This article is my entry for Around the World with Expedia contest hosted by Indiblogger and Expedia.co.in
More than 1000 Kms on bike can be one exciting journey where you explore untrodden destinations, gobble local food and meet quirky strangers. I did explore the less trodden beaches of coastal Karnataka, had delightful coastal cuisine and met a few amazing souls. My frequent breaks during the ride from Bengaluru to Gokarna and back were either at the Coffee Days or the Kamats which are ubiquitous on the highways of Karnataka.
However there were instances when I could not find any coffee shops or restaurants and had to stop in the middle of nowhere. During one such break next to a coconut grove near Shimoga, I had my bike parked by the road and was staring at the beautiful grove, when I saw this person with a sickle in his hand waving at me. At first I was taken aback as to why this stranger was interested in me. I looked around and found no one else in the vicinity. So that wave was definitely directed at me. I was apprehensive about entering an open field and talking to a stranger who was holding a sickle. A tricky situation. All of a sudden along with the waving hand came a pleasing smile which eased the curiosness inside me. I decided to take the plunge and walked into the field of coconut trees. He slammed the sickle on to the trunk of a tree and asked me in Kannada- Yaavu Ooru? (Which place are you from?). When I said Bengaluru, his eyes gleamed and the smile broadened. He picked up a coconut from the many that were lying on the ground, slit it open and offered it to me. I was awed by his humanity towards this travelling stranger.
He told me his name was Nagaraj, the coconut grove belonged to him and also spoke to me about his family. His daughter lived in Bengaluru and that was why his eyes had lit up when I uttered the city's name. I asked him whether he had visited Bengaluru, and he said he cant leave his coconut grove for long but had been to Bengaluru a couple of times. He also wanted to know what I did and where I was travelling to. As he spoke more about his land, the coconuts and his family I looked deep into his sunken eyes and thought what made this man call me inside his premises and offer coconut water. I was awakened from my thoughts when he offered me another coconut. I smiled, nodded my head and thanked him for his gesture. He was happy to pose for a photo and asked me to stop by whenever I passed that way. Some strangers are truly god-send.
On my way back I did stop by his plantation, but all I could find were the tall swaying coconut trees of Mr.Nagaraj. Even as I write this article about him, I still have not got the answers to the questions that posed before me when I had left his coconut grove.