Jayanto Gangopadhyay (left) and Mrinmoy Kumar Ghosh in Kanyakumari last month
Life not only begins at 40, it positively vrooms ahead.
Mrinmoy Kumar Ghosh (40) and Jayanto Gangopadhyay (45), colleagues at Tata Steel’s electrical maintenance department and Jamshedpur residents, discovered it on a 15-day bike trip “to spread communal harmony” all the way from Gujarat’s Okha to Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari last month.
They started out from Jamshedpur on March 9 and ended it on March 23 at Ernakulam, covering 4062km along the north-south axis of India, with six states — Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala — and two union territories Daman and Diu.
They came back on March 29, with the 150cc bike making the return journey on train.
Rest well earned for the two men and their machine.
It’s been nearly a couple of weeks since their return, but the duo can’t get over what they achieved in their journey.
“It’s a little bit of India’s soul,” says Mrinmoy, a Sonari resident.
“It’s the unbelievable hospitality of strangers along the way,” says Jayanto, who stays in Kadma.
They brush aside the heat, sunburn, rains, bad roads, even the odd police grilling in Maharashtra and tummy disorders.
“They are unimportant. Or at best, funny anecdotes. But what was actually rewarding was the fact that we spoke to strangers along the way at highway dhabas and roadsides, telling them that we are from Jamshedpur and want all Indians to live in peace and harmony, and people actually listened,” said Jayanto.
“It was a memorable trip. The genuine reactions we evoked were amazing,” Mrinmoy, who in 2003, biked his way to Puri with better half Anjali, said.
If that trip was about romance, this was about a crusade, he grins.
“We started from Okha in Gujarat and ended at the Kerala’s commercial capital Ernakulam. In 4062 km, our bike never had a breakdown or a tyre puncture,” Mrinmoy added.
What about maintaining fitness? It helped that the adventure enthusiasts had exposure to mountaineering, rock-climbing and parasailing, but the ride — even though both took turns — was arduous, confess the duo.
“As we spread the message of harmony to others, we also had to listen to the messages that our bodies were giving us. But we took lots of clothes to protect us from the elements. We basically sustained on dry fruits and fruits and fresh local food available,” Jayanto said.
Cops in Maharashtra also stopped Mrinmoy and Jayanto. “They were satisfied only when we showed them a letter from East Singhbhum district administration,” Mrinmoy said.
Thanking Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) secretary P.P. Kapadia for “moral support”, they said they were not hanging up their riding boots yet. “Bangkok on a bike is our next destination,” he said.
Do you know anyone who has undertaken a similar adventure-with-a-cause trip?