Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Starting a new life?

 Left to Right :kartik, me, jayesh, amit

June 2005: I come down to Pune to join CAR INDIA and BIKE INDIA, a dream job
July 2005 : The mags are launched
Jan 2006 : The awards

We were a perfect team. Amit - the angry young man who loved criticising vehicles to the max, not that he doesnt like any of them but if a car/bike is bad, he makes sure the world knows it! My best pal here at Next Gen Publishing Ltd (NGPL), he has been a supporter and a critic for me.
Kartik - The cool-headed person, who did sometimes loose his cool. But tensions never left his side. I am glad he finally found the right job, not that he didnt love NGPL, but in life you gotta move on
Jayesh - Jaggu! More than a friend to me, a Punto lover, he still wishes to be back in this automobile journo field. Currrently pursuing his MBA from IIM (!!), the future seems very bright for him

Sep 2006 : I resign today, from NGPL. For greener pastures (the saying goes like that doesnt it..) The perfect team (pic above) had already started to dis-intergrate with time and once I am off too, only Amit will be here. Ofcourse there are newcomers like Muntaser and Varad, but nothing, nothing can replace that fantastic four that NGPL had seen.... Ofcourse, memories remain and memories like these are too good and sweet to forgetton ever... Am i making sense? I donno myself... And what do I intend to do once I go back to Delhi - I donno! And the reason I am leaving NGPL - many!

Signing off with one more pic...

Monday, September 25, 2006

A lazy sunday ride can do a lot to you!

After my recovery from the fistula problem (read else where in the blog), I was dying to set 
out for a good ride around Pune. I have been using a long term HH Achiever, a nice smooth
150cc bike. So there I was, 24th of September, sunday. 
Started at 20mins past 2pm for Mahabaleshwar and was back by 8pm. A good 250km ride 
up and down. Nothing outta the box but the awesome cool weather and the relatively lack
of people that day (due to navratris?) meant I could enjoy Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani 
and the roads around it to the max. 

You can see more pics at http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/showthread.php?t=9459

A ride like this can really make you believe in yourself, that yes, you are fit for longer rides 
(the leg 2 of the GIR) in my case. It also helps you discover that the bike you are using is
actually good enough to cruise at 90+ and rip past the 115km/h mark even with the saddle 
bags on! 

Check out http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/showthread.php?t=9459 for all the pics and details


Friday, September 22, 2006

My other passion - The Himalayas

My love for the Himalayas started way back in 1989, when I was just 6 years old. I remember we (four adults and four children) in one Maruti Gypsy had gone to Shimla for the winters. There was a record snow spell that time and ours was the only car that
made it to the city!
Years passed by till Nov 2003, when I rode to the hills on my own, on my bike - the Karizma.

The pic you see above is from my latest ride, featured in July issue of Bike India magazine. The route was Delhi-Shimla-Spiti-Manali-Delhi, a route which is worst than the Leh route and more scenic and virgin too!

My other rides (to the Himalayas) include
1)Delhi-Shimla-Fagu-Delhi : Nov 2003
2)Delhi-Shimla-Rohru-Mussoorie-Delhi : July 2004
3)Delhi-Mussoorie-Dhanaulti-Rohru-Delhi : Aug 2004
4)Delhi-Shimla-Chail-Delhi : Sep 2004
5)Delhi-Chail-Narkanda-Rohru-Giri Ganga-Chaupal-Paonta-Delhi : Dec 2004
6)Delhi-Shimla-Rohru-Narkanda-Delhi : June 2005
7)Pune-Ahmedabad-Delhi-Shimla-Rohru-Narkanda-Jalori-Aut-Delhi : Nov 2005
8)Delhi-Shimla-Narkanda-Peo-Kaza-Rohtang-Delhi : June 2006

Soon, I intend to come out with a small book, which will be very useful to first timers as well as experienced people. This book will have routes, secret roads, locations, tips etc and will come handy for riders doing first-time routes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cheap Big Car.. The Bolero Turbo

This is the Bolero SLX with the Turbo DI 2.5L 63PS engine.
The car retails for 5.7 lakhs ex-showroom Pune (BS2) and 5.90 lakhs ex-showroom Pune (BS3). This makes it around 40-60,000 less than the Safari base 2.0Diesel...

