A follow-up to Wanderlust with a Cause
By Dhana Srinithi S (B.E Computer Science Engineering, 2016- 2020)
25-year old Nigin Binesh (ME Engineering Design, 2015-17) is already a famous face in PSG Tech for spreading awareness for various causes through cycling. Last August, Nigin undertook yet another expedition across the country to create awareness about food wastage. Nigin’s 3500km solo walking expedition from Coimbatore to Jammu lasted for about 220 days, across forests, mountains and villages.
To know more about Nigin, read Creating Awareness on Wheels – an article on THE BRIDGE about a year and a half ago. Here is an excerpt from a fresh interview with him, after his expedition:
Q:Tell us about your childhood. How did it feel when you laid hands on your first bicycle?
I was born and brought up in a village called Thoothoor in Kanyakumari district. I was the second among five siblings and I never had the opportunity to have my own bicycle. I was in my fourth grade when I first learnt to ride one and I remember being keenly interested in riding it since then. After school days, I mounted one again only after I came to Coimbatore.
Q: What inspired you to travel more after your first ride?
I did my UG in Chennai and it would take about 15 hours to reach Kanyakumari from Chennai. So, back then I used to hate travelling and once I moved to Coimbatore, I started visiting places nearby with my bicycle. The climate of Coimbatore raised my spirits and encouraged me to travel frequently. My first long journey was during my third semester holidays. I planned on covering all the districts in Tamilnadu. I travelled for about 780 kilometers in eight days and visited almost twelve districts. In that ride, I met a lot of wonderful people who inspired me in a way that made me want to travel more and enhanced my belief in humanity.
Q: What sparked the idea of cycling for a cause?
For my second trip, I planned on cycling my way up from Coimbatore to Doddabetta, the highest peak in Tamil Nadu. During that ride, I met a Malaysian named Andy Lua. He mentioned that he was cycling to create awareness about marine conservation. He shared a lot of his experiences with me; that was the first time I met someone who used travelling as a tool to spread awareness for a cause and it inspired me to cycle for a cause. I retrospected my first ride and realized that the prime difficulty I faced during the entire journey was water. With this in mind, during Christmas holidays, I travelled from Coimbatore to Cochin and then to Kanyakumari on my bicycle, to spread awareness about water conservation.
Nigin, on his walking expedition from Coimbatore to Jammu
Q: Tell us about the difficulties and challenges you face during your journey.
According to me, cycling is riskier than walking or hitchhiking. Especially, while riding in bypasses, heavy vehicles and cars come at very high speeds, which scare me sometimes. During my walking expedition, I experienced language barriers as it was difficult to communicate with the locals. There were nights when I slept with an empty stomach and people eyed me differently because of my physique and appearance. I hadn’t had my hair cut for almost eight months and that made me look scary.
Q: Can you talk about your journey from Coimbatore to Jammu?
The primary goal behind this expedition was to spread awareness about food wastage. I started from Coimbatore and visited Kerala first, followed by Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal, and then finally Jammu. I experienced a variety of climatic conditions throughout the journey. When I started at Coimbatore, it was monsoon, then came winter when I was travelling in the Northern parts of India and during my return journey, it was summer. I met a lot of people, from diverse cultural backgrounds and different age groups, it was a wonderful experience. I covered 18 states and 5 union territories during my crusade and hitchhiked on my journey back to Coimbatore.
Q: About your next quest…
I have been selected to represent India on an expedition at the Arctic. Totally 80 people have been selected across the world and I’m overwhelmed to be one among them. I’m raising funds and looking for sponsorships to embark upon this journey which costs about twelve lakhs. So, let’s hope for the best!
THE BRIDGE wishes Nigin Binesh good luck for his upcoming endeavour.
Dhana Srinithi S
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
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