I've had countless touching experiences throughout my journey. I met several kind-hearted and inspiring people. Hundreds of people helped me on my way in different ways. But I remember this incident particularly well because here the one who helped me was as helpless as I was.
I was on my way to explore Rajasthan with a moneyless purse and curiosity filled mind. Soon I realized that finding my way through Rajasthan wouldn’t be easy as I assumed. But I just wouldn't give up! The first few days were managed with the meagre amount of money I had. Then one day I realized that I no longer had any money. Once I became penniless the scorching heat started draining me quickly. Although I had covered only half the distance was hoping to cover, I was exhausted, thanks to the hot and dry climate of Rajasthan. I settled on a bench near a toll booth.
There was a boy out there who Sold fancy stuff to the people stopped by the booth to pay toll. The look on his face made it evident that He was quite tired of his work. He kept on watching me. I thought it was because of my strange appearance. After some time, once he was done with his work, he went to a small hut like house which was only a few yards away from the toll booth. As I had nothing much to do other than pining over my growling stomach and dizzy head, I kept observing him.
What I saw next was completely surprising. I saw him hiding two of the samosas his mother had given him in a piece of newspaper. He got out of the house without wasting even a single moment and proceeded towards me. I felt like he was God himself when he offered me those samosas. I was a bit reluctant to accept as he too looked as tired as I was. But he kept assuring me that he would eat once he got back home. So, I accepted his treat with much delight and a tinge of guilt. He too was elated to watch me devouring the samosas. He forgot his hunger at least for a moment, watching my happiness.
I couldn't thank him enough. I realized that day that it’s true that God plays his role through humans often.
- What was the inspiration behind travelling in a Hercules cycle?
I share a deep connection with the Hercules bicycle that has been my travel companion so far. It was the only vehicle we had at our home, that was shared by my brother, Grandfather and I. I used to get teased often for riding this so-called grandpa's cycle (in fact, this led to naming my YouTube channel as ' grandpa's cycle stories'), unlike other youngsters of my age who used to race around with their roaring motorcycles.
So, when the desire to explore the Himalayas embedded in my mind the image of the bicycle flashed up quickly in my mind, but I discarded that idea because it didn’t make sense at first. But when I gave it a second thought, I realized that it would be an experience worth having, a feat worth achieving. My cousins have always motivated me get out of my comfort zone and push myself hard to go for what I'm passionate about. They didn’t discard my idea as an absurd plan rather they stood by me. A much-old designed and unappealing bicycle has now covered much more distance literally than most of its motor- world counterparts. The mere thought that a bicycle which used to carry vegetables and grain sacks carries the blessings and well wishes of thousands of people is more than enough for me to rejoice.
- What is your next plan?
I will soon set out to know the east. (North-eastern India). I wish to meet someone whom I admire a lot. Mr. Moirangthem Loiya. He is an environmentalist and philanthropist, who replanted 300 acres of forest. Dedicating 17 years of his life to such a cause, he's a great man indeed. I'm not sure about how I'd do it considering the current political developments, but I think I should cling to the best I believe in, OPTIMISM. As of now I am saving money to funding for my further journey. I can't wait to set out to explore a region and culture I am completely unfamiliar with. I don't know what all wonders are this journey is going to put me through, but I am surely going to enjoy them.
- What was the biggest cultural shock you experienced in travelling?
Travelling is a ten trillion worth industry (contributed to almost 11 percentage of global GDP in 2018). Why are people paying this much to see new places and discover new cultures, it’s not because they're crazy rather because it’s worth it. The experiences that this journey has gifted is priceless for me I would never exchange it for anything. People who gave me food and shelter without asking even my name, appreciated me for my efforts to achieve my goals, extended their warm helping hands, they all wouldn't leave my mind until my death. Once I chose to travel, my aim and efforts became my identity replacing name, credentials and whatsoever. I stumbled upon another travel nerd and passionate photographer who made documentary on me (I'm thankful to Rinoy Sebastian brother who through 'Real Ambili’ got me recognition I hadn’t thought of in my wildest dreams). A single decision that I made changed my whole perspective about life and people. That decision was nothing but the decision to go for it, to start travelling without worrying too much, without overthinking.
- What is your piece of advice for those planning to travel?
People often complain that they haven't got enough time to spare for travelling. We never lose time we spend on travelling rather it acts as an incubation period. An opportunity to realign your thoughts, give your brain a fresh shot of energy. It makes you capable of getting out of your shell once again. It's all about getting the ball rolling. Once you start with it going with the flow would look much easier than stopping.
Most importantly, don’t be just a tourist rather be a traveller, be an explorer. Sometimes what you did matters more than what where you were. Sometimes places choose people rather than the other way around.
- Why should we travel?
This reminds me of a quotation. "The world is a large book and those who don't travel read only a single page of it”. Traveling Gives us a chance to Introspect. It helps us Rediscover ourselves. Imagine how different the world history would have been If Che Guevara had not gone for his motorcycle trip across Latin America or
If Siddhartha/ Buddha had not sneaked out of his Palace. Getting out of one's comfort zone wouldn't be easy for everyone but travelling often compels you to do that. Once you do that you will be able to find changes within yourselves. you'll become much more tolerant understanding and mature than you used to be. When life hits you hard, a journey to the place you've always wished to go will be much more traveling than gallons of booze.