Today life is good. In an understated way it’s quietly wonderful. Why? I’m lost again but on quiet roads. Well surfaced roads here in the state of Jharkhand, but I have more than a passing fondness for the state of Bihar which I have just left.
I need progress, I need to get to Kolkata. This journey is about moving forward, simply, quietly, inobtrusively.
The mist lifted slowly like warm air does on a window pane and in minutes it felt less damp. A cyclist passes me with stern intent until he turns and smiles. It would be harsh to scoot past him on my electric bicycle, this Wabash with wings so I let him go but it was a moment.
A boy wanted a selfie and took it and he explained that foreigners never pass through this area, that they populate just the large cities. I’m pleased to be rare, here. It’s a special feeling. When I step onto the bike and start to pedal I feel different. I’m alive and independent of everyone and everything. I can go where I wish without the need to refuel, just to ride. I can imagine reasons why I’m on the road, escaping, pushing forward …..and what I think it means to me. To be inescapably free. There's a freedome of speech but what about the freedome of thought. Some of us are not menat to be caged and risk flying out to a place we don't really know. Some people's feathers are quite bright and their songs quite sweet and they charm me even though now they've flown away I won't see them again. That's the problem about being free. Jim Morrison of the Doors said, “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first.” Nelson Mandela, a man who represented freedome for a nation said that “when a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” And in my own small way, that is really how it is and has always been for me.
A bit of wind pushes through the still air and leaves on thin trees rustle, birds tweet, pitching across course fields harvested of their wheat.
I ride through a village and ask permission to film. Asking allows the elders the power to refuse but they also have the power and grace to enjoy the process and we share the results and laugh. The children had no idea that the drone was above then when they saw the tops of their heads. But it is almost time to leave India, the 3rd of this 8 stage journey.
Traffic lights appear for the first time in india in West Bengal on the way to Kolkata. Couldn't believe that this set of lights were the first I'd seen since Mumbai - seriously, nothing inbetween!
Map of the Day