Friday, May 22, 2015

Changing perceptions

There is a question some friends here have asked. They ask me, if the things that I write, are exaggerated, if they are build upon..?
The answer is very simple.  'Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.'
Something, only those who live through it, and feel it, can know.
Each page of my travel journal, is of real instances, real happenings.
What I went through.. what I saw.
Each night, without fail I would dictate the days happenings  into my dictaphone; to keep the memories of the day intact.  When circumstances weren't favorable for that, I wrote it down.
I am just transferring it here.That is all.

(Another thing, is the questions about Tenzing. Tenzing is my bike. That is what I have named my bullet. In one of my earlier narratives here, I have talked about that.  :) I hope, that the question will be avoided henceforth.)


I began with Raju bhai's story, to start off in a lighter vein.
But the major part of the journey wasn't so. This chapter takes us to the real soul of our land.

It was the 14th day of travel. I was on my way from Barh (pronounced 'Barah') to Mirzapur. [from Bihar, to Madhya Pradesh.]

I had stayed the night at a small lodge in Barh.  Had gone to bed on an empty stomach as there was nothing available to eat. Next day, very early in the morning, I set off from there.
After a few hours on the road, by about 8 am, I came upon a small wayside shop.  A few dusty packets of 'Lays', bought, 'who knew when,' hung there in the sunlight. The only other thing available was black tea.
I bought a cup of tea and with it, I had a couple of biscuits that I had brought along with me. Gave two to the shopkeeper too. And we sat there a while talking.. about the land and its people.
In between, I asked him if there was some place where I could buy food.

There it was considered a luxury to buy even a glass of tea; let alone think of a  hotel! I realized that only when he said so.
"Everybody here is poor. No one goes out to eat. Whatever is necessary, is cooked at each home and eaten..," explained the shop owner.
We talked of many other things. I paid him. And again started Tenzing.

Like it says in the movie.. it was 'neelaakaasham, chuvanna bhoomi', [blue sky and red earth] alone. The sun's rays, now beginning to blaze! The temperature was at 46 to 47 degrees. Passing arid lands, the highway stretched ahead endlessly; fields on either side. Reddish brown, half harvested sparse fields. On the wayside there was no shade worth its name; not even a 'crow's feet worth' of shade!! Just the fiery sunlight all around. Earlier in the day, I had filled a bottle with water from a wayside tube well. Now, it would have barely a glass of water left in it.
The little water left in the 'kannas' (a plastic container to hold liquid)  was strictly for utmost emergencies. To occasionally wet the buff [cloth used to cover the face]. (Within 10 minutes, it would evaporate.) I would sometimes use the water to wet my nose and ears..
Those were all ways adopted to face the scorching heat from the sun.
It was 1 pm, and I was almost blind with hunger. All that I had  to eat or drink from the night before, was a glass of black tea and two biscuits.

Thus, I rode on.  And then, a little further off, I saw a tree. There were some bushes nearby, and a few straggling creepers.
There, in the half shade and sun, I put Tenzing on center stand. 'Let him rest a bit too.'
In the little space that remained, I unfolded my three legged stool, placed it close to the tree and rested.. leaning against its trunk. What a relief!
As I sat there, I told myself.. 'if it was to be biscuits, so be it.'
Unbearably hungry now.
There might be a little water left., maybe, enough to wet my throat.
I took off my boots and kept it carefully aside. From my bag, I took out a packet of biscuit. And as I opened it, felt a  touch.. someone was poking at me on my right side!!
Who might that be! I turned around to look into two bright eyes. It was a child. A boy, about 4 yrs old. He smiled. and so did I. Where could he have come from?
There were open fields behind. The branches of the tree I was sitting against, curved, bending towards the field. Then, there were those bushes and creepers I had seen earlier. Maybe, he came from behind those.
Meanwhile, with curiosity, the child touched my knee guard. Pressed it..  examined it.

