Road to London # 8 – The Influential Hidden Character

In continuation of earlier blog RTL # 7 – The Route Across India

It is not the first time that she influenced me to take on an adventure. She has supported all my crazy endeavours. She may not initiate the trips. But if I proposed one, she would be enthusiastic about the tour, even for the most complicated and risky ones.  Pushpa, the wife, is not my better half, she is the first half!

In fact, she just might be better qualified to undertake adventure and risky trips. She takes over the gadgetry, which I have never understood.  It is a family joke, particularly by Anand, that it is  because of her I can handle my mobile.

Pushpa Sliding on Australian Sand Dunes 2011

She maintains her cool during testing times of the tours. She accepts that adventure trips have inbuilt calculated risks.  There were times when we had no shelter, but she had no problems. No food, it hardly made a difference to her. She has understood and adjusted to the whatever the situation has demanded.   There have been occasions in our trips together when we had no water to drink, but she didn’t complain.  She prefers tap water to bottled, mineral water wherever she is.  You and I fall ill, not her!

Once when we were in Tibet, our vehicle stalled in a murky place.  It was the dark hour of midnight.   There were no villages for 20 kilometers in any direction. The temperature was minus 10-15 degrees Celsius. And there was a slight drizzle. Every drop of rain felt like a needle piercing your skin.  Boots were getting stuck in mud with every step. And here she was helping me push the vehicle out of the muck.   Ultimately,  we had to walk cold and wet for about a km, in complete darkness. We rested in a road side godown (if we could call it that!) where even a beast would be scared.  The place had a strong stink. It was badly maintained alcohol den, full of beer and was scattered with used cans and bottles.  She has never tasted onion or garlic, let alone alcohol.  But she didn’t even wrinkle her nose when she had to lie down there for a couple of hours of much needed rest.

And oh! That place was owned by a man in his 80s or so. He looked like he was straight out of a western movie, a cowboy, only with horrible, excessive make-up.  He had a spear in his left hand, instead of a gun. Long salt-and-pepper hair and beard – probably unwashed for a long time. He covered it with a cowboy hat.   He was probably wearing new clothes, only that they were bought years ago. His face showed his age in wrinkles. He had extra skin hanging from his cheeks, large red eyes set just above them. Sharp long grey eye-brows.  The place had no lights, it was almost all dark. Just a small dim lamp gave the scene a horror movie feel.  I was outside, in that freezing rain with a driver-guide to see if the car could get on the road. When I returned, the face of the owner, with extra wide eyes, was almost a foot from Pushpa’s face. She was speechless. I dropped in and engaged our host in slow motion, sign language. Pushpa did not complain even about that day ever.

The moment I ask her opinion about a trip, she always has a positive answer. To the extent that some times I take her for granted and forget to even take her consent. Ghar ki murgi daal barabar!

Once in 2012, on a flight to London I mentioned to her that I wanted to drive one day from home to London. She just replied with a “hmmm”, that too forcibly, knowing that it was one of those improbable dreams. However, I knew it is not unachievable, particularly since she would be with me.  She used to drive way back in the 80s when we lived in the Middle East.Quad Driving in Tangalooma Island 2011 With Pushpa as Co-driver


A few months ago, she was travelling elsewhere, I called her, “we have a chance to drive to London. Are you interested?”  Her reply was the as quickest as it can be “Grab it”.  It is all through now to make the dream come true.   She is not my better half, she my best half,  Pushpa!  I am really lucky to have such a lady as my companion for these exotic journeys.  She would be my co-driver for “Road To London”!

Written : Badri Baldawa

Edited : Meeta Kabra

                                                                                                To be continued …………………

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About badri

As I approached 68 (2013), my son, Anand insisted that I had proven enough in my 45-year long career and it was time I took life a little easier; enjoy traveling (that I love) and social life. Yet, I somehow wanted to contribute positively and was exploring my options. My son-in-law, Navin suggested that I should write and share my experiences, “being a self-made man, you should tell the next generation how you overcame various obstacles to reach this position, in both, business and social circles.” He pointed out that while I was sharing my experiences with family and friends, as they approached me, a blog had the potential to take your voice to many, many more. He also insisted that I start mentoring youngsters who were new in their businesses. I was convinced. I offered my services pro bono, as part of a Guidance Program. Also, I started writing on this blog, bringing out figments from my memory as experiences that might be of value to the readers here. My daughter Meeta is sweet enough to spare her time to edit what I write. As a youngster, I thought one meal a day, one set of school uniform a year, a public place to study, lack of finance and basic shelter would keep me from achieving my dreams. To compensate, I started giving 110% of what was normally expected. Yes, 110% even in bad deeds! This worked. The very limitations started inspiring me in different phases of my life – meritorious results in studies; strength to shoulder family responsibilities; satisfied employers; establishing a successful business of my own; and in my adventure trips and other travel plans. Having done what I wanted to, I agreed it was time for me to expose myself! I felt, through this blog, I could and should share my expereinces. Hopefully, readers would find some bits useful and if not, they’d enjoy reading. Look forward to interact with you. Happy Reading, Badri Baldawa

11 thoughts on “Road to London # 8 – The Influential Hidden Character

  1. Chi. badri ssu.pushpaji baby loving nisha “god bestow all blessings & vigour for your expedition intestions”. This rejoices me too .you.ll have pleanty of experience so nothing to write more.-reminds me with nature visit & love alltogether scenerio. Meadows all along in touch with small fountaions.small jawamukhi attraction.-‘have precaution. What happened to me on the mountain muktinarayan – I saw small fountain with kalkal song I extended my I extended palm to experience the word in fountain which turned my palm blue . Please do not touch unknown water I whished to join such compaign but to my 80 up & non permited age but again i wish your msrathon shall set exaples to who love treaking.mountainoring .love to discover nature beagon. I request you to keep enqaqed with rosary and diary to note experience entour to pass time endrive .Today it is difficult for me to inhabbit the100 and more kanheri caves of which I visited only 6- 7 caves n late school days for the restriction by my seniors which too are difficult for me, today. ON Your WAY to RAIGanj to find loving relativer amd bird sanctuary . .this town is to right of dalkhola mod enroute prior to kisanaganj /siligudi (assam). I wish you take care of your bmw by helpig her bath at least thrice in between mumbai ,siliguri.note if you wish a greet at gauhat-kamakhya mandir our loving children their who will be happy tk receive .that will remind you of their fore fathers while your c a study days. YOUR CBILDREN INTEREST for chirapunji 365 days rainny day”’s place good if rains are fortnight no rains brother returned cutting visit Wishing you all happy journey and to recall us experie”nce on return.

  2. You write as well as you plan. Wish all three of you all the best and have an awesome journey.

  3. Oh sure Mr Rakesh. There are changes in the route due to certain developments in international politics. In fact we had to delete one country add 3 more in last couple of months. You will get the entire route map shortly in one of my blogs.

  4. SIr wanted to see your complete journey map , like which all cities,countries you will be passing through

  5. Wow ! Very well written Tauji ! And hats off to Taiji ! You both are very inspiring 🙂

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