Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's About the Bum

Crossing over from Goa to Maharashtra,

Crossing the Karli river, had to really convince this guy.

My ride on the boat on the river Karli

Wadantar Back waters, near Vijaydurg

Vijaydurg fort, it was a relief to reach here, the ride till here was never ending.

Can I get a Thums Up please

Crossing over from Vijaydurg to Jaitapur

 Thank God ! it was low tide.

My highest climb, so I thought near Ratnagiri.

 from Dhabol to Dhopave.

When you are down you just have to look around.

A huge ancient Masjid in Dhopave.

Just before crossing over to Raigad.

The terrain, roads were fairly good !!

Crossing over a bridge in Jaitapur

Siolim bridge in Goa
My journey through Konkan on a cycle

"Fear is a good thing."
The night before I started my journey was a nervous one. Packing, unpacking, trying to make my backpack lighter, question's all over me - What if I get robbed? What if I break down? Will I enjoy the journey? and many more. I could not sleep a bit and was just waiting for the Alarm to ring so that I could hit the road very unlike Vinod who just did not want to wake up.

Vinod had been awake for a while but just did not want to get out of his bed, he was pretending to be sleeping, thinking of excuses of avoiding the inevitable. He was stressed and the tension was making him feel sick in the stomach. Eventually he had to get up and go to school though he tried persuading his mom that he was not feeling well . The first few periods were uneventful and as the time passed Vinod grew pale and blue and then, the bell he feared the most rang, the 4th period, the Biology class, Padmavati Mam. Frantically Vinod started asking his friends weather they all had finished the homework assigned for the weekend. He almost cried when he realized that all of them had finished it but he fought back his tears and when his friends asked him about the  homework he lied that he too had completed. In any other subject Vinod would have escaped with a minor warning or scolding but not in Padmavati Mam's Biology class. She also happens to be Vinod's Mom's classmate and good friend. Padmavati Mam used to humiliate the students who did not finish their homework and also handed over a good enough spanking. Vinod could not imagine the humiliation he was about to receive in front of the whole class, last week she had slapped a student and also tore his book. There was no escaping now as she had entered the class and Vinod started preparing himself. She immediately got cracking and started calling students by their role number to her table. She seemed to be in a happy mood and most of the students started getting good comments and encouragement. Vinod started feeling worse. There were only about 3 students left in the role call before Vinod would be called and just then a peon walks in and calls Padmavati Mam to the conference room, Mam quickly gives all an assignment and leaves only not to return for the period. As the bell for the recess rings, Vinod is relieved and a happy boy again. All his suppressed energy was released and he came back to his self in the following period to help his team win the Volleyball match.

All my apprehensions had been put to rest when I started hitting 12 to 15Km an hour passing beautiful beaches, temples and climbing steep hills.

"Performance, a state of mind"
After 2 day's of cycling through Konkan, the 2nd day being the toughest, I entered Ratnagiri crossing over to Jaitapur from Vijaydurg by boat. From the 3rd day I started enjoying my journey.

Calm and poised Nikhil's body language was full of confidence as he was walking down to the restaurant. He reached there before his usual time, after all today he knew was going to be extra special. Nikhil worked as an assistant to the Waiters at a prominent restaurant. His job included cleaning tables, serving water, replenishing soiled linen, cutlery, crockery etc and also helped the waiters in what ever they needed. The section of the restaurant that he worked in was managed by 04 Waiters and 04 of their assistants. Today 02 of the other assistants had quit the job and the third one was very ill to work, this left only Nikhil to manage the whole section. On any day it often gets difficult for all four of them to manage the ever demanding requirements of the guests and also of their waiters to provide a good service. Nikhil had come in early and was preparing for the humongous task lying ahead of him. He always wanted to be a waiter, he had learned the trade well and was one of the better known employees of his designation. He knew that if he did a good job today he could pitch himself as a strong contender for being a waiter. Nikhil was getting everything organized, he filled extra bowls of sauces, pickles, kept the napkins, cutlery, crockery everything ready. He was ready about half an hour before lunch service was to begin. He ran himself through the entire sequence and rechecked if everything was ready for the onslaught. He had to hold fort for 4 hours, after which the Lunch service ended. As the guests started coming in, Nikhil was spot on, not wasting a single second, He had prepared and planned well. He filled a large flask of hot water for fingure ball, had cut enough lime to last the afternoon so that he did not waste time in cutting them every time a demand rised. He was a man possessed and even when he had to leave his section for replenishing cutlery and crockery, his mind was there he knew which table was about to finish the meal, which one needed the bill, which table is consuming more water, who is the more difficult of the guests, As the day progressed Nikhil was a well organized and  synchronized machine. He had hit the groove and there was no stopping him, he had pulled it off. At the end of it, Nikhil was very satisfied, he knew he could do it but the efficiency he showed surprised himself. In a way he was exploring new avenues of himself and now in his mind he was already thinking of the dinner service.

