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Old 8th April 2011, 09:53   #196
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Dude - thanks for letting us live vicariously through you. One quick word of concern: See if you can somehow get medical insurance / coverage.

I remember a calculation once I made for fun - to see if I can lead one such life minus the daily jobs (just travel around / write about it) - I came up with a sum of about 5-6 crores in bank before I can get to it So working diligently towards that! (Then I got married / had a kid etc., those are minor details I suppose - triple the number!).
Subus, 6 crores is close to what even i had calculated. however did not have the patience to wait to accumulate that amount.. What is currently working for me is to take one thing at a time, i don't put too much efforts in finding a job, instead i live like the locals and help out in their daily chores. what i have realized one does not need much money to survive as everything is grown in fields and every day you collect it for food. 2 meals is what they eat and so do i. once the experience is complete in a locality i move to another tribe and in this state you will not fall short of diversity.
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Old 8th April 2011, 12:26   #197
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What is currently working for me is to take one thing at a time, i don't put too much efforts in finding a job, instead i live like the locals and help out in their daily chores. what i have realized one does not need much money to survive as everything is grown in fields and every day you collect it for food. 2 meals is what they eat and so do i. once the experience is complete in a locality i move to another tribe and in this state you will not fall short of diversity.
This is the spirit that i am admiring right from the day i read this thread. It takes immense mental strength and resolve to do this. We city dwellers are (atleast i am) so used to the material comforts in life that a slight inconvenience bothers us. And you have taken it to a totally different level. Salute to you once again
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Old 9th April 2011, 18:26   #198
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Bravo Roadinc, your life your thoughts your everything I am speechless, I am a silent reader and don't want to comment every time I like any thread but I am not able to stop myself for commenting here... yes, I am late but after reading first few pages what was the first thing I did... Any Guess?

OPENED ALL THE PAGES IN SEPARATE TABS.

Electricity is not a problem here but I wanted to read this thread in one go without any kind of interruption. Laptop is OK but internet is available with electricity only. Enjoyed each and every word. Hats off to you.

Please add Punjab and a waiting friend in your future plans. (Another 5 Star)

Best of Luck and keep moving.

Last edited by Passiontodrive : 9th April 2011 at 18:31. Reason: reposting
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Old 20th April 2011, 17:18   #199
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I'm hooked. Ride on, Merwin, I'll reach out when I see you headed this way...
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Old 22nd June 2011, 17:25   #200
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The Namdapha project:

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In one of my previous posts I had mentioned about the remotest village in India. Here is a summary of my first month in Arunachal Pradesh.
My story of Arunachal had begun in February last year where a bunch of us (friends) had set on an epic road trip of 16000kms in 45 days across India and Bhutan. Stillwell road was a part of that trip up till the Burma border. A detour to Miao introduced us to the Namdapha wild life sanctuary. We were immediately told that we will not be able to reach the forest guest house with the cars due to landslides and hence we marched on foot towards Deban 25kms.

As we walked we encountered human traffic coming from the opposite direction with heavy loads on their backs which had utensils and handcrafted baskets. Curiosity leads us to find out that they have been walking for 4 days and are heading to Miao to purchase Salt and sugar. This was intriguing in itself given the landscape we were witnessing. The only means of transportation to where they come from was a weekly Pawan hans helicopter services with only 17 seats to be taken however, most of them people preferred to walk through one of the most treacherous terrains in eastern India. Hence it was decided that we need to experience the remoteness of their lives.

While I was riding from Himachal to Arunachal, few of my friends were heading to Kaziranga which was our meeting point. After a quick jeep safari in the rhino land we rushed to get the Inner line permit at Mohanbari…… The idea was to take the 20 min helicopter service to Vijaynagar and walk back 6 days to Miao which is about 157km through the Namdapha wild life sanctuary. But the tables turned when we learnt that the helicopter service was cancelled for maintenance for that entire month although the booking for the flight was done well ahead.

After a quick huddle Rajiv, Alpheus and I decided to take on the massive expedition which now had become tentatively a 300km trek. This also meant that we had to buy and carry more ration and more men to share the load. We reached Miao late that night and put up at the IB, next morning we shopped for ration, sought our forest permission to trek through the Namdapha sanctuary, spoke to ADC for our provisional permits to extend out stay in case we get stuck and porters to help us with the extra weight

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Though we have trekked and camped in the jungle earlier, none of us had embarked on such a long distance on foot in an unknown territory. The first day itself the terrain put us to test, as we were entering the trail the rains welcomed us to the jungle, every step from here onwards had to be a certain step and along with that you had to save yourself from the thorny shrubs, at times the only way to move forward was to get down on your four’s.
Within the first 2 hours of the journey It had become clear that we would not be able to make it in 6 days which we had estimated earlier, Namdapha had taken us by surprise and we were already thinking if we would be able to complete the trek. At a point it got so strenuous that we stopped thinking and just kep moving like a zombie with backpacks. Up down up down up down was the order of the day. That night all of us ate and slept without uttering a word.



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The next 6 days we woke up, packed our tents, cooked food, ate and started walking, we tuned ourselves to keep walking even if it rains and to pitch the tents by 2.30 in the noon. The format was to eat, walk, eat and sleep. Every stretch was a test of endurance, from the ups and downs of the mountain range to longs walks on slippery boulders by the river, from crossing single bamboo bridges to pushing yourself ahead through knee deep thick slush for miles together. There was a time we were walking thru elephant grass twice our size for more than 2 hours. The whole journey It was like an obstacle course and the moment you thought you mastered to walk on slippery stones, the jungle presented you with a higher difficulty level and this time a cliff with a drop in the high current river and the only support you have are the roots of the trees that come out of the soil.
The Nights in the forest has been particularly beautiful with the milky way above and the fire below.

