AN EXPEDITION WITH A HEART
That thing we most value in our lives, we helplessly shove them aside for other priorities. Our hobbies, interests, passions, the little things...all seem invisible like speck of dust. We have forgotten to live life, leave alone appreciating it. But ask the ones who do: The sheer satisfaction they achieve by doing what they love, by overcoming the resistance of mundane life surrounded by mediocre thinkers, and the drive within themselves that propels them forward in the path of progress is what makes them a breed apart.
Meet the adventurous, affectionate yet ambitious Archana. A woman of many hats – sculptor, wall artist, bespoke carpenter, interior decorator and an enthusiastic biker. With a Master of Visual Arts from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Archana teaches art to a keen bunch of students at Mallya Aditi international school in Bengaluru, besides juggling her creative career and her selfless desire to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The main purpose of this trip was to spread awareness about different forms of communication, non-verbal in particular. This led to Archana co-founding a company called Silent Expedition, laying emphasis on inspiring and building confidence to those with hearing disabilities to take up motorcycling or any other means to explore the world outside.But now, she rides for a reason: Bring a paradigm shift in the Indian education system for the hearing impaired. “My main aim is to drive home the point that deaf and hard-of-hearing children need to study exactly the way hearing children do – but in sign language”, asserts Archana.
According to her, sign language is their best way to think and express themselves, which will enable them to learn and grow in equal competitiveness with the rest of the world.
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#Biking to #Srinagar brings excitement and apprehensions, considering the physical and political setting of the place, #Kashmir. We left Raina’s place after breakfast, at about 7 am, and he rode with us till the highway. He also gave us plenty of advice of what we can expect over the next 270 odd kilometres, which he said should take us close to 9 hours with stops and the road conditions. We used the recommended #Udhampur#Chenaninashritunnel#Anantnag route, which was the NH 44. The climb up mountainous terrain starts in Jammu itself, but the roads, or the beaten path was unpaved and dusty. On one side, there was the #mountain with the possibility of landslides, and the other side of the road, a drop! Soon, and for as far as the eye could see, a train of trucks carrying supplies, but all in a very orderly manner on one side of the road slowed us down and we were covered in dust. We were probably averaging a speed of 25 kmph on #motorbike! Quite an experience though before the well maintained #BRO roads after our first tunnel. The first tunnel that is between #Jammu and Udhampur, and you exited it to another world, open, green, and a few degrees cooler with the River Tawi in sight. Here we were advised to wear on our thermal layer to keep the cold out, something that you can’t experience when in a car. The #Syama tunnel was all too impressive, known to be the longest tunnel 4 lane road tunnel as yet, was well lit and airy. The sights on exiting the tunnel once again open out into a spectacular view of mountains and valleys, where the river #Chenab flows, and the smell of that fresh high-altitude mountain air. Everybody around seems to be used to this beauty that surrounds them, and seem to be going about their daily routine. Tough call whether to stop and capture a memory, or go slow and savour the sights and just focus on reaching the destination…to be continued.. #silentexpedition #journeytoinspire #ride #travel #biking #rideforacause #ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird #tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey#touratech#shotoniphone#iphonephoto#silkroute
e were looking forward to get started with the day early, since we were riding to #Jammu! After quite a late night, we got some rest and headed out of #patiala for Jammu at about 8 am. The ride, was close to 400 km, and google maps showed us that it would take us about 7 hours, all along NH 44. The roads were typically a highway for most parts, but some of the portions were narrow lanes that would possibly allow only one large vehicle to comfortably pass. Or maybe we went off the highway. These places were crowded with people, shops spilling onto the road, bikes and cars that were parked in every nook and cranny. But it wasn’t as hot as from the earlier places we were coming from, yet we stopped quite a few times on the way for tea and some local snacks, and along a few dry river beds. These unanticipated delays saw to it that we entered Jammu only in the evening. We first met Rohit, who met us outside the city, and we rode in with him to the place we were stopping for the night. