Searching for Solace in South India

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Searching for Solace in South India

Awashis Prasad Ojha, head of Marketing and Communications at Laxmi InterContinental Pvt Ltd, is a passionate rider. Ojha, who completed his education from South India, says the mesmerising views of the cashew nut jungles and the amazing seashores he saw during his school days in Kerala fuelled his passion for travelling. Tamish Giri of New Business Age sat down with Ojha in his office chamber in Naxal to note down his remarkable journey. 

Passion for Riding
I completed my education from India; I spent many years there during my student life. I completed my schooling from Kerala, my undergraduate from Tamil Nadu and postgraduate from Karnataka. I have travelled a lot across these states, perhaps more than even some native South Indians. It was in 2007 when I returned to Nepal and it has been a decade since my return. During my stay there, I used to ride regularly. Riding my motorbike for as long as 600 kilometres was common for me during that period.

It is certainly a passion and once I undertook a trip wherein I travelled around 1,600 km on my bike.

Unforgettable Trip 
My most memorable trip was in 2011. I, along with my wife, travelled to Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu during this trip. I travelled to the places where I had spent my student life. I arranged the trip to bring my wife close to the memories of my student life. I wanted her to meet my old friends and visit my school and college. I took her to every place close to me. It is the most amazing trip of my life so far and is close to my heart. 

Celebrating a Special Day
I was familiar with South India so most of the places we visited during the trip were not new to me. However, I took my wife to some new destinations as well. The backwaters of Kerala was one of them. It was on 31 December 2011; we had reached the place around 1 pm. The date is special for me because it is my wife’s birthday. We took a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala and checked in exactly at noon for an overnight stay. I still remember there were only four arrivals at the boathouse that day. We, along with another couple, were the only occupants of the boathouse. The boat approached the river-mart and loaded seafood as per our choice. It was a great experience; my wife was ecstatic that day because we had a new experience on her birthday and the New Year’s Eve. We celebrated it together with the other couple. I recall that experience with great joy since it had brought a lot of happiness to my wife. 

The Vehicles
Buses, trains, cars, bikes, boathouses and aircraft were our modes of travel. I usually dislike air travel because I do not want to miss the surrounding views. Therefore, we started our journey with a night bus from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa. From Bhairahawa, we crossed the border to Sunauli where we checked into a train. The train took us to Ernakulam, Kochi, where we switched to a car.

My friends are caring and loving, they wanted me to travel comfortably and one of them had sent a car for me. I even have a valid Indian license, which I had with me since my college days. So in Bangalore, we hired a Royal Enfield which I rode to Mysore. The boathouse in Kerala floated around the scenic views. On our return, we drove the car back to Bangalore and took a flight to Kathmandu.    

Past Travel Hiccups
There were no complications during any part of our trip, which added extra pleasure to our journey. I still remember an unpleasant experience during my trip to Vietnam.

My hand carry luggage was misplaced upon arrival in Kathmandu. That struggle is the worst experience in my travel history. Fortunately, I happened to have used a bag with the Hyundai logo on that occasion. I found it after hours of struggle, thanks to a TIA staff who helped me. Luckily, there were no such troubles during my trip this time. Everything was smooth and comfortable. 

Home Away from Home
During my stay in South India, I used to visit my friends’ homes regularly. That brought me close to their parents. I had informed my friends about our trip to their cities. Phone calls from aunties inviting us to stay at their homes flooded me. As a result, we hardly had time to stay in a hotel; we ended up staying at a friend’s home every time. It made us feel like we were living in a home away from home and my wife loved the company.

Ideal Time to Travel
Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have a similar climate all around the year. It is only in the monsoon when the season varies. So, travelling during June and July can be difficult and troubling which should be avoided if possible.

Things to Note   
Researching about the destination is crucial for me. I try to explore the destination through research to make my journey comfortable and hassle-free.

This has helped me a lot; I prepare my itineraries according to my requirement, which is crucial for time management. It is essential to research about the places you are travelling to; I suggest this to everyone. It is also important to travel with the right person or group. In fact, this aspect has the most bearing on the enjoyment of your trip.

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