Extending the biscuit pkt towards him, I gestured.. 'Do you want this?'
'For me?' he gestured back, touching his chest..
"Mm," I said.
The moment I handed it over. He shot off like an arrow and disappeared from view.  Where did the kid go to?
I thought I'd follow and find out. Also, I might find some water to drink. Tucking the bottle under my arm. Keeping the baggage close together, I took an other packet of biscuit, and went up the ridge on the sides of the field, behind the creepers.
The scene I saw there..   There were 3 or 4 people sitting on the ground. A cow and two calves were grazing peacefully nearby.
I think maybe, a family of farmers taking their afternoon rest. As I walked closer the sight that greeted my eyes were pleasant and unexpected.  A four year old distributing biscuits. After giving it to everyone there.. feet outstretched, he sat on the edge of the field and began enjoying the biscuits.
That was the time I reached there. Or, he saw me then. He looked at me and smiled. So did the others sitting around. Nearby, maybe it was his mother, a figure sat hunched up with a child younger to him. It was difficult to make out anything other than that it was a woman.  A skeleton covered in cloth.  A living symbol of poverty and life's hardships..
l stretched out the biscuit pack I hand in hand, to her.
'Should she accept it or not?'....  There was confusion and wonder on her face. And the doubt whether she should touch food that belonged to another.
You might wonder how I knew that. The only answer is.. solitary travels and unique experiences teaches and enables one, to understand some things that are beyond  words and situations.

Anyway, she accepted it. Her husband took three biscuits from it, another person took two, and kept those in their pockets. Maybe to give it to some one back home. Thinking so, I sat beside them. Her husband got up, and I watched in astonishment, as he fed a biscuit each to the cow and the two calves there!
Now, we had all had a share of the biscuits.
As for me, I was very thirsty.
In a mixture of gestures and Hindi, I asked if I could have a drink of water.

The language they spoke wasn't Hindi. Probably some local dialect. As if saying 'of course, why not,' she extended a medium sized bowl towards me. I drank some of it.  Something with indifferent taste. Neither salty nor sour. Maybe it was their rice water, 'kanji vellam'. There were some grainy bits in it,  I knew not what. Anyway I felt energized when I drank some of it. My thirst was also quenched. I handed the vessel back to her.
Now the four year old came forward, took the vessel from her and drank some of it. There was only one vessel of water, one container. And so, everyone was drinking from it. So what? :)
I didn't find that a problem  anymore.
[Let me remind you now...  that, when I started my journey on that first day, I was drinking only mineral water. What brought about the sea change in my outlook now?  Sometimes, the plans we make [ trying to play God! :) ] has no meaning. Some things happened on the third day of my travel; to totally change the way I looked at life.. More about that later.  Anyway, suffice to say;  it didn't feel strange anymore to share a plate with complete strangers.]

Now, I was about to see something more and learn something I will never forget.
One of the calves came running to where we sat. It too drank some of the water in the vessel. The man of the house, took the cloth hanging on his shoulder and softly  he proceeded to diligently wipe  away with care, the water and dust clinging to its face. The calf then lay nearby and began chewing cuds. There was still more water left in the vessel. The man took it in his hands and drank deeply from it...
And, I sat there stunned. What an experience!
Man and animal sharing the same 'plate'!
And, what had I drunk?  'Kaadi vellam!' (kaadivellam in Kerala dialect, is the drink given to cattle. The main ingredient being the bran water got when rice was washed for cooking; or rice water, the water collected when cooked rice was drained. Normally banana peels and other nurturing bits and pieces would be added. Maybe, leftover rice too.  And that would be given to cattle as nutritious food and drink)
Here, man and animal.. everyone had the same gruel. For a moment I felt my stomach churn at the thought of what was inside. But those moments were also that of self realization for me.
The cattle that we tend to. That we domesticate and bring up.. they are the same as we are.
Here these people took take care of their cattle, their animals, the same as they treated themselves and their children. Or maybe more. There was no life apart there. All lived the same. All life was the same.  Whatever was available was shared alike by all. Man and animal.. all the same. The cattle at least had green grass to eat. Still, they shared with their animals whatever they themselves ate, and loved them as their own.

Hunger was the same for all. Giving and sharing whatever they had with their animals, they loved them as their own.
And now, strangely, I didn't feel any awkwardness anymore. And, a new light of awareness seemed to fill me.
Take the matter of that boy. At the tender age of four he knew the pain of hunger. Hungry or not, the first thing he did was to share it. He first shared the special food he got, and partook of it, the very last.
When desperately hungry, maybe I too would satiate my own hunger first, and only then think of others.  But this child?

