Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Ride ~ To Remember

Since one year back from the moment I started to learn cycling in Chennai it was my wish to ride through the mountains of my native and experience new feelings and inhale fresh air. Beautiful mountain terrain and fresh air in Bhutan are well known in the outside country for being not just carbon neutral but also carbon negative as the Prime Minister mentioned in one of the TED show. I remember one of the senior scientist from Indian Metrological Department delivering lecture and mentioning about Bhutan government being the only South Asian nation to fully support Environmental Protection by being carbon negative which was a proud moment for me when all around staring at me with a smile of gesture.

Cycling in India was easy because of plane roads by nature. They even used it for carrying loads. For Bhutanese it is just an adventure. Riding from Thimphu to Drugyel Dzong and way back to Thimphu coincidentally on World Environment Day completing 130KM fulfilled my long awaited wish. Therefore, I wish to dedicate this day for the love and care I have for the environment for everything it provides naturally. Initially The Royal Flower Exhibition was our half way destination. Seeing the crowd of public lining up for the entry let us changed our way to Drugyel Dzong. Then we intentionally missed the exhibition fearing our late return. 

Dreams are unlimited and assumed unachievable but if you just do it as you dreamt of things just appear unexpectedly. Even after all has happened, you find it just as in the dream and that is how dreams become true. 

The idea was first shared by my friend Tenzin supported by Sonam Gyeltshen and finally the place was decided by me with lots of excitement. I wasn’t so sure, and the destination was determined. My only experience is 15 minutes ride from my apartment to college and way back every day. No ups and downs. I asked few people and they gave me confidence by assuring my early return and complete the journey. I was worried about first ever such long journey through steep roads. Traffic was not a big deal for me with experiences of frequent minor accidents through heavy traffics of Chennai. 

At 6:00am in the morning, journey started from near Tarayana Building making our way easy till Babesa Junction. We had to push our bycycle at that little up steep road and we laughed at our self for making this big plan. Tenzin already said he want to give up. He was exhausted and he even rejected to take a snap. But I updated our journey into Facebook status and force our self to make it anyway. All agreed and then we proceed.

As we rode through, we decided to take advantage of down road and make it to the highest speed. It was really tough when we had to ride up steep roads and we tried our best not to push but paddle. As we determined, we made our way till Chuzom where we had our breakfast with tea, momo and boiled egg. It was around 7:30am by then which gave us more confidence that we can make it early to Paro. With little gained energy we rode through again.

I was leading every time and so waited near spring water on the way, which is pure and precious believed to have cleansed all our sins.  We wash our face, drank it enough to satisfy thirst and prayed for our safe return. I saw many vehicles parked and at least wash their hands and drink. Very few, may be those who travel more frequent, they don’t wait. Fresh fruit are also there to sell by farmers nearby. It’s an opportunity for relaxation and rest for travelers on their way.

Traffic was little heavy compare to other days. Many people from Thimphu are traveling for The Royal Flower exhibition. However, roads are more comfortable and not steep as I expected. We took rest at Eusuna nearby river after crossing a steel bridge where our friend Tshewang followed us with his Celerio after seeing status in Facebook. Came to know the importance of updating status sometimes. We took snaps and where happy that we got duty vehicle if anything happened. We put all our bags and mobile phones in his car and made our riding easy through valleys of Paro from Shamba, crossing Bongdi through beautiful scene of Airport making our way towards Paro town and then to Drugyel dzong.

Paro, as I have seen is the most beautiful place I have ever visited. Aesthetic traditional buildings, many resorts and residents surrounded by glowing green hillocks. Plane and peaceful. Many open spaces and yet to develop and become more beautiful. I wish my job placement is here.

When we reached to Drugyel Dzong, my friend ask me about how modern engineers justify the strength it holds for centuries which I remained silent and finally said its always a miracle for those traditional structures in Bhutan. Paro Taktshang still remain on my list for next visit.

It was 12:30pm by the time we decided to have our lunch at Sonam Trophel Restaurent in Paro town. Almost all are very tired and hungry. It grew within me a doubt whether we really can make our way back to Thimphu when what we experienced is pain all over body. However, it was just a doubt. I didn’t say it but rather encouraged our self that we can make it anyhow. We had a delicious Bhutanese dish and thank them for making our visit a memorable one. 

Our returning journey started, rode together till Shaba. Then, I thought its getting very late since I saw the very slow movement with my friends, which let me decide not to wait but to ride as fast as I can. I decided because I was already determined to complete it and on the other hand I knew they are already very tired and Tshewang’s Celerio would help them reached Thimphu anyhow. 

Then, I didn’t even looked back. Just keep paddling and rode as fast as possible and reached Chuzom. I couldn’t see them following me. Took a litre of water and then paddled through the highest steep road from Chuzom till Wangsisina without rest. I find myself moving slower than I can walk but still I didn’t give up and keep riding. I saw others riding as well. Some already on taxi and few taking rest, very tired. 

Just before Khasadapchu, I saw my friends coming in taxi adjusting themselves in the best possible way and stopped by just to say they give up. Then, I decided to ride all alone again and let them go before me because I have already crossed the highest steep road and now will not be a big problem. Little drizzling rain when I reached Ramtokto which let me call my friends and informed them that I am almost reaching and not to worry about. 

With cup of tea from nearby shop at Babesa junction and then exactly at 5:30pm as agreed, I could retuned my hired bicycle to the owner. Thanks to all my friends and almighty for the safety you assured me with little adventure I have been through and fulfilling my wish. Looking forward for next such unexpected things to happen and to complete the incomplete assumptions in my life.

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