7th August, 2016
"Oh holidays! Let's go biking to Ladakh" Clichéd? Here's what isn't hackneyed.
Well, here's the life affirming journey of two Assamese lads, Animesh (21) and Dhrubajyoti (20), hailing from Tezpur edging through villages, town and cities riding bicycles, Indian MTB and Leisure MTB (which are of course, not qualified for long distances). With bicycles without racks, they carried a few belongings and a Gamusa- to be unfolded at Khardung La (their stop destination). Inspired by the Brit Alastair Humphreys, ‘Into the Wild’ and Mohd. Izahar, ready to challenge themselves, the duo rode their length from Tezpur on 14th July, 5:00 am and here they are in the capital covering 2227 Kms in 21 days while doing so. A daily coverage of 80-150 km a day, these two fellas started out; trapped in flooded hurdles to highways, slept on pavements, roadside dhabas, police stations, road dividers and everywhere and anywhere with a strong grip of belief.
With treasons and reasons they faced the epitome of fear and the best of the kind too. The best being their leisured yet valued stops to view the scenic beauty of the sunset in Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Ganges River (just short of Patna), evening aarti in Varanasi, riding elated parallel to Taj Mahal and finally meeting their families in Delhi.
They are overwhelmed to see the forest for the trees, tracking along the parallel contrast of culture, geography, economical and social riding past and along with them. What they find most intriguing was the musical cacophony in Bihar, with people with music sets set up on their head too. Midway through their historic journey, they were awakened to their ulterior motive of undertaking it- understanding the diversity of India.
Minor hiccups during their journey included occasional flat tyres, pedal issues and shock absorbers of a small two wheeler, whilst tightening their purse string all along. The most challenging challenge however came even before the journey began, in the form of parents, caring about their safety and well being especially for Dhrubajyoti because he had never stepped out of Assam. Second, when they got lost in nothingness and nowhere in Assam's tea garden where the GPS wouldn't warrant them, and to add to their terror, caught by a mob of 5 drunkards at around 7 one evening. Third, the line hotel in Bihar amidst a forest reserve, apparently where no buses nor trucks were halted, miscommunication and where a fellow halter considered and whispered the power cut night away that these two people were "Jasoos" (spies), rendering to a sleepless night. And later to be halted by two bikers in Patna who claimed themselves to be 'Hindustan' reporters, informing them that they will be felicitated and be waited upon by people in Bikram Ganj Highway, but on reaching there to be told by two friendly kids that they had to possess a gun to get by alive. And the night stay in a three storey 50 roomer hotel where they were given the most luxurious room, luxuries in the form of mosquitoes, heat and sleepless turnovers poured in. The most hectic ride was the 18 hours ride from Agra to Delhi where Dhrubajyoti was on the verge of denouncing his challenge with hiatuses of frequented diarrhoea.
At the moment they are feasting in Delhi, united with old friends and family carrying their worries for the last scale and toughest phase of the journey. They would pass Haryana, Punjab and Himachal to reach the end of their scale. Still going strong and not disheartened, despite atrocities in the form of scorching heat, health forgoing the fatigues and sweat, and expectations, these two cyclers will fulfill their motive and unfold and unruffle a Gamusa at Khardung La Pass, Ladakh (the worlds highest motorable road) at 18,380 ft.
They plan to cycle back from Khardung La to Manali, hitch a bus back to Delhi and commute along the rail tracks back to the heart of their homes.
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