Berhampur to Vizianagaram - A Special Trip!

12 minutes read

I had a much awaited visit left pending in my account to Vizianagaram (Vijayanagaram) on some personal work, some meetings and some fun. I thought of making this trip a bit different and special. I have always loved the life of free birds. They stop wherever they want; they enjoy whichever place comes in their way. They at times halt and at times just keep flying. It is all at their will. Well, I do not have wings, I cannot fly. But, I can just ride a bike or a horse or a car etc. Yes, I have a dream to ride a horse someday. For the time being, I had to settle with a bike.

I had my Shine (Honda CB Shine) in the garage for quite long; I gave it a refresh and planned this trip on my Shine. It was still not in its perfect condition, but was travel ready. Shine is one of the most comfortable bikes to ride. It’s a perfectly balanced commuter, be it the mileage or the early torques or the aerodynamics or the seating. Unfortunately, I have had a few bad experiences with Honda Service. I may just share those experiences some other time.

It was 22nd of May, I was about to set out early morning after having a decent breakfast. However, due to certain unscheduled and unexpected duties, I became late. I started at around 12 noon; it was not too sunny, thanks to those magical clouds (posterior effects of Roanu and Kalabaisakhi) wandering around our area. I thought of checking the weather forecasts too; otherwise it could just become a bang on my head. The weather app was reporting “clear sky” for the next three days for those places I was heading, and this was enough to let me start off.

I had planned this as a split trip. First, I would be stopping at Palasa (a small town in Srikakulam District of AP), there I can take rest, have some cool interactions with my cousins and the nephews and nieces, my aunt and uncle. Then, I would visit a temple, Sri Suryanarayana Swamy Temple, Arasavalli, Srikakulam City (the district HQs of Srikakulam itself). And then reach my final destination Vizianagaram (a popular and big city of AP, situated in Vizianagaram District, and also the district HQs), where one of my favorite cousins stays. The total trip was of about 220+ kms (one way) along the national highway on the east coast from Berhampur to Vizianagaram. I had split that into 70+70+70 kind of mix.

I reached Palasa by 2pm. They all (8/8 of them) were completely surprised seeing me suddenly at lunch time, it was sunny; although I had informed them about my visit, but it was difficult for them to see me live and digest this fact. He he he… By that time, there was food ready to be served; rice, fish fry, dal fry, egg-omlet, mangoes, mix veg curry, chutney etc, just an authentic and classy “Coastal Andhra Lunch”, I would name it. Enjoyed all the tasty dishes prepared with full of love by my aunt, and neither did I hesitate to lick the fingers after wiping off the plates.

Then, it was time for the kids. The kids just love me, and so do I. I showed them a couple of tricks, then told a few stories, then made them aware of stuff happening around. They were just throwing me questions after questions. It was really difficult to answer all their queries. Each of the three was a big nautankibaaz. As always, I had tricky answers to their cute innocent questions. Some questions made me think and just think, quite meaningful; yet I failed to get them a proper explanation at times. Then we went to the backyard and played and took random photographs and selfies. He he…

In the afternoon I had cool talks with my cousins, Mahesh Anna, Jaya Akka and Vasudev Anna. Then, we all had garam-garam vada prepared by my aunt in the evening. And there came the time to ride around the city, went to the local markets with Mahesh Anna. Roamed around a few places, and went to some relatives. One noticeable thing as always was, the markets were all multilingual. The shopkeepers spoke Odia and Telugu equally fluently, they could even manage with Hindi, and it was quite like Berhampur. I did not find much of a difference in the ambience. However, Palasa is not as cheap as Berhampur to live in, I realized. Palasa is famous for the bulk cashew production in the south-east India. It’s a hub of cashew nuts. Somehow, the evening ended. We had another typical Andhra style dinner. I did try to get done with my pending works on my iPhone, included readings, news updates, responding to people, resolving problems of friends. I slept by 12:30 in the night, while listening to a playlist of Coldplay and Beatles in the sleep timer mode. The next morning I had to move towards Srikakulam and then on to Vizianagaram.

The sun rose, and so did I. I woke up early at around 5:30am, got done with the “nityakarma”. Aunt prepared me a special tea and offered me with a couple of marigold biscuits. In an hour, I was ready to fly again…. oh sorry… Ride again! It was 6:30am in the morning; I started off to Arasavalli – The Sun Temple, Srikakulam City. I reached by 8:30 am, got an easy parking space, and followed it up with a quick and easy “darshan”. This time my amma was not here, otherwise she would have had me take a coconut and a couple of banana for prasaad, I was free…. You can guess what I might have had done. But, this Temple is one of my favorite temples. Why? Let me go on… I do not have strong evidences of the existence of other Gods, but I have seen this God since my inception, the Suryadeva (Sun). He is the source of all our energies. In Odia we define him by… “Sakala Shakti ra Aadhara!” This in English means, “The source of all energies”. I am a firm believer of this. Moreover, this temple is situated in the heart of the beautiful city Srikakulam. It was around 9:30 am by the time I was out of the temple. It was sunny. I was wondering, how I would continue. But, as planned after having my favorite Idly-chutney breakfast from a stall under a tree, I had to move along.

