This 60-year-old spirited biker can put any youngster of today to shame.
Meet Sharat Sharma, a fitness and biking enthusiast who has set on a voyage to spread awareness on the importance of physical fitness and road safety.
Sharma, a retired journalist believes that the third innings (post retirement) of ones life is not meant to be spent like a couch potato, inviting lifestyle ailments like cholesterol and diabetes.
He decided instead to spread the message of staying fit, enjoy his post-retirement life, live his dreams and also back to the society.
A former editor, Sharma spent a major part of his life in the media industry. He took to the streets of India to cover 29 states, 4 union territories and Bhutan on his beast of a bike and set off on a solo ride (from Delhi on March18, 2018) to cover 28,000kms.
Pune365 caught up with Sharma when he reached Pune and took a 48 hour halt before undertaking his onward ride. We spoke to this interesting biker on what it takes to undertake a mission for a healthier and safer nation.
“Tragically, India has become the diabetes capital of the world and is on its way to become the world capital for cholesterol as well.
This is happening essentially because we have stopped taking care of our health and opted instead for a sedentary life style. We must start working towards fitness to avoid these two tags and become a nation of healthy citizens. For this to come true, a fitness regime must be followed throughout one’s life to avoid spending the third innings in hospitals.
“I believe we all are born to complete our life’s journey in three innings. The first innings is when we get ready to face the world after completing our college and professional education. The second innings is when we nurture our family and also fulfill our career goals. The third innings is when we fulfill our dreams,” says Sharat Sharma.
In 2016-17, total 150,785 people died in accidents. 52,500 of these victims were bikers. 18.3 per cent of these were without helmets. 46.3 per cent of total accident victims were between 18 and 35 years.
Sharat Sharma has now completed 23,100 KM of his 28,000 KM journey
“My second message is for the young bike riders in the country. I request them to follow traffic discipline and enjoy the bike rides as part of life’s journey and not sacrifice their life by dying in accidents.
Roads are for enjoying life’s journey and must not be turned into racing tracks. There has been an alarming increase in accidents while using mobile phones.
In fact, I ride without using mobile phones, GPS and navigation tools and want to prove that bike rides can be managed and enjoyed without these,” he adds.
Sharing one of this heartening experiences on the move, he says, “While I was in one of the coal mines in Jharkhand, I realised how we have failed as a society. How we turn selfish and do not want our subordinates to grow, only to ensure that we have someone to delegate all the life threatening jobs too.
I couldn’t sleep for nights after seeing the mine workers live in such pathetic conditions. They live on an activated landmine that can kill them any minute, yet, they are far from appreciated or given any sort of sensible compensation.
The government, civil societies and individuals have failed in providing even a basic living standard for those who are the pillars of development of smart cities and smarter nations.
Responding to Pune365 on his experience on reaching Pune, Sharma shared “On exploring Pune I saw that although there were traffic snarls, the overall traffic sense was better than other Indian cities I have been to.
The Pune essence of celebrating life was one thing that attracted me. People here know how to celebrate.
I could see everyone, young or old, girl or boy, entire families on the streets without the fear of being groped or robbed, enjoying the festival of ‘Dahi Handi’ with much pomp.
People from every religion gathered around to enjoy a festival that they do not even celebrate. This is what spoke to me about Pune and that shall remain within me forever.”
Sharing what this meant to him he said, “When I am out in a different city, all I do is to live like the locals. I do not feel alienated among them because of their support.
I eat and drink what they do. I might be different in skin colour, dressing, language but we share the same feelings of pain, agony, happiness and sadness.
I would like people to travel around the world to know that not everything that we hear or read can define an area, state, city or any group. Everything has flaws, the idea is to see for yourself and then believe.”
Sharat Sharma proposes to publish a memoir soon after he completes his voyage which will also feature the 25,000 photographs he has collected through the trip. This will also encapsulate his own fitness journey in an attempt to motivate the public at large to focus on their fitness and lead a safe and healthy life.
#Pune365 takes this opportunity to wish this spirited biker a safe and successful journey!
May his breed grow.
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