Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Monster Driver and His Beast on a Great Indian Road Trip with their family - Chapter 1 : Preparations


We are planning a major road trip. Bangalore - Nagpur - Delhi - Shimla - Manali - Jaipur - Ahmedabad - Mumbai - Bangalore in 11 Days. Around India in 11 Days.

No. of travellers - 4
Driver - Ashok
Passengers - Apsara, Amrita and Asha (who can also be an occasional driver, i.e. if the main driver lets her)
Vehicle - Scorpio

The exitement has started. The day Ashok got the reservation to the Club Mahindra Resort at Gables Mashonbra, Shimla called Whispering Pines we decided that we will not go by air but we will drive down. It had always been our dream to do a road trip across India and especially drive on the Golden Quadrilateral which Ashok fondly calls as Vajpayee Thatha road as it was the former Prime Minister of India Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee who initiated the Golden Quadrilateral project and connected India seamless and brought about an economic boom and a travel revolution.

We discussed at length and chalked our a route that we will take. Since AShok is a veteran driver with more than 300000 kms of driving under his belt, he knows the routes and what it takes to drive.

Onward Journey

Wednesday      Apr-03             Bangalore to Nagpur    1069 km
Thursday         Apr-04             Nagpur to Agra              819 km
                                                       Agra to Mathura       58.70 km
                                                      Mathura to Delhi     159 km
Friday              Apr-05             Delhi to Shimla             367 km
Saturday          Apr-06                         Shimla
Sunday            Apr-07                         Shimla
Monday           Apr-08                         Shimla
Tuesday           Apr-09                         Kulu                208 km
Wednesday      Apr-10                         Manali              40 km
                                                TOTAL                    2720.70 km

The Beast is being made ready. This trusted beast of Ashok 'the monster driver' has done more than one lakh kilometers. Its the safest vehicle. The monster driver loves this beast to death and they have a very special understanding between them like that of a pet (doberman) and its master. Just like a doberman this beast is very loyal to only its one and only monster driver master and one gentle touch is enough for the beast to understand the comands of its master and do his bidding. The beast is getting pruned and oiled. Its being being readied like a bride is readied for her wedding. Wheel alignment, oil changes, AC gas checking, all electrical connection checking etc. The music system will be checked tomorrow on a special request by my daughter.

My daughters are DJ Apsara and DJ Amrita. Out of about 600 hours of driving time they have divided the timings equally amongst themselves when each of them gets to play their music. So they are busy downloading all kinds of music and I am sure that the entertainment part of the journey will be well taken care of.

I, on my part am checking out all sorts of blogs for different dhabhas on the way and the local cuisine available so that we can taste all the flavors of India. I am more focussed on the breakfast, lunch, dinner and the tea coffee stops. We also will need a lot of water. I have also stocked my medicine supplies with tablets for vomiting, motion sickness, loose motions, stomach aches, fever etc.

Here's to a lot of packing, preparations and lots more exitement.... All set to leave tomorrow ....

Thursday, March 21, 2013

101 things I want to do before I die

Right from the time I saw a hindi movie called Dasvidania (Good Bye in Russian) in 2008 starring Vinay Pathak where the main protaganist makes a list of ten things he wants to do before he dies when he is diagonised as sufffering from terminal cancer, I have been reading in many places these kinds of lists of 10 things, 20 things, 30 things and 101 things to do before you die.

Its not about the number of things to be done or whether creating such a list is important or mandatory. The larger issue is that many of us lead our lives making excuses as to why we cannot do the things that we cannot do rather than going about doing them. Also many of us end up leading our lives feeling like victims whose current state of lives is due to the fact that certain things did not happen or they are not able to do certain things etc.

These are all my general perceptions and not the absolute facts or truths.

So to cut a long story short, I had a few things that I wanted to do but it remained as just that, wanting to do and not taking any steps to do it. Most of the things are the adventurous kinds that are easily doable and maybe my idea to list them out is so that I can start ticking them off one by one as done.

The list is in random order and is not listed according to my preferances or choice or what I want the most and am dying for etc. Its listed out in the order in which I remembered.
  1. Go trekking 
  2. Go Rock climbing
  3. Go on a road trip all over our country - Yippee!!!! Doing it from April 3 to April 14
  4. Go on a road trip on the golden quadrilateral
  5. Run a 42 km marathon - I am on my way to doing this in a couple of years
  6. Go trekking in the himalayas
  7. Run in the mountains
  8. Climb a mountain
  9. Sky diving - Inspired by "Zindagi na milegi dobara" and a friend who did it last year
  10. Water snorkeling
  11. Learn swimming
  12. Learn Bollywood dancing from Saroj Khan
  13. See a Rock concert
  14. See a Metal concert
  15. Ride a water scooter
  16. Drive a motor bike on a highway
  17. Camping out in the woods
  18. Go on a long cycling trip with our cycling gang
  19. Do a cycling race
  20. Get wet in the rain and dance in the rain
  21. Learn to speak in Marathi
  22. Speak in Tamil correctly
  23. Speak in Telugu correctly
  24. Learn Gujarathi
  25. Learn Sanskrit
  26. Bungee Jumping
  27. Cliff diving
  28. Sing to an audience and get applauded
  29. Visit all the places of Rajasthan
  30. Visit Gujarat
  31. Visit Kanyakumari
  32. Skiing
  33. Do the AOL Advanced course (Part 2 Course)
  34. See snow
  35. Go on a long train journey
  36. Go back packing
  37. Learn Kalaripayattu
  38. Take part in a Play
  39. Act in a play / TV show / Movie
  40. Talk to an audience of 300 - 500 
  41. Take a workshop on Indian culture / history / Religion
  42. Live in a different city ./ town / village / country for atleast 6 months
  43. Plant a tree and watch it grow
  44. Grow own vegetables and greens
  45. Taste wine and see how it feels
  46. Taste champagne
  47. Taste beer
  48. Taste rum / whiskey
  49. Get high
  50. Achieve a flat stomach, flat and fit
  51. Loose weight and achieve my ideal weight of 58 Kgs
  52. Start a business or start something on my own
  53. Work in another organisation
  54. Have a sleepover with college friends
  55. Have a sleepover with school friends
  56. Get featured in a TV news item or Newspaper news column
  57. Get interviewed by TV or newspaper
  58. Visit Amritsar Golden Temple
  59. Go to Kashi, Hardwar, Allahabad, Ayodhya and Rishikesh
  60. Write a book
  61. Write for a magazine
  62. Write for a newspaper
  63. Railroad trip across Europe in Eurail. 
  64. Visit US
  65. Learn some latino dance, any form
  66. Travel by train from Kanyakumari to Kargil
  67. Visit all the North East states of India
  68. Travel by train from Arunachal Pradesh to Porbandar
  69. Own a very expensive and branded watch.
  70. Take part in community cleaning programs like sweeping etc.
  71. Take part in a voluntary project that creates some difference like the Clean Hussain Sagar lake project, Clean Kumudavathi river project etc.