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Couple to zoom off on mission girl child

- 60-year-old Odisha biker sets eyes on Guinness World Records
Durga Charan Mishra and wife Jyotshna on their Royal Enfield. Picture by Sarat Patra

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 8: A Royal Enfield, loaded with 80kg luggage, will set off on a 19,000-km expedition on February 27.

While attempting a world record, 60-year-old retired government employee Durga Charan Mishra and wife Jyotshna Mishra, 51, will crisscross the country for over 54 days to create awareness about protecting the girl child.

Starting from their Puri house, the couple have a clear plan of the routes they will chart during their long trip. Though thrilled about the greatest adventure of their life, the duo believe it’s possible for them to achieve the feat given their earlier records.

“The current Guinness world record in this category is held by Mumbai biker Mohsain Haq, who completed 18,301km by covering the length and breadth of the country in 56 days. Since we hold a national record of riding on the roads from Leh to Kanyakumari in 169 hours and 45 minutes and have endeavoured many countrywide and cross-country road trips, we are confident about this trip,” said Durga Charan.

In 1999, Durga Charan had covered 17,070km throughout India in 57 days with a message to support the senior citizens and donate eye.

In 2002, he had set out on World Peace Expedition and two years later he had covered 16,840km in 64 days during his South Asia Expedition (covering India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka). In the 2004 expedition, Durga Charan had set off on his Royal Enfield to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention.

In 2005, Durga Charan took part in the Himalayan Expedition organised by Royal Enfield. On the eve of 60 years of Indian Independence in 2007, he rode his bike in the Grand Trunk Expedition. In the trip from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, they had covered 11,400km in 32 days.

The most striking element of the couple is their enthusiasm for the road trip despite their age.

Though it is tough to ride pillion, Jyotshna enjoys the adventure and is comfortable travelling along with around 80kg of luggage that includes their tent, clothes and other essentials. They will ride from 5am to 7pm every day.

“We are fit and so there is no second thought about the trip. This is our dream,” said Jyotshna. The couple say they go for walks everyday and get regular health check-ups done to ensure they are fit to pursue their adventures. Moreover, family support and spreading awareness for social causes give them the required inner strength.

“My wife is the best home-maker and my greatest supporter all the way. I have beautiful children — Anupam, a film director in Mumbai and daughter Anusha who lives in California. Both are married, settled and always encourage us to go ahead for the bike rides. Apart from our own determination, what helps us aim higher every time is the support from our children who keep tracking us always through global positioning system,” said Durga Charan.

“Illiteracy and adverse financial conditions in India are reasons for lack of education for the girl child in rural households. During our trip, we will meet 80,000 school students across India, mostly in rural areas, to discuss and interact with them,” he said.

The duo have completed all formalities, including informing the Guinness World Records team about their attempt. The couple will ride on their 13-year-old Royal Enfield that they use only on these special rides.

“When I was in Delhi as a government employee of the transport ministry, I used to go for the rides. We recently shifted to our home in Odisha. This time, too, we will set off on the same bike. This trip will start from the Puri temple singha dwara on February 27 and will end there on April 21,” said the biker.

ON COURSE

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