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in touch with anybody from the deaf and hard of hearing community here. We were going to stay in with Rohit Raina, another avid biker who organises biking trips across North India. He and his family had a paying guest accommodation above his home. Raina had a lovely spacious sit out, but unfortunately, the power went out and and we could hear them mosquitoes buzzing. We were sitting out and with it getting dark and with the electricity out, Archana could not participate much in conversation. Raina’s biking explorations, and his physical challenge made for interesting stories. He is also a classical musician, and teaches students. An old college friend of mine was also staying in Jammu, and it was wonderful that Anoop and I got in touch and he dropped by for a while. Dinner was homemade Kashmiri pulav and local Jammu food. The table and chair allowed for me to write some of my assignments for the course I was doing. What a way to end the day, nevertheless, anticipating the next day’s ride to Srinagar! #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey#touratech
Continuation of day 13 (11th May 2018) After meeting with @Palisingh which was luckily on the main road. The road from #Panipat to #Patiala was great, except for the part in the city. We left late as we were deciding whether to meet Pali Singh in Karnal or at Panipat, and ended up meeting in panipat. He is an avid biker and was familiar with the places we were headed to. This allowed for us to leave the city post noon, but our next destination was only about 160 kms. and the roads were great. So we knew we’d reach in 3 hours or less. The unruly city traffic took some time to clear. Although it was a highway, there were bullock carts, auto rickshaw, hand-pulled carts amidst other motor vehicles. This, with the summer mid day heat ensured that we keep riding. A stop, even under a tree would only leave us soaked in sweat. The country side roads were great, with paddy fields on either side, some fields were being burnt after the harvest to get ready for the next crop. The sky was mostly clear, but patches of smoke rising from the fields at regular intervals covered the horizon. Tajender Singh, Jeevan, and other from his biking group met us on the highway and then later we met with Archana’s friend, Amandeep Sharma who was a sportsman, and is a news anchor for the deaf, and hard of hearing himself. We met with his family and then stepped out to meet other members for the deaf and hard of hearing community for dinner, and we were soon close to 20 in all! The members here knew each other well, and the interaction over dinner went on for over 3 hours! Asking about our ride, it’s purpose, challenges and successes for the deaf and hard of hearing that we had met across the places we’ve travelled. Interestingly, here they seemed to have integrated much better with the society, and most of them had full time regular jobs, some in animation, some involved in small businesses…many of them married with a family and so on. We spent the night at Amandeep’s house and it was a day well spent! #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey#rob#touratech
Day 13 – Having left #jaipur , in the afternoon, our ride to historical #panipat was about 360 kms through blistering heat. As long as we were moving, the breeze would keep us cool thanks to the comfortable and functional #Dainese riding gear we got. The sun took quite a long time to set than what we in the south are used to, but the light was beautiful and so was the tarmac. The cattle on the road at quite a few parts kept us alert throughout. As the light faded, a chill started to set in especially when we were riding through paddy fields, places near Rewari in #haryana . The highways were mostly 2 and 3 lane, and well maintained. We weren’t meeting anyone in particular at Panipat, but just spending stopping for the night before we continued to our next stop. We reached at about 10 pm, and a buddy from Jaipur put us in touch with Tajendra Singh. He was from a riding club and he suggested a place we could spend the night, and took us to try some local sweets and lassi through the dimly lit yet bustling streets of Panipat. It felt warm and even humid in the city. We were going to #patiala next, where we were meeting with Archana’s friend who was eagerly waiting for us. We left the next morning from soon after breakfast to meet with with Pali Singh, an avid biker from #karnal . He was really glad for us and the mission we were on. Having travelled and explored many of the areas we were going to, he gave us details of the places ahead with the routes, time of travel, availability of fuel etc. all the way to Leh and back. This was really useful for us traveling there for the first time. #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey#rob#touratech
Day 12 was the 10th of May and it saw us leave the #pinkcity#Jaipur only in the afternoon since we were expecting to have a press meet. Unfortunately, this didn’t come through. But worse was riding through the city in the heat. It was a little after 14:00 when we finally left our hotel, which was just off the highway. By the time we packed and loaded our luggage, we were drenched in sweat. The heat showing no mercy, we were off through traffic on the crowded streets, noisy and dusty by lanes till we got to the highway. As we got moving, the air though dusty, gave us some respite from the Jaipur summer afternoon heat. Bustling city traffic and honking gave way to quiet and views of #arid#landscape. While we were unhappy that we only got to see this side of Jaipur, we did leave feeling that we inspired some of the people we met at the deaf school, and we were sure glad to meet bikers invested in this cause. The distance to our next destination was 370 km. to #panipat and in spite of leaving in the afternoon, we were keen to get there. Knowing that we were behind schedule owing to the time we spent at Udaipur. We being further North in May meant that the #sun was in the sky for a longer time, and #dusk lasted longer. The riding was lovely with the sun to our left, and the sky slowly changing colour with the #sunset The roads were good, but we were told to be on the lookout for cows on the highway! We reached at 10:30 after a few stops on the way, quite exhausted, hungry and relieved! #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
Day 9 and 10 was spent in #Udaipur, and unfortunately mostly indoors. We did get our bikes cleaned and serviced before we left to our next destination, #Jaipur! We left after another glass of black lemon tea with black salt. It must’ve been about 8 am before we got out of the city. Feeling thrilled to be on the road again, and hoping that my tummy would hold up for the rest of the day at the least. We had already informed the deaf community association as well as the biking community, and the latter were arranging for our accommodation. As the day proceeded, the temperature increased, and here too, it wasn’t easy to find a place to rest especially with during the overhead sun. With about 3 stops in between for fuel, food and rest, we reached Jaipur in the early evening, and proceeded to one of the offices run by the deaf association. They seemed thrilled to have us, and after us sharing the purpose of our ride, Archana was interviewed by one of the members, who was also a film maker. A few riders came to meet us at that office, and after spending about 2 hours there, we left to go to our accommodation. We met with more riders there and then proceeded to a a school for the disabled. Unfortunately, the school was closed for summer, but we did manage to meet with the staff and other members of another deaf community in Jaipur, who went by the name #rajputana#deafassociation Meeting with them was great and they had so many questions for Archana about her life so far and our mission for the future. We later went for dinner to a restaurant which was run by deaf people, called… We met with more bikers, including Vaishali, Manish, Baljeet and Manoj. Our accommodation was at a place just off the highway called…a comfortable and old place. We were riding off to … tomorrow. #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
he initial plan for the day was to meet with the people from the deaf association, see a little bit of #Udaipur, and ride to #Jaipur. We were told that the roads are great, and we could do the 400 km. ride in 6 hours easily. But my tummy was upset, the people we had to meet were free only later on during the day, and hence we decided to stay in Udaipur and leave the following day. This also gave me time to continue writing my assignments. Arpit Bhat, a biker, recommended the place we were staying at and we met with the people we were to meet at the hotel itself. We ended up staying another day in Udaipur, since Archana realised that she needed to get her #bike serviced, and I still had the runs. Arpit brought a home-cooked meal and shared with us some history of the Udaipur, the Mewars and the Marwars. We met with his family as well. More people came by to meet with Archana, while she shared the purpose of our ride and heard their challenges. We didn’t get to see much of Udaipur, but the black tea there was interesting. Been over a week, missing #home, would have to settle for video calls. Felt odd not to be #riding for 2 days, after been on the road for a week continuously. Here are some pictures from the previous day. The landscape is getting drier… #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
The towns, villages, cities that I covered on my thunderbird road trip, met amazing people, contributed many, encouraged many, inspired myself to next level of being biker woman. It is my INDIA that gave me the fantastic journeys in my lifetime.
