Skip to main content

What if ? An experience, while on a solitary cycling journey from Goa to Mumbai

 So many of our experiences are serendipitious. 

What If?


A question that keeps popping up in our minds while thinking of some life experiences. Thinking of these experiences and trying to answer the question "what if ?" with the benifit of hindsight may either haunt or elevate you. Either way you cannot escape these thoughts and the emotions that follow. 

How do we take certain decisions ? How do we react to certain situations ? How does instinct work ? 

Why do we choose to follow our instincts certain times while overriding them many other times?

Why are our instincts correct many times and wrong so many other times?

To answer these questions with any amount of conviction would be difficult, but I can share such an experience 

Journeys are a great unknown, you can only be that much sure of what to expect, the rest just unfolds as you go along. When you are on a long distance solitary cycling journey you feel more vulnerable. This makes you more self aware and your instincts are in overdrive. After 2 days of cycling I hadnt yet gotten into the groove. I had deliberately planned my cycling during the winter months of November but every evening it was raining heavily. Climate change is real, November rains almost never happens but yet here it was, due to this I was loosing out on good day light and was not able to achieve my daily planned distance. Kilometers were pilling on and that was pulling me down mentally. 

With the pressure of catching up on lost ground, I plan my route for the 3rd day. Consultation with locals bring hope as there seems to be a short cut that could save me a good 20Km. This means I could save more than an hour of cycling, not to mention the feel good factor of discovering a new route. I cant emphasise enough the importance of such feel good experiences that elevate you, this could suerly get me in the mental zone I was trying to get to since the begining of the journey. 

We are so used to technology these days and we do not feel confident without it's validation. After Google maps validated the route. I pinned it in and set out, motivated and already feeling better. 

The critical part of the decided route was a left turn that take me through narrow village roads and onward. If I missed this left, I would miss the short cut. It was very important that I dont miss it. I have been following the map deligently and as I was nearing the place where I had to turn, anticipation was building up. Narrow village road sounds charming and roads like these are what cyclists crave for. I had a feeling I was almost at the spot where the turn had to be taken but the map kept telling me to go ahead and take the next left. I had a feeling from within that there is some mistake but I kept going ahead. On cycling a little ahead Google asked me to take the left, I took it, something was not feeling right but I kept peddeling ahead. My thoughts were pondering over the many instances that Google maps lead me wrong. It was early in the morning so there was no one on the road to ask as well. What if I am in the wrong route and end up adding to the many kilometers. Finally I stopped, turned back and went back to the longer route. 

Once I reached the longer route I kept cycling towards the destination, while I was trying to convince myself that another 20 Km extra wont matter, atleast I will be on the right track, I will not be lost through narrow village roads. The day that began with so much promise was turning out to be average and it had only begun, all the conflict within was not helping. Had I taken the right decision was the route that the map suggested the right one after all ?  I stopped for some tea at a small shop. There was no one there, I asked the elderly gentleman at the shop about the short cut, he had no idea about this route. This gave me some sense of satisfaction that after all I had taken the correct decision. 

As I was getting ready to leave a guy on a bike stopped at the same shop. He smiled at me and inquired about my journey, on knowing that I was headed towards Mumbai he straight away mentioned that I should have taken a left a little behind. I was amazed, Google maps was showing the correct way after all. He insisted that I should go behind and take that route as it would be much shorter. He had no idea how much I wanted to hear this. I needed this validation after all the confusion. 

I returned back to the same spot and took the turn and peddeled on, what I experienced over the next few hours was just magical, A beautiful village road, thickly vegetated and forested with paddy fields and a river. The road was narrow but with very less traffic and many stretches fully shaded. It was just so much more enjoyable. And yes it was shorter and I could cover a much larger distance through the day. Not to mention the fun I had of discovering a new route. 

The mood was up, I was finally hitting my stride. I was in that mental zone of happiness and satisfaction. I was enjoying the journey. When I look back at the whole 7 days of cycling, it was this day that it all changed and many questions were laid to rest in my head. From here on it was only the physical aspect of the journey, mentally I was all in. 

Now when I look back at this incident, a different set of questions arise. 

What if that man on the bike did not turn up at the correct moment ?
What if I had gone ahead with the longer route ? 
What if I hadn't gone back and taken that turn ?

What if?







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's About the Bum

Crossing over from Goa to Maharashtra, Crossing the Karli river, had to really convince this guy. My ride on the boat on the river Karli Wadantar Back waters, near Vijaydurg Vijaydurg fort, it was a relief to reach here, the ride till here was never ending. Can I get a Thums Up please Crossing over from Vijaydurg to Jaitapur  Thank God ! it was low tide. My highest climb, so I thought near Ratnagiri.  from Dhabol to Dhopave. When you are down you just have to look around. A huge ancient Masjid in Dhopave. Just before crossing over to Raigad. The terrain, roads were fairly good !! Crossing over a bridge in Jaitapur Siolim bridge in Goa My journey through Konkan on a cycle Sindhudurg..... "Fear is a good thing." The night before I started my journey was a nervous one. Packing, unpacking, trying to make my backpack lighter, question's all over me - What if I get robbed? What if

Anatomy of an Architectural Tour

We have been curating and planning architectural students tours over the past 2 decades and in this time the number of Architectural colleges have grown exponentially. It will be interesting to study the size of this market in terms of tours, competitors etc. We haven't come across this specific segment level analysis but we have many other learnings over time.  In this blog we try to articulate the anatomy of an Architectural tour, its different stakeholders and the impact these have in the overall experience.  Stakeholder 1 - The students Young and energetic and eager to explore, probably stepping out of the shadows of their parents and families for the first time. Their imagination of travel to a destination is derived from popular culture and Instagram. They don't know exactly what to expect but invariably these tours remain memorable for a long time.  Stakeholder 2 - The faculties and the management A destination is picked and finalised with an agenda that adds value to th

There is only 1 Goa in India

 Goa first came on the tourist map in the 60's as a hippie haven, probably the golden era of tourism in this tiny state. The tourists were more sensitive towards local culture and the environment. They consumed less and were happy living the life of the locals.  When the benefits of liberalisation started to trickle down and when a new and ambitious middle class started travelling, Goa witnessed mass tourism in the 90's and 2000's. There was a sudden surge of investments, construction and development, the era of unplanned tourism growth. Everyone wanted to be in Goa and everyone wanted to invest here.  The result of this era is what we experience in Goa of today, the relaxed vibe gave way to environmental degradation, overcrowding and cultural commodification, everything that this sunny seaside state was not known for.  Yet there is only 1 Goa in India and tourists still come here in hordes to experience the beaches, architecture, cuisine and the Goan vibe.  When we got the