By Lucas Knight
So here I was in the middle of the year in the city of Jodhpur. I was lubing the chain of the motorcycle that was to carry me and a lot of my luggage on a cross-country tour. I was excited to ride to Jaisalmer, a town in the state of Rajasthan, known for the surrounding Thar desert and for preserving culture and heritage in the form of forts and palaces.
I wasn't so much interested in the forts but rather in the desert itself. After a heavy breakfast, I sped out of Jodhpur city and took the state highway towards Jaisalmer. The plan was to cover 300 kilometers by sundown, reach the town, book a tent for an overnight stay in the desert and explore the locality.
As I rode, the greenery and civilisation fell away and the heat increased. Thanks to my vented motorcycle gear I managed to stay relatively cool in the 40+ degree centigrade heat. I felt an increased sense of freedom cruised into the desert.
For a deserted corner at one end of India, the roads were in excellent condition. I drifted off road on the way whenever I found mini deserts, just to see how my motorcycle performed on sand. Not great. Mainly because it was heavy and ,secondly, it was running on street tyres. That's when I felt the need for dual sport tires but had no regrets for not having them. After a quick lunch stop, I continued riding onward.
It was getting dark and on the outskirts of Jaisalmer, I was approached by a hotel agent by the side highway. He offered me tent accommodation in the desert. I was to follow him to his office where I would first pay the tent charges and then be guided to my stay. In these kinds of situations I tend to trust my intuition, which told me to trust the young agent and follow him to his office, about ten kilometers in the heart of Jaisalmer town. As I followed his motorcycle, I encountered numerous cantonments and army offices on either side, since Jaisalmer was about 80 kilometers away from the border between India and Pakistan.
After reaching the office and haggling for a decent price I was finally guided to the road that led me to the sand dunes where the tents were located, about 40 kilometers away. The scene ahead turned out to me much more pleasant, beautiful and deserted.
I checked into my huge tent, unloaded my motorcycle luggage and rode out to catch the sunset, which I missed it by a few minutes. Instead, I spent time getting to know the locals.. After a little exploring, I headed back to the tent and had a delicious local dinner.
Nights in the desert are cool and windy. While talking with the tent owner, he suggested I sleep outside the tent on a traditional bed, popularly known as 'Khatiya'. He pointed to his own Khatiya outside his shelter a few meters away, and said that villagers around the desert sleep under the moon and stars.
As we talked through the night, we touched upon topics of work, education and happiness and how all three not necessarily related. He wasn't an educated man but made a lot of money throughout the year. Much more than a lot of experienced software engineers I knew.
What he was most happy with was the fact that he worked around nature, even though it was just sand around him. He said that a lot of the educated people visit places of natural value but go back to their crowded cities, only to earn money. I understood his viewpoint and realized that his way of looking at life was much broader.
I thanked him for the wonderful conversation and went to bed under the beaming moon. Happy for the sand and it's people around me. If it wasn't for motorcycling, I wouldn't have been so lucky.
Over the past 10 years, Lucas Knight has been a motorcycle rider. He has built up an incredible passion for traveling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist community. This is the reason why he created MotorManner.com where his passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcycle lover.