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Indian Coastal Cycling Expedition – Harihareshwar – Dapoli- Let out the child in you & you will never grow old

With one of our team members withdrawing temporarily, we were just the two of us pedalling along from day three onwards. Seeing off the withdrawing team member we pedalled our way towards the Bankot Ferry point for a boat ride to Veshvi from where we would head towards Dapoli.

This was one peculiar day that started off early. We were a full hour early at the ferry point with the first ferry only expected around 7:30 am. Watching the Sunrise over the Savitri river was so blissfull. The sky changing hues from deep blue to violet to pink and bright orange with the disc of the sun slowly rising on the river flowing between two mountains. It was scene out of school drawing books.

The Sunrise – bringing back childhood memories

 

Childhood is measured out by sounds, smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows… John Betjeman 

The sight suddenly brought out the child in me and those wonderful memories of a carefree, enjoyable phase of  life rolled like a reel. It suddenly struck me that though I was considering my self a free bird, I was so much entangled with the demands of the society that I had forgotten to enjoy my life as a child would.

That time  spent on the ferry point was like watching highlights of my 55 years so far and reminiscing the sweet-sour moments that life had put forth. I suddenly realized that I was trying to match up to an imaginary benchmark of social acceptance trying to do things by which people around me would see me at par and having achieved a certain status in society.

Not that I ever cared about these things, but nevertheless I had fallen into the trap unknowingly. That rising sun shed light on the reality, that what matters is your own happiness; what the world thinks about you is their opinion and need not bother you. They are forming an opinion about you based on their experiences of life!

 

The sights we saw enroute to Sakhri

 

With these thoughts in mind, along with my pedalling partner, we embarked on to the ferry that took us to Veshvi a 30 minute boat ride away. The day suddenly seemed so bright and cheerful. The road from Veshvi onwards till Sakhri through the turtle hatching town of Velas was like a back country road, paved at times and at times a gravel road, meandering through quiet little konkan villages and hamlets and back waters. Some times straight some times going up a steep climb. Riding past the Beetle nut cultivations and the Mango orchards, once again brought the fond memories of childhood, when we would climb on to the mango trees in our school – much to the displeasure of the school teachers, and pluck raw mangoes and enjoy eating them with a bit of salt……

Though we did not pluck any mangoes here, the sights of the bowing branches laden with semi ripe mangoes, the aroma of the alphonso mangoes was a great simulant to keep us going with out being fatigued by the uphill trails. The downhills were like riding a roller coaster, semi gravel roads with sea at one side and mango orchards at the other. We did not even realize that we were already at Sakhri, and a stones throw away from our destination for the day – Dapoli.

We met a  local fisherman at Sakhri who assisted us in finding  a rowing boat to ferry us to Kelshi ( the coast opposite). That saved us a good 10 -12 kms of riding distance to the nearest bridge to cross the creek. Once at Kelshi, the road kept hugging the coast line   passing through fishing villages with boats anchored in the creeks and fisherfolk going about their daily mending activities on their nets and boats.

 

Boats at Ade

One thing that continued to disturb me all along this stretch was the amount of plastics we found along the coast. PET bottles and single use packaging material… it was sore sight to the eyes. Why cant we carry back our rubbish and dispose it off responsibly?

Single use plastic Packaging Marring the beauty of our coast line

Hopping from one beach to the other, one bluff to the other, we reached the coastal town of Murud ( this is a different Murud from the one we passed on day 1 and 2. Konkan has many towns similarly named but in different districts).

The town of Dapoli was about 13 kilometers and all of it a uphill climb reaching an attitude of 227 meters from sea level. This one stretch was one which I was worried about all the while during the planning stage. But with the mood for the day set right with the rising sun. This 13 kilometers uphill ride felt like a piece of cake. We saw ourselves at Dapoli spot on for lunch at 1:30 pm.

A scrumptuous lunch was well deserved at Dapoli. The rest of the day was spent at my home in Dapoli, doing the laundry of the past three days and showering some TLC on our machines. They had undergone a lot of  torture in the day so far and they deserved some care too.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent thinking on my mornings revelations. Childhood was all about enjoying simple things, the world from a child’s eyes is always beautiful. If we continue to keep the child in us alive, we would never grow old.

And that reminded me of the words of an English Poet John Betjeman “Childhood is measured out by sounds, smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows”.

Just ponder….isn’t that so true? I had decided I would never let the child in me die….

Seven days on the road on my first ever Cycling Expedition; every day taught me some lessons of life afresh, which I shall share in this series of articles along with images that were shot during the ride…

 

Keep a look out for the next learning…..

Milind

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