One of  the  many enlightening experiences that was kept in readiness for me to stumble upon on this journey..
I realize..... 'Journey is life.. life itself is the journey.'

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thank you All.. :) May 20th

Thank you for all the great support. :)

This is how the route finally evolved into..

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Raju bhai, at Hampi. Second and last part.


I took the key from him, went in and closed the door.
Sat on the cot and took my diary in hand.

Knock! knock!
That was Raju bhai at the door.

"Sir, what do you want to eat?" Hearing him, one would expect him to magically whisk out a menu.

"Whatever you are having, I will eat that. Like I told you, I am staying with you at your house, so that I can  enjoy life in a village. You should give me only what you eat yourself."

"For us, it will be 'fry rice' tonight."

"You are having fried rice?"


I felt a little disappointed. Is there no escape from Chinese food for the people here too?
"Okay, I too will have that."

"All right sir, how was the tea?"

"Good!", I said truthfully.

For the next half hour, no one came to disturb me.
The house TV,  covered in a sari, was fast asleep in the room given to me.. I had fitted my different chargers to its plug point and other such available points around the place.

And then, it was time for the fried rice. I was very hungry.
Mangalamma, the lady of the house had served the fried rice on a freshly cut banana leaf spread on a plate.
Sona masoori rice stir fried in turmeric and chillie. Here and there, slices of carrot pieces and french beans, rested decoratively. I ate the whole thing.
I thanked Mangalamma; who stood there, obviously missing her tv serials, and went to sleep.
'Good night!'
Out side, the sounds of  night life in a village.  Listening to the silence, an occasional cow mooing, night birds singing... I don't know when.  I slept.
When I woke up in the morning, I stepped outside. Nice and clear atmosphere. Fresh air.

There was no sign of the inhabitants of the house. Where had everyone gone?
Heard some noise from the plantation. And when when I went there, found a young man stacking bunches of mature and ready  bananas on to a tempo.

"I am Devaraj," the young man introduced himself.

"Where is everyone?"

"They have gone to the restaurant. It has to be opened early."

"Aaha, that is good. Do they have a hotel?"

"Sir, don't you want breakfast? I will go there and get it." Saying that, he disappeared.

I had a bath in two and a half  'showers', dressed and soon got ready.
'After breakfast, I will go to Hampi in the morning itself,' I told myself.
I got the cameras ready. Hampi was near. So I would go on foot.

Devaraj came hurrying. In his had, a five inch black plastic cover. (The type made of recycled plastic that has been prohibited in our state)
Inside that, two iddlies rested on a piece of newspaper that read, 'Kannadamma Daily'. over the iddlies, a little coconut chutney. That wasn't all.  There was some tea tied up in an other plastic cover; this time, a white one; and along with it, a paper cup.

I swallowed the searing words  that came to mind in my mother tongue.
"Mr. Devaraj, Is this how you behave towards a guest? At the very least, if  you had served the food on a plate, I would have eaten it. Have you all no manners! It is a pity!
You take this, and do what ever you want with it. I will eat from outside." I dropped the cover on the porch.
I poured the tea into a glass and drank it.
"Sorry sir, it happened unwittingly.  It will never happen again." Devaraj continued in that vein...

Ignoring him, I stepped outside and started walking towards Hampi.
"Sir, sorry.. our restaurant is nearby. You can eat there."
Devaraj is not about to leave me alone.
I gave in a bit. Ok, let us see.
On the main road we reached a culvert (a small over bridge)  A place with two or three small stalls or shops. (what we call 'pettikada' back home).

"Here it is sir, the restaurant."


"Here, this is it." Devaraj pointed out enthusiastically.  

A small desk, two stools. With Mangalamma sitting behind it. If front of her, on a black plate rested some iddlies. A small aluminium plate held some coconut chutney. .
"Come, come," she signaled to me with her hands.
I walked away fast; as if I had not heard her.
Devaraj came running after me.
"I will come home to have lunch at noon. Now, I don't want anything to eat." I told him.

On the way to Hampi, I came upon a boy with a pushcart, selling delicious poori, and potato curry. Feasted on that:  and went on to  feast on the sights Hampi had to offer.

