Traveling kept our love alive

Yesogeshwar and Sushma Bhalla, affectionately known as Yogi and Sushi, have been married for over 40 years. A common thread that unites the couple, even today, is their shared love of travel and their desire to embark on the next great adventure.

And a trusted companion in all these ventures is their beloved ball.

“I have always loved traveling with my bullet. When I met Sushma and we got married, the joy only doubled,” said 73-year-old Yogesh. The best India.

“On October 3, 1976, we got married. On October 5, we left for Srinagar for our honeymoon by bicycle,” he recalls.

The Bhallas

Sushi chimes in: “This has got to be one of the most memorable trips we’ve been on.”

While couples can take the time to get to know each other in arranged marriage setups, the trip was the perfect icebreaker for the Bhallas. “We discovered so much about each other on that very first ride together,” Sushi says.

“Since 1976 Mrs Bhalla has been my navigator and my motivation, that’s why I call her my Janeman-Gul-e-Gulzar (flower garden),” adds Yogi with a hearty laugh.

A wanderer meets a studious girl

An elderly couple
Find moments of love in everyday life.

Speaking of their early years, Yogi says, “I was a wanderer, while Mrs. Bhalla was a very studious girl. Ours was an arranged marriage. When my family and I went to see her, what I immediately loved was the beauty of her song. Sushi sang a song from the movie Abhimaan (1973) titled Ab To Hai Tumse Har Khushi Apni (Now all my happiness is with you).

“The way she sang stole my heart,” he says. And 46 years later, their love is still going strong.

As a newly married couple, they were often asked why they traveled so much. To this, Yogi said, “People never understood why Mrs. Bhalla had to accompany me on my travels. Even my mother often laughed at it. found ways to enjoy our lives.

To ensure they spend a minimum of time on pit stops along the way, Yogi says, “We carried two panniers with us – one with clothing and essentials, and one with food. This allowed us to make very few pit stops along the way. It also helped us spend a lot of time on the ball, navigate and go long distances.

Yogi’s interest in the ball started when he was only 15, after seeing his older brother ride a ball.

High trip Khardungla
In one of their adventures.

“As soon as I received my first salary, I spent Rs 6,300 to buy my first ball, without telling anyone at home. Having the bike pushed me to explore further.

Even after the birth of their children, the Bhallas did not cut short their journeys. “We took the children with us. Our son sat in front of Yogi and our daughter was nestled in my lap behind,” Sushi explains.

The adventurous couple have visited more than 22 countries so far and say they can’t identify any unsavory incidents. “We enjoyed every moment spent on the road. These trips gave us memories that will last a lifetime,” says Yogi.

The couple thrive on spontaneity, and whenever they had a few days off, they would fly off to the hills.

Elderly couple traveling
By tuk-tuk on the left image and in Agra in front of the Taj Mahal on the right image.

In 2011, at age 58, Yogi and Sushi opted for early retirement. “Shortly after my retirement, we traveled through Bhutan, Nepal, Leh and Ladakh. This trip did wonders for our dwindling confidence. It pushed us to explore more. Our next trip was to Europe. We left no stone unturned to ensure we enjoyed every moment of our trip. From recreating iconic Bollywood movie poses in the Swiss Alps to candlelit dinners, we’ve done it all,” says Yogi.

Travel memories for a lifetime

Create memories

Asked about all the places they have visited, Yogi asks for a moment to fetch his notes, which lists all the countries they have travelled. “Belgium, Bhutan, Dubai, France, Qatar, Rome, Singapore, England, Scotland, Turkey and Venice. It was Sushi’s dream to visit Venice,” he says, recalling how they spent an entire evening on the gondola. “We walked the streets of Venice hand in hand singing Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil Ki Kahani, a song immortalized by Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman.

For this couple, the real pleasure of travel is to enjoy every experience it offers. “I like to drive, whether it’s the ball or the car. I’ve never used the services of a driver. Exploring a place can only be done when you travel by road. We also enjoyed the hospitality of so many foreigners – from eating at home to sharing chai (tea),” says Yogi.

Speaking of some of the challenges, he notes, “When we travel abroad, language tends to be a barrier. Even the various signs on the road are in the local language. It was tough at first, but we learned to read the pictures and ride. We also tried to remember a few words in the local language. While traveling was undoubtedly easier when the Bhallas were younger, they say the adrenaline rush is enough to drive them to travel even now.

In March 2021, Yogi had to undergo knee replacement surgery. He was also advised to rest and his doctor urged him to stop travelling, especially by bicycle. “My right knee was replaced and I was in physiotherapy for three months. I was then advised to use a cane, which I refused. It would immediately age me,” he says. With tremendous will Yogi ensured that he was physically fit before using his ball again.

The couple enjoy traveling so much that even after the pandemic hit, they went out on their bikes every few days. “We made sure not to meet anyone. We would walk about 25-30 km on our own and come home happy. We put on make-up and our helmets every time we went out,” explains Yogi.

From paragliding in their 60s to trekking in the Himalayas in their 60s, this couple is unstoppable. “Hum rukhne wale nahi hai (We’re not going to stop),” Sushi says.

With a great sense of joy of verve, the Bhallas are looking forward to many more hikes together.

(Editing by Divya Sethu)

About Derrick Hill

Check Also

Copping travels to Denmark for health summit

Alberta’s Minister of Health will travel to Denmark and the United Kingdom for a series …