I sold my last motorcycle back in 2015 & since then have not experienced a motorcycle road trip. A few weeks ago, I bought a new(ish) motorcycle from a departing Expat. Its the Stallions Centaur CT400 with a 400cc single cylinder 4 valve engine. I have ridden it many times since then, but only local short commutes. It goes without saying, the feeling of wanderlust has been building up inside me since.
Today morning, I went about my usual schedule and even started my office work. After taking stock of my work, I realized I had nothing too urgent to finish today. I decided to take the day off and head out to the highway on the motorcycle.
I settled on Ko Lan, an island around 160km away. To get there, you need to ride till Bali Hai Pier at Pattaya and then take a ferry to the island. I hastily collected a few things, put on Pink Floyd’s Pulse and headed out on the highway. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the fastest highway to Pattaya doesn’t allow motorcycles on it. Fortunately, the other highway which does allow Motorcycles was also more suitable for Motorcycle rides. Highway 3 is a winding 4-6 lane road which hugs the coast and passes near many beaches.
After escaping the mad traffic of Bangkok, I was finally able to open up the throttle on the highway. The motorcycle performs very well on the highway, cruising easily between 100-120kmph without too many vibrations (For a single cylinder engine). There’s ample reserve power for going faster for overtaking, too. I was able to reach Pattaya in 2.5 hours.
I was quickly disappointed to find the pier deserted and learnt that boats to Ko Lan were stopped because of the pandemic. Dejected, I decided to explore Pattaya instead and headed to Pattaya Beach. Thankfully, Chonburi province allows dine-in and I was able to have lunch at the beach.
After getting my feet wet in the water and relaxing for sometime, I headed back to Bangkok. I wanted to stay and watch the sunset but the constant attempts by she-pimps to persuade me to get a “massage” got on my nerves. My phone ran out of battery on the way back, and I lost my way twice on the outskirts of Bangkok but eventually reached home.
After going on a motorcycle road trip after so many years, I feel exhilarated. Needless to say, there will be many more road trips in the months to come.
This post is about the time when I almost joined a Ponzi scheme. It all started with a colleague “K” who I had worked with, in 2 different companies and had known for many years. I considered him a friend (still do). Now, K always talked about a childhood friend of his, “Z” whom he clearly admired. Z bought a new car, Z bought a PS3, Z is vacationing in Europe etc. Eventually, we all knew Z by proxy.
Now, our friend K was not a very sociable person by nature. We hardly met or called each other outside work or visited each other at our homes. So, it was weird when one day K called me out of the blue, on a Saturday and asked me to meet for coffee. When I asked him what’s up, he said he wanted to introduce me to his friend Z and just have coffee together. I didn’t have any exciting plans then, so I agreed.
I met them at a swanky café at a reputable (disreputable, as I later found out) market in South Delhi. K was waiting outside with Z. Z immediately frowned and made a disappointing face when he saw me arrive on my motorcycle. K must have noticed this because he immediately said awkwardly something on the lines of “He also has a car, but is passionate about biking”. Introductions were made and we went inside the café.
Z starts by plopping his BMW keys on the table asking me what my dreams are. I tell him that I like travelling. Z asks me how I would feel if some day I could just pack my bags on a whim, go to the airport without any plans and just chose a country from the flight list to fly to. I told Z that an Indian passport doesn’t work that way and Indians can’t just travel to many places without a visa. I must have embarrassed K again because he awkwardly turned it into a joke and we all laughed.
Z continues by telling me he made smart investments in a business a few years ago and now has enough money to do whatever he wants in life. He also tells me that on K’s insistence, and on identifying certain qualities in me (over half a cup of coffee, no less), he is ready to make me a partner in his business. All I had to do, in return, was to make a small investment to get started and then sit back and watch the money pouring in.
Immediately, alarm bells start to go off in my head. By this point, I also start to notice that every other table at this cafe is also occupied by people engaged in a similar conversation as us. I understand that I am being baited for some kind of Ponzi scheme and make up my mind that I need to get out, quick. Z asks me for a measly investment of ₹100000 and informs me that the window of opportunity will not be open for long.
I tell him I will go to the ATM and withdraw the cash. He asks me not to sweat it and fishes a POS machine out of his bag and asks for my card. He also tells me they have partnerships with many banks and they can get me a loan in a few hours. I tell him some bullshit about my card being blocked on POS machines and insist on going to the ATM.
