Across the Sahara Desert on Kinetic Honda scooter. Chapter 2

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MY AFFAiR WITH THE KiHo: The Goa Ride!>>

I was the first person to publish KiHo Road Test Report in Car&Bike International magazine (now defunct) in 1987, over a quarter century ago, and four years before the SAHARA trip. For the test I had rode the KiHo from Pune to Goa and back in mid 1987 (petrol paid by the magazine which was run by Adil Jal Darukhanawala – who currently heads Zigwheels of the Times of India group), which was quite an adventure in more ways than one, and I went thru the greatest coincidence in my life.

Riding from Pune, myself single seat on the KiHo, and two friends, Vijay Lay Lay, Editor of long since defunct Poona Digest magazine & Sanjay DaNaiT (not DaKaiT) fotograffer of Poona Digest, dubble seat on 2-stroke, 100cc, Kawasaki-Bajaj KB100 (which I had tested before this KiHo) and around the same time Hero Honda had launched the original ekonomi bike CD100, with the tag line : FiLL IT. SHUT IT. FORGET IT.

We were supposed to stay in Sanjay DaNaiT’s unicle’s house in Goa, whose name & address I dinn0. This was my first trip to Goa. It was 31st May 1987. Tomoro, 1st June 1987, Goa was getting statehood. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was coming to Goa. Security would be tight at borders etc. etc. I did not have bike papers. At that age who thinks? How to cross border? They were especially strict in Goa bkoz of Rajiv’s visit. I was apprehensive.

I have been to Goa many times AFTER that. I always prefer to go by NH17,

which is the Bombay – Goa, Konkan road, rather than go by NH4, which is

the Bomby – Pune – Bangalore highway, which today is six lane & fast but

extremely boring. There is no life on NH4. It is built for people in a hurry,

for people who simply want to finish their work Kwik Lee Like Bruce Lee

and get back to their miserable cloistered CORPORATE DOG existence and

die of high blood pressure induced coronary thrombosis in a high class

company paid CORPRATE hospital.

There are many entry points into Goa from the north. If you stick to NH17

you will enter Goa thru Patradevi, but there are udder entry points such as

via the Terekhol fort which is almost on the coast, or via Dodamarg. This

was our first trip to Goa on bike, so we stuck to NH17. We did not know any

udder route.

There was a long queue of vehicles at the Maharashtra – Goa border. I

parked my KiHo on the side and walked to the checkpost. I saw that the cops

were really checking the papers quite strictly. But I had no papers!

Whattodo? My friends just crossed the border and rode off into Goa without

bothering about me.

So while my friends rode thru the border check post, I turned back not sure

what I should do. So I turned back and left the road a hundred meters before

the border check-post and went into the fields and bushes thru open kuccha

land and somehow came to some road inside Goa, and made my way into

Panaji thru Candolim via the Betim ferry. There was no Mandovi bridge

then. Or maybe Mandovi bridge was built but it fell and many people died. It

was also in the Bombay papers at that time. The only way to cross the

Mandovi in 1987 was by the Betim ferry.

But I had lost kontakt with my friends on the KB100. This was 1987. There

were no mobile phones then, remember? And quite possibly some of you

guys reading this now also might not have been around.

Petrol at that time cost one-tenth of what it costs today,

I had given Rs.500/- to Sanjay DaNaiT for collective spending at the

beginning of the trip & didn’t have much munny on me, maybe about

Rs.80/- and I dinn0 whatt0d0! I was in a strange state, strange town, for the

first time, not knowing anybody and without much munny on me. Anyway I

parked the KiHo at a waterfront Bar named Avanti and ordered Feni and

Bangda fry (Bangda is the most popular fish in Goa. In English it is known

as Macarel).

A peg of Feni at that time (31.May.1987) cost only Rs.1.25 inklooding the

soda. Today it costs @ 10times of that bkoz of state taxes. Balls to

statehood! Who wants statehood? Taxes go up and prices go up. If the

whole cunt ree was a Union Territory taxes would be much less and prices

cheap. I had a few Fenis and found a room for Rs.40/- in George’s hotel

adjacent to Avanti Bar and went to sleep.

About tomorrow we’ll see tomorrow I thought. Feni increases confidence.

Goa was not so touristy then. And there was hardly any Hoo-Ha about Rajiv

Gandhi’s arrival tomor0. That’s Goan SUSEGAAD for You! They are like

thatt 0nllly !


Due to my getting separated from my friends and my delicate financial and petrol condition, I had decided that I would take a ride to Fort Aguada in the morning, ride around as much as my finances would allow, and head east for Belgaum via the Ponda – Molem – Londa route. Belgaum is the nearest Karnataka town from Goa, where my grandparents lived. They were then still alive and ticking, but not kicking. I had enough munny to get me to Belgaum. I would borrow money from my grandfather in Belgaum and get back to Poona. This is what I decided before going to sleep.

Next morning I went to Fort Aguada like I had planned. Roamed around Candolim, checked out “O’Coqueir0”, the top restaurant in Goa, where Charles Sobhraj apparently staged his own re-arrest. Where Inspektor Zende walks into “O’Coqueir0” and says, “Charles Sobhraj, I presume?” “O’Coqueir0” still exists (2011), and I think has been taken over by the Taj Group. Best Garlick Prawn I ever ate was at “O’Coqueir0”, though not on this trip (I had no munny) but many years later! And the most expensive!

And why did Charles Sobhraj escape from prison if he wanted to get re-arrested? Actually Charles was in Tihar Jail in Delhi serving time for some offences he had committed in India, and having completed his sentence, was to be released since there were no other charges against him in India.