For the next 2 days I enjoyed my journey and the experience, the food was great, I met wonderful people and the journey was going good.

"Disappointment, sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one's hopes or expectations" 
 After 06 days on my own on the road, it was getting very tough. The nights were more difficult than the days. Spending my evenings alone in shady hotels was very demoralizing. In Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri I stayed in temples and homestays where I had good company till late night. In Raigad I could not find good places to stay and I had to stay in hotels, homely food was replaced by tasteless Chinese and other international cuisine, roads were filled with traffic. I was also missing my family and it was getting really frustrating, I had begun to hate the cycle.

Young Mohan worked in the illicit alcohol trade. He had to fill bottles, label them and seal them. There were many kids who worked along with him. He enjoyed it more than his previous job as it payed him more but they had to work in filthy sheds, They worked through the day and sometimes even till late nights at times they would get a couple of days break when the cops get cracking but most of the days they worked for more than 16 hours. Even after working so hard they did not have a proper place to sleep. They would sleep where ever they got place in the shed. The rainy season was the worst as the drain used to get blocked filling  the shed with sewage. The kids used to take refuge in the pavements but they were generally picked for sexual favors and they dreaded that. The safest place was the railway station but it was an hour's walk away and they used to get too tiered to make that long walk. Every night they used to hop from street to street, hunting for a safe place to sleep away from predators. One such night as they were looking out for a place to sleep, in one of the commercial buildings they found a service staircase which lead them to the terrace of the building. The terrace was just perfect, it had a porch which protected them from the rains and also was completely safe. The kids were happy with their knew discovery and they discussed among themselves not to tell any one about the place. Mohan had good nights sleep and was happy the next day, they got up early and left the terrace. This continued for a couple of weeks. Mohan and his friends managed to keep it to under wraps and also they did not attract any attention. One morning as Mohan got up early as usual, he saw a couple of monkeys in the terrace, he got up and walked  out of the Porch to see a whole gang of them. The left over food had attracted them. Mohan was not very worried. He woke the other boy's made sure they did not leave anything behind and left the place. The next morning also the boys woke up to the monkeys and this day the monkeys were a little more aggressive and also more in number, as they were trying to make way from among the monkeys it created a commotion which alerted the security. They just managed to escape from the monkeys first then the security and make it to the shed. Mohan now knew that they could never go back to the terrace.

At the end of the journey, once I was in the comfort of my home, resting my sore legs and sensitive bums, I realized that I did not have any cycling to do the next morning, I did not have any place to reach, no more new vistas, experiences, people, food. No more surprises. No more discovery. No more anticipation only till the next journey.


  1. Woh...such a amazing and life changing experience Jeff...Inspiring for me. It would have been great if you can add your travel amp with this, as I can see you not only simply traveled by road only.

    But at the end...it was grate achievement. Cheers...!!!

  2. Thanks a lot for taking time to read our blog and for your encouraging comments. Thanks for your suggestion too, how ever I did not quiet understand what is a travel amp?

  3. Such awesome experience Jeffy! great pictures.. thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Ashwini, thanks for taking time out to read our blog.

  4. aur likho...aur likho....aur likho...aur likho

  5. Jeff you got very good experience :) coolest man...

    Konkan Cultural Travel We introduce you to 'experiential' Konkan Tourism. Drawing people into cultures, communities & the outdoors.

    1. Thanks, Glad you liked my blog, could you tell me more about yourself, do you have a web page for Konkan Cultural Travel, sounds very interesting

  6. This is awesome!! Too bad i read only after my journey. I like the perspectives of the people you encountered. Brilliant.

    1. Thanks Sid, just wrote whatever I felt like, glad you liked it


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