- All limbs still attached, no blood
- Head is still in helmet – brain functioning at basic level, adrenaline level at max; fight or flight? … fight … fucking furious …
- ... other rider in pool of blood on road, therefore reduce anger to def-con 4, he’s not in a good place
- Bike in bits on its side
- Water – on bike
The police are initially quite helpful at the scene, they bustle the injured idiot into an ambulance and wait for me to reset my handle bars, levers and controls, and assess the state of my bent pannier box and broken foot-peg. Then they take a very basic statement, they don’t appear particularly interested in the details of the event. The don’t seem at all interested in whose side of the road we are on and what the kamikaze Honda pilot was trying to do. They seem very interested in me, my passport, my bike and my details, it appears that every policeman in a 100km vicinity has come to see what’s going on; a big Englishman in a crash on a big motorbike is big news for them. They put my bent box in their jeep and tell me to follow them to their police station, I tell them to drive slowly, they don’t so I am forced to follow them on more idiotic overtakes just to keep in contact with my bent box and its contents. In a country where the police drive like joy-riders on an acid-trip it’s little wonder the rest of the population have a screw loose when it comes to road sense.
The police station in Bichkunda is a ramshackle affair. The police chief speaks a little Indi-lish and is putting on an air of grave concern and self-importance, but the proceedings quickly descend into farce. I expect them to want my passport, visa, bike details, insurance documents and itinerary but after photocopying my passport and demanding to know where I’m going and why, they are not interested in any other information other than how their police station is different from police stations in London and what weapons the British police use, and "what is their uniform looking like, and how many policemen are working in London, and how much money are they getting in a month, and what vehicles are they driving?" They seem a little confused with my response of I don’t know and I don’t care. As we sit in the chief of police’s dirty office it becomes apparent that my left ankle is not in a good way, the adrenaline is wearing off. The impact where I hit the ground at some speed appears to have been foot first if my scuffed boot and twisted ankle are anything to go by. I’m beginning to think that I’m on a bizarre reality TV set-up when the power cuts out as the sun begins to fall, it’s gone 5pm. By torchlight I am interrogated about British police procedures. I tell them that if they are no longer interested in the incident then I need to go back to Hyderabad to fix my bike (at my own expense) and see a doctor about my ankle. They tell me I cannot leave the police station without an Indian citizen coming to vouch for me. I ask if I’m under arrest. In broken Indi-lish with as much gravitas and self-importance as this police chief can muster I am “kindly informed, Mr Roopret, that you are not being arrested, but you are not being Indian so we are not legally allowed for you to leave here without a worthy person to vouch for you”.
Blood pressure rises; need to engage in some patience. At this point I remember the nice biking guys in Hyderabad who Swiss David is staying with; I only met them yesterday for a couple of hours but they are the only people I know in India who may have any idea what this bizarre back-water police outfit is on about. I send a couple of texts to David and within less than a minute my phone doesn’t stop ringing. Akhil and Nick, Indian bikers in Hyderabad, speak to the police chief on my phone but don’t get any luck other than the same explanation of needing an Indian citizen to “bail” me. So they post an urgent message on Facebook to any biker in the area to contact me and come to get me out. My phone instantly goes nuts as dozens of super-friendly, super-helpful Indian bikers start calling me. The police chief is overwhelmed as I continually hand him my phone to talk to people who are prepared to speak on my behalf even though they’ve never met me. Then somehow Akhil and Nick (and probably the other guys in Hyderabad – but I’m not sure, even now, who or how) contact a local government minister who phones the police chief in Bickkunda and is clearly tearing some strips off his stripes over the phone. Suddenly the Keystone Kops in Bichkunda cannot do enough for me, they make me tea, bring a local doctor over to assess my swelling ankle, fetch my bent and broken box from their Jeep. It seems I am now actually free to leave, thanks to the intervention of a government minister who I have never met. But not before I am forced to pose for photographs in the police chief's office. I tell them that selfie taking is definitely not standard procedure in the Met, but they still insist. It’s now after dark, I have wasted 3 hours here being held captive on the basis that I’m not a local. A couple of cops hold torches while I try to attach the broken box to the side of the bike with bungees and straps while the mosquitos feast on my exotic blood and third cop photographs proceedings. I notice the top-box, attached centrally behind the seat above the back wheel, is now bent on its mounting, then I notice that it’s got big scuff marks on the top of the box lid where it hit the road, then I notice the scuff marks on the top of the mirror mounting and on the top and front of the screen. The only way these bits could have got in contact with the road is if the bike flipped; somersaulting back over front. I consider the implications of my 300kg KTM and luggage flipping end over end and throwing me off like a rag doll as I punch Hyderabad into the sat-nav and get a bloody blue-light police escort out of Bichkunda and back my crash site!
Sit-rep 2: My sprained left ankle is almost incapable of operating the gear shift lever, the right foot-peg mount is twisted and hanging off, the rear brake pedal doesn’t work, the clutch lever is half missing, the left mirror keeps swinging loose, the sat-nav mount has become so loose it’s facing down towards the fuel tank, my right wrist is sprained so controlling the twist-grip throttle is painful, I don’t have a hotel booked, I haven’t eaten since a banana break at 2pm, it’s nearly 9pm, the night time traffic involves dodging drink-drive dickheads in headlight-less rust-buckets, it’s 180km to Hyderabad, I’ve got no gas, no need for cigarettes, it’s dark and I’m wearing sunglasses (anyone who hasn’t seen the Blues Brothers will probably not get that last reference). Anyway, there is no way I’m staying out here in the middle of nowhere in some grotty guest house with a hole-in-the-ground toilet and flea-ridden sheets, I am not in the mood for an authentic traveling experience. I want to be in Hyderabad to get this shitty mess sorted out.
On the way back into town I have to get off the bike twice, once for bike fuel and once for me fuel. Both times I find a couple of friendly helpful people who find it intriguing that this strange stranger on a big broken bike can’t walk to the kiosk to type his pin code in for petrol or make it over to the street vendor to get a samosa without wrapping his arm around a couple of Indian blokes and getting them to support half his weight! While refuelling I find a cheap hotel using an online app, tell Google to tell the sat-nav where it is and 3 hours later at a little after midnight I wake up a bemused night-porter, tell him that I booked online a couple of hours ago and I need a room, no I’m not parking the bike on the street, yes he is going to unlock that gate, and no I am not in the mood to argue!