Day 8 – Majuli to Shillong: the day of all breakdowns

Today seems to be again one of those long tiring commute days between two regions: we are leaving Assam, heading for Shillong, Meghalaya: a ferry crossing again, followed by a 400 km long ride. Hopefully most of it is going to take place on decent roads, half of it on 4 lanes highways… And guess what? It rains, rains and rains!

Besides, it’s one of those wretched days when anything that can go wrong, does go wrong:

It starts with the ferry being delayed and we wait for a long time…

A rainy day on the Brahmaputra
Sophisticated ferry technology…
…but apparently it works and we love it!

After barely 50 kilometres, the spokes of my bike’s rear wheel have become so loose — possibly as a result of our constant riding on bad roads since a week — that the wobble induced becomes frightening. No other choice than to stop in a village workshop and get the problem fixed. Since we are here, why not re-straighten my bent main stand: the guy grabs a huge hammer and, Bang! Bang! Bang! with 3 monster strokes the problem is solved. In the meantime I have sent Kalki ahead, telling her that I will catch up.

Rear wheel is fine now, great, let’s catch up then. Another 10 kilometres and — ratata! — my engine starts missing and finally stops completely, please noo! After 30 minutes on the road-side along a steaming tea plantation, trying to clean plug and carb with my bare hands under the rain (just try this, once!), I am considering committing seppuku in the ditch, when at last our back-up vehicle turns up. After a short discussion it is decided to load my bike on the tempo and use our spare Himalayan, otherwise we will never reach Shillong on this day.

Having saddled this fresh horse, I ride full blast to catch-up with Kalki, who must be one good hour ahead, blazing through the thick mist of the Kaziranga Sanctuary, and frankly I would not have seen a rhino unless I grazed past his horn… Fortunately, Kalki decides to stop for tea and we meet just by night fall, somewhere past Nagaon. By then there is still 150 kilometres to go and I need to refuel: what is not my surprise when I discover that the key of the fuel tank (different from the ignition for obscure reasons that would be too long and shameful to explain) is with the tempo driver, a good 45 minutes behind, oh no! And of course it’s raining and raining and…

Ok, by then we have been some odd 14 hours on the move, and mind you, also 14 hours in the washing machine. Enough is enough. That’s when both Kalki and I decide unanimously that we are no heroes, that we are not going to wait here in this godforsaken petrol bunk for the key, and that we are going to finish the ride to Shillong in a comfortable Mahindra Xylo, with the crew! Ah!… does that feels good…

Finally it is about midnight, when — while we are relaxing comfortably in a wonderful guest house with hot water bath, WiFi and other modern-world amenities — we hear the sound of the bikes reaching, with our miserably wet and cold team mates. And, no, definitely no, we don’t feel bad at all!


(to be continued…)

Not many photos today, except on the ferry, but you know, the rain… However our courageous filming crew was at work in the wet and you will see it all when you watch our Travel Show on FOX life next August.

5 thoughts on “Day 8 – Majuli to Shillong: the day of all breakdowns

  1. Hello Sir, I have been following your adventure trip since the beginning. And I absolutely love it. Just looking at the pictures makes me feel the serenity and peace of nature that you would have been witnessing. I just loved the idea of riding along the places and experiencing the little beautiful things, since I myself am an adventure lover. I am planning for a North East trip towards the end of this year and your blogs are helping me just in the nick of time.
    Also,I am a fan of Kalki, so watching her do stuffs that I love is a delight. I admire her work, be it acting or her writing. Most of all, I find her a very genuine person who knows what to do and is down to earth with no hint of arrogance.


      1. Irfana, it is! 🙂 And thanks a lot for following my blog. It gave me immense happiness when I saw the notification that you are following my blog. For once, I could not believe my eyes… 🙂


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