M P Jose aimed to reach Khardung La on his 80th birthday after covering 4200km from Thrissur. But snow played spoilsport in between and stretched his journey to the top to 14th September.
“At this age, coming here, that too on a cycle is a great achievement for me.”
M P Jose will forever be an epitome of courage and resolve. The ’80-year old Young’ started ‘Wheels of Life’– a cycle rally from Thrissur to Khardungla- on 15th July with an objective to advocate healthy lifestyle. An avid smoker and drinker in his youth, Jose seldom understood the value of a disciplined life. But, being an employee of Thrissur Medical College, he came across some healthy advices from his colleagues and seniors. And gradually, when at 40, Jose completely quit smoking and drinking.
Today, after completing one of the toughest journeys of his life, Jose thanked himself for being able to control his unruly self while young. The next 40 years he spent is all about good eating, healthy living and right thinking.
“I don’t have any personal benefit from this achievement other than giving a message to the society and inspiring the youth. There is not much time left in my life; so I want my life to be my message. I am able to reach Khardung La at this age just because I changed my lifestyle. If I wouldn’t, I could never have reached the top.”
M P Jose cycled over 3000km before reaching Chandigarh. From there, he started his journey to Khardung La on 13th August. The 1000km journey from Chandigarh to Khardung La included stops at Srinagar, Dras, Kargil and Leh. Jose wanted to reach Khardung La on 11th September to spend moments of his glory on his 80th birthday. But heavy snow and bad weather put a damper on his excitement.
It was, at this point, that Gokul P R and his family kept his spirits high. Right from the day of initiation of the idea till his reach to the summit, Jose was ably supported by Gokul who himself is an experienced cyclist and an adventurer. Gokul’s wife Lekha Lakshmi, being a doctor, voluntarily accompanied them just in case Jose would get affected by any health issue while covering the vast journey. Gokul’s daughter, Neena Annapoorna, believed in Jose’s belief and wanted to be a part of a journey filled with perseverance and endurance.
At the last phase of the rally, Jose became breathless for couple of kilometres. But he was aided by the military men, to sustain through the last hours of his incredible journey.
“I really thank our army men who helped me immensely when my Oxygen level dipped. But at that point also I never thought of myself; I never thought of quitting. The only thing in my mind was, if those military men could live in such an unendurable weather for days and months, then why could I not complete some more kilometres? That kept me going and there I was at last, at the top of Khardung La.”