Drove it a lot for one week and clogged around 700kms in and around Pune. I really pushed it hard thru water-logged roads, pot-holes, mini-craters, hills and what not but she responded very well, with only the front wheel caps flying out (during some off-road adventure)

Loved the decent MP3 player (has got a remote, so the location doesnt bother me), the ample torque available from as low as 1500rpm. She runs on 215/75 R15 Goodyear tyres, decent enough for dry/wet roads but not good off the road.

A very capable machine for those who hate bad roads, slowing down for potholes and want something mean at a low price. Whats more, the jeep is very fuel-efficient too (delivering around 10kmpl with a/c under hard use!)

 Read it all in Sep issue of CAR INDIA magazine!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Worlds most powerful diesel car...

 Audi has announced that the Q7 is about to become the world's most powerful production diesel car, with what it claims is the first twelve-cylinder diesel engine in a passenger car.

5934cc, 60º V12 engine gushing out 496 PS at 4000 revs and 1000Nm (!!!!!!) from 1750 to 3000rpm. I am not talking about a truck here but about Audi's Q7 monster. Audi quotes a 0-100km/h sprint of 5.5sec and an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h. Good its electronically governed, imagine letting the beast loose on the road. Damm, 1000Nm of torque....

The company claims a combined fuel consumption of 8.4 kms to a litre (not bad at all) by using piezo-electronic direct fuel-injection on a common rail system that operates at up to 2000 bar.
The power is transmitted via a six-speed semi-automatic transmission with manual sequential shift to a quattro permanent four-wheel drive system with a 40-60 torque split.

Audi has started selling the Q7 here in India for around at a little over 60 lakhs but dont jump right now because thats with the smaller engines and it seems that this 6.0 L mill wont be coming to our shores in the near future (or ever?? ...)

Feast your eye balls on the pictures.

The 6.0 L diesel, good for almost 500 PS and 1000Nm of torque

The special underbody panels look great. This is what shocked people would be seeing when this creature will race past them

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why should I care about a hot Mustang?

19.3 lakhs in the USA gets you something hotter and faster than the Mustang...
A 5409cc, V8, supercharged mill churning out 500bhp @ 5750rpm and 480lb ft of torque @ 4500rpm via a six-speed manual transmission to the rear-wheels!
It will shoot from standstill to 100km/h in 4.5secs before stopping at 264km/h

The new Ford Shelby GT500 is here!

Thats going to be the cock-pit of the lucky few born with a silver spoon...

For more, read the first drive report at

My biking nearly ended PART V

Life went on smoothly till August 2006...
In July 2006 I was told I would be going to Malaysia to cover the APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) for the magazine ( I work for CAR INDIA as well as BIKE INDIA magazines)
I was delighted: the joys of being an automobile journo! I really looked forward to the trip and had even planned stuff which I intended to get. It was 15th August, 2 days before I was to leave. The last 3-4 days were spent driving the Mahindra Bolero TD a lot thru Pune's broken roads and around the city too plus some days back I had been to Lonavala and back on the bike too. I believe these two things brought back the Fistula once again. Yes, this was the fourth time.

The morning of 15th Aug: When I got up, I could feel the swelling. "Fuck", was the word which came out of my mouth. I immediately called up my boss and requested to meet him at his place asap. In the next one hour, ie, by around noon, I had booked myself an evening flight to Delhi. No Malaysia trip, I betta rush back and look after the damm Fistula. I didnt tell my parents, didnt want to shake them up again.

The next day, I was recommended to a "desi" doctor by a close uncle of mine. This doctor specialised in this and an AIIMS doctor had been successfully treated by him too. Off I went to see him and hopefully he seemed positive. It would be a good 15 day treatment, but would be successful for sure. At last, there was a ray of hope for me as other doctors were not ready to guarantee a successful operation!

