Miles to go

Sumedha Deo, Hindustan Times
Mumbai
First Published: 14:49 IST(8/7/2012)
Last Updated: 15:54 IST(8/7/2012)
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The Tata Nano Facebook page crossed the one million mark recently. To celebrate this milestone, the company ran a ‘social road trip’ called Nano Drive with MTV, where participants got the chance to team up with three strangers and take the car on a 3,000km spin. The four teams started out from four cities — Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Guwahati — and drove across the length and breadth of the country for 20 days.

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Arindam Mohanty, a 25-year-old marketing professional, was part of team West. “Meeting different people and driving through the hinterland was the highlight of my trip,” he says. “We had a strict allowance and I was continuously tweeting about my trip. Can you believe local restaurants offered us meals because of my tweets?”

Mohanty drove more than 3,400 km from Mumbai to Indore, stopping at Daman, Udaipur and Kota on the way.

Team South started their journey from Chennai and made their way to Hampi on a very scenic route through more than 15 towns. Simran Singh, 22, from Chandigarh, had reservations about the Nano’s endurance capacity. “We started off in Chennai and it was 40+ C! But we could drive with ease with the AC on full blast,” he says. Simran’s favourite stop was Pondicherry, where he spent time lazing on the beaches, enjoying the food and taking in the French architecture.

The foursome that drove through east India felt like explorers since these parts are sparsely populated and not very touristy. “Local people there are not used to seeing travellers, so it was quite exciting for us to approach them,” says Nikita Sawant, a 25-year-old photographer from Mumbai and part of team East.

She drove her crew of three guys on National Highway 36 towards the Bangladesh border, among the trucker crowd, and got many stares and cheers.

“That is my most fun memory, a woman driving alongside these hulking men on the highway,” she says. The victorious team North drove from Delhi to Haridwar and ended their trip with an aarti (prayers) on the banks of the Ganga. “We started on an auspicious note in Karol Bagh, near the Hanuman statue, and ended up with the Ganga puja. It almost felt like a yatra,” laughs Nikhil Kashyap.

The 27-year-old marketing communication consultant enjoyed every little experience on the trip. “We learnt turban-tying in Patiala, gorged on momos in McLeodganj, rafted on the Beas in Kulu, trekked to Tosh and Parvati Valley near Kasaul and then did one of the 21 daily Ganga aartis. I couldn’t have asked for a richer experience,” he says.

You can follow the teams’ journeys in the final episode of Nano Drive on MTV on July 12 at 8 pm.


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