The fight to end poverty with Rang De

Big Words. Poverty is neither a disease nor is state of mind ( like some politicians had ventured some time ago). Vineet and I had partnered with Rang De a few months ago for the season 1 of the Ride to Fight Poverty and travelled to Pabal in Maharashtra to meet with entrepreneurs there. Needless to say, our lives were changed for ever hearing about the struggles the people in rural India went through. You can read about season 1 here .

So when the good folks at Rang De! contacted us again to do a follow up, we jumped at it! we wanted to make it bigger and better this time. We reached out to Aditya Raj Kapoor, a friend, fellow biker and traveller to ask if he would be interested and introduced him to Rang De. After a thorough due dilligence on how the NGO functions, Aditya jumped in full fledged, fully convinced that this ride could and would make a difference!.

And off we went! 3 of us, Aditya on his lovely Triumph Bonneville, Pratik ( a close friend and biker) on his Classic 500 and me on the trusty Theia!  We wanted to go into interior Maharashtra this time and decided on Pusad, where Rang De and its partners had helped farmers to live their lives a little better through their various Micro Finance initiatives.

Plans were made and www.ScoutMyTrip.com was used to chart the routes, places to stay and eat etc. You can see the details here

We kick started on day 1 at 7 am and proceeded on the Mumbai Nashik highway.  While starting, Aditya told us that he hadn’t explored the malshej ghats in a long time. We needed no excuse to ride the ghats and quickly turned our bikes to go via the majestic ghats instead of the normal Nashik highway. A quick chai, poha and bhajiya stop for breakfast later, we were in Malshej.

The fight to end poverty with Rang DePratik(Left). Aditya(Right) and Me at the Malshej Ghat

 The fight to end poverty with Rang DeOur steeds at the Malshej ghat

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThe poha breakfast

Our next stop was Aurangabad and we needed to cross Nagar and reach there before evening. So without much ado, we started again. The heat was starting to creep up! the past few days we were warned by the press and therefore the entire family that we were riding during a heat wave across central and north India. Temperatures were expected to soar to mid 40’s. As you can see, we don’t ride without our gear and in this stifling heat, de-hydration was a definite risk.

We also realised that we were passing through the sugar cane belt of Maharashtra and this was our saviour. Instant energy and the safest drink around, because of its freshness, we consumed copious amounts of the juice and that kept our throttle going!

Nagar crossed, and Aurangabad was reached in a few hours, ScoutMyTrip had suggested a hotel in the heart of the city but close to the highway. We found it easily ( muttered a silent prayer for the lovely location) and checked in.

That evening we were in for a treat! The local biking group Throttlers MC and the Harley’s Owners Group (HOG) at Aurangabad wanted to meet, and if we thought it was just a few friends coming over, we were mistaken! We were hosted at a local hotel with full fanfare, 14 bikes, Harleys and Enfields in all shapes and sizes parked in the parking lot greeting us with their traditional exhaust sounds, welcomed us. Over dinner we got to know each of the brethren and they us. When we told them about why we were doing this ride, they wholeheartedly supported us. A few hours and many many travel stories later, we were back in our rooms tired but raring to go!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThrottlers MC and the HOG team with the ScoutMyTrip team at Aurangabad.

6 am , and we were out of the city. quickly found our bearings and started the journey towards Pusad. Our next stop was for some yummy local missal pav and a pine apple milkshake! I kid you not! In the hinterland , there was this small shop that was advertising their famous pineapple shakes and in this heat, we couldn’t resist! Thank god for our weak wills, it was the best breakfast we had in a very long time!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThe fight to end poverty with Rang De

The awesome pine apple shake and Missal Pav

Pusad was calling and we entered the small village around 5 pm. Needless to say, it was hot. The temperatures were pegged at around 45 degrees and we were feeling it.

While resting our minds were with the farmers and the families. This heat and they had no option but to toil hard to put food on not only their tables, but also ours. We mentally decided to double our efforts to ensure that their plight would some how be alleviated by our efforts.

The next day, after a quick breakfast, the good people of Rang De had organised our visit to a village called Digras – 30 kms from Pusad. We kick started our bikes and rode to meet with 3 of the most amazing people ever. 3 women entrepreneurs who were funded by small loans from Rang De. Money that the average city boy would spend in a weeks time at the mall or a family of four dining at a decent restaurant. This money had helped these families set up their business that would take care of not only themselves but also give a decent education to their kids.

We were touched by the love and affection that the families, poor only monetarily, showered on us. Words cannot capture the love , hence the rest of the story in pictures…

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThe happy kids at Pusad school

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeAditya with one of the beneficiaries of the loan

The fight to end poverty with Rang DePratik being welcomed at one of the homes

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeLove through simple home made food.

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThe face says it all… its very tasty!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeWe were literally fed!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeAnd we talked. understanding their perspective!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeRandom Clicks, Theia demanded this pic!

At another borrowers home.

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeGrand welcome

And Discussions galore…. with the whole village

This gentleman has single handedly helped over 800 families!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeAt the Karma devi mandir…

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeAnd Pratik also makes an appearance!

The love brings a smile to our faces!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeHow can we not smile when we are in such august company!

My pics generated a lot of interest!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeSome more smiles..

The women folk also wanted to get into the discussions..

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeInside the home of another Borrower

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeTired but still fulfilled!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThis lady’s family makes drums!

A fourth borrower !

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThe college students wanted to also meet us!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeBlessings galore!!!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThis is the smaller gathering!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeThis gentleman has walked with Acharya Vinobha Bhave, and he came to meet us!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeOn the way back – a quick stop at Lonar- found on ScoutMyTrip!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeChai always tastes best on the highways!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeBrilliant Sarson Da Saag found on ScoutMyTrip at the Punjabi Amritsari Dhaba near Jalna

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeAnd parathas to boot!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeLovely Lovely sugar cane juice!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeI took a session on safe riding with the local college students!

The fight to end poverty with Rang DeBlessings at Shirdi ! On the way back!

Deelux

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