We started at sharp 7am. It was cool and misty. A quick fuel up and we got onto the mountain road. The first part of the journey was challenging, due to roads-under- construction. This took away from the cool feeling that we started with. Nevertheless, we chugged on. A quick tea stop and this refreshed us. I put in a message to my friends waiting at the Indian side, of our progress.
I could never imagine sending a WhatsApp: India: 280 km away. It was a great effort to get to it. When I wrote it, waves of memory swept over. Reminding me of moments when I dreamt of getting back. Would it happen. Ofcourse it would, but hard to imagine still.
The other riders sensed my thoughts as I stopped for lunch. When they realised that we must split they all felt bad. All of us were going separate ways. Some to Europe, some to Bodhgaya, some to South India and I to Mumbai. We had ridden together for the past 9 days. Helped each other and understood each other. It was a nice group.
At the next fuel up, India was 10km away. That’s the Tamu border. Our guide helped us with formalities and we road through. We rode through Myanmar customs! Ahead, there is an iron bridge. Half of it is in Myanmar and the other half in India. I lined up the bikers at the Myanmar side and peered into India. A group of people awaited my return. There was Bharadwaj Dayala, who had done a world tour in 2007. He had flown in from Hyderabad to recieve me. Bikers from Imphal, Amit from Moreh, who helped with anything in Moreh. And many more people who I didn’t know. A good crowd. They were waiting in India. The other border crossings flashed before me: Russia, Europe, so on so forth. There was no one on the other side. Was this another border?
I waited a moment to savour this event. I was looking at India. The last memory of India was my wife at the airport, seeing me off to Russia. What would be different?
Today my daughter would graduate. What would be her life tomorrow?
My uncle had passed away. My cousin brother got married. My son got a new job. My entire life of the year gone by flashed through my mind,
I rode on. My group followed me. They were excited at the reception they were getting. The group of people came closer. We rode into the Republic. Garlands, photographs, claps, hugs. Everyone was doing everything. I got off my bike, stood next to it, got on my knees and kissed the ground.