It was the usual Saturday night. After coming from office, it was the time for relaxation. My friend had some cans of beers with him. Time to chill out! Along with 2 more friends we had a can of beer each. The dinner was also ready and the drinks and food was over by 11 pm.
“Hey lets go somewhere”, TS said. “Ok”, I quipped. So here we went, 4 of us on 3 bikes. Straight away we went to the bridge to enjoy some cool breeze. After beer we were a bit unsteady.
Even though it was late night the traffic on the bridge was as bad as ever. Constant honking of horns, the screech of tires breaking, the motor cyclists snaking in between the big cars, a total madness! The Kulfi wala was standing near to the crowd selling his kulfis. We had one each. The kulfi was long and white and tasty. But the unsteady hand of mine dropped the kulfi even before I had a chance to lick it. So I got another one. The one unusual thing about these big bridges is that whenever a big vehicle passes over it, it sways gently. The gentle swaying was felt by me but initially I couldn’t be sure whether it was the vehicle or the beer. It was vehicle alright.
Finally after sometime we all came back to the initial question, where next? Shall we go to vapi? Nah! Too far! What about Narmada Dam? Too long and too tiring! Then suddenly DA said, “Hey let us go to Hazira. Maybe we can see the industries there!!” What a nice idea. Going for an industrial visit in the middle of night! Is the area even open at night? Well there is only one way to find out. Before we knew we were on our way to Hazira.
AS accidently took the turn to Piplod and I followed him. DA and TS went via Adajan. Riding along the Gaurav Path at 12 is a wonderful experience. The traffic is light, the road is nice and it is easy to maintain a speed of 80 kmph. After breezing through it, we ended up at Magdalla Bridge. The moon was at half point and the view of the moon over the skyline of city was a breath taking sight. We were completely mesmerized by the seductive glow of the moon casting a pale light over the Tapi River. As we were enjoying this view, DA and TS turned up. After some photo-shoots on the bridge we started for Hazira.
Winding up our way in between the trucks plying in the night we moved ahead to Kawas, smoking along the way. The road to Hazira is pretty much straight. The industrial belt of Hazira starts with the BPCL depot. After that there are a series of industries lining along the way. We got a glimpse of Kribco, with an impressive entry on the left side and the Kribco colony on the right. The actual chemical and fertilizer factory was far from view but it reminded me of the acid factory from the movie of the same name. Lining the road to Hazira came along the NTPC power project and then came the huge area of Reliance.
The Reliance Industries has a huge campus and is spread over a large area. Two gates are for entry of people and two gates at the farthest side are for trucks only. Now the road took a turn and then came a straight stretch of road of approx. 10 km. the reliance industries had a tower with a fire burning at top. The fire was strange in the sense that it was more of a fast burning type rather than the slow moody fire that we usually see in refineries. The Reliance color gave way to the lush campus of L & T which looked very good in the night light. But admit it; their campus was much smaller than the Reliance.
The straight road marked with speed bumps regularly made us go to speeds of 100kmph to 40kmph every few minutes. Three of the bikes riding along in uniform fashion were a sight to watch. Well not for us but for somebody watching us of course. The L & T then gave away to the mighty ESSAR. Now I am not exaggerating or anything but EASSAR was mighty big. It stretches all along the sea coast end to end. Spread on both sides of the road, we get a feeling that one is being covered by the sheer size of the industry. Long stretches of long vehicles lined the way on both sides, some of them moving slowly ahead, lumbering their huge long trailer behind. There was even a railway track cutting across the road and pathways over the road! We went on and on. At last we left the mighty ESSAR behind and touched the sea coast.
There were some boats along the coast. One was docked near the road. The road seemed to stretch on forever. After a looong time, we came to a barrier gate. Turned out it was the maximum that we could go. So we parked our bikes on the middle of the road and lit a cigarette. We could see some people sitting near the barrier gate. We started chatting and shouting after a puff of smoke and were just talking. TS said, “Ah, nice adventure.”
“This is not an adventure. An adventure in such a situation is when a police convoy comes and takes us to station”, I remarked. Nervous laughs.
Barely had 15 minutes passed that another motorist came towards us with Hi Beam fully on. I was squinting to see who it was. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the silhouette of a rifle on the back of the pillion rider.
“ Kaun ho tum log? Yaha Kya kar rahe ho? ” Asked the policeman. What followed next was some stupid explanation from our side why we were there in the middle of industry area at such an unearthly hour with no identity card and no business of being there. The policeman took our bike numbers and ordered us to come to police station. Reluctantly we followed.
The policeman with the gun sat behind me and we went off. We reached the police station and gave our driving license to the in-charge there. DA didn’t even have license. Thankfully TS, AD and I had one. The policeman thrashed us asking us whether this was a picnic spot or anything, roaming here in the middle of the night. We were looking here and there, and repeatedly our eyes were being hypnotized by the only lock up available there. In or out was the question in our minds. It was a Saturday night and if we go in we will not go out till Monday. It was a dilemma. Who will run the plant on Monday??
But thanks to our lucky stars he let us go. Spreading the butter over the toast was the fact that they had written all the details on the visiting card of DA which he returned to us. So no evidence of us being in Jail! Bach gaye. Turns out, we had our night of adventure after all.