I am feeling extremely happy to have got an opportunity to take part in the TRUE ADVENTURE ANNIVERSARY RIDE that was conducted to celebrate the first anniversary of Honda's brainchild The African Twin. My position is fixed at the back seat as usual. It is a journey that has been scheduled after involving all customers in India. The crowd included media personnel and 54 bike riders. At 6:00 am itself all were seen fully set as instructed to start the journey. Everybody's attitude was like "GIVE US THE GREEN SIGNAl. WE ARE GOOD TO GO." Even I felt young and strong at the very sight of their excitement, confidence and energy levels. Scenes of breaking coconuts and people running to collect the shattered pieces kept coming to my mind. 

Contrary to that, our journey was flagged off by the Japanese guy who was the president of Honda in India. He broke the coconut by throwing it on the stone brought from the hotel. Whether there are such beliefs and rituals in Japan as well as a topic that needs to be researched. Anyway, a big thanks to them from the bottom of my heart!

The route of the journey is scheduled through the states of Karnataka Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Details of the journey and emergency contact numbers had been given to us well in advance. All riders seemed to be following Marshall like a group of disciplined students. However, to ply through the usual traffic in the city roads, many riders had to break the shackles of discipline and decorum and have their own ways. Some moved in groups and some became isolated. We tried to overtake the tempo in front of us to not lose our fellow riders. The reason for the tempo coming excessively to the left side in the last moment was unknown. That forced to us shift our ride to the mud seen on both sides of the road. An accident was expected any moment. But we managed to play it safe. TRUE ADVENTURE ANNIVERSARY RIDE- the name coined for the journey by Honda company became symbolic as we had our share of adventures.

"He Who is in The Most High will help us"- the plight of riders who sought the help of Google Maps was no different. lack of internet connection and other technical difficulties caused unnecessary delays in the journey. However, it helped in bringing together some of the isolated riders. 

We were scheduled to reach Madikeri that day which is 281 km from Coorg. Most of the riders took more time than needed to reach Coorg. Maybe they were mesmerized by the beauty of the journey through roads running across coffee estates. Normally in the evenings, discussions happen among riders about their riding experience that day and the changes that need to be made if any. Wrong deviations from the scheduled route are a common concern. At the sight of good roads, decisions taken earlier are conveniently forgotten by many. 

We started seeing boards of many shops written in Malayalam once we neared the Kerala-Karnataka border. That triggered some ecstasy within. But soon ecstasy turned agony. Once we reached Wayanad, narrow zig-zag roads full of pits made the journey horrible. We somehow managed to evade all the pits only to land in front of a bus that came in the opposite side. The bus driver was mad with fury. But he resorted to sign language to express his anger as he felt helpless against a bunch of stupid bike riders!

Some fellow riders in the group immediately used the opportunity to offend the Mallu spirit in me as they said mockingly, "Honda company might have deliberately selected Kerala roads to make the journey adventure-filled." Although I felt angry, I was forced to play it down as a joke as I had to accept the harsh reality. For a moment, I felt annoyed with the authorities in Kerala. Heavy rain and flood took over the state just two days after our journey. I truly felt relieved and later, confused as to whom to thank when I saw the news headline "WAYANAD UNDERWATER." 

Our four-day ride was planned across Bengaluru, Madikeri, Masingudi, Ooty, and Coimbatore. The all-for-one and one-for-all approach adopted by the Honda staff and their ever-ready helping mentality to support the riders and their bikes every morning triggered within me the feeling- "the emotional punchline PASSION IS EVERYTHING is indeed true." 

After reaching Coimbatore, we went to Kerala and stayed for 2 to 3 days there. We returned to Delhi by August 12th. Whatever happened in the days to come, no Malayali in the world can ever forget. All the roads that we traveled through were affected by heavy rains. The unity and co-operation exhibited by Keralites to support each other at the time of need were unmatched. In fact, I wondered whether it was this unity that made Kerala different from other states in India than 100% literacy, empowerment of women and communism. We are always united at the time of need, aren't we?