BENGALURU: Not many who so deeply love their mothers would dare do what 39-year-old D Krishna Kumar did for his septuagenarian mother. He took off on his 20-year-old Bajaj Chetak scooter with his mother, Choodarathna (70), sitting pillion on a pilgrimage covering almost all the holy places across all states south of the Vindhyas, riding (so far) a distance of a whopping 25,000km over seven months and seven days.And here is the shocker: “We never stayed in any hotels or lodges, instead sought out mutts to rest our aching bodies,’’ said Kumar.
In what he calls the second leg of ‘Mathru seva sankalpa yatra’, they set out to visit all possible holy places in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.Kumar and Choodarathna were camping in Hubballi on Thursday (on their way back to Bengaluru) when The New Indian Express got in touch with them to know details about their extraordinary journey, in which neither of them — especially Choodarathna — suffered even from a common cold, let alone any sickness throughout their yatra which began on January 16 this year.
During the unique trip, not once did his scooter break down. “I only had to fix a puncture after having covered 16,000 km,’’ he says.For this yatra, he customised his 2000 model scooter and made his elderly mother sit pillion in a manner to immunise her from travel fatigue.
A year ago, in April, both son and mother made a road trip in a car from Bengaluru to Kashmir. “During our three-day stay in Kashmir, we visited Kashmiripura Nivasa temple and other holy places,’’ Kumar said.
A Tale of modern day Shravan Kumar
This year, having decided that he had made enough money to lead a modest life, he quit his job to launch the second leg of the yatra.For this yatra, he first customised his 2000 model scooter and made his elderly mother sit pillion in a manner to immunise her from travel fatigue.
What made Krishna Kumar do all this? His mother was leading a lonely life in Mysuru after the death of his father Dakshinamurthy four years ago. Until then Krishna Kumar, working as a corporate team leader in a city-based private company, was focussed on building his career.It was during one of his visits to see his mother in Mysuru, where she happened to confide in him her desire to see Hampi and Halebeedu. Her desire got him thinking hard about the very purpose of his existence.
“In the joint family system, my mother’s role was confined to the kitchen until the death of my father. I decided that my mother deserves not only quality time from her only son, but also a dignified life for all the sacrifices she has made. The Hindu scriptures also emphasise on this,’’ he stressed and decided to take her not only to Belur, but to many other holy places across India.
On why he opted for a two-wheeler, he said the simple mode of transport ensured door-to-door travel. “It also eliminated unwanted troubles I had faced during the previous road trip,’’ Kumar said. The scooter carried all essentials including, fruits, cucumber, beaten rice, knife, raincoats, mattress among others. “The grandeur of any temple will be lost on an empty stomach,’’ he says while elaborating on the need to have fruits in the vehicle.
At Basavana Bagewadi in Bidar district, an ascetic, so moved by the adventurous story of son and mother duo, hailed him as “modern day Shravan Kumar” in his discourse. (Shravan Kumar, according to the epic Ramayana, took his old and blind parents on a pilgrimage, carrying them in two baskets hanging from two ends of a staff slung over his shoulder ).
“Families on learning about us and our mission competed among themselves to invite us to their homes,’’ saids Kumar. This yatra with his mother showed him the warm-heartedness of people. “The yatra also helped me discover a sense of fulfilment which had eluded me so far,’’ he said.
Kumar and his mother will continue their onward journey from Hubballi visiting more temples on the way before reaching Bengaluru before August 30.