From 16th onwards I went daily for my "desi" painful treatment. Sometimes I took as many as 3 pain killers per day. On top of that my brothers marriage was coming near and we shifted our house too and all this meant my wound took a hit. Everyday used to be a cry for me... Due to the exertion on the marriage, 15days turned to 20 and then 25 and finally 30! I finally recovered fully from my ordeal by the second week of September. In the meantime, my job scene didnt look good. Afterall I had been away for close to a month. But the happiness I had after the treatment subsided cannot be put down here in words. I looked forward to my life (literally). I looked forward to riding around Pune's hills (my job city), i even got my Karizma (which had been lying unused in Delhi for the last 3 months) transported to KRP ( a company specialising in bike modifications etc in Delhi) to bring it back to life. And the other big thing - I started looking forward to the leg 2 of the Great Indian Roadtrip (www.thegreatindianroadtrip.com) of which I m a part of...

The pain I went thru everytime the Fistula hit me has been tremendous. And other than pain, riding a bike for more than 30mins used to be uncomfortable for me. Even sitting in the office for long durations would cause probs. But all this has gone now. Its 16th sep today and I m sitting in my office for the last one hour w/o a trace of my medical past. I even went biking today for an hour (which would be possible in the past with a lot of discomfort!). In the noon I had even chalked out a plan for the coming week to ride to a beach :)

Fistula is history now. But those who face similar probs (discomfort/pain during riding), please consult a good surgeon. I am happy I m outta the mess. This problem really hit my mentally and physically in the last two years. Today, looking back at the times it happened, I really wish to help out others who may have it.
Precautions for those who sit a lot (like office, riding, driving etc) : Try walking in between, try putting a cushion under the seat. Ditto for bikers, those who drive. Make sure the seat is a good padded one.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My biking nearly ended PART IV

“You have a fistula”
“a what??”
“Fistula, an abnormal passage leading from a suppurating cavity to the body surface”
The doctor took ten minutes to explain me what I had done to myself and the seriousness of the problem.
“You will need an operation, and we still don’t guarantee if it will reoccur or not. You may have to leave your biking forever too..”

For the first time in my life, I wept, I cried whole night. I couldn’t sleep. Medical science has advanced so much and still the doc says I wont be able to bike? Haa…… I searched for the problem (Fistula) on the net and finally came across these two web-pages which described the problem best.

My condition was a serious one and hence the reason why the doc wasn’t ready to take the guarantee for an operation. Would it mean my first love, my biking would end forever? I will have to leave my dream job too? In the coming few days I went into a state of depression and kept everything I thought to myself, making things worse. Its really difficult to describe that stage of life. The day would begin with tensions, end with tensions...
Somehow, when the opening healed, I convinced my parents that I was ok and I went back to Pune, but as a new “Bunny” and for reasons… But I wanted to fight back and I did. I avoided sitting for long hours, or riding bikes with a hard seat for long durations and took a long course of antibiotics. For some weeks I was totally ok and forgot everything and months passed by. In October 2005 I even rode from Pune to Delhi on my Karizma, a distance of 1690kms in 31 hours and then on to the Himalayas. Life once again looked inviting for me…

In Feb 2006, I again felt the problem re-surfacing and rushed to Delhi. The doc said this time as I had taken action fast, some strong antibiotics may help and they did! But the strong antibiotics made life hell for a week! Anyways I was back to work, back to biking and life went on smoothly till August 2006………………… PART V coming up soon

In the meantime, those bikers who feel any kind of pain in lower back/tail bone area, please get urself examined properly from a surgeon…

My biking nearly ended Part III


The pain was history..
2005 started and I looked forward to more trips up to the Himalayas but my biking was taking a toll on my engineering studies. I was into my final yr of B.tech and had a lot of backlogs to cover. My friends, who had no backlogs were getting placed every second day and me...well, depressing times started for me.

It was somewhere in April 2005 that I heard the news of split up at Tata Infomedia (overdrive mag). There was a new automotive publication house coming up and I saw a ray of hope for myself. A couple of telephone calls later, it seemed to me as if my dream was going to come true.