Shettihalli Church is located 22 km from Shettihalli, in Karnataka. Built in the 1860s by the French missionaries, the church is a magnificent structure of Gothic Architecture. After the construction of the Hemavati Dam and Reservoir in 1960 the church was abandoned.
A relatively late start, since we were visiting a #school for the #disabled before leaving #Navsari to #Vadodara . Bupesh and Dheeraj took us to try some typical Gujarati breakfast at a famous #foodstreet . Most of it were sweet and chaat based. On reaching Manav Kalyan Trust we were taken aback with the elaborate setup and the crowd. It was the last day, and the parents were there to pick the students for their summer break. We met with the management and shared with them the purpose of our ride. They were thrilled and asked if we would like to address the students, their parents and the staff! We we honoured to do so, and the gathering was close to 400 people! We learnt that the school takes in disabled and challenged children from the ages of 6 and sees them through till they become independent. They provide them with #opportunities at #education through #vocational training and # skill development. We addressed them as part of their end of school year programme, and we got a few questions about the hows’ and whys’ of our #journey . We spent some time visiting their setup, and interacted with a few students and parents, sharing stories of their victories and struggles, and Archana shared some option available after schooling. A very heart-warming experience overall, and volunteering there to help out would be great. The management wished us well for our journey onward, and while we were there to support their efforts, we received financial aid towards our cause! We left from there at about 1 pm, and we were not looking forward to riding in the heat to #udaipur#rajasthan ! Before we left, we did meet some riders from the #wrangler#truewanderer series . We tried their yummy meal set up, gave an interview, and ride off. The landscape did change as we road on, dry, vast barren, smaller roads, sugarcane fields?! The sun eventually set, but we still had quite a way to go. The ride in the evening was lovely, and we stopped for tea more than once. We finally reached Udaipur only at 21:30. #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM
We hoped to leave #thaneearly, but the long days and late nights kept me from waking up as early as I should have. Sanket and his friend invited us for breakfast and we had sabudana kichidi. They also bought us butter milk for the ride onward! Archana and I were all set to leave, when I noticed my tire was a little flat! Again, there was a puncture repair shop close by, and the fixing took us a good hour, since the neck had to be changed. It must have been 10:30 by the time we repacked our luggage on the bike and left Thane to #Vapi, Gujarat. We by-passed Daman and Diu, and reached by around 4:30. We briefly met Elcid Bhai and Mr. Gelani, both of whom belong to biking groups. Mr. Gelani is hard of hearing, and he was happy to meet with Archana. After a quick meal, we left Vapi for #Navsari, #Gujarat at about 5:30 The #ride was through some lovely evening light and some coolish wind. Raghu, Dheeraj and Bupesh from the biking community met with us and suggested a good place to stay in Navsari, which was easily accessible to the highway. Bupesh joined us for dinner and we shared with each our riding experiences. He also recommended a school we should visit the next day, as part of our mission. We exchanged #ridingclubbadges and called it a night. Now since there was a table in my room, I made good use of it and continued to write my assignment for an education course I was doing! Which had to be completed while I was on this ride! Drat… #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
We started with a relaxing morning, for we were first meeting an all girl biker group #bikerni in Pune at the famous #cafegoodluck and we later had at interview with the local #maharashtrian newspaper #sakal . This was at about 11 am, which meant riding in the heat and through city traffic! And while we were only riding to #thane , we were not looking forward to Mumbai traffic, considering we will be reaching at peak hour, if there is something like that there. Nevertheless, the ride was quite lovely, especially with the #ghat section in between. Afzal Bhai, who added us to one of the biker groups on social media was in Thane with his team met us, and had our #bikes checked up while he shared his #biking and #riding stories with us. The #bikers we met on the way, who were part of this group were extremely helpful and fun to hang with. We met with the members of the deaf and hard of hearing association, Thane outside a #motorcyclestore, and we spent a good hour and a half interacting and enquiring about how they go about their daily lives, and Archana shared hers. The vadapav tastes a lot better there, which is what we chose as dinner. Sanket and Afzal Bhai accompanied us to our hotel; end of another long day…and only 5 days had gone by! Thank you to the people we met in Thane. #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