Hampi gave me many good pictures. saw everything in detail. When hunger really got gnawing at me, it was nearing 1.30 pm, said my watch.
Enough for now. It was time to return. Raju bhai and Mangalamma would have got lunch ready and would be waiting for me.
Trying to keep to the shade, I hurried along the way that would take me to their home.
Leaning on a bamboo pole, chin in hand Mangalamma was sitting outside, chewing on betel leaves thoughtfully.
There was no sign of either Devaraj or Raju bhai. Had everyone left after having food?
"Sir, did you eat anything?"  Mangalamma asked affectionately.
"How could I? Before I went, didn't I tell you that I will be coming home for lunch?
Haven't you prepared anything? Don't you all take lunch?"  I asked.
The answer came towards me in the shape of a question.
"Sir, what will you have for lunch? I will get it ready now. Curd rice?"
Mangalamma got up from there. tucked her sari, and prepared to enter the kitchen.

I realized with dismay, that she was a lazy person. Okay,  if it was to be curd rice, so be it.
Anyway, it was something I liked.. I thought, trying to console myself.
Expecting curd rice, I sat inside my room. Hunger burning my insides.. I waited.
My head was beginning to ache too. It was past 2PM.  Finally at the tether end of my patience, I went outside.
"Will soon serve you sir," Mangalamma stood there immovable as a rock.
And then, like a locust, a young boy jumped forward. That was Chiranjeevi!
As soon as he appeared, Mangalamma gave him the cash she held curled up in her hand. "Go and get some curd!" she told him.
By then, I had helplessly realized, that the main ingredient for the curd rice I was waiting for was still waiting at some shop! Time dragged on. 2.30, 2.45......
Al last, on a fresh banana leaf end spread on a plate, the delicious curd rice arrived!! The lady was an amazing cook.. But she hadn't provided a side dish, or anything else to go along with it,
And then  I remembered. The superb tender mango pickle that I had packed in 17 days back.   With that, I had a feast of the curd rice.
Now it was time for a short rest.

A short slumber. After that, copied all the photographs taken onto the hard disk. Kept all batteries for charging. It was past 4 PM. I went outside and walked towards the riverside. Thungabhadra was flowing peacefully. Children frolicking in the water. People bathing, washing clothes. Maybe they were exaggeratedly exchanging village gossip too.
I found a less crowded spot and went in. Bathed in the river till my body cooled down. Haaa that felt great. After the cooling dip in the river, I again wandered around country paths. Had a glass of tea.. and by the time I got back, it was 7'O clock.
I had to start early the next day. I had to pack my bags, get Tenzing ready. Tomorrow I have decided to go to Kasaragod, 485 km away from here.

Raju bhai had come to enquire about dinner. "sir, what will you have for dinner?"

"Whatever you eat, I'll have that. To make it a bit more clear, you need not cook anything for me. Just give me a share of what you are having yourselves." I said calmly.

"All right sir."

By 8.30 PM, dinner arrived.
Hot rice served on a leaf covered plate. On the side, there was 'rasam' in a cup.
Another cup held scrambled eggs. (red chillie was used in it) a few pieces of onion.
I was very hungry. I ate it with relish. Superb rasam.  After I finished, I got one more cup of rasam and drank it.  ( extra... !)

"Did you like the 'thali' meal?" enquired Raju.

'Oh! So was this a thali!? I thought to myself.
" I liked it very much," I said.

"Sir had extra rasam too... "

"Yes... !"

"Sir, you will be leaving early tomorrow. so, including the thali' you had just now, it will be 260/- Rs for  food......  " he explained further..  200 Rs for the 'thali', 40 Rs for the rice, 20 Rs for the black tea you had yesterday."

20 Rs! I sat there open mouthed. I was flabbergasted.
"Yes sir, that was special black tea. Then, the breakfast provided was complimentary. That was what you threw away!!!"

Should I laugh? Or cry?

"Here is 300 Rs! Keep the remaining amount as tip,"

I got back inside. Closed the room. Set the alarm and lay down to sleep.

Early morning at 4AM, As I was about to leave, Raju bhai came with a small glass that held about an ounce of  black tea.
"How much is this ?" I asked.

"Oh no sir, You shouldn't say that. Sir, you are our guest, and you are leaving now., that is why.. "

I nodded my head, "mm, me your guest... is this how you behave towards your guest? The tea I had just  now, adjust that with the tip I gave last night."

I started the bike.

