Friday Letters – 5
#letterstothestar in you
I write this letter to you from a place I have never been before. At least not since I started writing letters to the star in you. I am writing this in a state of confusion. You know, why? So far, you don’t have a name. I don’t know, every time I see you, meet you, have a conversation with you, or see you doing that thing you do, I am blown to bits. And you do it so effortlessly. I don’t know yet, if I should call you Santosh or Bharat Diwakar, who are 100 kg of so much more or if I should write the 14-year old you, Chetan Gowda, who blew my mind when I heard your poetry.
Each of you are so awesome that I promise I will write a letter to you at some point in time or the other.
And I think I finally know your name now, you are; here, believe me, I paused for a while, a while that might seem unfathomable, it is Santosh Kumar, the gentle giant, the jumbo. Haha, it’s not Anil Kumble, although I owe it to him, that I learned to bowl leg spin like no other, on one of the TV shows when I was a kid.
Your presence in the space is so intimidating, with your big build, deep black eyes and that thick mustache, you sort of own the space around you. But behind that intimidating personality there is one of the most gentle, kind-hearted, humble and peaceful people I have ever met.
You know why I love the work you do? I think it was in 2012, that I rode my motorcycle from Kanyakumari to Khardung La, with a bunch of friends, we did it in a little over a month. We were proud of it. We thought we had traveled from the sea level to the highest motor-able road in the world, we had every reason to be proud of it. We were neither the first ones to do it nor the last. Somewhere we all knew it was just a road-trip.
Then in 2013, your pet project MTM [Motorcycle Travellers Meet] happened to me. You had a platform where all the ‘selfish people’ in the world can come together to share their stories of how their selfishness changed their lives forever. They were all travelers. Travelers on motorcycles.
Travel of any kind, is a therapy that heals the soul, raises your spirit and offers you hope at the end of it.
Travel is a madness, especially if they choose to do it on their motorcycles. They pack everything can can that is dear and important to them in their bag, tie it to their motorcycle and leave that place they call home, to those places far away. They are the people who know, all they can offer to the world they are stepping into on their motorcycles is themselves, and it is also they who know, they can get everything that the world can offer them in return. With so little to offer and so much to take, they are the most selfish people in the world. It is this selfishness to take more from the world that keeps them on the road. Days roll into months and years for some, they just keep going. They keep going to places unfamiliar meeting strangers, buildings bonds across all the borders they cross. It is they who have traveled around the world who truly believe that this world is a beautiful, kind and hospitable place, where there is so much to take with the so little they have, to offer. It is they who believe that they are home every night in a different place. It is they find someone new, who becomes family for the rest of their lives. Touching lives. Being touched by lives.
“Travel, it makes you speechless then turns you into a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta
A traveler becomes truly human, more human than any human can ever be. It is when you meet them, that you know how truly blessed we are to hear their stories.
It’s a privilege that you gave me, to know what it truly means to travel and be lost and find myself in some unknown place. I still keep going back to see Hubert’s journey on his motorcycle – 12 years now and still on the road, every now and then on Youtube. MTM is a place where people like me, lose their pride and learn a lesson or two about humility and a lesson about how to pack an open mind into your bag. Understand what it means to have all the time to ourselves and to the world you’re part of.
It’s just not making MTM possible that I like and admire about you, it is also your love for animals of every kind, especially dogs and ELEPHANTS, I guess. I love that idea you have of creating an Elephant Pocket for the rescued ones at a property [10 Degrees Off] you have in Bandipur, along with a small cottage for a random traveler to call it home for a night. It’s almost functional, isn’t it?
Looks like this is the first time in 4 years, that I might miss being among the storytellers coming together on their motorcycles, to share their stories from across the world. That too in Goa. What a miss!
I have something about time, which I would like to share with you, that a traveler in you will understand. That is also the reason why my Friday letter to you is coming on a Saturday or a Sunday!
Do you believe it?
It exists. Not. [It is]
In the planetary displacement.
The relentlessly ticking clocks.
The strike of dawn,
or the onslaught of night at dusk.
The repetitive cycles,
of what it takes for light
to hit the surface
and vanish again!
Do you believe it?
It is. [It exists. Not.]
In these passing moments
The blink of an eye,
an endless stare.
Breathing in. Breathing out.
A beating heart.
A fleeting thought.
Beginnings and endings.
The cry of a new born
the silence of the dead.
It’s time. Don’t you believe it?
Between us. You and me.
The first time we met,
until the next.
between you and me
from being alone
to being together. Us.
Our story across the space.
Isn’t that our time?!
Isn’t it ok, that you got the letter today even though it’s not a Friday?