Riding across 18 states, planting seeds

It was Walter Salles’ Spanish film The Motorcycle Diaries which inspired friends Akbar Sha and Abel George from a Kochi college to embark on a similar bike journey across India. However, unlike the central characters in the film for whom the trip was a study on the haves and have nots of society, for the Kochi duo, it was a means to do their bit for Mother Nature by planting seeds all through the journey!

The youngsters who took the trip in June-July this year, traveled through 18 states, covering 12,538 kilometers in 46 days.

Akbar says, “After watching the film, both of us along with a friend from another college, Antony Roy, started dreaming of such a trip. However, after three years, when we finally planned the trip, Antony met with an accident, leaving just the two of us for the journey.”

So what prompted them to take seeds along?

“We had already formed an initiative which aims at improving the quality of lives of people. Through the trip, we wanted to promote a healthier lifestyle and also contribute something from our end to nature. So we decided to take along seeds and seedlings, and planted them and also distributed to people on the way.”
While they took around 500 seeds and seedlings of jamun, tamarind, coralwood, vaka and jackfruit, they could plant only 150 because of the differences in climate and soil, Abel rues. In fact, after their return, the duo embarked on another bike trip, this time to Nelliyampathy, to use up all the leftover seeds.

“Most of the highways had plants on either side so we could plant the seeds only in the interiors.”

On their way they met the Deputy Commander of BSF at Kota named Nitin Chaturvedi who had planted 1,000 seedlings by himself.

“He became a great source of inspiration for us,” says Abel. “

Adventure trips on bikes have become a growing trend among college students. If at least ten people from each college plant seeds across the country every year while on trips, it will become much greener. ”

Ask them what was the takeaway from the ride and Abel and Akbar unanimously say, “We did not know the language and could hardly communicate half the time, but there were many Good Samaritans who came to our aid and provided us food and lodging without charging. We also realized how people in villages of the country live a healthier life. We can all take lessons from them for a healthier lifestyle and a better future.”


Report by Deepika Jayaram on TOI