Sunday, February 24, 2013

One who cobbles can also Travel

Meet this traveller- Mr Ram Bahadur, a cobbler by profession from Pokhara. Not long ago he used to sit by the side of Bindabasini Temple and mend worn out footwear of tourists. The turning point came in his life when somebody suggested him a way to get his name enlisted in Guinness book of world records and he embraced the idea which even travellers with a heavy wallet won’t dare to execute. He decided to travel whole world with coins of different (actually innumerable) countries glued to his outfit and that’s how he came to be called by the name ‘Shikka Baba’ (Coin Saint) by local people! The decision may seem too motivating for dedicated travellers, may sound insane to ‘practical minds’ and taste ‘some food for thought’ to careless bloggers cum travellers like me but he gives a shit to those with his determined and fearless eyes. Out of 75 districts of Nepal, till now he has covered only 24 but he is sincere to his goal even with the meagre resources he has as evident from his humble backpack and beddings. After he finishes travelling the entire Nepal his plan is to travel India. Only time will tell whether this ‘Shikka Baba’ succeeds to enter his name is Guinness book of world records but I, on behalf of all avid travellers salute his vision and wish him all the best to carry successfully his country flag all around the globe… after all, unlike many of us he has successfully made his choice!

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Bicycling Hours

Yesterday it was drizzling in the afternoon, when I got the sudden urge of taking out my bicycle and ride towards those mountains which often lure me while I relax on my balcony in post duty hours. But I convinced myself that in no circumstances I’ll soak my skin with that evil rain which has high potency to fetch me a flue from nowhere. The bored child in me didn’t quite dig the logic, so I had to promise him for an unconditional ‘may what so happen’ bicycling hours next day afternoon! Huh… sometimes I reconsider of consulting a psychologist but the one in my vicinity actually needs herself a good psychotherapy session, so I don’t dare to approach her. Today it turned out to be an amazing sunny day clearing out all my dark apprehensions. I couldn’t quite finish up my works early. Dal-rice seemed too heavy for a cyclist’s diet, so managed with a plate of chicken momo. After all I’m one of the most sedentary sacks whose bicycling frequency is irregularly irregular… equipped me with a bottle of water and I was ready to pedal my Atlas SLR.
In a split second I was on East-West highway. As the board suggests, the front road is going to Butwal which is the main highway… that means dominated by monster wheels and their poisonous farts… Noh I opted out from it. The road at my back goes to Mahendranagar (west) which bears the same sore… added to that I have taken it few times recently, so it wasn’t a good option either. Towards right it is going to Nepalgunj which is the most usual route for anybody living here. I took the Surkhet road… come on, it is the road that goes straight to those mountains who tempt me so often!
I requested the lady at the back of her husband’s (probably) bicycle for a snap but I wasn’t convincing enough or may be she’s of the photo-shy genre… she turned her face to front… I couldn’t help clicking from back though from my moving cycle.

      This is one of the best things I like about Nepal… here kids of even quite low socioeconomic families are sent to school (sadly, unlike India). Schools may not have a school-like building, ample teachers or a ‘blow no horn’ board but they are everywhere and full with kids in uniforms!
      What this lady was carrying seemed much beyond my lifting limit, yet she maintained a smile and she was happy when I told the purpose of my photographing her, ‘I write’…
       I reached Chisapani village in an hour (no, this is not that Chisapani of far-west). The Surkhet road gets hillier from here on for which neither my bicycle (being gearless) nor my leg muscles were manly enough. Crossed Chisapani to reach the check post from where the forest area begins and then made a U-turn. While returning I took a muddy road at left to some village but the variable gradient and tractor-wheel made depressions on mud changed my plan after fifteen minutes of struggle and I cycled down to the same main road.
Now it was those kids’ ‘best time in the day’ as they overzealously queued into the school bus… may be mom’s yummy chow-chow is waiting back home! I was also returning… it was enough for the first day… when I returned back to my home I had covered around 27 kilometres, last 2-3 kilometres of which I had badly felt while pedalling each and every inch… my crying thigh, weeping calf, fast beating heart and a satisfied mind… I have got a query- how much saddle time a cyclist needs to make his butt pain-proof? Who cares of it though… I’ll come back with the next story of my bicycling hours very soon!