Saturday, December 27, 2008

Heros of the day:A compilation of stories of 26/11

This is a relative different subject in my blog but perhaps something of a very significant important.I would be compiling stories of heros who helped put an end to dastardly terrorist attacks in mumbai on 26th November 2008.The links for the stories in no particular order.Incase you have more to add please write to me at amitpatil888[at]gmail[dot]com.

How tukaram omble armed with courage and only a lathi subdued a terrorist with AK-47

'How we caught the fidayeen alive'

The first thing you notice as you enter D B Marg police station in south Mumbai is the photograph of Tukaram G Omble, who died battling terrorists early on the morning of November 27.

The assistant police sub-inspector had grabbed a terrorist's AK-47 and did not let go even as six bullets ripped through him. Omble knew that if he let go his comrades would also die. His heroic action helped his colleagues kill one terrorist and nab the other -- Ajmal Qasab.

Senior Inspector Nagappa R Mahale is the man in charge of the D B Marg police station. He was on duty when he heard that terrorists had attacked south Mumbai. "The first thing I did was put up nakabandi (police blockades) at two places. There were the two roads that led from south Mumbai to our area."

"When we heard that a Skoda car was heading with two armed terrorists towards Girgaum Chowpatty, I immediately told my men to seal the road and put up two barricades. I did not want them to try and crash through."

"At 0015 am we got the message that the Skoda had entered Marine Drive and was coming towards us. At 0030 the Skoda stopped 50 feet away from our barricades. They knew that they could not go through."

'We know we are brave'

They sprayed water on the windshield, started the wipers and put on the headlights on high beam. Two of our inspectors, Bhaskar Kadam and Hemant Bhoundhankar, fired at the driver and killed him," says Senior Inspector Mahale.

"On the other side, the other terrorist lay down on the road as if in surrender. Omble, who was closest to him, tried to disarm him, by grabbing his gun. But the man fired. Omble did not let go. He was killed, but he saved his colleagues."

"As the terrorist tried to shake off Omble, the rest of the policemen leapt on him. One grabbed his gun while another took out his revolver. The rest hit him with lathi (batons) till he fainted."

"We took the terrorists to the Nair Hospital and our men to the Harkissandas Hospital. Another colleague, Sanjay Govilkar, also had a bullet injury. Omble died in hospital, but Sanjay survived."

"We filed the FIR (First Information Report) and conducted the primary investigation before the Crime Branch took over."

Mahale has been a policeman for 30 years. He has seen the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, riots, blasts in taxis, blasts on trains, and now these attacks. "It has made every Mumbai cop proud. We know we are brave. We know what we are capable of, when the occasion demands."

He presides over 160 policemen and officers, most wielding lathis.

'We fired three shots at the terrorist'

Bhaskar Kadam is an assistant sub-inspector. He joined the force in 1991. He was on duty that night when Inspector Mahale told him to man the Chowpatty check post. He is the main detective at the D B Marg police station and has six detectives reporting to him. Kadam and his men were in mufti when they arrived at Girgaum Chowpatty.

"I was standing on the other side of the divider with ASI Bhoundhankar, who was already there as this was his beat. We were both carrying pistols. We were there from 10 pm. We were getting the news on our wireless of all the happenings in south Mumbai. Our men were behind the barricade."

"Traffic was thinning as time passed. Finally, there were no vehicles on Marine Drive. We had checked every vehicle since 10 pm. Now there were none."

"At 0016 we heard that the terrorists had hijacked a Skoda car. There was a strong possibility that they would come here. On the wireless we got confirmation that they had entered Marine Drive. At 0030 the silver Skoda stopped 50 feet away from our barrier."

"They turned on the wipers and headlights. We shouted, "Headlights off, surrender, get down." For 90 seconds they stood still, then then tried a 'U' turn."

"The road divider obstructed the 'U' turn. I was near the divider. The driver fired two rounds with his left hand. I fired three shots from my pistol. Bhoundhankar also fired three shots. The driver was seriously injured (he died later)."

"My people rushed forward and took his AK-47, and car keys."

"On the other side, the terrorist opened the door and lay down on the road. His gun was still in his hand. The policemen behind the barricade ran towards him. Omble dived on him and tried to take away the gun. The terrorist fired. Omble took six bullets, but did not let go."

"The other policemen then beat the terrorists with their lathis. They took away his AK-47 and a pistol from his pocket. He fainted from the blows. He also had bullet wounds."

'I realised I was shot after we subdued the terrorist'

Sanjay Govilkar rejoined duty on Monday, December 8. He was in civilian clothes. This is because the doctor told him that the police belt, which is very wide, would hurt his bullet wound.

