People of India – Col Manoj Keshwar (Mike)

Col Manoj Keshwar (Mike) proudly served Indian Army, with distinction for 20 years. He is an IIM Lucknow Alumni, an entrepreneur and a TEDx speaker. He left the Army in 2011, in order to pursue a passion of his life, road tripping around the world.

A passionate world motorcycle explorer, he has ridden in over 40 countries around the world. The big highlight has been his trans-continental 60 day, 22000 kms, road trip from India to London, covering 18 countries across half the globe. His next plan in 2022 is to cover Asia & Africa in one road trip. I have also partnered with him for a K2K Kutch to Kohima road trip across India. An environmentalist at heart, he has now taken up the most urgent mission of our times – To Deliver a clean Ganga to future generations in 11 years through a unique project : “ATULYA GANGA”.

  1. Who you are (naturally!)

An adventure road tripper, exploring the world by road.

  1. What inspired you to create/join your business?

My childhood dream of riding across the length and breadth of this world, which in turn was inspired by the hippy caravans that passed the Grand Trunk Road in early seventies.

  1. An anecdote which epitomizes your India?

We were in the Manas National Park on a road trip of North East India. The national park is about 15 km on a limb to the North of Highway and it is a very very bad road. So the by the time you reach the camp, you are already very tired.

This road to national park also has to cross a railway line – which has gates and they close when a train is to pass. That happens every hour or so – if not more. We had just covered a bad 15 km to this railway crossing and we were too impatient to wait. To our surprise we noticed a local guy on a small 100 cc motorcycle break the line and ride to the pedestrian over bridge, then another scooter followed. This was inspiration enough! I did not know if that is normal, but we all turned our Royal Enfield bikes and climbed the pedestrian over bridge with our bikes and crossed over the railway crossing. Some relief it was in the sultry humid weather on Dooars region.  In India, everything goes …

  1. One thing that you can’t live without?

Morning and evening Chai ( Indian tea)

  1. One thing that you hate?

Small town traffic and irresponsible travel practices.

  1. If you could change one thing about India what would it be?

Sense of cleanliness.

  1. Who is your greatest inspiration?

Subhash Chandra Bose. The unsung hero of our national struggle.

  1. What is your favourite quote?

“This too shall pass” – supposedly written at the footsteps of Akbar’s throne in Persian.

9. I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?

Everything is getting better, especially the respect for our heritage.

  1. What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?

River and water Pollution due to unsustainable development.

10. Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?

Zanskar, Ladakh, North India

  1. What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?

Any big city in India is slowly losing its sheen. Would rather go to unknown Indian hinterland – that’s where real India survives.

13. Book or Movie?

My all time favourite film is ‘Dangal’ starring Aamir Khan, and the book well – ‘The While Mughals’ – by William Dalrymple

  1. Just for fun! I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?

South Indian – Idli, Dosa, Uttapam with sambhar curry and some chutneys.

  1. In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year-old self?

Nothing is more fulfilling in life than chasing your dream. Everything else is a waste of time on this planet.

Mike’s road trips company is called “Journeys by Viktorianz

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