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This biker’s done 14,000 km and two decades of the IAS

With Dhoni-like hairstyle, Palden Gyatso Tenzing plans to write a book on youth he meets on his journey across India.

There’s something strange happening in God’s own country. If the Chief Secretary took to magic after falling out with the Chief Minister, another senior IAS officer decided he had had enough and swapped his career for a long ride home.

So when 44-year-old Palden Gyatso Tenzing got off his Bullet Thunderbird in Ranchi on Sunday, he had already done 14,000 km on the big motorbike — and come a long way from the trappings and confines of the IAS, to which he belonged until a few months ago.

In the Kerala cadre of the IAS, Tenzing had a remarkably successful run in that state where few bureaucrats remain agreeable to governments swinging from Left to right and back every five years. He was part of the team handling some of the important projects of the current Left government in Kerala, including the Smart City deal, when he decided to quit.

But he didn’t take a plane home from Kerala. Tenzing bought a bike, strapped on a backpack and roared off right across the country, all the way to Sikkim at the other end.

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When he dismounted here on Sunday, it was to meet two batchmates from Jharkhand — Mridula Sinha and Santosh Satpathy — who were with him at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie in 1986. He had not met them ever since the Academy.

With his MS Dhoni-like hairstyle — that too is a post-IAS fetish — Tenzing ventured into unknown areas but never faced a problem. “Everywhere I went, people loved my Dhoni-hairstyle. No one tried to rob me.”

“Doesn’t he look like a carbon copy of Dhoni?” asked Satpathy as Sinha laughed.


But Tenzing isn’t merely roaring across the country on his bike. He intends to come up with a book from biking across India, focusing on the country’s youth. He has already secured an arrangement with publishers Penguin (India) for it and has been paid an advance too. “Let me see how it shapes up after I complete my project,” said Tenzing. His wife works in Sikkim and his two daughters are studying abroad.

When he was asked what made him quit the IAS and get on to a bike, he had this to say: “I am following my heart. It was sickening to work under bosses who ought to be shooed, I had to Sir them.”

Tenzing travels mostly by the day and travels light — a few thousand rupees, three pairs of clothes, an ID and ATM card. His one wish: “I really want to meet Dhoni.”

First published on: 02-10-2007 at 01:08:05 am
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