"I was just behind Omble when he jumped on the terrorist, we all did. After we subdued the terrorist I realised that there was a burning sensation in my back. Only then did I realise that I was bleeding badly."

"The bullet had grazed my back. I survived, but my colleague Omble did not."

Sanjay drew a small diagram to explain what had happened that night. "We had put up the barricade in such a way that they could not take a right turn. The blockade was below the bridge. They couldn't go anywhere."

"We knew that the Skoda was coming, so we were all alert. We had taken positions in three different places. We attacked the terrorists from three directions."

"When that terrorist was on the road, policemen were approaching him from the front, from behind the barricade. We were approaching from the back. And two sub-inspectors were just across the divider."

"Omble reached him first, then everyone attacked him with vigour. When we saw that Omble was not letting go of the terrorist's gun, we knew we could not let his sacrifice go in vain. He held on and we completed his unfinished task."


Ordinary bus driver performing extraordinary service for the nation

Dhabosa ride

log Coming up...placeholder

Saturday, November 8, 2008

If dreams were made up of stones

Triplogue as narrated by navin
4 days of holidays in the office meant a ride was emminent. But work load leading to the holidays meant that there wasn't time for planning. I'd called Darth and asked him his plans. Since i had only 2 days for tripping (had to spend the other 2 with family, the trip had to be short. That was one reason why we'd chucked out Hampi from the plan. The other reason was that i had another friend joining the ride who wasn't much of a rider in terms of experience (his bike was less than 800 kms old), so Hampi would be overkill for him. But the last minute ditchoo happened and he bucked out due to some reasons. Now it was just me and Darth for the ride. The plan was highly volatile at Saturday night... we reach kolhapur and decide whether to go to Bijapur or Hampi. But secretly enough, the Hampi bug had bitten both of us It was an untold determination between us to reach Hampi (we realized later)

We met at Panvel 6:45 am. This was our first ride together. We weren't aware of each other's riding styles.. but that wasn't going to be a problem. We had breakfast at Lonavala, and proceeded further on the NH4. Breaks had to be scarce... we used to take one at an interval of about 100 kms.

The road was minblowing! All 4 laned upto about Hubli. Both of us were having fun ripping through the stretch, especially Amit after (allegedly) having rode through Bhutan at slower speeds My odo's pointer arm had (surprisingly) broken somewhere on the way, so the only thing i could monitor for the rest of the trip was the rpm.

Had our lunch break at an McD at Kolhapur at about 1.30 pm. Folks in Kolhapur seem to have advanced a lot.. first it was the surprise of spotting an McD at the place and second.. the ladies there.. especially their dressing style (Darth probably knows what i mean )

We were at Hubli by 6.30 pm. Henceforth it was only about 160 odd kms, but it was going to be riding in the dark, and relatively bad patches of roads. So it took a lot of time. We reached the gates of Hampi by about 11:30 pm.

It was all dark inside.. we were hoping to get a hotel to stay inside, but that was not to be. We rode on and reached the outside of Hampi from the other side.

We checked into Karnataka tourism hotel and retired for the night. The staff in the hotel was very lame, but we dd not have the guts to search for another hotel at this time in the night. Our attempts of getting beer were in vain as it was already 1.00 am.

Next day we were up by 7.00 am and out by 8.00 am. The aim was to do the sight seeing till about 1.00 pm, have lunch, and start the return journey by 2.00 pm.

Finally we started the return journey at 2.00 pm. The night we halted at Belgaum. And started next day for mumbai at 8.00 am, were home by 5.00 pm

All in all, this was an excellent trip, and a trip of many firsts for us. Longest single day ride of 750 kms, first time on the GQ, some endurance riding....

Total distance covered? about 1550 kms

Some pics of hampi ride:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thunder Dragon Ride(Sikkim-Bhutan ride)

In recent times whenever I had looked out from a window of aircraft I kept staring at all the clouds below me and a clear blue sky overhead.Dense forests,desolate beaches,snowy mountains,arid flatlands I have been everywhere but I had wondered if I would see such a view during a ride.As our bikes started climbing from thimpu this tour presented me with such a beautiful spectacle with clouds till horizon and a blue sky above us and I didnt miss an opportunity to stop Anup and Razor and click a picture to freeze this precious moment for time immemorial.

