Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blue Moon on White Snow

19th Jan 2011, Full Blue Moon Day and I was at my native place Chamba Himachal.We had a small function at home wherein around 200 people had turned up.

We were wrapping the function by around 5:45 PM and darkness has started spreading around. I was tired with long hectic day that too without food (fasting).

Smoothly the moon light eliminated the darkness which was present for a while. I looked at the moon and I was stun to see the beauty of blue moon.

Almost five times bigger than previous day I had seen the moon. The moon rose straight in front of the house behind mountains fully covered with snow. As it rose, it was partially hiding behind thin clouds wherein one could see the silver color light passing through clouds.

For a while view became the most beautiful when Sun rays added orange color into the clouds and the reflection on snow looked just awesome.

As the moon came up and Sun rays disappeared, the entire landscape which was covered with feets of snow looked like a Silver mine and it was not less than a heaven.

Calmness after noisy and hectic day made these occasional moments soothing to me.

I watched the moon for long and realized that I had never noticed the beauty of Blue moon, Its a City Life effect wherein we tend to ignore such great things.

I wished for it and it happened..Heavy Snowfall In Chamba Himachal Pradesh

14th January 2011, I reached my last destination by bus from where I had to trek steep climb of 6 KM to reach home. I was welcomed with cloudy weather and as I started walking up, it started drizzling and soon it got converted into a decent rain. I took shelter somewhere in the middle of my way. The cold breeze hitting hard of ears and face made me realize that anytime rain can get converted into snowfall. And then I started walking in rain. I could see the snowfall starting on the peaks of mountains around me. By the time I reached home the weather was normal with no rains. The steep trek of 6 KM took me one and half hours.

First morning of my stay at home

After hectic journey of more than 25 hours, It was obvious that I will get up late in morning. My day started at 8:30 AM. As I got out of the room, what I saw was like a dream. No noise, a calm dark view outside and a thick layer of snow everywhere and Snowfall was fully on.

I was full of joy because I wished for it and it happened, as if God did this for me only. I went out in Snowfall and spent sometime capturing these memories for ever.

The Snowfall continued for 13 hours. It started early morning at 5:00 AM and went on till 6:00 PM. The snow on our house was stacked up to two and half feet thick and there were places where it was as high as 4 feet. The peak of the mountain had around 6 feet snow.

Life in Snow

It might look super cool in pictures and blogs but believe me the life comes to halt in Snow. People stick to bonfire inside houses and danger of flood due to heavy snow makes everyone worried.

It is quite common to live without electricity for months. Kerosene Lamps becomes the only way to fill lifes with light.

Water can not be seen anywhere as it gets converted into snow due to low temperature. The only source for water is to melt the snow on fire.

Woods stored for bonfire becomes wet and low oxygen made it almost difficult task to ignite fire.

Feeding cattle in this weather remains a challenge, the blessed are the one who has some space to store grass for their cattle.

People living in old house always sleeps under danger, you never know when the roof of old house gives up in front of thick blanket of snow on it.

Walking in Snow takes much more time than normal walk. Extremely Low Oxygen due to snow on plants and trees adds more challenge into it.

Keeping the mobile phones alive becomes an important agenda for people now a days. So all efforts to optimize battery. If someone has an inverter at home, you will see lot of people lining up for charging their mobile phones.

Apart from all this, challenges like daily needs, lack of source of entertainment like TV, Music etc makes life more difficult.

A Week in Snow

The day after snowfall, everything looked fresh and new. The sun rays makes it difficult to open eyes. Everywhere only white  and no black. I think this is the only time when one color dominates so much as far as nature is concerned.

Making a way on Snow where no one has made a way is what I liked the most and leave a trail. I spent hours and hours capturing delicate views of snow and carried it with me forever.

The same snow gets harder and  harder day by day, and then walking on it on narrow pedestrians becomes more challenging.

I loved to go from one village to another without any agenda. 

I tried climbing up till the peak of the mountain but after one point it became almost impossible to find out the way. Moreover as I climbed up the height of the snow also kept increasing. And it was more than 6 feet on the peak which is few inches higher than my height. So it was prudent to not to conquer that adventure.

My plan to come back to Delhi got delayed by two days as we were disconnected from rest of the world for a week. There was no road connectivity untill 20th Jan 2011 when I was able to start my journey back to Delhi.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hell Ride in Chilled weather from Chandigarh to Delhi on Royal Enfield Classic 500

Jan 03, 2011 and I was all set to ride brand New Royal Enfield Classic 500 on Chandigargh Delhi National Highway, one of my favorite and most traveled National Highway.

The main challenges were to keep a watch on Speed of new bike, turn off engine after every 50 KM and most importantly to ride in extreme cold like hell.

The day started at 8:30 AM to reach RTO Office at Chandigarh for registration of new bike. Inefficient processes, formalities and staff took almost 3 hours for the process.

The day at 11:30 AM was like an early morning dark, sun hidden behind clouds & fog looked like faded moon. Cold wind added more fun and spice to my long ride before I started it. 

