Nov 11, 2008

The Shed

I had a chance to take a look at a decaying old factory from inside today. The walk to the shed was riddled with bush and snakes (heard the security staff swear by the 'Big Black One'). The top had blown off in places and the setting sun was peeking through one of those gaping holes in the metal and asbestos! I shudder when I think this was a place full of people at one time, manufacturing who knows what for who knows who... The image is with me to stay. I am happy for that. It makes a lovely desktop wallpaper. Fits widescreens too!

- Rahul

Bang galore for the buck!

I have been living in Bangalore for almost two months now on work and I still have not been able to figure out how the city moves. Call a Meru cab and 8 out of 10 ten times, the waiting time for a cab to arrive at your doorstep will be in the excess of two hours. The buses seem to go nowhere even when they are clogging up every possible street er, lane to be more precise. Then there are the double coach buses, joined by a vestibule that resembles some ancient space ship docking system from the children's books. Three wheelers are another story. The meters are completely warped. I remember having done what seemed to be 15 kays and this guy's meter read 24 kays. Negotiations from a guy who does not know the local language is mostly futile. Running a car with those petrol costs is unviable.

Biking is an option if you do not mind massive concrete carrying trucks and buses constantly sniffing your backside. Their motors hissing away barely inches from your rear numberplate. Hence my state of confusion. The office is about 3 kays from where I put up these days and with the cool breeze and clear blue sunny skies, I have been walking back and forth all these days to work. And each time, drooling at the P220 or an FZ that passes by, recklessly overtaking that dump truck from the left. Darn!

Nov 8, 2008

Quantum of Solace

When I was a kid, a quantum of solace came from watching my mother move around the house on her many chores. Wearing a gown that touched the ground. I sat back in the verandah, glass of milk in my hand and watched her move around the local friendly cows that mowed our lawn naturally every other day. A few more years went by and I stared at coloured posters of big bikes clung to the sides of the Kolkata metro railway station exits, almost never having the money to buy one for the wall in my room where the paint had flaked off. The laminated Kawasaki GPZ was one that stole my imagination and kept me awake many nights. Just its mental image!

Then there were girls. I could almost never take my eyes off a particular shade of skin on the upper arms and necks. I must have ogled shamelessly at millions. I guess I am a visually stimulated person to a large(r) extent. Now, irrespective of what I ride and where I go to, there are times when I find myself parked by the road side. For no no rhyme or reason. Just watching the crows flying home or little children going to school. Or trees, trying to make conversation in the distance. Their language of longing so unmistakable and yet, calm.
There is solace all around. And if it is not, its just a ten minutes ride away. Thats a promise!

Nov 1, 2008

Our Truth - Lacuna Coil!

Just came across this amazing band called Lacuna Coil. This album called Karmacode has a number by the name of 'Our Truth' that figures as my top female rendered grunge number!
Pick up the album if you can find one. You can watch the video here. . .

Oct 31, 2008

Site Building. Aw the good old days!

While I am in the process of restructuring the Monoshock website, adding an all new feel, easier navigation and some new material, the old memories keep coming back with every click of the mouse. Jai's spanking new Zma, run in religiously for all of 3 km before he said 'To heck with running in'. There he was that early morning, looking out into the horizon. The sky as perfect as the Kolkata winter would allow.

This very view is now dotted with concrete monsters inching their way up to the heavens. Every inch of land has been flogged for its worth. There is a message there. At least I can read it. Genuinity, good times and creativity are somehow never connected with money. I for one am a sucker for all of those. Money can go to hell. As far as Monoshock is concerned!

Oct 27, 2008

Yamaha tickles our man Neo!

Our man Neo does not mind when an R15 blows him into the weeds while he is riding over to the office on his old, red P180. He does not even wince when the spec sheets of the latest arrivals read seriously advanced figures. Neo was, till now a very happy man.

The Yamaha FZ16 changed all that. A franctic call came to me once in the middle of the night. "Darn Rahul! These Yamaha dudes have slapped a 140 section rear on the FZ16 man!", Neo blurted out. I heard him out and hung up, sure of the fact that he would not sleep all night. He would feel destroyed. Its not about cubic capacity or bhp mates. Its all in the rear rubber! Road test on the All New Monoshock website soon!

