On a High
Approaching the highest altitude in Bharat Organ Yatra 2.0’s journey so far, Mahajan Kaka is instead instructed to stop for a thorough check. The Gangtok bikers have assembled to welcome Kaka at Sikkim’s Rangpo border at 5500 ft above sea level; however, security personnel stand as a thick wall!
The officers swiftly move into action. While one asks Kaka the journey’s route and details until today, another officer holds a breath analyser near Kaka’s mouth. Wherever needed, Pema Choppel – Gangtok’s biker-host – translates the officers’ local language for Kaka.
After a round of stringent tests, Kaka is declared healthy and fit to enter the state of Sikkim! Kaka is super impressed by the precautions the Sikkim Government has deployed to tackle COVID-19.
But Kaka is in for another amazement. Around 30-35 bikers queue up to royally escort Kaka towards Gangtok! Pema Choppel and his biker friends of Dirty Angels Motorcycle Club, along with Brothers On Wheels (South Sikkim) and Kanchendzonga MC (West Sikkim) have gathered to unknowingly create a fantastic memory for Kaka.
Before reaching the hotel, the whole group stops at the Government Guest House for a scheduled programme. A politician, as the chief guest, felicitates Kaka’s efforts and warmly welcomes him to the state of Sikkim. A round of tea and biscuits keeps the group engaged further.
Soon, everyone mounts their bikes and together ride to Kaka’s accommodation. Kaka notices a unique companion – a river flows along the winding road, never once leaving Kaka! Kaka is ecstatic!
The hotel is prepped up for Kaka; a big flex banner hangs at the entrance to welcome Kaka! As he walks inside, another banner catches his eye. The hotel has granted the bikers to put up banners announcing their pride to be hosting Kaka and B.O.Y. 2.0!
Before B.O.Y. 2.0 had commenced, Pankaj Modani, an extremely particular individual and ReBirth’s CA, had sent out official letters addressing all State Government’s Health Ministries to notify of Bharat Organ Yatra and its noble intention. When Kaka was crossing Bengal and Bihar for Gangtok, Sikkim’s Health Ministry had contacted ReBirth to join the cause! With emails exchanged, a promising event with the State Govt seemed possible…
But, unfortunately, today, a message is conveyed to B.O.Y. 2.0’s backend team; Sikkim’s Health Minister is unavailable today and tomorrow – on the days Kaka is in Sikkim… Not the one to be dispirited, Kaka casually coaxes the gathered bikers to establish a contact with the Government by tomorrow…
Instead of laughing off Kaka’s request and/or desire, a biker dials a number… In the next few seconds, Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha, this biker, confirms an appointment for B.O.Y. 2.0 with the Governor of Sikkim!
The announcement drowns in the hoots and whistles of the group. Overjoyed with the way things are unfolding, the singing and music starts again… In the evening of Day 1 in Gangtok, 30-35 bikers are relishing bikerhood and Kaka’s company with local songs and live guitars. Childhood jokes and past stories erupt every now and often. Watching the bikers giggle away with their bellies aching, Kaka cannot keep a straight face.
“In the 54 days of B.O.Y. 2.0 so far, this is the most I’ve laughed! This journey is simply amazing……!” he smiles while enjoying dinner.
Sitting on his bed, Kaka is as eager for the morning as the meeting with the Governor. He can’t wait for the sun to rise so that he can overlook the beauty of the valley from his room’s window!
Siliguri to Gangtok | 118 kms
– Juhi Kothari/Shetty