My last practical examination on the 7th of June 2005: Reached home by 8pm, met some friends, packed my bags and left for Pune on the 8th to join BIKE INDIA and CAR INDIA magazines, yes, every automobile enthusiasts dream job. What more could I ask for, riding bikes, driving cars and getting paid for it. Sounds like fairy-tale? Well....

Somehow, my past kept haunting me. I began riding lot of bikes in Pune (the job you see) and sometimes the pain would hit, although of a very low intensity. I used to fear it will come back, but i kept convincing myself it wont, but deep down in my heart I had fears...

The first issue of our mags was out, we were all overjoyed. The monsoons too were in all their fury and half of Maharashtra was under water. A day after the launch, I rode to Mangalore (app 850kms) on my karizma to meet my gal. Everyone stopped me from doing it (due to the rains) but me being me, decided to do it! Little did I know that this 1700km round trip would prove too bad for me. The continous long stretches of riding I did took a toll on my disease: It was back. During the ride, I could feel the pain, I could feel a lump of infection being formed.

I had not even finished two months at my office and I had to request for a leave. My boss was very understanding and fortunately he allowed me to go back. So there I was, back to Delhi, back to bed.

We all make mistakes, and i made it too. Somehow, this time i didnt go to any doctor. I just kept lying on the bed for days, waiting for it to swell and burst - the biggest mistake I made. After it burst, i went to a doc recommended by a close uncle of mine. This doctor then revealed the disease I had.....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My biking nearly ended Part II

PART II : if you are weak at heart, or dont like nasty stuff (like blood and all, dont read on...)

I got up, there was no pain. But instantly I could feel something, something wet, sticky. I was horrified, I almost knew what it was... Immediately I went to the loo and what happened next almost made me pass-out: blood and infection (or pus) had come out at night when i was sleeping thru a passage made by the inner infection, the passage making a draining hole below my tail bone area. The infection was too much and it took me a good amount of time (and cotton) to clean myself and then have a bath. In the meantime, my mom had seen my bed and the wet patch on the bed made her anxious. In the next five mins, I was on my way to the same doc (doc no 2) who said I had a bone infection. I had no pain and was relieved but had thoughts running in my mind. The doc examined me and made a call to one of this team-mates, who too rushed in within minutes. They talked amongst themselves and told me I had "perennial abscess" (Perennial - occuring again and again, Abscess - lump of infection)

The doc gave me a dressing (trust me I screamed with pain) and to make matters worse, there was a nurse helping him out dress me (!!!!!) After the dressing I couldnt even walk (he had cleaned the wound, which meant fiddling with it = pain) or sit in the car to go back home. The next 2-3 days were again bed rest. I had nothing to do except to watch tv, think, read mags, think, talk on phone, think.. But soon I was back to normal, I could walk, sit, ride my bike (the best thing.) I thought it was all over, I was happy, looking forward to more rides and trips. But would it be that way? PART III coming up soon

My biking nearly ended....

Hi friends,
For the first time, i am going to share with you all what I went thru in the last two years. It nearly took me off from biking. It made me cry, made me loose my sense, my judgement, my confidence. But now that I am almost normal and have made a 90% recovery, I wish to share it with my fellow friends, most of whom are bikers. This in a way will help bikers too coz docs say the cause for the thing that hit me has most prolly been biking.
I wont be able to relate everything in one day, but will do it for sure within 3-4 days, may be sometimes twice a day...
Read on...you can get back to me at bunnypunia@gmail.com

It was somewhere in the winters of 2004 when I started feeling pain in my lower back, somewhere near the tail bone area. Even sitting became difficult. I couldnt ride my karizma, i couldnt sit on my college class' chairs, even moving around became too difficult. I had no clue on what had happened to me. My dad advised me to show myself to one of this friends, who was a bone specialist. But even he was puzzled as to what had hit me, what was causing me so much pain. Finally after a couple of X-rays and examinations, he came to the conclusion that I had a hairline fracture in my tail bone and this was causing the pain.. Much to my amazement, i still took the docs word and went on bed rest. But the pain was too much and then i consulted another doc, who too said the same and gave me a couple of injections.

