizing filter next time.

  16. Bhakti Engineer says:

    Epic Write up for Day 10

  17. Awesome… DAY 10

    btw did u take KAWASAKI MECHANIC ( in green tees) on the ride 😛

  18. vipinjoseph says:

    “Tool Kit” What a fate you got man….Sherman ur bitching or writing…Well played man
    :0

  19. Shubham says:

    So when is the next part coming? Excited to read it further! 😀

  20. Alinel says:

    Dual sport motorcycles (which seems like a distant dream in India) is the answer to terrible roads

  21. Sanatan says:

    Hey still waiting for the last part….please update the last day in bhutan…and the ride back if possible 😉

  22. Niman Vazirani says:

    Brilliant write up man! Helmets off to you guys! 2 of us are doing a ride to Bhutan next year around the same time as you guys! What would you guys suggest? ride through and through or is it better to train the bikes to Calcutta and then ride on and spend more time in Bhutan? I think we would be spending a max of 20 days on the road!

  23. Kumar Bagchi says:

    Great write-up dude.Read every page.
    Planning to do a Bhutan trip from Kolkata on this October.
    As i am a student the financial thing comes first.So can u please tell me a approx budget to cover the whole ride?

  24. Manish Rawat says:

    the shop national auto accessories shown in background could have helped as he is a regular client of ours and i know he is a resourceful and helpful person

  25. Suprith says:

    Awesome.. (y)

  26. Tautik says:

    Great inspiration indeed. Plan to do the ride 3rd week of April. A quick question – How does ‘Permit from Customs department’ work? Is it pretty straight-forward? Keep inspiring!

    • lost_rider says:

      Hello Tautik,

      There are 2 permits needed – Individual permit and vehicle permit. The process about the same has been mentioned in the first page of this blog.

  27. Ashok Kamath says:

    Hi Sachin, this is Ashok from Goa. Me n 2 friends on 2 bikes ( yes 2 bikes not 3) will be riding thru Bhutan from this coming Sunday. I will be following exactly the same itinerary as yours ( in fact I copied your itinerary and made it ours). Is it possible for you to provide me with details such as Hotel names / contact name / numbers at places where you halted and also any other specific information ( contact persons/ timings of Djongs / petrol pumps / eateries ( what’s Bhutan specific and where) that might be useful to us.

    Could you please email me the information at my email address kamath.ashok@gmail.com.

    Thanks for your amazing travelogue which is now my one most important and relevant single point reference to riding thru Bhutan.

    God Bless.

  28. Issan says:

    Hey Bro , that was really some good piece . I am in office right now , and the time is 6:30pm , bro i started reading your blog since morning (11:30am) and literally i kept on reading with no work done 🙂 . I just didnt want to wait ,as in what could happen next. All the chapters felt like a movie . The photographic session was totally flawless . I too am a biker and love to travel far lands , and yes i am a crazy photographer too . Just loved your blog , simply mesmerising . You guys are a perfect combo to make a tour worth while. Had never read something so in-depth , i felt like i too was travelling with u guys . Simply awesome !! Ride safe !!

  29. sudhakar says:

    Hi,

    What is Permits from Customs?? How to obtain??? is this separate from RTO permission???

  30. Wow 7500KM . I wish i will be there with you guys.
    Awesome dude.
    thanks for the plan and guide

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