RIDE TO THE RUINS – AN EXHILARATING CYCLE RIDE TO MADAN KAMDEV
IMAGINE a life where the Mundane gets transformed to the Magical …. and the possibility merely a wink away. My word of advice though. It is an ephemeral concept. For it to be perpetual, you have to Tame, the heart and mind, rather than Tantalise, any of the senses.
Life for me generally, is an amalgamation of monotony interspersed with chaos and at times… mayhem. Add to that a cacophonous household of perennially shrieking youngsters…..and adults….. and you can’t get closer than this to a mad house. My perforated ears long for some silence and the ‘on the verge of giving up’ Heart, longs for some peace. And yet I manage to steal from Fleeting Time, some Magical Moments which prompt me to assert ‘Give me such a life a thousand times over and I’d live it with the same gusto and relish it even.
Excuse me if I meandered too wide before narrating what I set out to.
Well, the Monday Blues had struck and I was so crestfallen that the Husband, realising the symptoms of impending disaster, had to literally pick me up from the floor before suggesting, ‘Let’s go for a Ride this Sunday.’
The arrow of words found their mark and jerked the being within. I straightened up and instantly asked ‘Where?’
Out came the Palm sized wonder…some bit of ‘whatsapping’ and within a few minutes we were set for a Ride, the following Sunday to MADAN KAMDEV. It would be an approximately 60 km ride from Guwahati to the outskirts and a great learning experience at that.
Cycling as a form of Exercise and as one of Recreation has come a long way in the North eastern Region. When Supuraj Gogoi, the Husband, and Jitu Pegu decided to launch their start up, Natventure, based on Adventure Tourism, in 2016, it was relatively unchartered course they were navigating, knowing full well, of course, the potential of this Sector. Guwahati Randonneurs, a close knit group of like-minded individuals who are bound together by their common love – for Cycling, came up as a cycling wing of this endeavour called Natventure which has come a short but eventful way till present.
Coming back to the Ride, Madan Kamdev is said to be the ‘Khajuraho of the East’. A relic of the 10th century AD, it survives to give us a glimpse into the prosperity and might of Pala Dynasty of Kamarupa.
One Puranic belief is that Lord Shiva in one of his furious states had incinerated the God of Love, Kama or Madana who was reborn here and was united with his consort Rati, at this spot.
A visit to the Site of Love! Ironical I thought! Such are the times, it rarely exists in Hearts and here I was – out to unearth it in the ruins.
The Blue Brigade
Sunday arrived in its own time and we were all out before the crack of dawn, ready to meet the first rays of the sun on our Saddles.
On the way, we met and interacted with an old man on a Cycle. He had a small Banner, proclaiming, “Save the Rhino” to raise his voice against the serious problem of poaching of Rhinos in Assam.
Siba Prasad Neog, a septuagenarian, was travelling from Jorhat to Dhubri, a distance of almost 600 kms, on his simple Bicycle, leaving miles behind along with a strong message.
With Sri Siba Prasad Neog
His simplicity and the power in it left me feeling awed and inspired. As he cycled away, he instilled a bit of what he was striving for, in each of us in a more binding way.
Sometime later, we stopped for tea which refreshed us and we rode on towards our destination.
As we traversed the miles, the scenic surrounds engulfed my senses. My searching gaze fathomed the green hills beckoning me ahead while the fields waved me on from both sides of the road. The standing crop was an intriguing harmony of colours, green with brown and yellow peeping through. The trees lining the roads were magnanimous with the shade they offered. Yet the glaring sun bore upon us through the canopy at places reminding me of a similar ride called Life. Honestly, we didn’t mind much on this occasion as the sight all around delightfully chilled our Hearts to the core.
Soon we reached the ruins of Madan Kamdev, standing proud in all its leftover glory with some relics yet awaiting excavation. The main Uma Maheshwar’s embracing idol is worshipped to this day, so informed a priest I happened to talk to in the vicinity.
As I looked closely, I wished I could see the sculptor at work while he carved the stone to perfection. I wondered about the festive atmosphere during the then Rituals. Running my fingers upon the relics, I did sense Prosperity, a simpler way of life, much more fulfilling perhaps and yes, Love….. engraved for eternity to behold. The silent rocks had indeed been quite eloquent.
The Magnificent Ruins
The Educator in me felt so glad to see the youngsters in the Group clicking pictures of the Relics and being inquisitive about the site as well.
There were a group of German tourists at the site and it was such a proud feeling to see them trying to soak in all the information the Guide was feeding them with.
We clicked some more pictures and soon were on our way out.
The last stop was at the Depot of one of the GR members in the Northern Banks. He had arranged Breakfast for us though it would now be served as Brunch as we were mighty late.
And Boy, what a spread it was when we eventually reached! Absolutely lip smacking, especially to our tummies on fire, being almost empty since morning. Our host had arranged a wonderful meal for all of us. As his staff prepared and served it with much love, our fellow cyclist ensured everyone had his fill, with the graciousness of a Perfect Host.
Looking at the happy faces around, I realised it was, after all, the people in our lives who make it special. And we were fortunate that Guwahati Randonneurs is a group of such loving and caring Human Beings. It is not always about Races and Wins and Achievements. Sometimes the effort is simply to wrest a few moments of Peace and Joy from Life’s miserly Hands that dole out the same. Time and again I have thus been witness to how an innocent and simple initiative like Cycling brings people together, makes us appreciate what is good in each other, and makes life and living a wee bit easier.
The Majestic Brahmaputra
As we made our way back on a Ferry across the Brahmaputra, I comfortably stationed myself at the Bow. Looking ahead at the Horizon, I was strangely struck by that resurgent ‘Ready to take on the world’ assurance.
I looked at the waters of the Majestic Brahmaputra. Growing up at its Banks, I have always been intrigued by its potential to nurture as well as to destroy and have always sensed the Infinite in its mighty expanse. It is a sense that humbles first and then strengthens.
I realised for the umpteenth time, how blessed we are in this part of the world, to have this intimate connection with Nature, to keep getting soaked in its beauty and rejuvenated in its splendour. Not only does this help us to acknowledge our position of relative insignificance in this cosmos but in the face of trepidations, it also inspires us to look at wider horizons of possibilities. And we Ride on, on the Saddle of Life with that conviction!