Oct 26, 2008

Seasons Greetings from Monoshock!

Six years ago, one of my long aimless rides had taken me to Aurangabad. I had met N there. She was beautiful, warm and alive. Her expressions reminded me of those pretty women who feature in classy advertisements. Their faces emotive, their lips quivering. Around her neck, she wore a silver necklace. 'It was given to me by my father', she said. In one of our close encounters that followed, I remember that necklace as the only thing left on her body. I spent countless hours at night, staring at her Goddess like fingers while she slept peacefully.

She was a chirpy and easy pillion when we blasted across the rain swept plateaus beyond the Buddhist caves just above Aurangabad. My P180 classic, wearing that trademark lilac colour pulling the insignificant extra weight like a relentless locomotive. The bass note from the blowtorch exhaust coupled with that 'jet engine' whine from the engine intoxicating me.
Then, one morning, she was gone. Just the way she had appeared. That morning was Dewali. She promised to stay in touch. People can be forgiven when they break some promises in life. Like every biker out there, I forgave her. We people keep forgiving don't we? Its Dewali again. I thought I would let all of you know. N never comes on to the Monoshock site. At least I would like to keep believing that, forever.
Happy dewali bros. Happy Dewali N.

Hitting the rewind button on a Pulsar 200

Somethings never fade from the memory. When Monoshock started, the Pulsar 200 was the first bike we tested officially. Today, a good friend of mine in Bangalore threw me his P200 keys before he went away for a couple of days to attend a family wedding. The morning was clear and there was a nip in the air when I fired her up. In no time, the cobwebs of almost 3 months of non riding were swept away. Bangalore traffic is however your worst nightmare come true. Menacing buses come within inches of you in traffic crawls despite knowing what that contact can do to a petty rider. Pedestrians are perpetually on a suicide mission while crossing streets. I have a simple rule for riding in this city now. If you see someone planning to make a crazy move, rest assured that she/ he will just do it. I reserve the braking judgement now. That way, I am a lot safer!
The road that starts from the flyovers at Hebbal is good all the way to Nandi Hills except a few rough patches that do not even figure as I write this. Along the way, some strange plantations came around. Some sort of a tender crawler that needed support and looking under these crawlers gave a very gemoetric and mesmerising view. Here is one for you to enjoy and figure out.

The hills started after a long, smooth straight where I pinned the throttle and held it there. 113 kmph is the max the digital speedo read out. It would go no more and for the moment, that was enough. The climb started abruptly after a right turn and this is where I felt the difference between a P180 and a P200. Even in the most serious hairpin inclines, I was very comfortable on second cog. Not even once during the hill climb did I engage first gear except when I got off to shoot this picture. A 20 degree temperature coupled with a clear blue sky and decent twisting roads was just what the doctor ordered for a Sunday afternoon.
I reached the top which was bursting at the seams with happy faces carrying packed lunches. These packages would be a lot lighter once the day was done and the downhill journey started for the many families. A fifteen buck parking ticket and a three buck entry ticket later, I trudged my way up to the top of the entire sanctuary. It was a tiring walk and many times during the climb, I was reminded by an inner voice that the fitness regime I had been putting on hold for so long now needed a jumpstart. Yes, that is a priority now. The view from the restaurant on top was simply surreal. The word horizon takes an all new meaning from up there. And so does architectural scale model. The world below looks like the perfect place to be in. The green terraced slopes and the fields that stretch till the end of the world from there make you forget that there are wars, crimes and killings happening right then, in some cussed part of the world. The same world! A greasy, meaty lunch was made quick work of.

Before dusk arrived and made things tough for a rider who has lost the touch, I headed back down. I kept the 3rd gear engaged to give me an unhurried and controlled descent. Many bikers I had seen on my way up had simply cut their motors and were riding the brakes and they would do that till the slopes ended. Not a great thing to do though as it it may get dangerous with the brakes fatigued and no engine power in case of an emergency. Grape sellers greeted me on the way down and then through part of the straight, with a bunch of the ripe fruit hanging from an outstretched arm. Little did they know that I love my grapes crushed, aged and in bottles with cork stops that go 'pop' when unscrewed!
I am getting back to doing what I love most. Riding and writing. Contrary to the scenery around me, the mist around my mind is clearing. There is quite some way to go though. I am reminded of my commitment to those who believed. I park the P200 beside an old temple wall and shoot a picture. Darshan will be back tomorrow and his steed needs to go back to him. I will borrow another one soon. From someone kind enough to lend me one. maybe it will be the Yamaha R one five (need to say that right!). Or a Karizma. I do not know. The gates have opened again and the road lies just beyond it. See you soon!
- Rahul

