Saturday, February 04, 2006
Wayward Ho Comrades
At around 2.30 in the morning, some of our activist friends arrived from Udaipur. We hardly slept that night. We managed to catch few hours sleep in the wee hours of the morning, but in fits and turns.
In the morning, we rushed to the Dak Bungalow grounds. Activists and rallyists had begun to gather. Bittoo began to address the bike rallyists. Their safety was of utmost concern to us. All of us wore blue T-shirts specially made for the event, which read ‘Apni Dikri Ro Hak’ in the front and ‘Bike Rally from Barmer to Jodhpur’ in the back.
We formed a crescent outside the ground. In the middle of the crescent, our activist friends from Udaipur sang songs of revolution. Shouts of Halla Bol rose and then seemed to plummet from the semi-cloudy sky.
The atmosphere was emotionally charged. So much so that the old watchman of the Dak Bungalow joined us by putting his dancing skills to test. You can feel his involvement by running your fingers on his photograph. He is the man in the Khaki beret.
In one corner, Lakhindra Nayak, a comics artist from Jharkhand stood in silence, his pencil trying to recreate scenes from the rally on a piece of paper. Just two days back, he had arrived in Barmer from Jharkhand via Delhi, after struggling for almost 36 hours. He had made the mistake of leaving Jharkhand on India’s Republic Day and his train was greeted by the explosives of Naxalites, who blew the railway track.
The rally was ultimately flagged off at 9 am. Under the Fighter planes flying from the nearby Uttarlai Air force base, the motorcycles sailed on the road like swans.
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