As the thunder roars and lightning fractures the sky, some of us find comfort in the safety of our homes. To others, the pitter-patter of the raindrops whisper songs of thrill and adventure. They hear the wind calling out to them and they cannot help but answer. Being submerged in nature amidst the thick of the monsoon is an ethereal sensation of freedom - and those who traverse the monsoon roads emerge from the other side with stories of fulfilment and joy.
These are some of the top seasoned travellers who offered their invaluable insights:
The 27-year-old biker enthusiast Manju Sagar calls the open road “the doorway to one’s inner self” He’s been a rider for about 8 years now and unforgettable memory of his road trip to Chhattisgarh in 2016 has been an experience he’s never been able to shake off. He narrates to us how a quiet-peaceful terrain turned into an eerie encounter with the Naxalites.
“ I was in Telangana and Chhattisgarh in 2016 when the monsoons were just beginning. There are 2 roads to Bhilai from Eturnagaram. One is a national highway, the other is a back route. I was supposed to take the former but ended up taking the latter. The rains made the serene hills and the forests come to life. It was wet and cold - which kept me alive. I was shivering and still thinking to myself, "what beauty is this!" The en-route was alongside the banks of River Godavari.
The river was so wide that it spanned a couple of kilometres, at least. And since it was the beginning of the monsoon, it was gushing with water. The road I was on had turned into a mud road - slippery, slushy, surreal. The concrete and brick homes on the side of the roads became fewer in number and then vanished. Till I saw houses made of thick wooden logs - the kind I have not seen anywhere else in India till date. 50 kilometres in, one of the streams of Godavari crossed over the beaten mud path, and I had no choice but to turn around. I ended up getting stuck. Unable to get me out of the situation, I had to run and beg for help. I was turned down at first, but then someone came along to help me. A lot of things happened that day - I was in THE rawest place in India, alone for the first time, stuck. Oh, BTW it was a Naxal area. So scared for my life.”
Expert Advice :
“Don't be arrogant on the road - The road is bigger than anyone else. Be safe - Make sure to wear biking gear. Don't put yourself and others in harm’s way. Attend off-road and track riding classes - There's so much to learn; even for road riding. Explore your passions. “
A spirited, 24-year-old traveller Jayasurya’s passion for his bike began the day he got it - “it was truly love at first sight” he opines. His worries disappear when he is riding with the fresh air coursing through his veins. He has witnessed the beauty of India’s forests on his journeys and narrates one such trip to Sakleshpur that was imprinted in this memory, forever.
“My most memorable ride was the monsoon ride to Sakleshpur. It was only two of us on our bikes without any expectations of our destination. We’d booked a stay and we were clueless about where it was located. To our surprise, it was in the midst of a beautiful forest and the trail to our stay was the best part. It was a complete off-road trail with hard challenges and, of course, with breathtaking views. The trail passed through an elephant habitat which made it more thrilling as we could’ve bumped into a wild elephant at any moment. Nothing was planned, so we didn’t have many expectations on our ride which made it more thrilling and memorable.”
“Always wear your safety gear. Record those amazing moments you experience on your ride because they’ll surely be your fondest memories. Don’t plan your trips too much, just go with the flow and you’ll make the best memories.”
The 28-year-old is a zealous motorbiker, who found his second home on the road. He was determined to save up and buy his own bike and once he did so; he has never looked back. To Gowtham, it is the small pleasures of the journey that bring him elation. The white stripes on the road, the powerful breeze trying to sneak its way into his helmet, is what he lives for. He has explored the sights and sounds of many corners of India- but his favourites have been the stunning Western Ghats.
“My foremost experience with the Indian monsoon had to be our ride to Maharashtra. We were entering Mahabaleshwar around 6 pm and we were totally blinded. We were enveloped in a dense layer of fog that left us vulnerable. Yet, I was empowered by the sight, which has forged its way into my heart and mind, forever. Honestly, every moment of these rides in the monsoon breathes life into you. The lush green mountains, gushing showers, whistling wind, and of course the neverending smiles inside our helmets. That is what makes it all worthwhile.”
“Always make sure you have proper riding gear. Also, make sure your bike has proper tyres and last but not least, live every moment to the fullest.”
Reading through these expert experiences, we can almost feel the smallest droplets on our faces. Their stories are deeply inspiring and resound with the awe that nature commands. The monsoons can be made the most of when you meet the roads that run far and wide on their terms. Always exhibit caution and focus on the simple gratification of being as free as the wind.