The Desert made sure I got deep, abundant sleep up till 7 AM. To my surprise, the weather was cloudy and cold, dewdrops were present all over my Duke. I ordered breakfast and shared some with sparrows and crows too because they just kept staring at me while I ate outside. After speaking to family and friends over the phone, I did some birding and immediately suited up because I had to travel to a small city that was 530 kms away- Ajmer!
I chose a route that I hadn’t traveled on instead of the route via Jodhpur. After departing Sam, I fuelled up in Jaisalmer and caught up with speed. The views were tempting enough to stop and click pictures but catching up with time had to be done and there were chances of the roads ahead being ‘moonish’. Getting lost wasn’t an option! But, my offline GPS suddenly went bonkers and began to indicate wrong directions to me. Luckily, I had a fair bit of the route figured out earlier which helped me in discovering the GPS’s inaccuracy. Sign boards in Rajasthan are as scarce as water in the desert, so the only option was to look for locals around and confirm the correct way else, stick to the route that I had been on earlier that went via Jodhpur. On asking some locals, I got confused because they were confused. They did say that the road was pretty bad so I stuck to the Jodhpur route and gassed it! It would’ve been maddening to enter Jodhpur city at 1.30 PM so I took the extremely bumpy city bypass route which got me a little frustrated because of slow moving vehicles in front of me and also because I couldn’t find a suitable hotel to stop at! It happens rarely that I get frustrated on a tour. I did however find a hotel soon but that was a new hotel, so half the things on the menu couldn’t be prepared. As a result I had to stick to my chai and paratha (it was paneer this time) combo. The mood got better as I ate and was back on the road in no time. ETA Ajmer was 6.00PM!
I was to meet Ashutosh (Ashu), an old friend of mine in Ajmer. We worked together in an MNC until he decided to go back home and help his father handle business. This time, I didn’t have to scout for hotels because I was staying in Ashu’s hotel! Apart from the hotel business, he sells sweets and chat food in Ajmer that is wonderful in the way it looks and tastes! Recollecting the taste is flooding my mouth with water right now. The ride towards Ajmer from Jodhpur was on a smooth 4 lane blacktop with many hills on either side. I was excited to visit Ajmer because there’s a small town near it called Pushkar, known for its large camel gatherings. There is a KTM service in Ajmer where my KTM could get a badly required wash along with a wheel alignment check (I suspected a slight bend on the front rim) and thirdly, my mom asked me to visit the world famous Ajmer Sharif Dargah, known for fulfilling prayers and wishes! As I approached Ajmer, mountains appeared over the horizon. The region is surrounded by Aravallis, a gorgeous mountain range stretching from Gujarat to Rajasthan. The city outskirts arrived by 6.15 PM and the sun was pretty bright! Since it was late summer, the state of Rajasthan witnesses darkness between 7.30 and 8 PM.
I asked Ashu for guidance to reach his shop and to my surprise, the chat shop was in the middle of a busy market flooded with thousands of people. As far as I remember, the area was called New market, Gol pyau. But fortunately, his shop was situated towards the end of the lane so I didn’t have to worry about people crowding around me and my motorcycle! We’d met after a year and since he’s working around ‘chatpata’ food now, he transformed from being thin to fat! I was offered Aloo chat, Khaman Dhokla and spicy Kachori stuffed with a lot of Paneer that only made my eyes and mouth water. We then planned and left for a short ride to visit a nearby spot on a hill called circuit house that offered a view of Ajmer city and Pushkar. What added to my excitement was the fact that Ashu rode a KTM Duke 200 and speeding with it on the twisties was not what I called ‘slow’. I loved the city’s vibes and people appeared to be bright and energetic.
We were absorbed by the view but the security asked us to leave from there because a useless VIP had a stay planned in the nearby Govt guesthouse. India is full of idiotic VIPs causing traffic jams and shooing people off wherever they go. In my opinion, VIPs who do that should be given the ‘NIP’ (not and important person) status. Since they feel proud of travelling in car trains and wasting people’s time, they do get annoyed if somebody overtakes them. That’s what I did in Tamil Nadu on a national highway where a VIP convoy had just got onto the highway and was doing 120. There were about 12 to 15 cars that I passed, looked at the VIP’s face, nodded my head and sped off at 160-ish as I giggled inside the helmet. I didn’t know who that ‘VIP’ was, but it was fun doing that shit! After a while though, the convoy disappeared from my rear view mirror.
Back in Ajmer, we headed to the Ashu’s hotel, checked in and I freshened up. The weather got surprisingly cool so we got sheesha on our minds. Ashu was to meet his friends that night so he decided we all go to a place where you get sheesha. We reached the cafe at 9.30 PM where I was introduced to 3 of his friends and then we spoke in their car for a while till there was place in the café at 10PM. The ambience went well with the mood and weather as the pipe kept circulating. We got occupied with fun conversations and travel stories till it was 11.30. I bid his friends goodbye and headed out with ashu in search of dinner. Most places he knew of, were closed so the only option was to head to the main bus depot where we could find food stalls. We had dinner with tea as usual but then a policeman disrupted the peace by a bit, when he ordered the stall owners to shut down for the day. We ate peacefully and left the place, pitying the stalls owners who weren’t allowed to continue doing business. I regret not clicking a picture of us at the bus depot.
Ashu guided me to the hotel room by midnight and went home while I ended the long day after making special arrangements for the Duke’s parking! I was to stay in Ajmer for the next day so I roughly recollected all that I had to see in the city and things to get done, little did I know that the 44 horsepower KTM with me on it would be pushed onto a taxi by a 1 horsepower cart.