For Gayatri Vohra, driving through 6,000 km down the country’s roads is more than appealing — she’s loving the “gypsy life”. Stopping at local food joints frequented by lorry drivers; catching 40 winks in her black Scorpio and going where she wants whenever she wants are some of the perks, says the 44-year-old mother of two, who along with partner and navigator Ravneet Arora is driving through 13 states for her ‘India on my Wheels’ initiative.
Though it started out as a means to promote the country’s roads as ‘safe for all’, now it has moved beyond that — a journey of self discovery, where she and Ravneet have pushed themselves far beyond the comfort zone.
Starting from Gurgaon, the duo is now 3,700 km from home and has travelled through the supposedly notorious states like Bihar and Jharkand. “We were two women driving a Haryana number plate car through these states, and we did not get any negative vibes,” says the epitome of bad-assery, who stopped over in Chennai and Mahabalipuram on Tuesday. “There are nice people in this country.. Not everyone takes advantage of you.”
She goes on to narrate an incident in Dhanbad, Bihar to prove her point. Their car had encountered a problem and they took it to a local mechanic, who said he didn’t have the required component, but took them to a service centre where they got repairs done at a reasonable cost. “They did not charge us a bomb; they did only what was required and got it up and running...And this was in Bihar!” she says.
Whether it’s driving at midnight, or taking wrong turns and getting lost; or just pulling up on any road for a quick nap, they have done it all. And no, they have not been ‘getting looks’ from the locals. “In Andhra and Tamil Nadu, people mind their own business and don’t even notice,” says Gayatri, who has driven about 900 km from near Vizag to Chennai on a single day — the roads in these two states have been “fantastic”.
She is usually on the road for about 12-15 hours a day and drives about 750 km. “Any suggestions for breakfast at Mahabalipuram? We’re going to the shore temple,” Gayatri asks this journalist. “Both of us are real foodies. We love the local food.” The duo is headed to Karnataka, Maharashrta, Gujarat and Rajasthan next, and are scheduled to be home by March 13.
Signing off, she gives a simple one-liner when asked what prompted her to take this up — “If someone says I can’t do it, I have to do it.
Women on a Mission
To follow the duo’s journey across the country on wheels, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/indiaonmywheels/. Also visit http://freedomdrive.in/, where they speak about their plan to break the ‘social boundaries that bind us’. The adventurous duo has also said, “Because there is nothing like proving the society wrong!”