Chennai to Rameshwaram – Post experience – Part IV of IV

As expected, the final day’s ride turned out to be quite a breeze.. the only problem was that we could not find a decent eatery between Ramanathapuram and Rameswaram to have our breakfast.

But then, we had literally feasted on some terrific food for the past 4 days and so were able to accept one large banana as breakfast for the day and kept riding. We gulped down several bottles of a local drink called ‘Bovonto’ along the way during all the 5 days.. it is the equivalent of Coca Cola in these areas. It has a strong fruity taste and if marketed properly, can give coke and Pepsi a run for their money. There is another drink called ‘Paneer Soda’ available in South Tamil Nadu..

There is no brand for this and several vendors manufactures this locally.. it has a unique taste that is hard to describe.. we celebrated with 2 paneer sodas on reaching the Rameswaram Temple! We then had almost 2 days to rest and recuperate at Rameswaram.. we used this time to visit the temple and the south eastern tip of India called Danushkodi – which is only 18 KMs away from Sri Lanka. It is from here that Rama and his monkey army built a bridge to reach Ceylon to fight Ravana. There are still some specimen ‘floating stones’ that was used to build the bridge and a few isolated temples that add credence to the Ramayana ‘story’.

For us, these were little diversions from the elation of having completed 756 KMs on bicycle over a 5-day period – with numerous interesting experiences and some wonderful scenery along the way. We are now contemplating the next ride. The priority is to expand the group to have more friends participate. Adding people is not necessarily to add to the fun – a solo ride can be as much fun as a 10-member group ride.. the idea is to allow friends to experience and share the joy that is available in this activity. We already have 2 confirmed additions and a few others considering taking up bicycling. Another critical factor is to have a ‘cause’ for the rides we take up. Whenever anyone struck a conversation with us, the inevitable question was ‘why are you doing this ride? What is the cause??’. It felt a little empty to say ‘nothing.. we are doing this just for fun.. on holiday..’.

People seem to be disappointed that we are putting in so much effort and taking up this adventure for ‘nothing’. The best we could manage is ‘cycling is the best mode of transport to enjoy the views and experiences any place has to offer. Being from Tamil Nadu, it is unfortunate that we do not know enough about our own state.. we want to bridge that gap and that is why we are doing this ride’. Some seemed to be convinced by this explanation… but most were not. Also, this bike ride offers a great opportunity to connect with strangers and so is a sure way to spread awareness on some subject that is relevant to all of us. So, next time, we are going to pick up a theme, print little notices / hand-outs to distribute to people we meet and make this an ‘useful’ exercise – even if we are primarily into it for the experience and joy..



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Palaniselvan, Sababathy

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