Day 15, July 29, Satara to Pune
Distance – 140 kilometres (includes a detour taken at Wai)
Duration – 13 hours
“God must have meticulously planned this day for me” said Sunita as she gave us a download of the days happenings. As always the day started early and full of energy for Sunita- the cyclists of the ‘ Sunday Morning Ride’ cycling group accompanied Sunita and Harshad for a plantation drive in a resident colony of Satara city. Interestingly the residents of the society near whi ch the plantation was done pledged to take care of the planted saplings. Ashish a member of the cycling group had organized this drive at an extremely short notice spending a major part of yesterday night organizing the saplings, creating space for planting them and collecting people to support the cause.
The rest of the story is being told in the words of Harshad Rao a software professional from Pune. Harshad came all the way cycling from Pune yesterday to accompany Sunita during this part of her journey from Satara to Pune. Their love for the mountains and the achievement of having surmounted the highest peak in the world is something that the two of them have in common.
Here is Harshads story……..
Sunita Singh Choken kicks off her day at 6:00 am unusually by planting saplings at Satara with her friends from Satara cycling ggroup amidst light showers – a perfect day for the plants to take roots. Next she is ready to cycle towards Pune a distance of 120 kilometres- a distance I along with Gitesh Ombale will be accompanying her and probably get a little feel of what she is experiencing during the humongous journey of hers from Kanyakumari to Khardungla
On her way she is flocked by curious folks with lots of questions on their mind- Sunita speaks to each one of them and plants the seeds of her ‘ Beti padhao, Beti Bachao mission’ in their minds. We reached Wai where we were joined by Prasad Errande a cyclist who holds several Guiness world records. We planted around 150 saplings along with 100 children of the Green army from Ekalavya foundation. It is heartening to see how this group of young children is committed to taking care of the environment, planting trees and nurturing them.
Formetodays cycling experienceturned out to be pretty surreal as we as true
#Offroaders had to cycle off the initially planned smooth road to cater for the various activities like plantation and visiting a 360 year old Ganesh temple at Wai. After a quick lunch hosted by Mr Prasad we started again from Wai at almost 4:00pm- we had almost 85 kilometres more to go but the green plantation and warmth of the children gave us a new spell of energy.
Climbing the uphill terrain and Khambatki Ghat was like climbing the mountains but this time on cycles. Our speed got slow not our spirits, as it became dark and we only had our dim cycle light to show us the way on the winding highway. We even came close to a mishap which by Gods blessings we averted. Afew halts and we were in Pune crossing yet another ghat at Katraj to reach home at 11:10 pm. My mothers warm welcome and my wife Yogini Harshad Raos hospitality soon wiped off whatever tiredness we had after the long day. Sunita was soon comfortably settled happily telling stories of her day to my three nieces who listened in rapt attention with admiration in their eyes.