47-year-old Omesh Bhagat aka Buddha Uncle is on a all India cycling tour with a message to save the environment. He started his journey on 5th May 2023 from Faridabad and has pedaled 13000 kms so far. He plans to cover the whole of south India before moving back to the Northern region where he belongs.
A meeting by chance:
I was out on a routine ride to bandstand Bandra in Mumbai and saw a man with a flag of India and a bag mounted on his cycle. I sensed that he was not an ordinary cyclist, so I approached him to learn more about his story.
In January 2023, Buddha suffered a paralytic attack and by the grace of God recovered in no time. The doctors were astonished about his quick recovery without much medication and considered it to be a rare case in medical history. Buddha, a strong believer in God and faith realized that he is fortunate to get a second chance to live. Having understood the importance of life he decided to venture on a soul steering all-India bicycle tour to spread the message of good health, exercise, yoga, and environment.
Buddha was never a cyclist and with one month of practice, he commenced his self-supported cycling expedition. He is using a basic step-through bicycle, carrying couple of clothes, a water bottle, and cycling around 80-100 kms a day. When asked about how he is funding his trip he says “there is no shortage of good Samaritans in this world and help is coming from everywhere. Some people have helped him with food, some have offered place to stay overnight while some have given him money.”
Lunch at Café Breve:
Impressed by his action, I took Buddha to one of the famous cycling cafés in Bandra ‘Café Breve’ for lunch and coffee since 1st October happens to be the ‘International Coffee Day’. We shared our experiences, and he was delighted to see the place that promotes cycling culture in the city. But I could sense some sort of discomfort at the neighboring table and all the other guests glaring at him. I could see it in their eyes, and they must be wondering how a poor looking man dressed in ordinary clothes could match their standard.
In my view. Buddha might not be wealthy, but he is certainly rich by actions and deeds. He has given up his comfort levels and chosen a path of extraordinary encounters by traveling solo and experiencing the heartland of India more deeply than we can envisage. Doing something for the nation comes last on our agenda and we end up staying confined to our social obligations. Hats off to Buddha!
Good gesture by a lady:
When we reached Mount Marry Steps, a lady with candles in her hand was walking towards the steps. She turned back and started taking to Buddha. She requested me to click a photo of her with Buddha and extended her gratitude with monetary support. Few more people joined the conversation and praised Buddha. We rode back to the bandstand area where we had met, and I wished him all the best and good luck for the rest of his journey.
You can follow him on instagram @buddha_uncle or get in touch with him +91 70275 92707.
You might also like to read: INDIA’S 1ST SOLAR ROOF CYCLE TRACK IN HYDERABAD
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai.