Friday, 9 March 2018

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu - the Conception

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu - the Conception
Ah finally I could tick off one more item from my ever-growing bucket list! I'm delighted to inform you that #GQRideWithBenu got concluded on a thrilling note. Theoretically it might be an exaggeration if I say I went for a great Indian road trip because my country is too vast to be explored on a single breath, but driving 6,261 kilometres in 11 days, traversing more than a dozen of Indian states and innumerable cities was no less enriching for this enthusiast traveller on two wheels. My actual Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) itinerary comprised 13 days, among which two were strictly no-ride days. Those two lazy days were well utilised in pampering my aching upper body muscles while capturing essence of two cities- Mumbai and Udaipur. If you've gone through my previous blog post where I had officially announced this journey just one night before flagging off the ride, you must be already aware of my route details

For first time readers of poetry of roads I would make a quick recap. Golden Quadrilateral is the largest highway network in India which connects four major metro cities- Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, spanning over an estimated length of 5,846 kilometres. Interestingly, GQ is the fifth longest highway network in the world, traversing through thirteen Indian states, and connecting a whole bunch of large Indian cities besides those four metros- Bhubaneshwar, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore, Pune, Surat, Vadodara, Jaipur, Ajmer, Gurgaon, Agra, Kanpur, Varanasi, Dhanbad etc. to mention a few. Although the planned itinerary published earlier got altered at few places my ride remained totally unaffected, and I could cover everything I had thought of. Thankfully the buffer day was not required. Well, I'll talk about the planning, materialised itinerary, day-wise updates in subsequent blogs. Today let me narrate you the story behind conception of this Golden Quadrilateral ride. It surely needed a dedicated post as too many people have asked me: Why #GQRideWithBenu?

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu - the Conception
Golden Quadrilateral Map, prepared by Information Technology and Planning Division of NHAI.
There's no shame in admitting that I wasn't aware of this highway lovers' paradise called Golden Quadrilateral till I came across a travel blog somewhere in the first quarter of 2012. The blogger was was a Pulsar 220 rider who used to work for Airport Authority of India. He had spent good number of days in extracting the best out of his GQ ride. His vividly portrayed motorcycle diaries on Golden Quadrilateral had kept me engrossed and dreaming for days. Today, I can't locate his blog or any link to social media profile. Here's a sincere and humble message to that particular wanderer: "Brother, if you ever come across my journal, please do leave me a trace so that I can thank you for sowing the seed of GQ fantasy in this nomadic mind". It's a pity that it took 6 long years to animate that beautiful fantasy. To give shape to any big travel plan you need harmonious coexistence of time and money. At times I had time but no money, and other times the vice-versa. You actually need a special fortune cookie to find that perfect harmony.

Last year February, I turned my wallet upside down and brought home a stunning Benelli TNT 600 GT. Yes, that's a story in itself and I intend to share every bit of it in the form of an ownership experience very soon. But, for the sake of  #GQRideWithBenu I had to scratch this facet. From my social media updates, many friends thought I was riding with a pillion (either my girlfriend, or wife) named Benu. No dear, Benu is the name of my vector. Since she became a member of my family, I had been clocking miles on her mostly through my work related commutes which roughly amounts to thousand kilometres a month. Though I had been to longish leisurely rides with her up to 650 kilometres in a single day, I kept suffering from the guilt of not providing her the right platform. Dude, she is a sports-tourer capable of churning out a power figure of roughly 84 BHP. She has been built to reign the highways. It was like using a horse to haul washer-man's load. How long could I have restrained her basic instincts?

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu - the Conception
Benu resting somewhere on NH-19 (more popularly known as NH-2, or Delhi-Kolkata Highway).
The year 2017 was not particularly very kind to me. To put it in a more candid way- I was torn apart into pieces and there was no magic potion to glue them back. I was left blank by a series of events. If I had suffered my greatest personal loss back in 2014, 2017 introduced me with my biggest failure. I knocked many doors like every person in pain would have done. I'm not among those socially blessed souls who can truncate their pain by radiating it into many ears. Being introvert doesn't really quicken the healing process. Although it gives you plenty of room for soul-searching, chances are high you end up accumulating laps in the same vicious cycle. I had crossed the border and travelled to a distant Buddhist temple, as someone once had told me the ambience in Ruwanwelisaya has a component of peace which can't be expressed in words or documented in photographs. I'm an atheist, but that doesn't deny me of my right to peace, right? But it all went in vain and I had returned without an answer.  

My wounds were raw and tender just as before. People do moronic stuffs when perplexed. Some keep their silliness limited to removing WhatsApp profile pictures. I took a step farther- abandoned my old blogs. deleted social media profiles, started over-timing up to 144 hours a week, and of course indulge in any other easy method of escapism whichever was purchasable. I even went out for a mountain trek which hasn't been blogged yet. Getting my composure back seemed much more difficult than I had anticipated. Distractions help but for a very short time. Rolling on the roads has been my drug of choice (to combat nuisances of life) since a very long time. I've more faith on highways than humanity. To grow in life one must explore various roads and keep a good note of their take-home messages. Winter was about to leave the subcontinent. Wasn't it a perfect backdrop for someone's dream Golden Quadrilateral ride?

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu - the Conception
In the entire length of 6,261 kilometres, this was the only road-sign with a mention of GQ!  
Even after elaborating my reasons for planning #GQRideWithBenu, one obvious query still remains unattended. There were more scenic routes, mesmerising destinations, and definitely more potent hashtags to publicise my road trip in social media platforms. Till then why did I choose a riding circuit which has already been documented by thousands of road-trippers? I've been particularly asked this question during the planning phase of my Golden Quadrilateral ride. Okay, here's the moment of truth. I didn't execute this road trip to spread pretentious social messages like- Save Water, Save the Girl Child, Safe Drive Save Life etc. I did not plan this ride to earn Facebook 'Like's or, spike up my reputation bar in travel communities. I did it for myself. I chose the Golden Quadrilateral Circuit because it had been occupying a top-end position in my travel bucket list. I wanted to satisfy my own wanderlust, and at the same time get a panoramic collage of India from the highway level. 

Now, I am very happy that I was rigid with my decision and wrapped up #GQRideWithBenu in less than two weeks. I'm limping on my right leg but the overall satisfaction of ride completion is much greater than that physical ailment. As I mentioned earlier, I'll be narrating you the planning, itinerary and ride synopsis of Golden Quadrilateral ride with Benu in subsequent blog posts. Till then, confront your procrastination. Listen to the timid whispers of your heart. Give a chance to its nomadic dream. Set off on the voyage of memory hunting. Take care till we meet again.   

1 comment:

  1. Es una Ruta bastante interesante, debe ser muy difícil hacerla en moto (pensando en el cansancio) sería muy bueno poder compartir algo de tu ruta en nuestro blog, tenemos una parte que se llama "Corresponsal Mochilero" puedes enviarnos algún vídeo. :)


I really appreciate your efforts in exploring my poetry of roads. Thank You!