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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 35

Canberra - Queanbeyan - (Canberra)

Manik, Shekhar and I all got ready, had our breakfast and drove to the Manuka Oval. Manik and I got off to walk and Shekhar remained in the driver’s seat. The way was straight forward. Basically, it was Canberra Avenue from beginning to the end of our walk. I paid my respect to Mother Earth and sought her permission to walk upon her. Manik took a photo of me while I was doing that. No one else before had taken a photo of me while I was touching my forehead to the ground. Subsequently, Manik and I started to walk (and talk). Usually, I walk alone and hardly have any reason to talk to anyone. However, today was different.

Both Manik and I were regular walkers and she had already asked me how fast would we be going? I had indicated that it should take around two hours to the distance of just over 10 Kms that we had planned to cover in order to reduce the distance from the next day’s walk. Most of the distance was a flat walk with a little rise or fall. We got to the Crawford Street, the main street in Queanbeyan in two hours as planned. We sat down at a café and had a cuppa before driving back to Manik’s place for lunch. After lunch, I went for a quick nap.

When I woke up, there was a message from Manish from Manapasand Radio. He was coming at 4:00 PM for a video interview. He was kind enough to bring a box of mithai (Indian sweets). It was in line with the Indian tradition to bring some sweets or fruit when you visit somebody. Manish ji was representing the true old Indian custom. Thanks very much Manish ji and thank you also for being on-time, which I really appreciated. We had a quick cuppa at Manik’s house and before we sat for the interview, Manish ji suggested that rather than sitting in the lounge, we should shoot the interview at a typical Canberra landmark. We drove to the lake near the Australian Parliament and found the suitable spot to park the van.

The interview was to be done in Hindi because Manapasand is a Hindi language Radio based in Canberra. Manish ji in his own RJ style, introduced the walk and asked me to elaborate on it. I told him that I was just the front man doing the walk while there was a lot of work behind the scenes and without the team of volunteers that supported me in this initiative, I would not have been able to take up such a monumental challenge. Manish ji then turned to Shekhar with a few questions. Shekhar and I felt comfortable with the questions we were asked. Overall, it was an enjoyable interview and we thank Manish ji and Radio Manapasand for their professional approach. Thanks very much Manish Ji.

Shekhar and I returned home to Manik’s. She had been waiting to take us to a Vietnamese Vegetarian Restaurant in Dickson. What a beautiful idea! Why not try a different type of vegetarian rather than having Indian day after day? The food was marvellous. The quality and quantity of food was great. There wasn’t anything left on the plates and we were absolutely full to the hilt. So much so that Shekhar and I firmly refused to have any dessert. We came back to Manik’s and instead of having a cuppa, I made a kaadha milk using ghee, turmeric, dry ginger powder and black pepper. Manik and Shekhar tried small cups of this yellow milk sweetened with jaggery. I was happy to finish the rest. I was a bit concerned about Manik or Shekhar having stomach issues after drinking this healthy mix, but nothing happened. The good news was that both of them had no issues overnight or in the morning.

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