We saw us riding across #maharashtra . We left #kolhapur at about 7:30, and stopped for breakfast en-route, sabudana kichidi and vadas. We were riding to #pune and we were to reach early to be part of a puja procession. As we rode on the traffic gradually increased, and so did the temperature. The trees by the highway didn’t give us shade from the overhead sun, except for one clump that we spotted. We couldn’t stop at many of the restaurants as parking was a little away, and our bikes had quite a bit of #luggage . Our only respite was the warm air we felt while riding! Dhananjay, Archana’s friend met us on the highway, and took us to his home. The ride through the city traffic in the heat with the gear and luggage to a famous temple was more taxing than the entire ride itself! We also met an elderly and popular political figure. His home was like a mini museum with swords and shields and art work in praise of Shivaji and the Maratha. Post this we were put up at the Gymkhana, and met with the some people from the deaf and hard of hearing community. They were happy to meet Archana and were encouraged with all that she had achieved. #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey#sunset
we left #Davangereafter trying some special dosa. A feeling that it’s going to be a good day came to mind, considering that the previous day was rather eventful, but ended well. We stopped at #Belgaum a little after lunch time, met and interacted with the hard of hearing and deaf community. They welcomed us with garlands! I’m positive they were inspired with everything Archana has achieved-teaching art in an international school, a metal sculptor by profession, and one who rides a motorcycle and travels around the country on it. In the community, they support each other and some of them have government jobs, and some are land owners. They treated us to lunch, and took quite a few photographs, before they let us ride on to Kolhapur. It was close to 8 pm. when we reached, and the local biking community came to meet us. They took us to our hotel, didn’t let us pay for it and also treated us to a lovely #Kolhapur meal! We briefly met with some of the hard of hearing and deaf people to share our purpose and encourage them. The heat and the long ride did tire us out a bit… #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
I was quite an eventful day. We left #Tumkur and the plan was to ride to #Belgaum. My bike didn’t quite seem to be moving well. It was a puncture! Looked further up and there was a puncture repair shop. Providence! Fixed the puncture, but it was a leak from a previous puncture. However, managed to ride on to a tire shop and he had one tire that would fit my bike! Just when we thought the worst was now behind us, a bag of mine fell off the bike and I rode on for over 50 km. before realising so. While Archana stayed back, I traced my route back, hoping to spot a grey backpack, which had a laptop, an iPad, some money, my thermals, and an assignment I was writing for a course I was doing. The people in one of these photographs found my bag, debated over it probably being election money, and had to argue with the passers by about finding a way to return it to the owner. I rode back about 30 km, and was about to give up as it was getting dark and I couldn’t see much. Then I got a call asking if I had dropped a bag and if I was who I was! These guys found my course’s ID card, which had my phone number on it. I rode back, found them, and my bag had everything intact, and wouldn’t accept anything for the favour! Relief and hope, very great full for them. We only reached #Davangere. #silentexpedition#journeytoinspire#ride#travel#biking#rideforacause#ktm#duke390#enfield#thunderbird # tuskerPAM #daineseagvindia#journey
#silentexpedition is what was for myself and Daniel, as we rode from #bangalore to #ladakh on 2 bikes. This was part of the the #journeytoinspire series, in an attempt to fulfil the vision and mission of Silent Expedition. I rode the #royalenfield #thunderbird350cc and Daniel rode #ktm390. We covered 8400 km over for 31 days , and hopefully inspired people on the way. We left #Bengaluru on the 29th of April. A virtual #journey unfolds here #biking #adventure # travel