It’s been three years yet even today I don’t know how to narrate my Malvan-Tarkarli travel incident; will I do justice to the people who helped me? Will I be able to narrate everything perfectly? Though I’m not a huge fan of perfection, however, I want to unfold my story as it happened 3 years back.

I want to narrate the story of humanity, the story of kindness and generosity. Ever since that incident I wanted to write my story a thousand times, but only one question made me delay it, will I do justice to those who were there for me when nobody else was? I hope I will be able to do justice, and this one is not for me it’s for those men who helped me.

This incident happened during my 2019 solo travel to Tarkarli, I was staying at MTDC-TARKARLI BEACH RESORT which is one of my favorites. I had been to this resort with my family on several occasions, however, I was all by myself in 2019. There were a few places I was looking forward to exploring. I reached on the 12th and returned on the 16th of February,2019.

When I am traveling by myself, I always prefer hiring a gearless scooter to explore, it is much more convenient and fits my budget. Hence, I decided to do the same this time as well. The charges per day for two-wheeler vehicles like Activa, Dio, and Jupiter are 350rs per day in and around Malvan, Tarkarli, and Devbag. I got the contact of the person renting out bikes from MTDC’s helpdesk, and within a few minutes, my ride was in front of my cottage.

On the first day of my travel, I was pretty much exhausted, however, I went ahead and took some amazing pictures at Malvan jetty during sunset, for those of you who are new to thebrownwildflower, let me introduce myself, I am Ashwini Ashok a Travel and lifestyle blogger and I am crazy for sunsets. Watching sunsets is my Jam. Attached below is the sunset photograph I clicked from Malvan jetty.

On the next day I decided to explore Revandi and Sarjekot, these two were on my bucket list for a long time. In 2017 I wanted to go to Sarjekot with my friend, however, we got lost on the way to Sarjekot, left the plan mid-way, and decided to return back to our hotel. Back then Sarjekot was a scarcely populated village, with narrow lanes, minimum network connectivity to use Google Maps, and with no one really around past 5 pm to guide us with the location made it even more difficult. This was during 2017, now there are many people and tourists around, as water sports activities are carried out at Sarjekot jetty.

During my visit in February 2019, I made up my mind to explore Sarjekot, Sarjekot is a distance of 14km from Tarkarli, it takes approximately half an hour, and as the roads are narrow, its best to ride slow. I skipped lunch that day and took my camera and camera lens along with me. From what I had heard Sarjekot Kada also known as Suvarna Kada is breathtakingly beautiful. The seawater is blue and the sunset from Sarjekot Is to live for (I don’t die for things I love; I live for them) cheesy enough?

The main road connecting Malvan and Sarjekot was under maintenance hence I had to take a left turn from kolamb bridge, Attaching images below.

I stopped at this exact spot to click a few pictures, this is the bridge I took and turned left, right where the bridge ends, yes through those dense trees and bushes. It was an unmetalled road, dusty, typical red soil of Konkan, bushes around and not a single vehicle in sight, was I scared, not really, wait for the scary part. Again, attaching the road image for you to understand how hauntingly beautiful it was.

This is a phone photograph hence it is blurry and dull. When I entered this lane, I don’t know what exactly got into my mind, I decided to stop again to click pictures. I loved the peace and calm, I loved the village vibes, and I loved the glimpse of flowing water I could see on my left through these bushes. Just clicked two photos and decided to continue my ride as I had to be back before sunset. Took this photo at around 3:45 pm. Just when I was about to leave, I couldn’t resist clicking a picture with my 55mm lens, the photographer in me acts weirdly dumb at times, I cannot focus on anything else other than my photography gears and the subject.

I hope you all aren’t bored, if, at all you are, I still suggest you keep reading, not for me but for the real heroes of this story.

So, just when I took out my key from the ignition to open my dickey where I had kept my camera bag, I realized I wasn’t able to open it, I glanced at the key and shoooooot, my key had broken into two pieces, tip of the key was missing, in my 5 years of riding a two-wheeler never in my wildest dreams, I imagined something like this can also happen, well aren’t keys tough? They look tough enough to me at least, did I panic? Hell yes, did I cry, hell no, I was about to though. Why? I could easily ask for help to get a tow truck and get the hell out of there. Sadly, I wasn’t in Mumbai, I couldn’t spot a single-vehicle passing by.

My first instinct was to call my friend and narrate my ordeal, with two lines of network my two brain cells went ahead and made that call. The dumbest thing to do in case of such situations is why burden someone who’s more than 500 miles away with information that was totally unnecessary at that point. However, talking to my friend calmed my nerves, I started thinking of options, how do I get out of there? There was someone watching me from far, who? A monkey. He/she was pretty. I didn’t have the nerve to click more pictures after this scenario, I wished I hadn’t stopped to click pictures, my key would still be in the ignition and I still would be riding my scooter.

There is no place for ifs and buts, would haves and could haves when we are in the middle of a painfully problematic situation. What options did I have? Drag the damn scooter for a mile, which seemed nearly impossible, looking at the heat and my chronic health conditions, second option was to wait for 20mins if someone turns up I could ask for help, the third was to leave the scooter as it is and go safely to the hotel before I faint because of low sugar and tachycardia.