"Sorry sir, sorry. You are our guide.  I have decided to start this as a business. You should come again sir !!"

Hearing this, I was left covered in goosebumps!!!
I patted Tenzing and we started from there.

My next destination, 485 kms away... to my  land, Kerala :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Raju bhai, the part time guide. Part 1


So finally, I am back after completing my journey that started on April 16th. 
Through 13 states, I traveled a distance of 6264 km. This journey gave me completely varied experiences: both good and bad. You could say that I am no longer the same person that I was when I set out on this journey; because, It is a fact that as i traveled, I had to change some of my perspectives. About our land, our people, life and culture. 
Anyway, I am going to share my travel experiences with you here. This wont be a day to day account, but some fragments from the whole.
(Serious matters and experiences, the purpose of my travel; I mean to write those in a blog. That will take some time. Till then, let us travel through these notes.)

Let me start with this experience I had at Hampi, on my return journey 
It was the 18th day of my travel. I set out from Mehbubnagar in Hyderabad. Traveled a distance of 280 km and a little after 3pm, reached Hampi. I had planned a detailed exploration for the next day.
Still, since I had some time till it turned dark, I wandered around the surrounding areas of Virupaksha temple. A few guides were standing around."
sir, do you need a place to stay? The rent will be Rs.500, 750, 1000 for a room."
That day, I had no plan to stay at a hotel. The rates these guides were quoting were too high. On my way, I could gather that there were no hotels in that area that seemed worthy of these rates.
Some time passed, and a person approached me. He didn't exactly look like a guide.
"Sir, there are some very nice hotels with rooms nearby."  

"No, I will not need one. I will go back today itself."
Since there was nothing to expect from me, he lost interest and stood a little apart; not paying me any attention. Then, I  asked him, "are you really a guide? Where is your house?"
"I live close by. I am a farmer. In the evening I come here and arrange rooms for anyone who might need it. The hotels will pay me a commission of Rs 100/- or 150/- ."
He opened up; since he thought I wouldn't be staying there the night!
"Okay," I said, "can I stay with you at your house?" 

"Oh, sir, my house is very small with only two rooms."

"I do not want to stay at a hotel. All I need is a place to sleep and home cooked food," I said.

"Who all are there at home?"

"Me, my wife, and our son who has completed plus two. One minute sir."

He moved a little away and talked to someone over the phone. Maybe, his wife. Then came back to me.
"All right sir. Let us go. I live close by!"
I had him sit behind me on Tenzing. We went along a little distance through an alley next to the temple, to reach a small house in the middle of a banana plantation.

"This is it sir. We have two rooms. One is the kitchen. Other, the bedroom." 
I liked the place and the setup. Nice village. In the middle of a green filled courtyard, a small house.
'Good, superb', I told myself. 'This was what I was searching for, and I had found it.' 

The two room house had a palm leaf covered area in the front, as was the norm in those parts. Placed Tenzing there to rest. The remaining space held a coir cot.
He pointed to it and said, "Sir, you can lie here in comfort. Rent, 300 Rs!!" 

What! 300 Rs, to stay in this courtyard? I looked at the man closely.  A canny character?
"What is your name?"
"Raju, sir. Why sir?"
"You know my name. Shouldn't I know who I am staying with?" said I.

"This is my wife, Mangalamma," Raju bhai said. pointing to a manly looking woman who was standing there. "Then, we have a son. Chiranjeevi." Chiranjeevi, was not in scene right then. And was supposed to be a plus two student.

So, that was how it was!
Naturally, my eyes turned to the second room, the other one, apart from the kitchen.
"Can I have this room?"
I had my reasons. I had to charge the Gopro, DSLR, mobile phone etc. Also, I needed a place to keep my things safe.
Raju bhai was in complete agreement.
"Can I see the room?"
"Yes, why not?" said Raju bhai.
The room was okay. It held a cot  TV, etc. It also had a heavy shabby smell.

"The rent will be 600 Rs, sir. Will have a fresh sheet on the bed," he added. As if he was doing a favor.
Wasn't it too much for the tiny room? I was getting angry. The chap was a cutthroat.
He thought a bit and said, "Okay sir, 400 Rs. 200 more for food. How long will you be staying here?"    

 "For about two days." 

