From Raebareli we reached Lucknow and once in the town of Nawabs and all that – we headed straightaway to IIM wheeling through the Nawabi crowd. Lajja awaited us at IIM. I think all IIM’s look the same to an extent – I have seen only B and L though.
To be frank, I still wonder if I should take a break from job and stuff and get into an IIM – but the very idea is kind of repulsive you know. Every time I get a chance to meet / chat with someone who is either an IIM pass-out or in IIM final year – I end up asking the guy / girl if it really was worth it – going to IIM and all that? I ask them if the whole deal was anything more than the prestigious tag at the end of it – and a good boring job after that? None of them ever confess that it is / was ‘just’ a tag. Almost all of them tell you that they do / did learn ‘something’ but that ‘something‘ is always so vague. If you try hard, some of them may admit that what they learnt in IIM was something they would have picked up anyway – while working and all that. I guess it is only humane to justify one’s decisions – so I don’t really blame any of them if they even if they don’t admit that IIM doesn’t really bring anything extraordinary learning to their lives. It’s never too difficult to justify anything – the real question is how much do you really believe in what you are saying? More of this later – let me just go back to IIM Lucknow now.
Lajja got a good looking black Pulsar and all that from one of his friends and then the three of us went to check out Bada Imambara – it’s also known as Bhool-Bhullaiya. It’s funny to drive a Pulsar after riding so many million kilometers on a Bullet – you almost feel like riding a bicycle. Besides the power, what gets confusing is the fact that what worked as leg-brake in Bullet works as gear in Pulsar (and most of other bikes) and vice-versa. Anyway – I should tell you something else. Before leaving to see this place – this Bhool Bhulaiyaa, I had called up dad from Lajja’s room – I wanted to ask him what all I could do in Lucknow. Dad is a regular to this city you know – almost every time the bank that he works for decides to send him for some kind of training and all that, they send him to Lucknow – that’ what the bank that he works for does to him. So dad of course suggested checking out this Bhool Bhulaiyaa but what he aslo told was that I should not go too much inside the building without a guide because getting out could get frustrating. Now that was kind of scary and we indeed took a guide when we reached there.
It was not that bad an idea to roam inside that ancient building with a Lakhanwi guide who spoke more than needed. Most guides speak more than needed. The worst part is that they speak the same bloody thing every time to every customer and you can make that out even if you are hearing it for the first and only time. But he kept us entertained and did give very creative answers to Tiwari’s curious questions. Half the time, he kept telling about the engineering aspects of the structure – how cement or reinforcement had not been used anywhere in the building and all that. To be frank, this guide could definitely have taken at least one guest lecture in the Civil Engineering Department at IIT Madras. Tiwari and I never really told him that we were engineers ourselves. We acted dumb, surprised and pleased at his narrations of the amazing feat achieved by the Nawab who built the Imambara. The building was actually good and even without a guide, you will definitely appreciate the construction aspect of it – if you visit it sometime.
Our bike trip had almost come to an end and to be frank it was a depressing feeling. Next day we would be in Agra and then Tiwari would leave and then it would all get over as soon as I would reach Delhi. I was kind of flooded with these thoughts. Time had flown so fast – Delhi – Gwalior – Shaadi – Jhansi – Khajuraho – Bandhavgarh – Banaras – Allahabad! Everything seemed to have happened in the blink of an eye! Sigh!
After good food in a good restaurant suggested to us by Lajja and after dropping him back at IIM, he waved us goodbye and Tiwari and I left for Kanpur. That’s when the bike got punctured for the first time while driving.
For few seconds I kept on driving and the bike kept on shaking and slipping and skidding – almost as if oil had spilled all over the road. I actually thought that that was the case – that there was oil all over. It was dark and all and there was no way to confirm the presence of oil on the road by eyes. I think I tried to smell but when I couldn’t smell anything I thought that may be my nose was blocked or something because of cold. Finally, it was someone passing by on his vehicle who shouted out loud to us – the rear wheel is punctured you assholes. That’s when I stopped the bike.
Kanpur was not very far then and to our good luck, there was a puncture shop right on the other side of the highway. We were happy that the bike got punctured at least once – I mean what’s the use of a bike-trip if you can’t even manage to get your bike punctured? The puncture was soon taken care of and we left feeling happy and all that. Just when we were about to reach Kanpur – the bike got punctured again.
Now that was bad. That was bad because it took us about half an hour this time to find a place where we could get a tire-tube (we decided to get the whole damn thing replaced this time) and then another half an hour to find and convince a mechanic to replace the rear wheel tube – fuckers don’t want to touch a Bullet easily! After it was all done, we really didn’t want any more puncture adventures and thankfully nothing of that sort happened.
As I was preparing to sleep in the hotel that we checked-in in Kanpur, I had started to feel sad once again, thinking about the approaching arrival of the end of such an exciting journey with Tiwari. I am not sure what I dreamed about that night – the Taj Mahal that I was to see the next day or all the good time that I had been having with Tiwari ever since he came to Gwalior and joined me on this trip. I guess I dreamed about the latter.