Of profound thoughts and lessons learnt…

As our crew nears their goal, their thoughts turn inwards and perspectives shift…

Day 9

9th November 2022

No. of kms covered: 259 (Total 2795 kms)

No. of hours ridden: 20 hours

Cities covered: Aria Jokihat-Bahadurganj-Thakurgunj-Fulbari-Jalpaiguri-Dhupguri-Falakata-Alipurduar

States travelled: Gujarat-Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh-Bihar-West Bengal

Day 9 reins in a thoughtful and grateful crew. While bad road conditions have been a bane for 2 days in a row now, it has not succeeded in disheartening our jovial team. Instead, the closer they get to their mission, the more enlightened they feel with the life lessons learnt!

“Imagine a crew with a fiery lady at the helm, supported by 4 men and 1 lady crew. Imagine each of us is from a different state. And yet none of these have proved to be splinters. Our mission has swept aside all age, gender and religious differences. We are also enjoying our minimalistic lifestyle. Most of us are wearing the same clothes since Day 1 of our expedition!” Exclaims Ms. Nivedita wit immense pride. And this is a vital lesson for all of us. That in the larger scheme of things, societal differences and material luxuries are of zero consequence! 

Day 9 began at 1.56 am and by 8 am they crossed over into West Bengal. At the border itself they partook an appetizing local breakfast of Luchi (Puri) and Sabji. As it sat heavy on their stomach, sleep took over, and hence they decided to halt for a nap at an amusement park entrance near Mahananda Barrage. Under the cool shade of the trees, they rested from 12 noon -1.30 pm. Preeti took off earlier as the rest of the crew slept on.

“12 noon to 3 pm is unbearably hot. Only our lady champ can ride non plussed under the scorching sun. Full credit to our ‘extreme lady’, only she could have ridden through the terrible road conditions we faced all day long. Construction work, general erosion of roads saw to it that we couldn’t speed up. Else Preeti would have taken off like a rocket! And yet she manages like a pro through these dire circumstances.” Ms. Nivedita is all praises.

Riding through Bihar and Bengal has been a sight for sore eyes for our crew’s sleep deprived eyes. Ms. Nivedita called the Bihari landscape truly ‘Sasya Shyamala!’ which literally translates to lush green and crop wise rich. Overwhelmed by this sight, the crew stopped in the middle of nowhere and clicked tons of pictures. A local lady passing by with a huge sack of teak wood caught their attention.  Mr. Sandeep and Ms. Nivedita attempted to lift her sack and were stunned with how heavy her load was!

Bengal, the land of rivers, had the crew drinking in gulps of fresh oxygen rich air. They were overjoyed to drive through a 10 kms tea estate patch. The green swell on both sides of the road, felt dreamy and soothing. They longed for it to go on forever.

They stopped for a late lunch at a dhaba at around 4pm. The best part of dhaba food is that its freshly cooked. It is never stale and hence simple yet delicious.

“Right from Koteshwar, we have only felt the warmth of all the locals, from the smallest of villages to the big cities. Even in territories usually considered dangerous, we have encountered no trouble. Instead, people have welcomed us with open arms and ensured that we are well fed and well rested.” Says Ms. Nivedita happily.

They say, one good deed deserves another, and the cause which our crew is spreading far and wide will come back full circle to them in the form of human behaviour at its best. 

Tea break at Falakata was a fun affair. Mr. Ghanshyam was reunited with his childhood friend who treated them to tea and Rasmalai. Ms. Nivedita, the only Bengali in our crew was delighted to bits!

They rode on till Alipurduar where at 10.30 pm they decided to halt for the night in a hotel. Post dinner and arrangements they finally slept off on comfortable beds at 12 midnight.

An extremely interesting experience has been the time change as our crew moves west to east. “As we move east wards the sun sets quite early and it gets dark by 4.30- 5 pm itself. Our route and halt planning involves keeping this in mind too. We are attempting to constantly adjust to it. E.g. now when we reach our halt, dinner is actually over by 10 and they have to cook fresh food for us. Sunrise is also early, by 5.30 am. In the west if we left at 4.30 am we would have to wait almost 2 hours for the sun to rise. Here it turns bright quite early. For a change, we drank our morning tea in daylight with the vehicle lights off! Within 10 kms of starting off, we could switch off the headlights. Since we are moving in a straight line, 15-20 mins of daylight is reducing day by day.” Signs off Mr. Ghanshyam our crew chief.

Here is hoping that with an early sun rise, our crew also enjoys a smoother ride on their last few days.

Blog by: Arohi Bhimajiani