Being the girl I am, my principles and ethics didn’t allow me to abandon that vehicle I stood there for a while. Numb and anxious. I tried to insert the key in the ignition, it didn’t work, half an hour had passed, and two bikers as well didn’t give a damn about me. I don’t blame them.

Meanwhile, I tried contacting my hotel, I tried to contact the person who rented out the scooter, yet no luck, their Bsnl phones were out of network. Now I was super-duper panicky.

Just when I was talking to myself doing the weirdest pep talk in the middle of this chaos, two gentlemen riding a bike stopped, they asked me what had happened, I told them the entire incident, and they too were surprised how can a tough scooter key break so easily, I told them I tried to find the broken part everywhere, still I couldn’t find it.

The rider took his key from his ignition, both of us were riding the same model, he tried to insert his key in my vehicle’s ignition, all in vain. I kindly told him not to damage his key as well. He tried to call a mechanic friend of his, but the mechanics’ phone too was out of coverage area, just when I needed it there was a network issue in all nearby villages.

After a lot of discussions, he asked me to wait at the exact spot, until he comes back with the mechanic, he assured me he will be back and his friend who’s a mechanic works just 15mins from here, and we will be back with help and then you can return to your hotel safely.

Did I trust him? Yes. My faith and trust brought his vehicle there at that exact moment, I believe in God, the God who resides in people. At that moment my god was asking for a bit of patience and trust. Both the rider and pillion were gone for good 30mins and my faith wasn’t shaky, however, it was getting dark, so I decided to drag my scooter to the bridge. I was tired, thirsty, and hungry. My eyes were swelling with tears, just when my hope was fading and my faith was trembling, I saw the people who went to get help, and two more bikes approaching, it was like the rescue team had finally found me. I wanted to cry out so loud, I didn’t wish to scare them away, hence deciding to be patient for a few more minutes.

I kid you not on the empty street which led to Sarjekot I found God in the form of humanity. The mechanic tried to see what went wrong with the key, and immediately concluded we can’t arrange a key immediately, he just asked me to follow his instructions, he told me, I will help you with ignition and two of us will follow you on our bike till the garage, from there I will ask Auto driver to drop you back at your hotel.

The mechanic removed the front body of my scooter, attached two wires, and the scooter started, hurray! He asked me not to stop the vehicle anywhere, and to maintain the speed, now I was shit scared. He looked at me and said, “kashala ghabarte me aahe na, me magun yetoy, bindaas chalaw”, which translates to why are you scared, I will be behind your vehicle throughout the journey, you ride fearlessly.

Now was the time to bid goodbye to our Superhero who went all the way to bring the mechanic just to help me, Mr. Ana Hadkar, and his friend who was pillion on his bike. If ever they read this blog I just want to tell him, Sir you were and are a thorough gentleman, I will never forget what you did for me.  I thanked him before I left, we both had to go in opposite directions, then I started my journey on my scooter, I was exhausted, yet so damn happy, all my life I have been vouching for kindness and people have been dissing me for believing in kindness and humanity above all. I believe humanity is the only religion, and each and every person who helped me that day proved that kindness and humanity are above everything else.

I rode for a few miles fearlessly, like I was told, and stopped at the garage, where the mechanic put his foot on the silencer and stopped the scooter. I couldn’t stop praising and thanking him and he was smiling and saying I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I told him I want a photograph of you, my hands were trembling, I was clicking a Super hero’s photo, Munna Naik who came all the way to rescue a stranger and told her to be fearless. He was too shy to get clicked and kept repeating, it’s okay you don’t have to click my picture, I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I couldn’t tell him he and Mr. Hadkar were there for me when no one else was. If that isn’t selfless and extraordinary then what is? They saved a girl, sent her back safe, and fueled her faith in kindness and humanity. These moments in life are what we live for.

He later arranged for an Auto rikshaw which dropped me back at MTDC, I didn’t argue with the person who rented me his scoter, I paid all the dues and asked for a new scooter the next day. (We don’t get scared and run away because some mishap happened right? We try again)

Few of you may say why did you travel alone and cause trouble to so many people, well the trouble was caused by a faulty weak key, and I request people not to ask questions to a girl they normally wouldn’t dare to ask a guy. I am a responsible traveler. This was a life-changing experience, got to learn a lot. Kindness for kindness, love for love.

No incidence is good or bad, this is life, things happen, doesn’t mean you should stop yourself from living the best life possible. This incident did change my opinion about solo travel, it made me stronger. I learned a lot about kindness and humanity and will treasure these lessons and memories in my heart forever.

Such incidences can happen with anyone, if you find yourself in a situation where Ashwini was (i.e., me) don’t you dare panic or worry, have faith, that things will work out, and don’t waste your energy in overthinking, and find solutions instead. Ask for help when and wherever possible. Help will definitely come.

Last but not the least, if you ever see an Ashwini lost somewhere just like me, promise me you will be her Munna Naik, selfless and kind, and all you will tell her is to be fearless.

P.S- I finally Visited Sarjekot in 2020, It is unbelievably beautiful. Every time I think about Sarejekot I remember Ana Hadkar and Munna Naik, and I feel extremely grateful.

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