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On a Motorcycle in the Mountains

On a Motorcycle in the Mountains

INDIA | Wednesday, 14 May 2014 | Views [44] | Scholarship Entry

I wondered that day, how I ended up there, driving in the mountains of India. And on a motorcycle no less. But I was determined to make it a good day. I was in India for work, but my bike had recently been fixed, and I saw nothing wrong with having fun while I was there too.

True to form, Ooty and the surrounding areas did not give only one day’s worth of weather in the few hours we were out. Ooty is the Queen of Hill Stations, and she is a moody Queen, wearing her moods on her sleeve. Each one passes in a breath, and all you can do is enjoy them as they come.

The afternoon began sunny and clear; my motivation for going out for a drive. I knew the weather could change in the blink of an eye, but it is better to enjoy a few moments of sunshine before being caught in the rain than to stay inside and miss out on everything.

I chose a road I had not driven before. It led out of town in swooping curves and the occasional sharp hairpin bend. I felt freedom I’d not felt recently; the wind on my face, leaning into the turns. Several times that day, I thought to myself how amazing it was that I was there, enjoying India on the back of my bike. The circumstances that brought me there surprise me still.
The farther I went from town, the more it felt like I was truly in India. Women sat by the side of the road with their dogs and the bags of tea they had harvested that day. Men strolled slowly down the road as though there was not the slightest concern about time in the world.
My drive was a balance between building up as much speed as I could, and being ready for the cows and goats and donkeys which would jump out into the road, forcing me to slam on the brakes to avoid them.

Several kilometers out of town, I came upon a valley overlook. I pulled over, barely checking to see that the shoulder was a clear one, desperate to get a picture of the valley before it changed again. True to form, fog was rolling into the valley, blocking several segments from view.

The fog grew thicker the farther I went down the road. At times, it scarcely looked like I was on a mountain. Looking through the trees lining the road, all I could see what dense whiteness. My bike and I were enclosed, surrounded by fog, and seemingly alone in the world; a surreal experience no matter how many times afterward I had the same one.

Driving that day, experiencing Ooty’s moods, I understood that it did not matter how I came to be there. The important thing was that I was there.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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