Within a couple of days, the pain became worse. I became a vegetable and bed was the place where I spent my whole day (and night.) The area under my tail-bone started swelling too making it impossible for me to even walk! Then one night when i finally slept at close to 3am with a lot of pain (I must say I never went thru so much pain in my life..), i woke up at around 9am without a trace of pain but could feel that my pyjama was wet, there was something warm, sticky liquid inside my pyjamas and I dreaded the worst..............

Rising from the dead...soon

Just came back from KRP.. Left my "dead" Karizma with them, to be re-born soon :)

This is the second time I have really neglected my machine. The first in Pune in Oct 2005 (when lot of parts too were changed)

This time she had been left for 3 months w/o a start at my factory. Saw her in the morning, covered in a layer of dust, tyres and battery flat! Hired a 3-wheeler and off she went to krp for a full service plus some secret mods (shhhh)

In the meantime, I am recovering fast and will be heading back to pune in 2 days :)
And if you are wondering what I am recovering from, well, gimme a day to explain...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Welcome to my world...

This is my fourth attempt at blogging!!
I will start by introducing myself in someone else's words

"He has a touring experience of over 13000kms including eight Himalayan rides, an inter-state monsoon ride and a Pune-Delhi 1600km run in 30 hours. Formally into stunting, the touring bug caught him in 2004 and from then on he has not looked back. Taking out time from his Engineering degree, he used to constantly quench his thirst for biking by riding around the country capital on his CBZ, slowly riding his way upto a Karizma. He is the co-founder of xBhp and at not even 23 years of age, is probably India 's youngest automobile journalist.

Yep, we are talking about Bunny Punia , currently working with CAR INDIA and BIKE INDIA magazines, spearheading the yearly Himalayan ride and also looking after online as well as offline stuff for the club.

His love for riding started with a humble Bajaj Chetak when he was just 16years old, which taught him the basics of wheelies, which were later perfected on a CBZ when he was 17. He dreams of owning the BMW R1200GS one day and is known for his liking for off-roading. If you are with him on a Himalayan ride, do watch out! While Bunny was trying out ways to further develop his love for biking, he met Sunny, aka, Sundeep Gajjar, some where in 2002 and from there on the rest his history. Sunny, like an elder brother, pestered him to keep developing his skills and love for biking and the club's website, which came up in 2002, gave Bunny a platform to do a lot more.

His family and fiancée were initially apprehensive about his craze for bikes but later on gave in and have been a constant support, encouraging him and adjusting to his demands. But all this has paid off now and the young lad now is living his dream job. His aim is to make xBhp grow even more, spread the biking brotherhood spirit and have one to one interaction with every passionate biker in the country."

SOURCE : http://www.xbhp.com/gir/peopleandvehicles/ppl/bunny.php

Friday, September 1, 2006

Tata vs Maruti - The new battle?

 Its been more than a couple of years now that we have been hearing news regarding
the up-coming 1 lakh rupee car from TATA. Sure, it wont be anywhere close to
1,00,000 but still, at around 1.3 lakh rupees OTR, it would appeal to almost every
household as a first or a second car.
But TATA's party can be spoilt by Maruti for sure. We all know Maruti makes a lot of money
on the M800, what with the company having recovered every rupee invested in developing
the car. They can easily slash the price of the entry level M800 by almost 30-40000 bucks, making the base version retail for around 1.5 lakhs. Makes sense? With the no of Maruti
service stations, the tried and trusted engine, and the loyalty customers show towards
Maruti products, it wont be a surprise to see TATA engineers scratching their heads.

The M800 comes with a 796cc 3 cylinder engine which puts out 37.5PS of power and returns 15-16kmpl with ease. TATA's saving grace could be the 2 cylinder diesel engine currently being used in the TATA Ace (ofcourse in a much more refined state.)

Apart from the threat from Maruti, the company has also been facing land problems in West Bengal recently. But lets all hope they do come out with the intended car, because the customer will win. With a cheap TATA car and a cheaper M800!