The most awaited CSE batch trip to Goa was coming to a sweet end. The last spot to visit in our itinerary was the sunset point Dona Paula, renowned for shooting of few fighting scenes in a hit Bollywood movie Singham. The excursion began in morning itself with around 20 of us headed to Panaji city on bikes, all double seated. Being a long ride, half of us parted from the other half and we paved our own way. With such a pleasant view of Cruises along the way, we reached Dona Paula at around 5PM.

Being apprehensive, I wondered while parking: “Why no paid parking here? Almost every spot we visited had one! Is it safe? Chuck it, no one is worried, why should I be, I’ll just park it here. Ahh, my handle lock doesn’t work and the bike next to me is the exact replica of mine! Doesn’t mean it will have the same key! Just chill and enjoy the trip Rajat :-/”.

After sunset, few 100 pics and girls’ shopping: “Well, it’s getting late so we should hurry a bit as the roadway back to Baga isn’t so straightforward.

On reaching back to parking: “Eh, I remember parking my bike in front of this pole. Guys, I am unable to find my bike!”.
“Someone might have moved it around, look properly Rajat.”
Hmm, lemme check around again.
Wondering: “Oh god, why did I have that intuition while parking? Don’t be worried, it must be somewhere near. It’s already getting late and this sad luck of mine.
No, am still searching but am sure it’s supposed to be somewhere near this pole. Help me out please.
And I told them my bike number.

It was dusking and we were still struggling to find my bike. Feeling abjected, I called up one of our friends and asked him to contact the vendor to suggest something. He simply asked us to return from there before its too dark. But we didn’t have free pillion rides and going tripsy would be too risky. Stranded far from the hotel, we watched others leaving till it was 7 PM and there were very few bikes left. Asking the inhabitants wasn’t fruitful, but they somehow convinced us that bike theft is aberrant in Goa and that you should look around and wait for someone to return it.

After searching for the bike for all we were worth: “Am pretty sure the Activa is stolen! God knows who’s gonna pay for it now; 50-50 split between me and her (pillion rider)? Will be taken from the buffer money we all had given initially? Uff”. We soon heard chatters nearby: “Arrr… this one is our Activa and we took the wrong one. Lets just leave it here and take ours.” That struck a bell in me and we walked up to them curious about their situation:

“What happened to you?”.
“We mistakenly picked the wrong Activa with similar looks and realized later.”
“How is that even possible? Your key worked in some other bike?”
“Surprisingly, yes.”
Wondering: “Oh, now I get everything. It must be a circular chain and the owner of this bike is the one having mine. Lemme just try my key in this one.”

After they left, somewhat lucky me was able to get my key working in the other bike. Confused about my next step, a nearby inhabitant suggested that the bike you are trying is of Baga only and you can probably exchange once you reach there. Not waiting for another though, we all happily left from the spot.

But fortune wasn’t with us. On the way back, we were all double-seated on 4 bikes and as it was a one-way road, we couldn’t recall our way and kept riding hoping it was correct. 4 bikes, 8 youngsters, headed probably wrong way, on a roadway surrounded only by bushes and trees.
Following Google Maps wasn’t that easy given the complicated twists and turns. After a while, finding no one following or leading me was scary! Calling others wasn’t helpful as there were no landmarks in the way. Had to take a U-turn and blindly follow the vacant road. Relief upon meeting others was subsided when I found one of our bikes lying aside the road and one of our female riders wailing in pain. Though the wound on her leg wasn’t that severe, yet it was painful enough for her to create difficulties in riding. Discovering no one else to ride (some without spects, others without driving licence), she had to somehow ride on her own.

It was smooth ride for the next 6-7 Kilometres and the pleasant view of Cruises parked along the roadside upon reaching Panaji city gave us a sigh of relief. Finally the feeling of being lost subsided. Already 9 PM, we planned to have dinner in the city and later head to Baga, but since we were still around 14 KM from there, we unanimously decided to first reach there peacefully and then have dinner. So we continued riding.

