BENGALURU: After a seven-day-long journey from Kolkata to Tawang, through mean roads and rough terrains, Tariq Aziz Khan, from Kolkata, says that his experiences have taught him lessons that will remain with him forever. He is the winner of a biking contest called True Wanderer 4.0.
Why Tawang: I got to know about Tawang from one of my friends. It is high up in the Himalayas and has all the elements, like mystery and adventure, that I crave for. Though I would have to ride through volatile regions of Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam to reach there. While passing through the jungles of Jharkhand and the villages of Bihar, which took 48 hours, I hadn’t slept. I wanted to reach Silliguri the same day. So, with droopy eyes I started singing Lucky Ali’s “Ghar Se Main Nikla..” and I managed to keep myself awake for sometime.
Why solo biking: I love being alone and I was always keen to know more about the culture and traditions of different parts of the country. After I got my bike, I started going on weekend trips, which further went on to become more than that. I have travelled to Bhutan and Ladakh.
Challenging part of the journey: While I was returning from Tawang, which is at 10,000 feet above the sea level, I had to cross a mountain pass, 14,000 ft above sea level. My feet were numb as it was snowing incessantly and the water had seeped into my shoes. It was night already. Though I was advised not to travel there during nights, since I was short on time, I had kept going. In the dark, I started hallucinating. I thought someone was standing in my way or some animal was crossing the road. It was spooky but I am happy that I am one among the very few people who managed to do something like this and come out successfully.
Lesson learnt: I realised that, in the city, we are stuck in a monotonous life. We should step out more often. It is only then when we put ourselves through something trying, like an adventurous trip, that we realise what is important to us.
Friends made: After I reached the summit, 14,000-feet above sea-level, at 9 pm, I stopped at a small shop. I met a guy called Rinchin, he offered me a night-stay at his place which was 40 km away. While I had to join him in his car, his friend would get my bike. I was a bit sceptical as my bike was loaded with my camera equipment and other gear, but I accepted the offer. Rinchin’s car broke down and his friend did not stop for us. I thought that they had fooled me and I was upset.
Rinchin tried to convince me but I was not willing to trust him. After driving ahead for half an hour, I saw my bike standing in front of a shop. We had food together over there and laughed about what just happened.