With all my gears on, I rode from Chandigarh towards New Delhi, soon I realized that even if I had an option to ride at a speed of 110 kmph, the mercury of around 2 to 3 degree Celsius would have forced me to ride at significantly lesser speed.

The worst affected were my legs and face. For face I still had an option of wearing a stole which I had purchased day before but I had no protection for legs other than jeans which I was wearing. So I kept on riding and riding till I covered the distance of 50 KM for first stop over.

The first stop over was at Ambala where I parked at a Road Side Dhaba. I had breakfast and Hot Tea there. Met a Nepali teenager boy working there. His smiling and kiddish behavior left a mark on me.

People were starring at my first my bike and then me with a strange smile. Perhaps it was due to the reason that I was riding Royal Enfield at 70 kmph. This speed at NH 1 felt like riding a cycle. The worst cases were those typical lazy people sitting in Temperature Controlled Cars with their favorite music on. I did not like them at all, because one side I was completely exposed to cold winds and on the other side these lazy people were looking at me with strange smiling faces.

I stopped at many dhabas and tasted tea of almost all main towns on highway be it Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat or Sonepat.

My brand new bike tried balancing the extreme cold weather with its power and thrill. There was a time when I just ignored the cold and concentrated on new bike, but it was really hard to enjoy it fully because all the constraints I had.

I crossed Panipat and my jeans was wet because of the moisture in Air and Fog. But entrance at Delhi made small difference in temperature (may be because of pollution) and a big difference in speed because of heavy traffic in evening. Here I realized the difference between riding Royal Enfield on Highway and inside crowded city. It was too easy to ride this bike on highway whereas in city it feels bit heavier.

By the time I ended my journey at Gurgaon, my wrist watch showed me the time as 7:00 PM. I took almsot 6:30 hours to cover the ride of 300 KM which in normal scenario I have covered in 3 hours. But I was happy that I could bring new bike to Delhi in such a cold weather.

After effects of this ride were that my feet took more than two hours to get back to normal temperature that too after dipping them in hot water for long time and entire body felt the vibration of new baby Royal Enfield Classic 500.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Royal Enfield Classic 500 - A Gift of New Year 2011

New Year 2011 brought me a Gift of Black Color Royal Enfield Classic 500 at Chandigarh. It was around mid of December 2010 when I got the call from Royal Enfield dealer from Chandigarh about the arrival of much awaited Classic 500. I made a plan to make it as early as possible to travel from Delhi and get it, however it was 2011 gift, so I planned to buy it on 1st of Jan 2011, that is how I call it A Gift of New Year 2011.

The zeal to own a Royal Enfield started when I traveled to Leh in Jul 2010. I had hired Pulsar 150 CC in Leh to ride to various corners of Leh for six days. There I realized the true power of Royal Enfield, it works well in almost all conditions like extreme peak, snow, water, sand, low oxygen altitudes and list goes on and on.

With all the thoughts and so called 'research' on iternet about various models of Royal Enfield, I concluded at the most expensive and efficient model of Royal Enfiled; Classic 500.

Things which attracted me to buy Royal Enfield Classic 500 :
  1. Air Cooled and Fuel Injection 500 CC Engine
  2. Fuel Efficiency of around 35kmpl
  3. Vintage bike look and Unique look from other Royal Enfield models
  4. Ground Clearance of 140 mm
  5. Zapper Rear Tyre
This bike has been really made with special special attention and surely lot of R&D on it. As I read Royal Enfield official site it says, "The Classic 500 comes to India. Armed with a potent fuel injected 500cc engine and clothed in a disarmingly appealing post war styling, this promises to be the most coveted Royal Enfield in history. For those who want it all. The power, the fuel efficiency, the reliability and simple, yet drop dead gorgeous classic styling. The view is simply better when you are astride a Royal Enfield Classic 500 – whether moving or still. Nothing more to be said."

Basis small experience of four days with 400 KM ride, I can understand the meaning of each and every word written by Royal Enfield to describe this model. Be it power,style, Classic view, performance or reliability, it over delivers in all aspects.

For me it was a big change from 150 CC Pulsar to 500 CC Royal Enfield, so learnt the Power of RE in thrilling manner in traffic of Chandigarh wherein it produced stunning acceleration with minor torque, thankfully no one came under it.

Over and above all, seat has been designed in such a manner that rider is most comfortable while riding. Zapper rear tyre adds more into it by providing stability to the bike and leaning left and right becomes real fun.

Few things which disappointed me little :-
  1. Pricing - INR 140 thousand. I feel it is overpriced however who can stop crazy people like me
  2. Six month waiting - This baby has a waiting of Six months, so need lots of patience to get one, especially people like me find it really difficult to wait for such a long time.
I do not have any third thing to mention as far as disappointment is concerned.

As I ride this bike I enjoy every bit of it, be it torque, Engine sound, seating, power, control or hydraulic disk brakes.

After owning a Vintage styling bike, now I am looking forward for long bike trip soon.


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