When Kedar was 14, his father bought a Bajaj Kawasaki 4S motorcycle. .As a kid, he was allowed to clean it, start it, run it for 2 mins, but not take it out – ever! He was relegated to an old cycle, which was his trusted mode of transportation until engineering. Finally, during engineering is when he slowly graduated from his cycle to a motorcycle, that too not his own. Sometimes on friends’ bikes, but never really rode out anywhere out of the city. He became an avid trekker after he got his first job and spent all holidays travelling – still not on a bike.
Finally, the day came when his father approved of him buying a bike and then there was no looking back. A big trip was planned and he was ready to take in what the roads had to offer. He started from Hampi, moving along to Hubli, Pune, Indore, Gwalior, Mathura, Delhi, Ambala, Amritsar, Pathankot, Jammu, Mansar, Udhampur, Srinagar, Sonmarg, Kargil, Lamayuru, Leh, Pang, Upshi, Keylong, Manali, back into Delhi, Jhansi, Nagpur, lost his way into Panchmarhi, went ahead to Hyderabad and then finally landed back in Hampi. A total of 8300 km on the road!
But the thrill of the kilometres clocked isn’t what Kedar got back with him. It was something else. It was the memory of people who he met and who touched his heart. Their stories that contributed to changing him, is what he values most from this mammoth ride. The most unforgettable of the incidents is when he met Mukesh, the boat boy. All of 14, he takes tourists across the river but dreams of being a very good swimmer. At the age of 12 he saw a boat collapse into the Narmada and people dying, while everyone waited for the rescue team. Since that day he decided to be a part of the rescue team at the river – and that was his only dream. It was profound encounters such as these that made Kedar realize one doesn’t need 27 years to follow a dream! It’s not the formal education and the rigmarole of school, college, jobs is what makes one achieve great things. If you want to ride –all you need is to know a little about your bike and Hindi to travel in India.
An Ujjain based Baba, a cyclist touring the world and many more he met on the road put things in perspective for Kedar. To follow your passion, you just need to take the first step.
Why Bike? For Kedar, it gives him the flexibility, the thrill of travelling to untraversed places and meeting new people. When this journal comes out, he will already be on a Europe tour on his Thunderbird!
This too didn’t come easily – it almost cost him his job but he was ready to take the risk. He went to the topmost person of his company to explain why he needed a long leave of 4 months and the mania behind riding across to Europe. Kedar already had his resignation letter ready in anticipation of the leave not being granted. It was a short interaction with his Dy. Managing Director, not enough to explain the gravity and importance of this trip. He was dismissed from the office without assurance.
As you read this, Kedar will be riding around Europe, with a 4 month paid leave and financial aid of Rs 2 Lakhs from his office.