This ride story of bikers from different parts of country bounded by common love of motorcycle touring set out to conquer unknown terrains and chase new horizons
Rajiv Livingstone(Trivandrum) as Jithu on ZMA:

Sparsh(Delhi) as himself on P150:

Anup Abraham(Mumbai) as himself on HH ambition:

Gopi(Mumbai) as razorblades on RTR:

Amit Patil(Mumbai) as darth lucifer on P200:

Let the journey begin:


Till everyone returns and fireworks really start some mundane details of journey till NJP
12,13,14,15th sept 2008
Caught up train till Kolkata on night of 12th.Howrah mail.Me gopi and anup were alloted lower middle and upper berth.We had booked non ac sleeper keeping option open that we might have to load bikes in same train.non Ac meant lesser bribes was the thought.
However to our horror we found out that what was meant to be a side berths are now converted into three berth.How the fck do they expect 3 people to travel in place that can hardely accomandate 2.Anup who was our 'mandwali/jhol/setting guy' tried to arrange for AC seat in vain.Our journey begin with a bad start and we somehow spent 36 hours in real painful conditions.

Reached kolkota and took a cab to sealdah.Stayed in cheap hotel close to station.

went out to took our first tram ride

later went to a local joint(cant recollect the name) for a drink

Got tipsy and anup and razor went ahead and had more till everyone was stoned

Caught darjeeling mail on sunday night

Woke up to a beautiful sunrise caught from moving train

As train reached siliguri we could smell the much awaited mountains and butterflies were fluttering in our stomach.

Collected our bikes from GATI and later met jithu and sparsh who had already arrived at NJP.Stayed in a hotel at siliguri where Jithu was put up for some time.Sparshs bike which was coming by train from delhi had overshot NJP and reached Gawhati and was available only on monday noon.We decided to ride to Gangtok the next day.

Coming up :Destination Gangtok be updated on night of 30 th sept 2008

Tuesday 16th sept 2008:

Started from siliguri and sped to gangtok.

Awesome twisties.We were delighted by beauty of nature and were accompanied by river teesta.

Tried to arrange for permits.Were accompied by a local lad PG(Anup/sparsh can elaborate that better when they have time since they were mostly responsible for it)

Got a hotel room and when to click panaromas of gangtok city at dusk and twilight:

went to gangtok market for a drink and daru cheif daru commitee in team was in full swing

(Anup and jithu)

Visit to nathula

When we had entered Gangtok,we were chased by enthu young man on his R15 who took a u-turn when he saw all armored riders venturing into gangtok.

He asked us if we were from bike india and said some other bike group from bike india had visited sikkim two years ago(Maybe GIR guys)He identified himself as PG and helped us in showing around the place and helped us in getting permits.A big thanks to you PG.Anup and Sparsh were mainly responsible for permits hard work on tuesday and wednesday

PG and his another friend Raul who are sikkim localities joined us on the next day ride to nathu-la

Bottomless valleys on ride to nathu-la

waterfall en route nathu-la

Yes we finally made it

Photo(Anup,me,razor,Jithu,PG and Raul...sparsh was chit chatting with some soldiers)

There are chinese soldiers on other side of gate.Some claim there is a 6 lane road to lhasa on other side

Bikes posing(We were being watched by chinese on the other side of fence above the rocks)

Baba harbhajan singh mandir.He is a legend at this place

where earth meets heaven

Tsonagmo lake while decending down:


On thursday we went to lachung from gangtok:

On route we saw some beautiful vistas:


Started from lachung towards yumthang and zero point early in the morning for perhaps the most beautiful morning on the trip

Some marcos from valley of flowers with my 70-300mm lens

The road wasnt all that good

A broken bridge a few kms before zero point

That gave buggers some reason to do some off roading

But life is not always that easy

Anup had a flat tyre at lachung.So we decided to spend the nite at lachung and start very early towards gurudonmarg the next day.

While we were wondering where to put two little bolts and some 'thingy' left when we put back the wheel ,Sparsh was giving 'joy rides' to ladies in town

We met taxi walas in yumthang who scared the shit out of me when they put their hand straight and said the road is this steep.Next he added that they have to put their vehicles in 4*4 to ascend it.Incase you dont make it you will 'come' he added kanchenjunga 'uske niche dikhta hai woh utna uncha high'(It is so high kanchenjunga looks higher....i knew he was stating something which was wrong but still)
There is a saying that post 1:00 the wind is so high rocks start flying and it is impossible to come back alive post 1 pm.I have a severe acrophobia and all of us were terrified etc.

Started very early in the morning as we had lot of distance to cover from lachung.

Did lachung-chumthang-lahchen.Booked hotel where we dumped our luggage and anup who was suffering with ill health (ams,cold,rum and high blood pressure)

Finally started the climb to gurudongmar.At the checkpost 16 kms from lake we met army jawans who treated us with piping hot gulab jamuns and tea.

