Done and dusted you could say after a relatively less taxing ride. It was a bit strenuous from Ambur to Krishnagiri and a lot more on the Krishnagiri Hosur leg. Looking back it was the ideal start for this arduous endeavor. Lots of meetings, more than expected ceremony at the start and finish, a doable ride and superb support along the way from HelpAge, TI Cycles and the support team of Prem, Premila and my wife Deepa.
With Senthimal, who accompanied us all the way from Chennai to B’lore, on the right.
Present at the kick off at Elliot’s Beach was the effervescent 92-year-old, Kamachi Subramanium.
Great supporters of the cause, family and friends.
And we are flagged off by Mr. TS Krishnamurty, the retired Chief Election Commissioner and Mr. Krishnaswamy, Vice President and Business Head of TI Cycles.
My childhood friend and classmate from class 5 all the way through Engineering college, KC Srinivas made arrangements for us to stay at the SCSVMV University guest house at Kanchipuram our first halting place. Srini arranged an interactive session for me with the faculty of the Department of Management Studies. It was a wonderful session with Dr. Ramana Kumar, theFaculty Head and other faculty members.
My dear friends Senguttuvan and Elangovan from the unforgettable HRL days drove down from Chennai in the early hours of the morning to see us off as we commenced our journey to Vellore. Sengu had just returned from a holiday in the UK, he braved jet lag and associated tiredness to come to see us off.
I am not going to give a blow by blow account of each day of the ride but instead, just pick and choose the top of the mind highlights.
Ambur suddenly turned into a press deluge and a retired Dy. Collector alerted the press of the cyclotron. The evening then belonged to the press. Subsequently, there was fair coverage in the Tamil language TV Channels and newspapers. Quite a few friends got back to say they say the coverage on TV or in the newspapers.
At Krishnagiri was our first close interaction with a home for the Urban Homeless.
The forlorn look and sadness in the eyes of the residents tugged at our heartstrings. We tried to suggest that there should be a bit more social and other activities for the residents but were told that many were traumatised at being abandoned by their family and needed psychiatric attention.
In contrast was the meeting with the employees of Sundran Fasteners that took place at Hosur.
Over a hundred employees attended on a voluntary basis, something that surprised the HR team, as they do not generally get so enthusiastic a response to training and development talks.
We spend the night at the Ramana Maharishi Sevasreya, a premium senior citizen home . We enjoyed the interactions with the residents and our stay. The place has an atmosphere that is quite appealing.
The 26th January, the 70th anniversary of our Republic Day saw a delightful R-Day event at the Ashram.
More was to follow at Attibelle, a little town at the border between Tamilnadu and Karnataka. HelpAge India had arranged a welcome and flag off event at this point. It meant that I had to ride just 10 kilometers to reach the venue from Hosur.
A surprise development was a quick visit to the nearby Jai Bharati school to participate in the R-Day function.
They did manage to make a monkey of me as you can see !!!!
My family, my grandson in particular and friends from the corporate world were present at the event making it very special.
It was time for a few days of relaxation before pedaling off to Tumkur and beyond to Belgaum. More strenuous cycling awaits me.