Its Freewheeling Drama On A Bicycle

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   (2012-07-20 00:00:00)

“I’ve been asked along the way, ‘Who are you? A cyclist? A theatre artist? An activist?’ Truth is, I really don’t know. I just go with the flow,” Akram Feroze, starring in his one-man show titled Cycle Natak, says.

The most remote regions of the country is his stage and it will take three years as this 24-year-old from Hyderabad attempts a trip across the country on a bicycle armed with his laptop, cellphone and barely any cash.

The nomad, a title he prefers, landed in the city last week.

The epic journey began in November 2011 from Hyderabad, from where he travelled around a few districts in Andhra Pradesh, touched Bangalore and Chennai before heading off to the Andaman and Nicobar islands and then back to the mainland where he traversed Tamil Nadu entirely before reaching Thiruvananthapuram.

Banking on strangers’ kindness and generosity, Feroze wanders into towns and villages, keeping fingers crossed for a roof over his head. “There are times I get so frustrated when people don’t trust me and look at me as if I have some ulterior motive,” he says. “But then, I cannot blame them.”

He arrived in the city in time for the National Alliance of People’s Movements meeting that took place over the weekend. Here, he met a few bachelors who invited him to stay with them. “That is how I decide the duration of my stay in each stop. If I’m welcome, like here, I have more time to go around and look at the theatre aspect — one of the reasons I embarked on this trip,” he says.

The situations he had been witness to during his journey have rendered him so helpless that he had at times broken down on the middle of the highway. “You see such abject poverty all around,” he says, adding that he has strived to make the local people understand social issues they have to grapple with by conducting little theatre workshops for children.

“I live by experimenting and not by showing off my expertise,” he says, keen on defying the sceptics he has come across.

In Bangalore and Chennai, he conducted panel discussions with theatre persons and activists on rural theatre and linking it with the urban platform.

The language barrier has reduced the scope of his interaction with the local people sometimes, an issue he hopes he will overcome the further north he goes, being proficient in Hindi.

People can follow his journey on the Facebook page “The Cycle Natak.”