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As you realize how small a creature you are in this gigantic forest it began to treat us with goodies, we met a few people from the local tribe who were building bamboo and cane bridges for commute they also provided us with fresh cat fish caught from the dehing river, we also got to taste a particular insect collected from under the stones by the river for a tribal Chutney’. There are a couple of villages on the way within the namdapha boundary which act as a resting place for the local tribes while they are commuting to and fro, while we were in these villages we stayed with the tribal elders who are very hospitable, one can also buy fruits and vegetables grown by these tribes for you journey ahead.

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The seventh day we reached Gandhigram, the second last village in eastern Arunachal, This is primarily home of the Lisu tribe with about 400 household, Here there is only one phone booth which is connected over satellite. The market is primarily a display of farm produces from individual houses, one can by vegetables, meat, eggs, fruits etc. Salt is priced at 100/- sugar and oil at 200/-. There is no visible help from the government, no medical facilities, no proper schools and no financial aid from the govt. Though they are citizens of India they are still fighting for their rights and ST status. Hardworking, skillful earn some money with their cane baskets and farm excesses. The only outsiders the tribes have seen are the soldiers from the Assam rifle regiment and a few members from the wild life fraternity.

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The last bit of the journey was four hour trek to Vijanagar the last point in eastern India, there is an air strip to transport military goods and civilians (if the pawan hans service is active). Beyond this point surrounded by 3 sides is Burma and it still takes about 4 days to reach beyond the borders. We stayed in Vijaynager for 2 days and visited few families and a local musician who played us a tribal tune from a locally made flute called ‘Juley’. The night temperature in vijaynager went to 2 degrees; one could see a thin white layer of frost on the ground in the morning just before the sun rise.




This was it. The task was completed; we had walked to the remotest village in eastern India, experienced their route, lived in the jungle and understood why they do what they do. And in the end one word could sum it up “Respect’. During the return journey we tried to match the pace with the Tribe and made it back to the forest guest house in Deban in 5 days.
Though distant from modern amenities, these tribes are very proficient in their use of bamboo and wood. From bridges, to homes, rice pounding machines, to water run rice mills. In Awe of the people and the culture here Rajiv and I have planned another visit during the end of the year, this time we would spend about 3 months in the jungle with these tribes and document their local engineering.

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In the end we covered a distance of about 240kms in 15 days.
Back in civilization my friends headed back to Bangalore and I stayed on with the Lisu tribe in Miao to understand more about their culture.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 17:39   #201
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It must be indeed difficult for these peoples to live in areas with no facilities available. This serves as a reminder for all the rest of us who complain about the lack of quality or other issues though we keep getting access to so many facilities.
Perhaps we are getting used to comparing with a higher benchmark for everything.

Respect to you too Merwyn (and your fellow trekkers from Blr) for going to our easternmost village and bringing us images from this beautiful place.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 18:16   #202
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@Merwyn - Your trek reminds me of the program Man V/s Wild which i think comes on the discovery channel. It is unbelievable what you guys have achieved and all the more unbelievable or should i say unfortunate what the tribals have to do every time. 240 Kms in 15 days - walking
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Old 22nd June 2011, 19:37   #203
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Merwyn - I am speechless..what an epic journey..thanks for sharing with us man..
Also, it is saddening to see the plight of tribals..on the one hand we claim Arunachal as integral part of India and treat the locals as second class citizens..depressing..
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Old 25th June 2011, 10:32   #204
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Was wondering where you dissapeared for so long.

It was worth the wait.

Apart from Defence personnel you guys were the only Indians from mainland to have crossed the area on foot.

Local lads from the outfits undertake such journeys to reach China for tactical support. But malaria kills many here.

Do talk to National Geographic and Discovery for showing the world what's life's like out here.

Keep discovering.

Cheers,
San
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Old 19th July 2011, 20:07   #205
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Hi, Can any one advice on diesel bullets? and is there anything up for sale in or around Bangalore. i am looking at a energy effeciency with the same torque ( or more) i hv with the standard 350.
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Old 5th August 2011, 16:47   #206
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Hey Merwyn, Hope you are one among the top six finalists in CEAT's Biker of the Year contest .
My heartiest congrats on reaching the finals and wish you all the best to win the title.
You surely deserve it man, Good Luck
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Old 5th August 2011, 17:03   #207
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Our Best Wishes with you Merwyn. I am sure you are going to win it.
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Old 5th August 2011, 17:21   #208
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‘Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try‘– many of us reading your travelogue actually dreamed of doing what you are doing (unfair to comment about other readers, but I was definitely one of the dreamers). What you have done Roadinc is simply extraordinary and it shows what one can do once the heart is set for it

Great going friend, keep riding. (As usual I’m a late comer and Now I know what I’ve missed)
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Old 5th August 2011, 21:38   #209
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You're one blessed and lucky man, Roadinc. Very few people get to live their dreams, that too on two wheels, perfect!!! Great Journey. Please make sure your health is properly taken care off, so that you can keep doing what you're doing.

Thanks for sharing.

Safe Riding.
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Old 8th August 2011, 14:13   #210
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Hi, Can any one advice on diesel bullets? and is there anything up for sale in or around Bangalore. i am looking at a energy effeciency with the same torque ( or more) i hv with the standard 350.
Merwyn, check out this article from The Hindu (Chennai):

The Hindu : Life & Style / Metroplus : Man And Machine - Top gear

Cheers!
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