Tales From The Sweep
Our Trans-Himalaya Content Creator, Nirmika, introduces us to the cycling adventures of TDA Global Cycling Chef Yanez Novoa…
“Ohm was the first sound in the universe. Ever since the Big Bang, it has spread around in all shapes and guises. When Earth got its share of the Ohm, the biggest portion got assigned to the Indian sub-continent. India smells, sounds, looks and tastes intense, and there is no more intense way of experiencing it than from the exposed and vulnerable perspective of a bike! Every few days, a different staff member gets their chance to trip out and ride a bicycle. Needless to say, we all scramble for the opportunity to be alone, just for a while. But this is India and you are never alone.”
Now, let’s hear from Chef Yanez…“I help a bit with packing up lunch then get on the road quickly because the last rider has left 15 minutes ago and these people are fast. As I leave it starts raining, a heavy cool rain giving some relief from the heat and humidity. The road runs through a thick tropical forest with tall pines and teak trees and clusters of houses every now and then. We have entered a wide plain next to a river, a stark contrast from the cliffs of the last few days. In the jungle I see a sign that reads “Wildlife Corridor: Beware of the Elephants”. I wonder if Henry saw it? Next one says”Wildlife corridor: Beware of Tigers”. Better watch out! The roads are not too busy but with all the honking we saw no tigers.After many kilometres, I spot my first rider. This is comforting in two ways; I am not that slow and I’m on the right road… They won’t hear me because of the Ohm but I have to stay back so they don’t see me. It might make them… uncomfortable. We get into the outskirts of town and traffic picks up significantly. The “lawless” traffic of India has a surprisingly manageable and enjoyable flow to it. Back home in South Africa everyone is driving 80km/h in the 80km/h lane half asleep but here, everyone is driving 40km/h everywhere wide awake. Everyone knows where everyone is because of the honking.I take a break to catch my breath and watch a lady walk down the street handing out packets of peanuts to monkeys sitting in a row on a wall. The main monkey calmly takes a pack and opens it without spilling one! This monkey was a touch smaller than the lady giving it peanuts and he knew this lady, he was expecting her. He also knew the guy at the fruit stall earlier who was shooting him with a slingshot. I always got told that if you feed the monkeys they will come back. People have been feeding these monkeys for thousands of years, they are not leaving. I thought all monkeys are the same yet he knows all humans are different. This monkey know more about humans than I know about monkeys.With that in my mind I get back on the bike and join the flow of cars, dogs, people and bikes. The only thing that does not join the flow, are the cows. They can do whatever they want because they give us milk and mothers give babies milk hence they are all our mothers, agreed. I cruise through a cloud of incense, sewerage and a noise with a denseness to it and arrive at the Divine Resort in Rishikesh just behind the last rider. The day is done and so is my share of riding. But I wonder what’s to see on my next sweep ride?
“There are still miles to ride, and stories to collect… I’m embarrassed about how shallow my knowledge of India was before this trip as I thought of it as one place which it is not. I did not come to India on a spiritual journey, I came here to do a job. What I am finding is a lesson in humans and nature. Not humans as part of nature, but rather nature as part of humanity.OHM!”