"As you like sir. Check out time will be at 10 am!!"
Since I started on this journey, for the first time, I was stunned!
(How many more such 'stunning' moments were awaiting me! But, I didn't know it then)

While these 'business discussions' were going on, Mangalamma had swept the room clean.
She gathered up some of their belongings and placed them in the kitchen. And I took charge of the room. I unpacked my things.
Now, what I needed most urgently, was a bath.
Raju had earlier confirmed that the place had a toilet. A very necessary aspect, while on a travel.
Pointing to a screened area, he said that I could have my bath there. 

(A necessary aspect for anyone and everyone. :)
But a traveler is at the mercy of circumstances, and what is available)
'Sir, you will be given three showers. For us, it is two. One extra as special for you.'
As I stood there wide eyed, in astonishment, Raju came with a water filled pot in each hand. That was the 'shower'.
When I came out after a bath in three 'showers', Mangalamma had prepared a glass of fine tea for me. Good. Blessed hands..

While I was having tea, Raju came with a tattered piece of paper. Looked like it was torn off a first standard book of Chiranjeevi's.
"Sar, please write down you address and phone number."
I gave  him one of my visiting cards, and said that it had everything in it.
He turned that around in his hands, put it in his pocket, and stood there hesitantly.
"What is it?"
"Sir, I want 50 Rs more. "


 'Your house, your room, for that, you  want commission!' 
What the heck!!!??
That sir, Isn't this business. I want commission!"
Including rent for two days, and food, I gave him 1000 Rs, and an extra 50 Rs as commission.
He shouldn't get away with this, I told myself.

"Where is the key to this room? Bring it," I told him.
He brought one key.
"Isn't there one more?"
"Yes sir."

"Bring that too. Am I not staying here for rent? Then, I want the key." I said.

I took the keys from him and shut the room.

To be continued..... 

 The rest, later. (After knowing your opinion, let me decide if I should continue 'entertaining' you so wink emoticon )

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7. Day 22 nd day of being away. 21st day on the road. .

On this day, the 7 th of May 2015 is the 21st day of my journey. The final leg starts from here........ to Kochi. I rode with my fantastic riding partner Tenzing ( my bullet) through 13 states. Covered 6185km. 
My sincere thanks to all my friends for their great support and care.
Thank you all! 
See you in Kochi.

Back at Kochi. The distance covered.. 6264 km. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day 21 May 6 Hampi to Mangalore and beyond

4.50 am. Had an early start from Hampi.

 @ Shivamogga.
Mangalore route. 

Nearly 3pm, and I reached Mangalapuram (Mangalore), A short stop to have a late lunch.
Today, I rode 535 km from Hampi to reach Cheruvathur in Kerala. Two km short of the distance I rode on April 21st. . (Odisha to Kolkatta)

Travel always leads to discoveries. :) Cheruvathur 'cheriya pathu oor' [ten small places]  (Renamed Kuttamath in honor of 'Mahakavi Kuttamath' in the year 2010) ... is a town in Kasaragod.
It is also the land of the renowned sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman.

Welcome to Kerala
Peace and calm in my mind, as I stand here.

Good to be in Kerala, to be able to speak the language again.
:) And like any other malayali might feel in my place. Happy too, to have a bath in our clear clean water.   

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day 20 May 5

Hampi, Karnataka.
2nd day there.

 On the banks of the Thungabhadra river. The Virupaksha temple.
It is the main attraction here at Hampi.

The history of the temple is dated back to the 7th century 

Hampi. The sights there are never ending.  A place that tells us stories from beyond that which meets the eye.
Since I stayed back here, I got to cover a bit more of the place, than I would have otherwise.
I wandered around. Imbibing as much of the aura of the place, as I could. Taking many pictures.

Took a dip in the Thugabhadra. The river that has seen a lot of history unfold. Thungabhadra is the confluence of the rivers Thunga and Bhadra.
Hampi stands on the bank of this river.

Saw the beautiful land around, and talked to the wind and the trees and the rocks there. A gentle day that unfolded beautifully.
Today had a lot of personal moments that were unique.  As I wandered around in silent contemplation, I'd stand there thinking, and mind would take me to times of  yore. I'd think of how it would have been there all those years back.  If I had been alive at the time,  how would it have been.
Thoughts would travel on a different plane. And my mind would take me to days of the past.