I came out of the city, back to the highway. I kept riding for about an hour. I had saved half a bottle of water, I drank that. But, that was not sufficient. I was worried, what if I go highly dehydrated. I would be in trouble. I was targeting to halt somewhere and have some more water. I had already drunk 3 liters of water since morning. But, that kept drying away from skin. My mouth was still all dry. There suddenly came someone to save me. There was a coconut seller. He was selling coconuts (coconut water) by slicing down the top portion. I was very happy seeing this man. He was an old man, may be in his 70s. He had the slim build of the likes of the old steel people. His muscles were not that tight, but I could see the muscular savior in him. I gave him a smile and said… “Okati kosi ivvandi…” :: “Please cut one for me…” He quickly with his ultra sharp knife (it was more like a sword to me… he he…) cut one big coconut and just in an instant offered me. I again smiled and took that, tasted literally like amrit. I was very happy. I asked him for another and he again did it swiftly, in the same classy style. He was like “Rajnikanth” to me, the way he was slicing the coconuts and serving to all who were stopping by. But, the second coconut was special. Along with having a full heavy glass of coconut water; it had mild coconut flakes in it. When I checked if there was so, he just quickly had a look. He then immediately cut that coconut into two halves. And extracted the soft coconut flakes from it, offered me again on one of those halves. I was so happy, it was like an icing on the cake. But meanwhile, I saw something on his hand. Although he was not hesitant to do those Rajnikanth style stunts with his knife, his hand was not Okay. It was swallowed from an accident. His right hand was quite big compared to his left hand. It was quite worse. I asked him, “Mee cheyyiki enti ayyindi?” :: “What happened to your hand?”… Then , “Meeru oka rendu rojulu rest tisukellochhu kada” :: “You could take rest for a day or two”. He said, “Babu nenu rest tisukelthe, na beddaliki evaru tindi pedataru?” :: “Young man, if I take rest then who would feed my children?” I was about to get into tears, but I controlled. I said, “Manchi pani chesinappudu, kastaalu nischitamga vostayi endi… Badhapadakandi…” :: “When we do good stuff, we get a lot of trouble on the way, please do not feel bad.” I kept talking, “Dayachesi ila chestuune undandi, ee punyamaina pani… Meeru ila bhagawantudila vondala mandi seva chestunnaru.” :: “Please carry on with the noble work you do. You are a GOD to the hundreds of riders.” He just smiled in reply. Then, I did something which I generally do not do. I had observed that he was charging 20 rupees for each coconut. I did not have change; I offered him a 50 rupee note. He was about to return the remaining 10. I said “Adi meeru unchiyandi… parawaledu, naku khushiga anipistadi.” :: “Please keep it, it’s okay… I would be happy.” He instantly could not deny me. But, in 10 seconds when I was about to just leave he offered me back those 10 rupees, and said “Idi tappu kada babu, nenu ela mee 10 rupayilu unchukunta…? Na vallna avvadu…” :: “Is not this wrong dear, how can I keep your 10 rupees? I just cannot do this.” This old man had said me something, which got me goosebumps, internally I was crying, I was happy too. But I just smiled and received back the 10 rupees and I apologized for doing this. He got back to the noble duty he was busy at.

Then again my journey to Vizianagaram continued, 30 odd more kilometers were to be cruised along. These kilometers were heavy with Heat Waves, my skin was literally burning. I could feel that. But, I had to go on. I cursed myself for choosing such a bad time for this trip; however I was happy meeting the two Gods in my life, the Sun God in the temple and the Man God on the roadside. I just reached Vizianagaram at around 12 noon. However, a bad news I had already gotten, my cousin, Venu Anneiya was on a trip to Gujarat on a few of his commitments and I would not be able to meet him. However, I had continued to wrap up my work at least. May be I can come back again in 10-15 days to just meet him, and have a good time in Vizag and Vizianagaram. I continued on my way and met one of his friends.

The due work was to give him this Shine (my bike); it was to be brought to perfection, to be brought to life completely. I do not know if we would succeed or not, but this is the last try we are doing. It has critical engine issues, which were never resolved by the Honda Service people in the 5 years of struggle with them. I would discuss this whole story on another occasion. Anyway, wrapping up… Mr. Naidu (my cousin Venu Anna’s cool friend) received the bike, and dropped me at the railway station. I had a quick meal at the station itself and returned home by Prasanti Express, it took about 3 hours of journey on the heater like compartment. It was like, I was in sauna for 3 hours for free, may be as an additional benefit. By the time I had reached Berhampur; I had typed 80% of this post. It was too hot and humid, I was getting frustrated, better put my time into some positive work. I started jotting this down on the train itself, but this turned out to be a significantly long post. It was around 7pm by the time I was home. And, the trip had finally ended.

Once again thank you so much for the kind reading. Just like few of the recent posts, here I leave you with a wonderful collage and a time-lapse video. Please do have a look at the compiled version below along with a bunch of trivia.

Trivia:

  1. Shine consumed only about 3.5 liters of petrol.
  2. I rode the bike with an average speed of 40-50 kmph.
  3. I did speed up at times to overtake trailers and cruise through the crowded areas.
  4. I drank almost 15 liters of water in this quick journey.
  5. I was listening to Coldplay, Beatles, Kishore Kumar, Westlife, A.R. Rahman, Yuvan Shankar Raja etc on my earpods throughout the ride at mild volumes.

Collage and Video:

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