Meet Jayakumar T Malampuzha. If you are passionate about something you can take a leaf out of Jayakumar's book. He has two loves that I know of (which I discovered in a few lines of conversation), cycling & photography.
On our way to Pambadum Shola on the 28th of August 2012, we overtook a gentleman on a bicycle pedaling uphill, a few kilometers short of Top Station. We thought nothing of it because we were trying to reach the shola for a possible trek. I remember making a passing mention to Skanda about the bicycle he was on because my son's next birthday gift was to be a bicycle with an attitude, literally. Bad Attitude is a Firefox model that my son took a fancy for and we were to order it after our return from Munnar.
The next day, the last our last of our holiday, we were driving out of Munnar toward Chinnar. At a corner amongst the tea gardens was this gentleman on the bicycle again! He had stopped to take some pictures and I thought it would be an opportunity to make acquaintance.
As he was rolling downhill, I waved and pointed my camera towards him. A photographer, who won't stop for a camera is as rare as a Nilgiri Marten! Sure enough, he stopped.
Jayakumar is employed by the Central railways in Mumbai and he was on a Mission. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that he was from my district, and a place I visit often, Malampuzha. He had taken off for Onam with a single minded purpose; promoting self-propelled transport. The mountain bike he was sitting on is almost half the price of a decent motorcycle! He had put it on a train, landed in Cochin and pedaled all the way upto Munnar and surrounding areas to spread the message about bicycling. In a city like Mumbai it makes perfect sense to ride to work on a bicycle. You can simply wade through traffic jams and probably reach your work place faster than someone in a swanky car!
Bicycling also does many other things. It improves your health & of others around you because you don't pollute the environment. You save precious money for yourself and the the country because you don't burn dwindling fossil fuel. Parking is never a problem and the police never give you a parking ticket or haul your wheels away! Besides, all you need is an post or railing to secure your transport! Imagine how our cities would be if everyone rode to work on a bicycle. We could play football on the roads!
Anyway Jayakumar had finished half his journey. He was going downhill to Udumalapet where he would halt for the night. The next day he would push on uphill to Valparai, then dowhill through Sholayar, Athirapalli and onto Cochin for the train back to Mumbai.
As he disappeared downhill I wondered how he would cross Anaimalai Tiger Reserve. I wasn't sure if the TN Forest Department staff manning the check post at border at Chinnar would be very cooperative.
We met him again at Lakkom waterfalls. I wished him luck on his mission again and told him to move quickly. He had to cross Anaimalai Tiger Reserve before dark or he'd be risking an encounter with the elephants there.
I guess, my worry was misplaced. I saw his pic on his Facebook Page. The one posted after he reached Ernakulam (Cochin)