It’s sweet 16 folks! Here is my latest and 16th book - ‘One Man Rides North East - the Amigo rides to Assam, Meghalaya. Manipur and Nagaland’
This is my 7th motorcycling book - after the 5 part Amigos ‘Three men on motorcycles’ series and the first solo ride story - ‘One Man Rides Alone - Bike and Hike Uttarakhand’
This is the second solo ride story, and is among my favourite trips - not only was it a thrilling solo ride, but it was to a place which I had fantasized about for many years - the mystical and little-known North-East!
Solo rides are an amazing experience - because they give you a feeling of freedom and adventure which is unmatched. You don't worry about what your companions will say or think - because you don't have any…you are not bothered about finding buses or taxis or public transport - because you are on your own steed. You don't worry about hotel reservations and room availability - because you can just ride on until you find something. People are normally very friendly to solo riders - possibly because they see in them the spark of joy and adventure that every human is hungry for.
Obviously it is not a bed of roses - nothing is - bike issues, bum issues, back issues, getting wet in the rain, roasting in hot sun, risk of accidents...all these issues are real - but I would say that the pros far outweigh the cons.
I had a campsite reservation at Hornbill festival - and an outbound ticket from Guwahati. And that was the sum of my limits. I could do whatever I felt like between these limits.
Thus I went on a meandering trip over the North East - and learnt a lot about the place.
I spent a day in Guwahati getting my bike and the inner line permits - and then wondered where to go! On the spur of the moment I decided to explore the Garo hills of Meghalaya. From there I went to Shillong and then to Cherrapunji of the ‘wettest place on earth' fame and so on. Manipur was a wonderful surprise - possibly because I had no idea of what to expect! The story of the greatest battle of WWII at Imphal and Kohima was a great surprise, as was the context and story of the Indian National Army and Subhash Chandra Bose. And the Hornbill festival was just awesome.
It is amazing how little we know about the place - and I think I merely scratched the surface...didn't even break the intellectual surface tension in most places.
But the biggest learning of the ride is exactly the same learning I get everytime I pack my bag and set out… people are nice everywhere! A smile will open doors and hearts everywhere.
This book tries to piece together a lot of information about the North East - the history, the geography, the culture etc - and attempts to give you a glimpse of the joy I had in exploring the place.
But enough of my words - I am looking forward to reading yours. I hope that at least some of you will read the book and let me know what you thought of it.
Click here for the paperback in India
I blog about my travels - and the thoughts they set off! Sometimes the simplest destinations can be the most thought-provoking!