Jul 28, 2008


We mostly travel to get somewhere. For something. Often forgetting the means to the end. What we get at the end of it all is always not what the truth is. A few days back I rode away to Daman. Once I reached there, the image was pretty disturbing. I wondered where all the Portugese architecture and splendour was. Not many locals, busy running their numerous bars had a clue either. Someone wise told me that it was called Moti Daman. I reached, and what I saw was unbelievable. Beautiful. I touched the old church walls and absorbed in my mind's screen as many images as I could of the human passion to build, travel and spread. At the end of the day, all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be!

May 15, 2008

Action Update Folks! Please

We wonder where the action happened? Oh yes, the TVS flame has launched itself grandly on hoardings all over the country. The sky behind the bike is beautiful to look at and that’s what held our attention for a good 30 seconds! The P220 is still quite a rare site on city streets. The Apache RTRs are on the rise. Yamaha and its MT (01) promises still appear to be a far cry from street side reality.

The R One Five (as the Yamaha blokes insisted, it be called) is something our eyes still scan on the horizon. There is nothing from Bajaj KTM or Honda for that matter. The Kinetic SYM thing does not appear to have taken women into any kind of flight. We know for sure that there are lot of informed folks out there who drop by the Monoshock site and blogs. Let us know what we missed guys. Hand hold us for a month and have patience. We will thrash them bikes around again till they beg to be photographed in a display of wild action. Ok! That reminds us, where is the camera?

The lunatic is on the grass...

...remembering games, daisy chairs and laughs.... This dvd is a must buy for all you Floyd fans out there. The best thing about this album is the fact that it was created in grim times with grim lyrics but the music is so uplifting that it leaves you astonished.

This 'Making of The Dark Side of the Moon' dvd has Roger Waters doing an accoustic solo of the that opening line song and David G rendering some amazing guitar solos and an accoustic version of 'Time'. Guess what? It is just timeless. I watched it six times in four days and I think I can do it again.
- Rahul

May 13, 2008

Motociclismo ‘s’ 2008 bike of the year awards

More than 35,000 readers of the major Italian bike magazine Motociclismo voted for their “Moto dell’anno 2008” (Bike of the Year 2008) and scored Ducati a best ever result in Sport Bike, best in Supermotard and a major result in the Naked Bike categories.

Choosing from 280 models split into 12 categories, including 125cc, Cruiser, Naked, Dual, Enduro, Supermotard, Touring, Sport Bike, Sport Touring, and three scooter categories, the public’s favourite and most eagerly awaited award was for best Sport Bike. For the first time ever in the history of such awards presented by motorcycle magazines, a single manufacturer – Ducati – had recorded an unprecedented clean sweep of votes and claimed the first three places.

The Ducati 1098 took the coveted first place with the Desmosedici RR in second and the stunning new 848 filled the ‘podium’ with third place to achieve the previously unmatched haul of trophies. Ducati’s domination of the Sport Bike category is a clear indication of the credibility and respect that the Italian manufacturer enjoys in this specific sector, traditionally a bench-mark and inspiration in the motorcycling world.

Ducati’s success that evening, however, did not end there. Once more, the highly original Hypermotard took first place honours in the Supermotard category and the beautiful new Monster 696, despite being launched just a few weeks ago, took an incredible second place in the Naked Bike category. To complete the impressive haul of awards, the Multistrada scooped third place overall in the Dual category.

May 12, 2008

Heck it has been long... really long!

Hello guys,
It has been 6 months now since we went quietly into the night. I owe all of you an explanation and apologies. Sure, that will come. But after I get the site and other things online. Should take me about 4 days from now to get Monoshock back to life. There were a lot of comments and mails. Some of them overwhelming. We will discuss all of them, this time, when its time.
By this weekend, Monoshock and its team will be at your service again.
- Rahul