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Motorcycle diary: 2 for the road

- Bikers head for countrywide expedition tomorrow; to traverse NE next week

Calcutta, Dec. 5: Two young men with a bike, a 10-year-old Hero Honda Splendour, and a pocketful of dreams will travel across the country, covering 30,000km in three months on their endeavour, Expedition Ekatva. The Northeast, which the duo intend to cover in two weeks, is what they call the most enchanting part of their journey.

“I consider the Northeast the most mysterious, most unexplored and the most beautiful part of our country. Considering that we will be travelling through Meghalaya and Nagaland in mid-December, in the biting cold, it will also be very challenging,” said Sarvesh Agarwal, one of the two bikers.

Sarvesh has been to Nagaland and Guwahati once, but not on a bike. In fact they have never done anything like this before. “My friend Sarvesh Poddar and I have been on shorter bike trips before. We had met in St Xavier’s College in Calcutta where we studied and went to Lake Gorudongmar in Sikkim from Calcutta on a bike. We also travelled from Bhagalpur to Rajgir,” Agarwal said. So when they get on their bikes for the cross-country expedition on Saturday, it will be a first, and the experience of a lifetime.

The route map took them nearly four months to prepare. Girish Mylandla, the grandfather of Indian biking, helped them with the plan and ideas to approach people for help.

“We wrote to all governors, chief ministers, President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari. The Vice-President, the governor of Odisha, the chief ministers of Uttar Paradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and other senior officials have promised us of their support,” Agarwal said. They have also got support from the Rotary Club.

Their motorcycle diaries, inspired by Che Guevara, will be taken a step ahead with a documentary on the specific issues of the places they cover. Apart from this the duo will do an online survey using statistical tools on the problems of each state they visit. The aim is to establish unity by addressing the diverse problems of the country.

But will the 10-year-old Splendour survive the trip?

“The bike is in good shape now that I have got it serviced. I am confident about the vehicle,” Agarwal said.

The budget for a trip this long is what can actually be called shoestring. The biggest cost, which is worrying the two bikers, will be that of fuel (at nearly Rs 1 lakh).

“The cost of food and fuel is what we need to pay from our pockets and it will add up to nearly Rs 2 lakh. The Rotary Club will take care of the accommodation. They will also arrange our meetings with people of the places we visit,” he added.

On this trip, their only luggage would be a rucksack and a small backpack. And warm clothes?

“We will always wear jackets so that we do not need to carry to much luggage. It will be a little uncomfortable in the heat of Chennai but as we move north I hope it would get more comfortable,” he said.