Later on we encountered some mine fields on the way(I guess sparsh and jithu took pics)

Finally reached the lake.I didnt click lot of photos while riding as we were primarily concentration on reaching the lake and make it back safely.I had difficulty standing at lake as i had left my baraclava and wind had started picking up speed that it was 1:00 pm.So i was wearing the helmet thruought while I was at lake to prevent temperature of body dropping.

Thankfully only last section(couple of kms was ' steep' but it wasnt exposed and was relatively safe incase someone actually 'came down').

It was prolly the most gruelling day of the entire ride and we made it back to lachen and decided to camp there as we were tired to find out anup had befriended all women in the hotel we had left him in

There is a tsolamo lake further ahead of gurudongmar however we were not issued permits as some army exercises were going on there.


Rode from lachen to NJP nextday(sunday).Plan was to reach phunsholing.Dont have much snaps since it was again a hard day riding.
Cross chumthang to reach a lanslide which took too three hours to clear.

BRO people at work

Riders resting

Sparsh had a makeshift resting place

Finally we reached NJP and with all riders tired we gave up phunsholing deciding to cover it the next day


On monday 22 september we rode to phunsholing.
Abt 100-150 kms from NJP.

the road was accompanied by some nice tea estates

Finally reached phunsholing gates

we sent anup and sparsh for permits for ourselves and it was done within couple of hours.Good to have sweet talkers in the group
Next we had to get the road permits for our vehicles from local rto.
the building lies a little farther ahead from immigration building

As usual we sent anup and sparsh to do the talking.By the time we had reached here it was 4:00 and office was closed.Moreever they were informed roads to thimpu were closed on 'monday' and 'tuesday'.WTF???the whole plan was abt to get ruined.
Anyways we checked into hotel west side for next couple of days spent in phunsholing.


Wednesday 24th september we finally rode to thimpu.

The line up and the town of thimpu ahead of us

School kids at thimpu

More school kids on bridge in traditional uniforms


We were already late at thimpu.Going further required special permits for ourselves which we got at thimpu immigration office.Permits for vehicles to go further ahead were secured at local RTO at thimpu.

We decided to part ways at Thimpu the next day with sparsh riding off to paro and Jithu riding off at lesuirely pace.
Me,Anup and Razor had no choice but to canon ball thru rest of bhutan in order to achieve the goal of riding west-east.We had to ship our bikes from gawhati on saturday and had a plane to catch back home on sunday.

Thursday 25th septmber 2008:
We set off in jest to ride as much as possible towards gawhati.Photos were less just a few key ones to document and as a proof

A beautiful vista normally seen only from an airplane a few kms ahead of thimpu

Bikes at pelela top

The blue mountains in bhutan

At tongsa

Enroute jakar

It was dark soon.We were far away from mongar(our target for the day) and we were tired.We decided to sleep at jakar,Gawhati being faraway


Friday 26th sept 2008:
We kept riding ,samdrup jonkhar being target for the day

Ofcourse early morning starts and endless twisties meant lot of rider fatigue

Made it to a town 60 kms from tashigang and 100 kms from samdrup jongkar

Saturday 27th sept 2008:
We keep speeding to gawhati thinking this was the last day of the ride.Its very early in the morning and we have to cover just 200 kms to reach gawahati.
At the start of the day my front tire skids on wet road.I check that its complete bald now.This was the baddest of all the falls and my hand was hurt i couldnt even pull it out of the glove.

we keep riding and reach samdrup jonkhar by 10:00 am.The last few kms being utterly skiddy and anups michellins skidNeed I say more.

We cross into india.I cant pull out my gloves with my hands hurting and use the trottle forget taking pics.Razor takes the final pic at the border as a proof.

We speed to gawhati now at ground level and good tarmac we reach gawhati in a jiffy.

Find gati on beharambari.Hand over bikes thankfully no nakhras.Takes a few hours to pack up everything.We decide to check into a good hotel.Check into a very expensive restaurant.

Gawahati is a big and sophisticated city.All our fears of militants,unsafe etc are foolish.Me and razor go and watch 'Dark knight' again to kill time
Sunday 28th sept:We fly back home.A long flight later and we reach to get a warm welcome at home.

--------------------------THE END-----------------------------

where next: In 2009 we are headed to tibet.Tibet is a forbidden kingdom unseen by rest of the world and wrapped in shroud of enigma.Would be covering tibet including everest base camp and kailash mansarovar.This involves tremendous amount of planning and money spent.Sponsorships,media rights for our entire team is welcome for this ride.