The place that was my home away from home from the day  I set foot  in Hampi. 

Took rest and unwound.
Then completed preparations for my onward journey tomorrow.
And, another day comes to a close.

Day 19 May 4, Karnataka

From Mahbubnagar Telengana, to Hampi.

On my way to Hampi, :) some time with two young friends at Makthal

 At Makthal, Mahbubnagar- Telangana
On 2 June 2014, Telangana was separated from Andhra Pradesh as a new 29th state of India

6 pm At Hampi, Karnataka 
Enter Hampi, and the whole ambience changed.
:) It even got a bit cooler.
Seemed as if I had come upon an old world village from Kerala.
Perhaps, other than for the tarred road.

This is where I  am going to stay. 

The farmer and went speechless when I asked him if I could stay with him.
Finally he agreed to rent out one of the two rooms there.
:) Boarding and lodging, agreed upon, Here I stay.
'Hampi' is at walking distance from here.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Day 18 May 3 Andhra Pradesh

7.15 am

Ready to start.

We are journeying towards Hyderabad today.
:) see you on the other side of the day.

415 pm
Past Hyderabad.

5.30 @ Jadcherla
Tha town of Jadcherla is in  Telengana.

 5000KM Finished smile emoticon

Tomorrow it will be  Hampi.
Looking forward to being there.
That will be the only place I'll be in, for more than an overnight stay.

After being unexpectedly held back by the weather condition following the earthquake, and Tenzing's puncture earlier on.
I am behind, in time. Days.
But, I have travelled more touched more states, spread the message to more people.

The times I spent with the children at schools or otherwise;  I don't plan to make those pictures public.
To my mind, that would be in bad taste.
I want to respect their right to privacy.

I have those pictures. But, for my personal memory bank.

It was raining at Jadcherla, and I had thought of staying there.
But the only place I found, didn't look too good to stay.
So I traveled on 22 km more in the same direction I had meant to take tomorrow.
Now 7,30 pm,  at Mahbubnagar: found a place to stay.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 17 May 2 Maharashtra

Morning... Jabalpur

Yesterday my plan was to start from Rewah and reach Nagpur. But a few significant activities delayed me. I could start only by 12'O clock. To reach Nagpur I had to travel 508 km and that was not possible. So, I headed for Jabalpur. Covering 255 km I reached Jabalpur by 4PM entered the city in search of a place to stay. After a search of 3 long hours and 25km ride realised that there was not a single room available. Almost searched 11 to 13 hotels, all were booked as it was wedding season. One or two were available. But then, I would have to leave Tenzing on the road. We both needed to be safe. Around 7:30PM I left the city in further search for a safe abode for us both. Drove almost 82km through service roads and pocket roads looking for a comfortable space. It was a difficult drive that too at night. By around 9:30 I was just dead tired and wanted to stop and stretch. The a space unveiled... An appropriate one just for two of us. Tenzing was parked in safety and I put up my tent. Had a cozy and peaceful sleep. From this beautiful location I begin my journey today.....

Reached Nagpur by afternoon. Nagpur is known as the second capital of Maharashtra.
Mumbai being the first.

There is an Enfield service center here. Tenzing need an oil change.
Waiting for that and service tweak for him.
He has been riding hard. :)

It has been a hot day. The temperature touching 44 degrees.

It is 7.28 pm now. It is 40 degrees even now.

:) This night I sleep in a bed, in a room.
Had a refreshing bath. Felt good to wash off the grime and fatigue of two days.

From Tenzing and me, Good night.

Day 16 May 1st

Labour day wishes to all.
Rewah Mp

Past 2.30 pm: Mobile is ok now.

4.30 pm : Reached Jabalpur.
Still in the heart of India. MP

Past 7 pm, and I was still searching for a place to stay.
Went to 11 places in search of a room. But no rooms free.

Now, it is past 9.30. I don't know exactly where I am. But I have found a safe place to stay.
A shop or a house or both together.
The place is deserted. I can safely rest Tenzing there; away from curious eyes.

I have put up my tent and now I am about to stretch out  and go to sleep.

More news about the day later.

:) Rest time. It is 10.30 pm
Good night folks.

Tomorrow. If things go well, I will definitely reach Nagpur, Maharashtra.

The place that sheltered Tenzing and me for the night.