Mental health is still a taboo topic in India and, many individuals take it lightly to the point of disregarding it totally for fear of societal social ostracism or criticism. It is, nevertheless, just as essential as one’s bodily well-being. With the pandemic’s downfalls, the previous two years have been particularly tiresome and have harmed everyone’s mental condition.
It’s been well grasped by a Madhya Pradesh guy who has made it his duty to raise awareness about it.
Varun Namdev, a 30-year-old photographer from Bhopal, pedaled across the nation for a month, crossing 12 states from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, with a message to raise awareness about mental health in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Last Monday, the photographer returned to the city after cycling 3,600 kilometers throughout the country.
Varun Namdev is a self-taught photographer who has been studying and practicing the craft since 2005. He was born in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, in the tiny village of Raghogarh. Varun chose to travel throughout India with his bag to collect travel stories after graduating from NIT Bhopal with a degree in Production and Industrial Engineering.
He used public transportation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Kutch to Kohima. He has been actively helping with numerous NGOs and Non-Profit Organizations since his undergraduate days. Varun is currently based in Bhopal, where he works in product and commercial photography, professional photography, and documentary filmmaking, as well as dabbling in wedding photography.
The journey of a photographer to cyclist
Namdev began riding to address lockdown-induced mental concerns during the outset of the coronavirus epidemic last year. Later, he joined ‘The New Golfers’ Cycling Group’ in the Madhya Pradesh capital.
He said that being confined to one’s house following a lockdown caused mental health concerns in people, particularly children and that the cycling group stepped in to help.
Their club engages in a variety of physical and outdoor programs to help people reclaim their life after the lockdown.
Statewide cycle tour
When he chose to embark on a statewide bicycle tour branded ‘Pedal 4 Mental Health,’ this pastime became a purpose. On December 13, he set off from Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, and returned on January 13 to Kanyakumari, India.
He rode for 24 days, covering an average of 150 kilometres every day. He set aside six days to fix his bike and recharge his body.
Varun overcame all challenges, including freezing cold and sweltering weather in southern India, thanks to meticulous planning and preparation.
He prepared for the national trip by taking small journeys and practising yoga, as well as weight training, prior to the start of the expedition.
Namdev had a lot of fun on his journey. He encountered a wide range of individuals, many of whom were similar to him but had different messages and modes of transportation.
During the trip, he was able to speak with several individuals and discuss the journey’s topic. In turn, he was motivated by people he met in several states who had embarked on similar adventures by foot, bicycle, or jogging. Several of these people were on extended trips to spread social themes like ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ and others.
Varun intends to participate in more public events to combat mental health difficulties caused by the epidemic as the situation improves.
A club of bikers has been formed to assist Covid patients by delivering basic items to their homes.
Varun Namdev’s #BhopalRiders has supported 50 Covid patients and their families by delivering medicines, groceries, fruits, and veggies. The service provided by the organization is free. Patients are needed to pay for things supplied to the concerned shop digitally through group members.
Follow Varun Namdev on Instagram at travellust.nomad/Insta
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