Being a clear highway, we were speeding up to 60 KPH and joyfully riding following each other so as to make sure no one is left out. Overtaking me, another bike came speeding up next to me, asking to stop and stand aside. Being nervous and confused, I stopped and also asked others to wait for me.

Those Guys accosted me: “Dude whose bike are you riding?”
Deceiving reply: “Obviously mine!
With slight anger: “You better come clean, coz we have got the proof that it’s ours”
Show it!
“Luckily, today we took a random photo while riding and the number plate is clearly visible in it!” and they showed it to us.
Saddened by pic: “Damn! FML! How can someone find his lost bike hours later in this goddamn widespread city? That too on the go! And even if hand over this bike to them… where the freak is my bike? There was no circular chain after-all, as anticipated. I am the unlucky one who will be eventually left with no bike!
Ok, I accept my blunder, but am currently helpless and we need to reach Baga before it’s too late.
And I made them patiently listen to my story about how we landed up in this situation. Probably my innocent face did the trick. Also seeing girls with us, they were somewhat convinced.
“Not our problem dude, even we need to reach there, but we also don’t have enough bikes and my friends are helplessly waiting at Dona Paula. Thank God we didn’t lose hope and kept looking at the bikes crossing on this way. We were about to go Police Station but preferred to wait on the roadside and kept checking all the bikes from Dona Paula route. I can collaborate with you later, but first I need to bring them back from there.”

Cursing my ill-fate, I unwillingly handed over them the bike. Seeking help and suggestion, me and my friends made a number of phone calls to other friends and the vendor.

Standing in the middle of the highway, I found it painful to digest my ill-luck and we were all waiting for some miracle.

My phone rang: “Hey guess what? Vendor just informed me that your bike has been found and is in Dona Paula police station! Go collect it ASAP.” I can’t express in words how relieved we all were upon hearing that. By that time, few of my friends had came over for help and the girl with wounded leg left in an auto rickshaw to the nearest hospital with 2 others.

We five: 3 boys and 2 girls decided to leave for the police station on 3 bikes, way 6 KM back!

Upon reaching the police station in cold dark night, sensing that bribe might asked for, I and my friend only took a sum of 500 Rs. with us (200-300 split) while entering (though we had more cash with us, but we gave it to other friends). The policeman after listening to our tragedy and rebuking us for a while for not registering any complaint for so long, agreed to release the bike but definitely not for free! With a poker face, I looked at my friend and we both emptied our pocket hoping that he will spare us with that sum. But to all vain, he was simply not satisfied and kept asking for more. Nescient of the situation around, we asked if there is an ATM nearby to withdraw FINE. Ahh! His face glowed as if he has won some lottery, and he promptly directly us to the ATM adjacent to the police station. What a lucky police station! Pretending to take out cash from the ATM we took another 1000 Rs. note with us and gave him, sadly the bastard asked for the other 500 Rs. as well, when I gave him every last note from my wallet, he sympathized a bit and returned 100 Rs saying: “Keep it for any emergency!”. WOW, how generous of him!, I must say. :-/

One problem solved, another rose. We are just 5 with 4 bikes now and only 3 can ride! Calling the friends again was not an option. But my pillion rider gathered all her courage and briefed us about her once-in-a-lifetime riding experience in her town. Having no other option, we let her ride. Since we had another 20 KM to ride at around 10.30 PM, we wanted to avoid any more uncalled miseries. Following a proper chain throughout the way and realizing that she wasn’t a learned rider, we decided to not cross 30-40 KPH limit. In chilled and shivering cold and just a plain t-shirt to wear, we kept making frequent stops to gather and ensure everyone is alright.

Peacefully reached destination at 12.30 AM.

Later, same night after dinner, I came across the 2 guys (whose bike we poached(??)) in Titos lane and chatted with them for a while. The last coincidence!

Lessons learnt:

  • Handle lock is a must!
  • 3 Bikes at same location can have same key!
  • There is a place called police station inhibited by police-walas with insatiable greed!
  • Coincidences aren’t always welcomed

PS: How our bike reached the police station is still enigmatic! (One of the policeman himself created this plot for easy money?? We didn’t bother to ponder at that.)