Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dec 27: Bihar Day 2

Rode a measly 90km today. The morning conditions were extremely foggy.
The sun made an appearence after noon. Nothing to see but fog -
visibility was low till 11 am. I was also very tired, and didn't want
to push the pace.

The 50km mark came up at noon, such was my pace! There was a lot of
head wind as well. I wisely decided to stop at or before 100km. So I
stopped early at Bepur, 90km mark.

I rode some extremely desolate stretches of road today. The poverty in
this par of Bihar is plain to see. During the monsoon most of this
area gets flooded. Unemployment is a major problem, one economics
student tells me. At one tea shop, I asked the shopkeeper 'how much'
after tea. He spread his hands helplessly and said 'do rupya, bas utna
hi'. I couldn't help but shed a tear or two. What I have witnessed
actually makes me wonder what it would take to make the average person
here relatively well off. It does seem unfortunate that so many people
around should be fighting for a few square meals a day, while I
stylishly roam around. I am actually feeling very uncomfortable in my
jersey. Can't help feeling that it alienates me from the people -
makes them feel 'woh rais bahar wala' (many I've talked too seemed to
mind the economic differences too much - to my discomfort). So will be
riding in my yellow shirt from tomorrow, I hope it does make a

All said, the average Bihari is extremely courteous - trying to make
me feel comfortable. There are a few uncouth people around, and that's
the case everywhere. My 'gadgets' are getting a lot of attention,
starting from my bike. I haven't taken out my camera today.

I'm currently staying at Shanti hotel & dhaba, right beside the
highway. The manager here is giving me some royal treatment. The room
is barebones, but I'm getting all I ask for.

One big problem here is the water - which is surprisingly hard. Why
surprise? Well, the ganges flows right next door - a few kms away!
Unfortunately I have a policy of not touching mineral water, which
isn't available, BTW!

Sent from Gmail for mobile |

1 comment:

Gauthaman said...

Your Bihar tales are interesting to read. I am happy that there are few courtesy people in Bihar. Can you enquire whats the meaning of Bihar? I thing it would yield a ironical meaning of fertile land of well-off people. Bihar has consitently stayed at 26th place for many years when it comes to growth rate. It would be interesting to know the power of landlords there and how they are able to cast a web of underdevelopment in Bihar, to gain personal well-being.