Before retiring previous night, had fixed three alarms; at 5.00, 5.20 and 5.30 am respectively. I wanted to be at Pottamel Junction on time, i.e., 6 O’clock. The beginning point of the Ride, which Abhishek had already planned with Kozhikode cyclists on Sunday. My very beloved Kris Bhai also had promised to be there to see off the cyclists for the morning city ride. Baring a few exceptions, I never remained early riser after my college days. I had to wake up on the second alarm even after not having proper sleep previous night. I wanted to be there on time. After freshening, I checked up the route map on my mobile phone and started for the day with my dear Gender Bender. I was pedaling towards the Malaparamba junction; saw Abhishek coming from the other side. He supposedly was coming to the house to accompany me to Pottameal Junction. I stopped just opposite to the Qurram Hospital and rang him up to say that I already have left and saw you going towards home. He turned his bike and within a few seconds I started following his week. It was still a bit dark.
By the time we reach Pottamel Junction, around 7-8 cyclists were already there. They all welcomed me with hand shake and hugs. It was around half past to 6 and we were waiting for Rafiq. By the time my dear Kris Bhai had also reached. Though doctor had suggested him for rest for few more days, but he simply wanted to be there for our encouragement. He took out his camera from his pocket and started clicking from different angles. Meanwhile Rafiq reached. We all did fall in line and there happened a photo session and then we all started. Initially it was decided to cover 35 kilometers in one hour and then will reach to Kozhikode beach. I was told to be in the front, as my cycle had board and flag and I am the campaigner; which I replied, “I will try my level best but please don’t expect me always to be in front. And I am also a bit tired, as I am continuously riding for the past two weeks without any gap. This terrain is entirely new for me …” Pressy understood me and did revision into the plan. I was allowed to ride easily and the city riders decided to cut sort the route also. So, now It was only 25-28 kilometers before reaching the end point Kozhikode beach.
During the ride Mahesh, Rafiq, Pressy, Neyaz and Farish had some conversation with me regarding my campaign and cycling. By the time we entered into the main city, people were started coming for tea at the stalls. At many points they expressed their solidarity by raising their hands. I was told to explain about the ride at a few corners. Whenever passer bys and bus passengers used to look at us curiously, and especially the school children; it felt nice.
|At Kozhikode beach|
After having almost one third round of the city we reached at the beach. There we met a few more riders who were jogging there. Gender Bender was attracting public attention as usual. Farish was the youngest rider among us. He is a student of std. XII and continuously riding for the last one year. Recently he did pedaling to Kannur in 4 hours. He is an inspiration for me. After spending some time, we went to Bombay hotel in Silk Street. I was amazed to see so much people having their morning tea and breakfast in hotel unlike any other North Indian city. Saw women having tea and breakfast in groups, some alone, but nobody was staring them. Being a North Indian, a Dilliwallah and a Bihari this would have been a surprise for me, if this would have been the first such glimpse. Thanks to the Ride, I got the chance to witness and feel, what is generally termed as South Indian culture. Nothing unusual!
Got an opportunity to taste so many dishes in breakfast including fish curry, mutton curry, stuffed banana, putt and pakodas. Thanks to Gokul and Lekha my friends in Thrissur that I did taste PUTT for the first time and fell in love with this. Stuffed banana is generally a part of snacks and a very delicious sweet dish.
After having the breakfast I started for Malaparamba, my local shelter. Pressy was with me, as his house was also on the same route. After a few kilometers pressy turned towards his house, I took the route of Civil Station which is in Malaparmba. I had to finish some important writing work, so I sat on Abhishek’s computer and did my work. Later after lunch had a good sleep, which was required, because could not sleep well last night.