Thursday, July 9

Two for the road

By Liffy Thomas

from The Hindu

The road not taken… Sounds clichéd? Well, the much-loved poem of Robert Frost sums up our life story in more ways that one. Our work, passion and interest have taken us to places far and wide. Be it rugged NCC camps or a sophisticated business trip, our travels have given us rare and interesting insights into myriad forms of culture.

Our travel plan: We are working on a concept of a ‘Freedom Trail’ covering five states and one UT, starting from Mumbai. The last leg of the trip will follow the famous Dandi March route from Sabarmati in Gujarat to Dandi in Maharashtra. During the course of the trip, we aim to celebrate our freedom movement and pay tributes to the scores of inspirational individuals who led from the front.

– Sowmya and Guru

A passion for the roads, curiosity to explore inaccessible places and an undying spirit to travel, to name a few, have brought thousands of couples like Sowmya and Guru to the Mitsubishi Cedia Sports Great Driving Challenge, organised by Hindustan Motors Limited.

If we believe what the organisers have to say, the challenge has so far attracted around 10,000 registrations from across India, with Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi topping the participants’ list.


The Great Driving Challenge (TGDC) is a Web-centric campaign for couples. The challenge is to drive 3,000 km in 10 days and tell the world about your travel in the most interesting way by tweeting and blogging about it. But, for that challenge you need to cross various hurdles (read stages).

Starting from completing the registration form answering questions in the most creative fashion to gathering the maximum votes and writing the best profile of the couple, it’s a long process before three winners are short-listed to vroom on the sports car. So, essentially your passion for driving comes later, before which you need to impress the jury with the best credentials and testimonials.

“You need to be a travel and automobile enthusiast, plus harness the power of technology to win the challenge,” says Rajesh Chokhani of Experience Commerce, the campaign designer. “This is more a Web-based reality show conducted for the first time.”

Write your way

You have to read to believe some of the applications. Like, a 65-year-old Captain describes his 30 years of experience driving in 42 countries treading thousand of kilometres. Another talks about going on a ‘Biriyani Trail’ and yet another couple plan to capture the interiors of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Mudumalai National Park and Periyar National Park and show to the world how small steps by mankind can save the flora and fauna.

Chennai-based couple Harsha Koda and Prabha are busy mobilising votes by emailing and SMSing friends and relatives. Though the two have taken part in many drives, including The Raid-de-Himalaya and Airtel One India Challenge, they probably for the first time are participating along with other couples.

Their journey: “Prabha and I have driven so many times as driver (me) and navigator (Prabha) that we almost know what the other one is going to say or do. I’m a bad navigator. I can’t read maps.

Most of the time I just follow Prabha’s directions blindly. If we ever reversed the roles, we might get lost! And for someone who travels so much by car, let me tell you a secret. If I’m not driving I get car sick. It’s almost like… I was born to drive.”

The big draw

Another attraction of this challenge is that unlike other rallies, where the route is fixed by the organisers, here the participants get to choose the route he and she would like to trail through. Get-set-go!


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