Point is: He was wanted for Murder in Thigh Land. He was accused in a murder that had happened in Thigh Land some 18 years ago. If he was freed by the court in India, the Indian Police (not court) was obliged (under international treaty) to deliver Charles Sobhraj to Thailand Police to face trial for murder.

If he got arrested for Jailbreak, he would be tried and Jailed again in India for two years. Thus he would be in Jail in India when Thailand Murder charge against him would complete 20 years. Under the Laws of Thigh Land called STATUTE OF LiMiTATiONs, you cannot charge a man for a crime committed more than 20 years ago. If Charles Sobhraj would not have escaped from Jail, he would be released as a free man in India when two years were still remaining to complete 20 years from the murder charge in Thigh Land, and then the Indian police would have to arrest him and deport him to Thigh Land to face murder charge there bkoz there exists an extradition treaty between India and Thigh Land. But if 20 years had passed then Charles Sobhraj could even go back to Thigh Land as a free man and live there and do business there. That is why he did the jailbreak & re-arrest drama. But there is no such STATUTE OF LiMiTATiONs Law in India, which I think is very bad. The way our so-called democracy – which is actually a Corrupt-0-Cracy – is structured, it is actually a cunt ree “Of the Govt., For the Govt., By the Govt.” This is what Anna Hazare is fighting against today.

Coming back to my Goa caper and KiHo test, 0n my way back from Fort Aguada I had given a lift to a guy. His name is Apollo Fernandez, a very common name in Goa. I remember this name even today though more than a quarter century has passed since then. This is bkoz I had a classmate in XLRI 1971-73 named Apollo Fernandez. So the name stuck in my mind. While riding pillion with me, we got talking. He was very curious about the KiHo. He had never seen such a bike before. I told him it was the first KiHo in Goa and that I was from Poona (not yet Pune) and was testing the bike for the magazine. I also told him my story of how I had got separated from my friends and how & where (George’s Hotel) I stayed last night etc. I also told him that my friends were riding a KB100. He got off on the Candolim side of the Betim ferry. He did some work and later came to Panaji main square below the church on a hill, which has the famous Kamat restaurant where I always eat. This is where a Police Station is also located.

I dropped Apollo Fernandez at Betim and went to George’s Hotel (where I had stayed last night) to collect my backpack, cleared the bill and decided to have 0ne drink before heading for Belgaum via Ponda – Molem - Londa. So I went into an adjoining bar having transparent glass windows and sat near one window and ordered a drink of Nariyal Feni & ‘goti-ka-soda’.

GOTi-KA-SODA is the only proven soda in the world in which the pressure of carbon dioxide from inside, presses the GOTi (glass marble) into the neck of the bottle from inside, and the internal pressure from the carbon dioxide inside keeps it stuck there. All other glass soda bottles use crimped tin caps with cork lining. Today’s PET soda bottles use PET bottles and threaded HDPE caps.

Meanwhile Apollo Fernandez, the guy whom I had dropped off at Betim Ferry, came to Panjim main square and probably walked past the police station and saw the Pune Registered KB100 parked in front of it. KB100 was also recently launched and was as yet a rare sight. As he was looking at the bike, Vijay Lay Lay & Sanjay Da-Na-iT came out of the polis station where they had gone to enquire if any idi0T named Dilip Bam had come to enquire about them, as per normal practice that anyone having confidence in polis would do.

But Dilip Bam is not a normal person and he has never been to a polis station except in handcuffs – but that’s a different story. Anyway when Sanjay DaNaiT mounted the KB100 to start it, this guy Apollo Fernandez told them that he was given a lift by Dilip Bam on KiHo and that Dilip Bam had stayed in George’s Hotel nearby and would be soon leaving for Belgaum. So Vijay & Sanjay quickly went to George’s Hotel hoping to catch me. But the guy at the counter told them that I had paid and left a short while ago. So as they were walking back to their bike they passed by the window where I was sitting and I saw them. I quickly got up to run after them, but seeing my quick moves to run, the Bar 0wner caught my collar behind my neck bkoz he thot I was trying to run away without paying for the drink. There was no time for explanation so I somehow managed to drag him to the door of the bar and shout at my friends. They heard me and turned back.

We all sat in the Bar and had more drinks and I then told my story to the Bar 0wner as Sanjay & Vijay also told their side of the story. Anyway we were united again and the rest of the trip went as planned. We stayed on in Goa for a couple of days and returned to Pune.

The KiHo performed beautifully throughout the journey. The Test Report came out very well. The starting lines in my test report in Car & Bike magazine a quarter century ag0 began: “The ride from Ponda to Londa on Kinetic Honda is one of the most enjoyable, serene, silent and picturesque rides in India”. Adil Jal Darukhanawala was very happy. He paid me Rs.500/- extra for the KiHo Test Report! 500/- in 1987 was worth 15000/- today.

I (rather, my wife) fell in love with the KiHo and wanted one. I didn’t have much munny. At that time the top people in Kinetic Honda Motor Limited (KHML) were Japanese. They had an Indian Sales Manager named Satish Moorjani. Luckily I knew him from before. We had both worked for TATA EXPORTs Ltd. ten years ago (1977) and operated from inside the TATA showroom (the largest showroom in the country at that time) at Shivsagar Estate, Worli, Bombay-400 018. So I managed to get a brand new KiHo at 50% price, which was a big deal a quarter century ago.

Kinetic Honda became very popular and was a hit with females. It really gave much freedom and mobility to the Indian middle-class females. Five years down the line, KHML had become so successful, that they started making plans to export Indian made KiHos to Nigeria, the most populous cunt ree in Africa and an OiL exporter==big market.

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