There was always poverty and hunger at home. After the death of my father, I saw the world in the warmth of my mother. I grabbed her sari and started walking. I still remember that smoky hut. The only thing on my mind was the wet misery of the rainy season when I put together every penny. I would walk a long distance and forget about hunger by the force of the rope tied tightly around my stomach. This journey is a journey in search of my being. For my mother who walked miles and changed my hunger …. “. Wiping his full eyes slowly, the big bearded man passed a laugh to forget the pain. That laugh had the potential to make you forget everything. This is the story of Ravindra Singh .. !! The story of an unidentified real traveler who walked from famine to the soul of India.
Departing from Punjab in 2015, he resigned his job as a lawyer which he got from hardwork. He did not even have a penny in his hand. He packed everything he got and crossed the country one fine morning. Although he took time to explain things to his mother, he never stopped his dreams. Because the mother knew his mind better than he did. He did not have to listen to anyone’s permission except his mother. His answer to the teacher’s question about his childhood dream of life was, “I want to go on a Dandi journey like Gandhiji.” The young man was so in love with the country of India and the journey !! He flew without a definite target. Like a thread less plate. The journey started from Punjab and ended in the snow-capped valley of Kashmir. He walked, and walked until his body was exhausted. His only goal is to conquer this country with his feet !!
In the meantime, I came to know about Ravindra Singh’s travels in 2016 through a friend in Delhi. There are many ways to see this real traveler in person. Instagram profile found after persistent attempts. I exchanged several messages saying I wanted to take part in the trip. I was invited to Kerala and my house as a guest. When no reply was received, it was sent again. My messages were waiting for reply, and my mind. He was still on the journey, on the journey in search of his dream … !!
“Zafar Abhi Baki Hae … Khuda Ki Marsi Ho Tho Hum Phir Milenke ..May Aaunka”
What a satisfaction. I read the message again, leaving the rest of the excitement. It was as if night had slipped into day. I opened the message again. I also sent a detailed message describing the heroic tales of Thalassery Biryani. I also tempted him by saying that if I see him in person, I will give him a good biryani. The reply was received immediately. The reply was that you should bring that Thalassery biryani when we saw it in person. Something was amiss. Are there any people who do not fall for the temptation of Thalassery Biryani? I felt a warmth in my chest when someone walking across India promised to see me on that trip.
Ravinder shared stories on the day. Handing out pictures of him, he has walked about 5,000 kilometers. With a complete view of North India. The journey to the North East is in the middle. Again, the message was that it is difficult to walk his foot was injured. I was a little scared, but within a week he was back on track. He also released another photo saying that the disease has completely changed in the treatment of Naga people in Nagaland. I was also waiting for the arrival of that ‘gin’ and the biryani copper. No message was received for months afterwards. 2016 passed and the days went by without even knowing what was going on. I was still texting with hope. Night and day changed and disappeared … Days … weeks … months passed … !! I finally got a message on a Friday morning in November 2017.
The eyes did not believe at first, nor did they disbelieve. Another message came in which was Ravinder’s number. Called immediately,
I listened for that sound. I heard a lot of laughter at first and then stopped to say the train route to Thalassery. See you soon. The biryani neem started to simmer at home. When the biryani copper is removed from the oven and the dham explodes It’s about 2 p.m. Ravinder called again and said that instead of getting off at Thalassery, he got off at Kannur and fell asleep. Laughing again, he said I can fly from there in half an hour. The 24 km distance between me and Ravinder, a two year wait. I packed my biryani and went to Kannur with my brothers.
When he called in the middle of the road to Kannur, the first thing he asked was Umma’s biryani. When I called from in front of the Kannur Railway, he was not there. He said that he had walked to the gate of the Kannur fort. Another 10 minute ride. Finally, as the train passed through the Kannur Cantonment Road full of soldiers, it looked as if it was moving among the gulmohars blooming on the roads of Kashmir. The walls of the history-sleeping Kannur fort obscured me and Raveendran again. Raveendran’s face, seen in the photos, came to mind again as i ran through the trees, running through the fort door. I picked up the phone again and called once more.
Before I could say it, there was a Sikh-style head covering in front of me, with a long beard and a horny mustache. ‘Ravindra Singh’ whispered my tongue unknowingly. Hugged and had a burst of laughter ….. !! Witnessing the Arabian Sea encircling the Kannur fort, I gugged the jinn deeply again, … !! Yes, the ‘jinn’ who came looking for us … I did not see anything. I was sitting under a shady tree forgetting the fort and before he could say anything more, i opened biryani package. The smell spread …. !! The smile on his face still lingers in my eyes, and he empties the package in no time. So the jinn’s stomach was filled.
He also said that he wanted to see Umma in person. I listened to Raveendran’s stories with the curiosity of a child. 9000 km, 2 years, 29 states, as well as Nepal and Bhutan. The traveler conquered Mother India with his foot. He walked into the soul of Bharatamba. Ravindra Singh became so talktive. Past days, passed days wihtoust seeing his mother, the days of famine, the jungles, the hills, the huts, the light, the darkness, the whole experience of a human life. He said,without pausing.
“Aaj me tumara pass hey, Kal ??” Laugh again. And then told me “Do not be afraid of anything, do not be afraid of anything you can control on this earth.”
We wandered between the fort walls telling stories. Sometimes I saw my hand engraved key chain on my bag and pulled it out and looked at it and said “I like this a lot”. Remember the story of Murugan Chettan in Chennai? The key chain was made by Murugan Chettan. Surely I promised to come to Punjab one day with a key chain inscribed with Ravindra Singh’s name. We walked again … Through Kannur, through the Kannur fort where history sleeps. Then the words of Ravindra Singh echoed in my mind again “Do not be afraid of anything, do not be afraid of anything you can control on earth”. Today is going to be a year after meeting with Ravindra Singh, I am going on a trip, I have to go and see Punjab in the middle of the journey, You have to give that key chain that is carved, and a framed photo of us. The jinn who came looking for me.