Till now we've read about Cricketer, Singers, Theatre artist, and Kathak dancer. It's time for another interview with another commoner who has lured us with his achievement. Sirish Govardhan had so much to tell us about his experience and his passion. So, let's dive right into the conversation with him!
Tell us about your schooling and education.
I did my schooling at Baldwin Co-Education Extension High School. I did my PU in Sri Kumaran Children’s Home Composite Junior College. Currently, I am in my final year of engineering. I am pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering from KSIT.
What made you choose cycling?
My house was located around 4 km from my school. From 6th standard, I started cycling to my school. That's how I started cycling. Maybe that sparked my passion for it.
Was it a fitness challenge or passion?
When it comes to Tour de South India, it was all about passion. Fitness wouldn't drive me that far. This was a passion-driven challenge for myself.
How difficult was organising everything for Tour de South India?
Everything started because of a conversation with my friends over chai. My friends happen to be the founders of two incredible organizations. Chinmayee and Prakruth are the founders of F.L.A.G and Youth Conclave of India respectively. They were very encouraging and made me believe that this can be a fun adventure for me.
What was the purpose of the tour?
It was a fundraiser for the organizations, to spread awareness about polio and also for me to explore places I had never been to. The fund that I got from this was given to the two organizations I mentioned before. Through this experience, I got a chance to link with the Rotary clubs and connect with a lot of people.
Even though cycling was an individual task, how was the teamwork for this project?
Any project requires brilliant teamwork. I started planning this at the end of January 2020. I discussed this with Chinmayee and Prakruth on February 7th, 2020 and by 14th February 2020, everything was set. I had everybody working on this simultaneously and with a lot of interest. As much as it was a task for me to go alone on this tour, it was their help that made it easier for me.
How supportive was your family towards this?
The idea came up when my mom jokingly suggested I go on a cycle ride to Kanyakumari instead of a bike ride I was looking forward to going. They were really supportive and they always help me dream and achieve bigger.
What was the routine during the cycling tour?
Each kilometer I traveled on that tour was a unique experience for me. That's because it was the first time I visited those places, those roads, and those cities. The routine was to be as optimistic and energetic as possible. I used to wake up at 5 a.m and get going by 6:00 a.m or maximum at 6:30 a.m. I had my goal set to complete 45 km in 3 hours. The weight on my cycle made it difficult to cycle more than 3 hours. Food wasn't a problem. The first 10 days were difficult as there was nothing but the road and sea on my left. It was memorable. I stopped by Tiruvannamalai and Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram. Rameshwaram was a pretty place as well. I tried to call it a day by 5:30 p.m as I was alone. Sometimes it used to extend up to 7 p.m as well.
Did you feel like giving up at some point?
To be honest, I felt like giving up on the first day! I had two mechanical failures, I had to change the gear system. To add up to that there was a puncture I had to deal with. Upon that, I started pretty late and had to cover 180 km but I completed only 120 km.
The remaining 60 km would take around 4 hours which I had to compensate on the other days.
It was pretty exhausting on the first day. I had to search for a hotel as I couldn't reach my day 1 destination. Luckily I found a police station and requested if I could sleep there that night. Tamil Nadu police officers were very supportive and helped me get a room in the same lodge I wasn't allowed without ID proof. After that day, there wasn't a point where I felt like giving up.
It was the beginning of COVID 19 when you left off. Did that scare you in any way?
I was always on the move so it did not affect me that much. Also, I wanted to explore as much as possible because it was my first time cycling that far. I was always wearing a mask and was careful.
Who all guided and supported you in this? Is there any specific person who never gave up on you?
One of my colleagues cycled 12,000 km in 6 months, this inspired me to take up this project. His name is Anil Prabhakar. All my friends were very supportive as well. Nobody gave up on me and I could count on each and every person. I realized how all relations were important.
What are your other interests?
My other interest is to travel. I can walk, cycle, ride, drive, and any other way to travel! That's my love for traveling. Politics, social development are my interests too.
Is there anything you would suggest for a person who is interested to start a cycling tour like this?
Cycling was a project that was key to help society. So instead of advising on cycling, I feel developing an interest in giving back to society might turn you into a creative person.
What’s next for you?
My primary goal is to support my friends who are into social development. That would be my short term goal. I would take up another project in 2021.
This was an amazing talk with Sirish! I hope you all found it amazing too. We should focus on how he emphasizes about giving back to society. Maybe this lockdown we can come up with projects and show more interest that helps in making this society more charming and a lovely place to live in.
I will end today's article with a quote that might inspire you all.
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson