Kogo – A Smart Storytelling Companion
Kogo – A Smart Storytelling Companion.
More than the post card destinations, fancy food, new people and Polaroids, it is the feelings we keep on following – in my case, the sense of freedom, the feeling of nothing being held back while I uphold all of me, to all of uncertainty and adventure. This time, this feeling took me on a ride with my Kogo that stretched from coastal views to sand trails with intervals of authentic India on my plate.
The bird is only giddy till it leaves the nest, so was I. Anticipation roaring like the engine and spirit speeding up higher than my Jawa could take a pursuit with. I had kick started my fervor and there is no stopping it when you feel this voyage is where you truly belong. Thane and March 4th, hence, soon became small dots in respect to the journey I embarked on hereafter.
“Didn’t it feel lonely Kaka?” you’d think, “From Ganpatiphule to Goa, through Udupi, Madurai, kanyakumari, tracing back to Thane again..?”
But let me surprise you with a mouthful of “Nope!” because you see, I did have a companion all along; and let me reintroduce you to this non-human genius who is definitely less annoying of a travel partner. If you haven’t already, dear reader, meet Kogo : an artificial intelligence system that reinvents how you travel, solo or not. Its mobile application keeps your track and guides you to the best experience around a place while you are actually there. You barely need three minutes of a halt at a place and Kogo will pick up your location details and will suggest to you on how you can utilize your time there. You would want to trade your human company at least for once with it. More on this awesomeness later, for now, let me amuse you with the best of the find from this trip: The butterfly beach in Goa. Named so for being an abode of numerous beautiful butterflies, this place wants to see if you would make the effort to deserve its beauty – as you first need to hike up and then go down to reach it and be blown away by its winsome sight.
Or let me tell you about the best food I’ve had in this entire journey: The beach of GanpatiPule takes away all the credit of serving them with Solkadhi and Poha, both of which melted in my mouth and what will keep the memories of this place mouth-watering enough to want to go back under the shade of the shack.
Pondering over what waits ahead, I was extremely excited about the coastal ride from Ratnagiri to Goa where the sea almost never leaves my sight and the air carries a scent of the ocean throughout it all.
As Goa opened up to me, it led me to a beautiful trail in Tambdi Surla, located in Ponda (Central Goa). It surely can become your next perfect track for riding if you are planning a visit here. Its welcoming curvy roads are worth a ride. What makes this place even more exclusive is that it is only 15 kilometres away from Dudhsagar Falls. I can only imagine the satisfaction of being here during the monsoons as it is the time when Dudhsagar would be at its best show and the greens around it would be lush
Another place gracing several waterfalls is Mahadev Temple in Tambdi Surla. Being here taking in the Ancient Indian Artistry amidst such sheer greens feels like a different kind of luxury of all.
Then there are places that stand out to you and stay with you like an experience than mere locations. Leopard valley in Agonda, Goa was such a case. The muddy ochre toned trail is such a unique place to go on riding your bike; it certainly leaves a mark in your travel log.
As my wheels took me towards Gokarna from here, I discovered a new trail in Kumta. It is a pleasing and a serene one. Fellow riders! Take note!
Then Gokarna made me stay. It always does. The serenity it wears gracefully around itself is alluring. I had a short window to stay if I wanted to take the ferry back to Aghanashini (from where I had taken the barge ride along with my Jawa) before 7 p.m. But I never have enough conviction to leave early from this place. So I chose to miss the ferry and embraced the peachy sunset from under the hood of the familiar sky. It seems like this particular part of the earth demands my attention; it deserves so, I know and yet I keep finding it lovely how a place can pull me to itself, even when we both have aged in each other’s eyes. I had to stay over. Not so far away, in Nirvana beach, I found a bed to dream on for the night. The night passed but the dream though, didn’t, as the night itself became one. Gokarna ripened for me yet a bit more and it tastes sweeter than summer fruit in my memory buds. Oh how I wish to be under that sky again, how I wish if I had stayed for an hour more, or a day.
Heading out from Gokarna, it was a ride through Mangaluru to Murudeshwar. If you have not heard about Murudeshwar, you should know that it has a humongous temple and an even more massive statue of Lord Shiva just by the ocean. It might not appeal to you right away if you are not a religious heart, but have patience with me, the most treasured experience here is further away from religion or mythology. The temple is a 21 storey marvel and you wouldn’t imagine how it can sweep you off the (ground) floor, quite literally and drop you off at the 18th floor of it so that you can stay awestruck by the view of overstretching blue of the Arabian sea, till it dawns on you how you cannot get enough of it. So you put your camera away and bask in the vastness plated right in front of you.