Z must have sensed I am about to bail because he frowns and says maybe K was wrong about my potential. I immediately high tail it out of the cafe and the market, start my bike and am out of that area in 10 seconds flat without even paying for the parking. I feel my phone ring in my pocket, but reach inside my pocket and switch it off. The entire ride home, I am racked with guilt on ditching my friend K and leaving him in such an awkward situation.
By the time I reach home, though, I realise it’s not my fault. It was K’s fault for using his friendship with me for such purposes and tricking me into such a position. By the time I switch my phone ON and get many missed call alerts from K, I am livid with K for doing this and plan to confront him at work on Monday.
Over the weekend, I calmed down and realised what must have happened. Z must have convinced K into this Ponzi scheme. K was just trying to recoup the “investment” he put in. I also realised that doing all this must have been even more awkward and difficult for K than it was for me. I began to feel pity for him and wondered how Z could involve someone like K (unsociable, awkward), his childhood friend into such a thing.
When I researched more about QNET and MLM in general, I realised that almost everyone involved (except the people on top) are just trying to recoup their losses. And for money, they will get over their awkwardness, phobias and use their friendships to rope others in.
Monday at work was a bit awkward, K and I exchanged pleasantries but didn’t talk to each other like we used to. It took many days for the awkwardness to subside and many weeks for things to go back to normal. We never spoke about it ever again.
Later, I heard from others that K had approached them, too, but didn’t find anyone who had gotten in. I wonder if K was able to recoup his losses. Maybe some day I will ask him and we will laugh about it.
Hello. My life has become worthless lately. Reasons:
1. I don’t go to the gym anymore. My usual excuses are that I go to office in the evenings and wake up in the afternoon so I can only go to gym in the afternoon. The problem is only very expensive gyms are open in the afternoon.
2. I don’t play the guitar anymore. The thing I prided upon doesn’t matter much anymore. It doesn’t matter that I could once play the whole opening leads for the “Hell freezes over” version of Hotel California. My excuse is that the fret board is bent and I can’t find a place to repair here
3. I eat junk food everyday. I eat at nirulas or some other fast food joint everyday. I also have atleast a litre of coke everyday. Weekends are special binge fests with more food and alcohol thrown in.
4. I still spend more than I earn. Though I use buxfer and it has controlled my spendings I still end up spending a lot of money.
I’m still a long way off from financial stability. My only consolation is that I don’t really need financial stability at this point of my life.
5. I don’t ride my bike anymore. In the summers its too hot to ride and in the winters its too cold. When sometimes I do ride my bike it feels so amazing I can’t describe in words. Lights failing, indicators rattling, battery almost dead its in a sorry state. I remember in college I thought I didn’t ever want to buy a car and always ride my bike.
Have I really changed and just trying to believe that I’m still the same and can be the same way still when it’s time to move on?
Lately I have been feeling that I’ve been trying to do too much in my life but don’t have enough time to do it. Time flows by like a river and boredom is a thing I haven’t experienced for a long time. Here’re what I do all week.
During the weekdays, I wake up at 12.30, go out for sometime, come back home at 2, take a bath, play games from 2.30 to 3.30, do a little office work, have my lunch at 4, leave for office at 4.30, come back at 3 in the morning, watch seinfeld and listen to music and sleep at 4.
Saturdays I wake up around 1, play games, watch tv and then go out at around 5 in the evening, roam around cp, relax with a couple of beers, have dinner and come back around 1 at night. Watch a movie or play games and sleep around 4 in the morning. Sundays are similar except that I have to take my parents out instead. Add to all this my chronic laziness.
Here’s a list of things that I really want to do but am too lazy to start or continue
Play guitar and learn some new songs. Watching my guitar gathering dust makes me want to hate myself.
No, this is not a futuristic laser weapon. It’s my bike’s headlight. The way it looks like this is because it’s trying to penetrate the thick fog before dying midair before managing to reach the road. Fog conditions here were at it’s worst tonight with visibility down to a few meters. The journey back home from office which usually takes a few minutes took almost 20 minutes. I couldn’t drive faster than 20kmph lest I bang into someone or a truck mow me down. When i did reach home, my clothes were soaking wet. A fun experience after all riding like that. The uncertainty of what lay ahead and whether you’re still on the road drove into a ditch.