Saturday!! What a saturday it was! Everything was happening and happening too very fast!!
On Saturday, I was carelessly sitting on my bed, laptop was on and was chatting with my cousins and few friends at Vichar Vahak. Everything was lazy as was I. At around 2:30PM, I received a call from my friend Rohit Chauriha asking me to come over his place at Sus Road as they were planning for a few hour trip to Narayanpur. It was raining heavily then and as soon as it stopped I left for Sus Road.
We (six people:- Vir, Siladitya, Sulabh, Shirish, Rohit, and me) emabarked on our journey to Narayanpur. Narayanpur is famous for temple of Shri Dattatreya. It is around 60-65kms from Pune. We reached there in about an hour as roads were slippery due to the rains. Having no interest in seeing the temple from inside, we decided to return. It was already 6:30PM. But as soon as we rotated our bikes we saw a sign board mentioning — “Purandar ka kila”. Vir and I had studied about it in our History books and suddenly a fascination to visit the fort grew and after a discussion we started moving towards the destination.
Purandar Fort is on a hill like most of Shivaji’s fort are. Shivaji had a fascination for building forts so high that it was difficult for anyone to climb up and attack. That is why he never got attacked even by the mighty Mughal force. It was only later during Company rule that these forts were occupied either strategically or by force.
The road to the fort is not a proper road and it was difficult to drive up though people drive their bikes upto the fort. We parked the bikes at village’s chaupal and trekked upto the fort. By the time we reached the fort, it was already 7:15 PM and the sun was drowning besides the clouds. For a moment or two it was all red in the sky and then a sudden darkness covered the area. Three of us – Rohit, Sulabh and Siladitya climbed further up and the rest of us started returning to the village. We had hardly walked for 10 minutes when it started raining heavily and we had no escape so we decided to keep moving. In forty five minutes we returned to the village where we had parked our bikes. We waited for other three to return. We tried calling them but there were no signals up there so the calls were getting rejected. It was already 8:45PM. We had no torch, no water, nothing as we hadn’t planned for this. So we kept waiting for them sitting by the wall beside a dog. They returned at 9:15 PM and we started towards Pune.
The roads were slippery and friction between road and tyres was less so we taking utmost care not to apply brakes suddenly. It was dark and there were no street-lights and above all it was raining in cats and dogs. View was blurred and head-lights were not helping either. We were slow and driving safe. I was leading the way with Vir sitting behind me. After driving for few minutes we reached a blind turn. The road was not viewable so I was moving straight when I realized there is no road ahead and I have to take a turn. It was late and bike was moving towards the end of the road and I had to apply the brakes otherwise we would have fallen down the hill. But as soon as I applied brakes, Vir jumped off fearing that we are going off the road and the bike lost its balance and skidded for few seconds. My one leg was under the bike and I was not able to stand up. I had hurt my right hand, left shoulder, and both the legs. Somehow, I with the help of my friends managed to stand up. But it was painful. So, they made me sit on a stone. IT was already 9:45PM, and we had to reach Pune and it was still 60 Kms away. So, my friends made me sit on the bike. Vir was now driving and I was sitting behind him.
It had not stopped raining yet and we all needed a hot cup of tea or coffee. We stopped at a motel on Bangalore-Pune highway and ordered tea and Wada-pav(it is a speciality in MH). We stayed there for an hour waiting for the rain to stop but in vain. So, we again started running back. Just before Katraj tunnel, there was water-log about 2-3 feet deep. And somehow we managed to drive through it. The 1.5 kms inside the tunnel were beautiful and we were feeling safe. But soon we came out of the other side, again in the rain. And bike stopped!! It won’t start. We tried all we could but had to roll it. We tried again and it started. It was already past 11 and we had to travel around 15 kms more to reach Sus Road. We started again. And finally at 11:45 we reached Sus Road.
We were all wet and uneasy. I wanted to return to my apartment at Orange Province, but it was not to happen easily. I lost my bike’s keys. Kept searching for them everywhere. Where had they gone? We had just parked the bike. But we couldn’t find them. So, I took Hitesh’s bike and returned at around 12:30AM. Finally I was at home. But again there was no light and so no lift was working. My apartment is on 5th floor and I was not able to walk. It took me 15 minutes to climb the stairs. My legs started paining heavily and I was in great pain. Somehow I managed to change the clothes and took bath.
Everything on my bed was like I had left it and the complete slideshow of what happened that day rolled infront of me. I was happy that I was back and happy that I survived. Otherwise I would not have been there to write this today. For Shivaji, it was an Escape from Agra, for me it was An Escape from Death!!