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    P G Tenzing, the Kerala-cadre IAS officer who quit his job to go on a 25,320-km motorcycle ride across India, died of cancer in his hometown Gangtok on Monday. He was 46. 

    Tenzing, who joined the civil service at the age of 22, opted for voluntary retirement in 2007. The former higher education secretary of Kerala then bought a green 350 cc Enfield Thunderbird, strapped on it a rucksack that contained three pairs of clothes, a few thousand rupees, an ID and ATM cards, and went on a nine-month road trip. 

    On what made him quit the IAS, Tenzing had said, “I am following my heart. I was tired working under bosses who ought to have been shooed and I had to ‘Sir’ them.” 

    In his travelogue Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke for Directions, published by Penguin last year, Tenzing was more eloquent. “I had always wanted to travel at random and with only myself for company,” he wrote. “Watching my hair grow without combing it. Watching the sunrise and sunset from sea level and from the heights of the Himalayas. Getting my face burnt and my toes wet.” 

    Kickstarting what he called his “karmic journey” from Thiruvananthapuram, Tenzing rode across states, making quick roadside friends, observing the quirks and quiddities of people and places and revisiting the cities he had worked in in the past. 

    His former colleagues in Kerala remember him as an honest officer, sympathetic towards anyone in need. Recalls Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary Sheela Thomas: “Tenzing was a fun-loving person. Even when he was engaged in serious matters, he projected a jovial face.” She said his colleagues tried to dissuade him from quitting, but Tenzing thought 20 years in service were more than enough. 

    Prita Maitra, who was an editor at Penguin India, recalls her introduction to the bureaucrat-turned-adventurer and how the book came about: “In 2007, a journalist friend told me about this amazing person who had quit the IAS and was undertaking a motorbike trip all around the country to acquaint himself with places he hadn’t seen. Naturally, there was a book there and less than a year after the decision to write it, he served up this perfectly delightful account of his experiences. He was a person with a great sense of humour and he was extraordinarily generous and sensitive. His book reflects all that. His description of travelling around his home state, Sikkim, was the most moving.” 

    The 1986-batch IAS officer had held several key posts in IT, Education, Fisheries and Transport in Kerala. Tenzing had played a crucial role in inking the Smart City project with Dubai-based TECOM. 

    Tenzing is survived by wife Ambica, a Sikkim-cadre IAS officer, and two daughters. 





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    8 comments
    1. hemlata p Said,

      Sir Tenzing La,

      You book served as an great inspiration to me N other youths of sikkim. Thanks for everything sir.

      May Lord Buddha Bless Your Soul.

      Posted on 8:04:00 AM

       
    2. great lost for the place like sikkim. we respect ur ideology and always remember as a good person.

      Posted on 8:05:00 AM

       
    3. A Braveheart,

      A Hero and

      A true Spiritual person.

      May 'he' be reborn again in Sikkim.

      Posted on 8:05:00 AM

       
    4. zeplein Said,

      i read Tenzing's book few weeks ago and fell in love with him instantly.dreamt of making friends with the great guy, which now will remain a dream. Love you Tenzin.

      Posted on 8:06:00 AM

       
    5. jimi Said,

      he's an icon for all indian youth...personally i didn't know much about Tenzing but the one thing is clear . . he is a maveric officer for our country....

      Posted on 8:07:00 AM

       
    6. Anonymous Said,

      all salute to u...
      you are an inspiration to all those soulful people out there who wants to follow their heart....

      Posted on 3:34:00 PM

       
    7. Anonymous Said,

      I wanted to meet Mr. Tenzing when the inaugural launch of his book was taking place at Rachna's in Gangtok, but my thunderbird stopped in the middle of the road for no reason and I couldn't meet my hero.... which remains my greatest regret till date. Rest in peace, Tenzing sir.

      Posted on 7:34:00 PM

       
    8. Just a week before I got the book and I started reading it from last night. Very difficult to believe he passed away :(

      He is an inspiration for all young Indians. I felt deep attachment with him while going through his book. Happy that he was in Kerala, my home state, and was part of the Smart City project. May his soul rest in peace!

      Posted on 9:08:00 AM

       

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