Potliwalas are the quintessential travellers, who carry small potlis or sacks of their worldly possessions on their shoulders and travel the world savouring their zest for life. They, who make travel their lifestyle, smells of earth and sweat, their topis stir in the sandy wind, their white dhotis are mostly tainted and worn out, yet they are content. When Dilip Baba and Abhinav Kandarp named themselves The Potliwalas, they had all this in their mind. If you churn out a picture of a Potliwala in your mind, it would look nothing like Dilip or Abhinav, however in their brave attempt to achieve Potliwalahood, they have travelled from Lakshadweep to Rajasthan covering all the states in between with minimum luggage and bare minimum funds.
The two MBA graduates, who took a break from their white-collar, high-paid jobs and hectic schedules to reinvent their long forgotten passion, travel, are doing just that, travel. The duo always knew no mountains in Switzerland or malls in New York are equal to our very own deserts in Rajasthan or galis in Gujarat.
Dilip, a gifted photographer says, it was his two passions ‘the click of the shutter button’ and ‘the purr of a starting vehicle’ that triggered the idea of an expedition around India with his travel-loving friend Abhinav. The corporate life they both enjoyed soon lost its lustre, and the craving to be on the road slowly surfaced from nowhere. A Mahendra Bolero, equally owned by the duo, named Alex, is their ultimate travel companion.
Dilip says “Like the football which was named Wilson in the Tom Hanks starrer, ‘The Castaway’, Alex is with whom we share our passions, troubles and love for travelling. We chose Alex because he can be driven anywhere without much trouble”.
While Dilip uses his photographic skills to capture the essence of Indian villages, Abhinav transforms their travel experiences into long travelogues. Their blog www.potliwalas.wordpress.com is a traveller’s delight with beautiful pictures and remarkable narratives. Some of the writings feature social issues as well as thought-provoking observations of the country.
“You don’t need much money to travel in India. It is only needed when you are looking for five-star facilities. We try to stay and eat at the cheapest of places and build a connection with the locals and their lifestyles. We plan our journeys with 500 km-destinations and after that it is the word-of-mouth that helps us choose the next stop,” says Abhinav.
They both agree that their biggest support-system is their family. Dilip says, “When I decided to take a sabbatical from my job and to do a travel around India, my wife and family embraced the decision with open arms. Most of the people with whom I have shared my thoughts told me that it is something they couldn’t do in their heydays, and advised me to jump on the opportunity”.
The Potliwalas, who took a small break from the travelling, will restart their journey on March 17. Next Stop, the capital city, Delhi.