When you finally collect yourself and step out of the temple, you feel like it has earned your respect in its own way and that no part of you can want to trade the memory it served you, with any other (ever).
Right after this beauty, Malpe was waiting for me. This is yet another place that I have only grown more fond of with time. Even after quite a few trips, it still does not cease to get more calming and at the same time, fascinating. I cannot urge you enough to have a visit here. The beach is lovely, wide and clean; the ocean – loud and it breaks down one human high waves at your feet. You can choose to just sit around, enjoy fresh fish fry wholesomely marinated or just have a walk by the water. But whatever you do, take it from the one who knows; do not miss the sunset from Malpe. Stay on.
Close by, you can take a coastal ride that leads to Kapu. It adorns a beautiful lighthouse against the stark contrast of hues of blues. Refreshed with all of it, now was a time I headed towards Madurai. Between Hasanur and Bannari, I came across the most interesting and exhausting trail to be made by ride : 43 consecutive turns in forms of hairpin bends which make them challenging and fun at the same time. After you have conquered this road (alive), you can proudly boast about your furious skillset as a rider. On the way further along, I stopped for a quick bike check at Coimbatore. Post knowing that my Jawa is doing well and good, it was time to ride ahead. Madurai greeted me with great food like Ice cream Basundi Falooda and oh did I mention windmills on the way?
It had been half of the trip already, when I realized, this is what has been the best thing about the trip, that this is definitely what I am going to take away from the entire experience if not more; that having Kogo by my side was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Although I had no other human by my side, it didn’t let me feel lonesome. Through its artificial intelligence technology it has kept me occupied with its wide range of suggestions over every need a traveller can think of. Moreover, because Kogo is genius enough, I didn’t have to keep tracks of places I have been to, things I have done, as it would automatically manage the handful of documentation for me. What a time to be alive! Having one less thing to worry about in a journey saves you a lot of time already and Kogo takes on more than one responsibility in its own hand! I surely could not have been better equipped to go on a trip than this.
I had been thinking how it had been ten long years that I had stood face to face with it. ‘It’ is the good old house our family used to have back in the days in Kallikulam. I went to say hi to this old place before I left for Kanyakumari. After all, this place once had held us with our hassle and delight. Now it has grown with wears and tears of its own. Not far away from it leaves a road that has the one thing I have grown to fancy : windmills – lots of it. This road through Nagercoil took me on a joyride with one after another windmills spinning by my side.
On reaching Kanyakumari I realized for the first time that it could muddle with my travel plans quite closely. I was really looking forward to a few nights of stay by the sea but soon figured out how the local people are scared of the COVID-19 spread and hence are reluctant to let people from other states to check-in to their hotels. It took me 160 kilometers more to reach Tuticorin where I could manage a place to sleep in. But what was about to surprise me soon after, was entirely unexpected. It was in Manapad, Tamilnadu, where an amazing location turned up without effort. An old Roman Catholic Church with fascinating architectural work held me stunned. I do recommend that you visit this place once, if you are around. I can’t help but mention how I can’t miss the fact how life sent a little treat on my way after a disheartening turn from Kanyakumari. Sometimes, you see, good things are around the corner, maybe right after the bad stuff – but mostly somewhere you would least expect it.
It doesn’t matter where all you have ridden to a day, this road will uncompromisingly win your heart without any doubt: from Dhanushkodi Police station to the end of the land, it offers you a long stretch to cruise on with sea keeping you company on either of your sides. Do you think you’d want to miss this by any little chance?..
It was the time to explore the inviting eastern coast of Chennai that was calling me further into it; it was also the time when the entire nation had to face a sudden lockdown. I was eager and desperate to carry on with keeping safety as a priority but the borders had already been closed off and it was uncertain when the officials would permit a pass. A free spirited bird that took flight from Thane on March 4th, that flew unconcerned and gleefully for seventeen long days, had to stop now. – feeling cornered, bitter and heartbroken. This was a halt that I did not, could not foresee; this was a pause that overtook many of my months and continues to do so. Yet I can still smell the ocean in the wind with a hint of fish fry from Malpe, I can still see the red of the earth on my shoes – they keep me awake dreaming, they keep me hopeful and they keep on keeping me alive for a tomorrow that will draw power in its engines again and roar me through highways, jungle trails, swift plains and some Terai.
Get your own KoGo Device from HERE. Create your travel stories and share them with me. Looking forward to new destinations you explore, so that I can add them to my bucket list. Let’s fuel each others passion to explore and complete milestones. Ride Safe. Drive Safe. Travel Safe.
Thoughts to words by Madhusmita Das.
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