I licked my lips. I had a glint in my eyes. This is going to be awesome- this was my first reaction to the mail. The prizes are of course important but this contest will be more about writing. Writing what I have been dreaming of for a decade and planning for a year or so. And thanks to Indiblogger, here is the chance for to write my dream with every little detail in any way I want- My Dream Road Trip.
The Indian Road Trip
So, we are talking about a road trip here, huh? What kind of road trip, you ask? Any, I say. One of the best parts about these road trips is that it is the journey that fascinates the travelers. Destination can be any place- any city, town, village where humans exist or sometimes, they don’t. But it’s the drive that keeps you more interested.
For some, like me, road trips are getting behind the wheel and zip away, leaving trails of trees and fields behind. You drive but not fast, watching the people and cars go by on those endless roads and then stopping whenever the night falls. For the rest, the road trip is sitting on a back seat and relax, munch chips, fiddle with smart phones and doesn’t miss a single thing. No-one is wrong here; each with its own.
My dream road trip idea developed when I first read about Golden Quadrilateral- a super cool highway that connects the 4 most important metros of this huge nation. I was 14 or 15 then but I knew that this will be one of those things that I will want to do one day.
10 years fast forward and this idea, dream rather has infested itself badly in my head. I had made various sheets and tore them, only to make a few more and tore them again. These sheets had rough travel plans with destinations and expenses but they never looked feasible. But after numerous sacrificed pieces of paper; I found out the plan and I am very sure that when I complete this trip; I won’t be doing many things in my life that will be above this on my yet-to-be-made bucket list.
Let me tell you about this one by one.
As I said above, my first idea was to cover the exact Golden Quadrilateral. Starting from Delhi to Mumbai, from there to Chennai, moving in to Kolkata and culminating in Delhi. This would have been longer and tedious but I was ready for it. Anything for the drive. But due to disturbances in the Bihar and Jharkhand region, I decided to skip them and tweaked the itinerary. Here is what it looks like-
Day 1 – Delhi to Bhilwara- 506 kms
Day 2 – Bhilwara to Ahmedabad- 418 kms
Day 3 – Ahmedabad to Mumbai—524 kms
Day 4 – Mumbai to Goa – 604 kms
Day 5 & 6 – Stay in Goa
Day 7 – Goa to Bangalore – 558 kms
Day 8 – Bangalore to Hyderbad – 569 kms
Day 9 – Hyderabad to Nagpur – 501 kms
Day 10 – Nagpur to Jhansi – 617 kms
Day 11 – Jhansi to Delhi – 440 kms
Total- 4737 kms
Taking into account few detours and stuff, the distance will be about some 5000 kms.
A very common sight on India roads
As clear from the above chart, I won’t be pushing the limits. The average distance everyday comes out to be 500 kms per day which I believe is doable. So that means no more than 10 hour drive at normal speed in normal conditions. At the end of the day, I will have enough time to relax and congratulate myself for the day that happened and plan for the day to come.
The majority of the people with whom I have discussed the plan; there first advice for me was to go with an SUV. You need a powerful performer, they said. I don’t say I disagree with them but taking an SUV defeats the entire purpose of my road trip.
I don’t want to sit at the back and crack jokes. I don’t want to fall asleep after doing nothing. I want to take a nap after driving 200 kms on a stretch. I want to get hold of the steering; I want to press the accelerator and I want that cup of tea to be soothing when I get out of the car to stretch my body.
With SUV, I will be doing nothing as I am not very confident of driving it. And certainly, I don’t want to hire a cab and then go. This will have a very downward effect on my budget and fun. So, NO SUVs.
On the other side, it is a little ironic that I have almost planned a trip but have not bought a car yet. I will be getting it in a month or two but it is still not there. Right now in my budget and perceived usage, Hyundai i20 fits the bill. 95% chances are that the car will be an i20 until some other car manufacturer decide to launch a new hatchback in next 2 months that takes the market by storm.
Trust me or not, finding right partners for this trip was not the easiest task. It is not that I am short of friends and don’t know people who like to travel. There are many who can go but then, this trip won’t just be about holidays. It had intense travelling; being in the car for 10 hours for 10 days. There will be pits on the roads and we might not get a place to relieve ourselves at our convenience. I hope there won’t be many deviations as per the plan but then no one can guarantee nothing about Indian roads. We might get stuck in a jam and have to sleep in a car near a petrol pump. So, I did not want people who keep whining and complaining about the proceedings even when warned beforehand that this might happen and did not enjoy the next two days because the one hour last day was ruined.
As per the criteria, the first thing I did was to decide that this will be an all-boys trip. No offense to the girls but I just can’t imagine them not complaining for 11 straight days. This will be more talked about my trip and then I can’t allow that.
I could not make the trip alone and I did not want more than 5 travellers (including me). I talked to many friends. They were interested initially but then due to the longevity of the plan, backed out. And after when I thought that this will always be a dream, my college friends came to the rescue. I casually mentioned this idea over a beer and they immediately agreed. I won’t lie but my first reaction was that when the effect of drinks will be over; they will not even remember what I was talking about last night. I was wrong and they were ready. We, 5 friends, same batch of college, in touch since last 8 years, similar interests and similar hobbies- certainly awesome.
1. The first thing I will be doing before we start is to get few stickers that depict the map of our journey and stick it on to all four sides of the car.
2. No staying at leisurely places. An average budget hotel will do. At few places, we all have a few friends working and I am sure they won’t mind giving their room for 5 of us for a night.
3. No booze during driving. Drinking and driving will be strictly prohibited, both for the driver and all passengers.
4. Breakfasts and lunch at dhabas. Dinner can be little luxury in a proper restaurant.
5. Timely sleeping and waking up to complete the day’s journey in the estimated time, taking the margin of flat wheels and road games.
6. No late night journeys; if the need arises, the car would need to be stopped at a Dhaba or petrol pump for the night.
These are just a broad guidelines and as the D-day nears (which is 28th Jan 2014), things will be fine tuned. We all have 6 months to save, plan and decide what each one is going to do. After all, we have a full two days in Goa on this list. We might just lay on the sand, stare, peek and sigh. We might be a part of the action. The possibilities there are endless.
This might happen too
I am really hoping to pull this off next January. I will take leaves, I will fight my parents, I will disappoint my girlfriend and I might get few angry messages from some who will ask why I did not take them along. On my part, I will be less interested in those grumpy ones. I will be going with the best company ever; guys who have taught me how to joke; how to have a good sense of humor and share my interests. I will be in my car and it will be my journey, my trip, my dream- that dream that I just did not think of but lived.
This post is a part of Indiblogger The Perfect Road Trip contest powered by AmbiPur.