En route to the ancient temple town of Pattadakal, I was challenged to a race by a young lad on a small Honda motorcycle. This has been happening nearly every day lately, as I pass through one town or another. Usually it starts off with a small group yelling something in broken Hindi/English such as “Namaste tattooed white man! What country you from?” followed by my canned reply of “Australia mate!”
This answer of mine usually sets off a chain reaction consisting of dozens of Hero Honda motorbikes, farm tractors and tiny kids on huge bicycles taking hot pursuit for a number of kilometers up the road. Once as I passed a school at least 50 children ditched class and chased me up the road yelling “Shane Warne! Kangaroo! Ricky Ponting!”
It was neck and neck through villages, decaying temples and paddocks full of blooming sunflowers. It was pure Bollywood action- a deranged Indian version of the famous Dakar Rally.
Cows, goats and their herders, women precariously balancing huge loads upon their heads and bent old men with gnarled walking sticks all ditched out-of-the-way, hastily making room for the insanity appearing before them.
Approaching a long straight, my nemesis Vijay (I never got his name so I’m just assuming that’s what it was) opened full throttle and yelled “Crocodile Dundee!! Adam Gilchrist!!”
Suddenly around the corner appeared the peaceful Indian village of Pattadakal, with all is constituents toiling along the roadside. Unable to slow down we just blasted straight through and unfortunately it appeared to be ‘Let-all-the-Chickens-in-the-District Wander-all-over-the-Fucking-Place-Day’
The carnage was brutal. Not a single fowl was spared. No eggs were going to be laid anytime soon, I can tell you that much.
The first chicken exploded under my front wheel with a distinctly wet popping sound and feathers plumed high up into the sky. In my rear view mirror I could see Vijay desperately trying to dodge the clucking fools, but to no avail. Chicken grenades were exploding all over the place, the villagers running for their lives trying to flee the catastrophic fallout of chicken guts and yet-to-be pillow entrails.
Once clear of the village, I turned and saw a massive mushroom cloud of feathers pluming high into the sky, and the whole town was now covered in a nuclear fallout of feathery doom.
Suddenly, Vijay, with what appeared to be a huge chicken stuck on his head,
flew around a blind corner and shouted “CROCODILE DUNDEEEEE….” before crashing spectacularly into a large building on the outskirts of Chickensville. Regrettably this was also the main hub for the road works department and the vat containing an entire months supply of road-tar exploded with astonishing force.
Globs of molten bitumen rained down for miles and the countryside was now tar and feathered as far as the eye could see.
A posse of surviving chickens calling out for human blood had assembled in the town square and were now brutally beating a tar-soaked Vijay with their feathery wings. Seeing that my exit was long overdue, I fired up my trusty Bajaj, said a quick prayer to Ganesh and fled for the ancient shire of Hampi.
“What a crazy fucking country” I said to myself, as I headed off into the sunset. Pattadakal would never be the same again.
Kilometeres travelled- 10 651
Flat tyres 3 and 1/2
Chicken grenades 127
Stay in Badami and explore the nearby towns of Aihole and Pattadakal…