It wasn’t that I was a stranger to adventure. I had the good fortune of being born into a family that enjoys the road. I was weaned on road trips. In 1989, my parents bought a car in Delhi, a fire-engine-red Maruti van, and we drove it back home to Jamshedpur. We followed the Ganga east through India’s lush plains. Stopping at dhabas and watching my dad talk to truckers and dhaba owners seemed wildly romantic to the 16-year-old me. Papa had been an avid traveller himself. In 1979, he and six of his friends rode to Europe on four Yezdis and on an unbelievably shoestring budget. They shipped their bikes to Kuwait, drove 18,000km to Paris, went around the Eiffel Tower, drove back to the shores of the Persian Gulf and came back by sea to (then) Bombay. Years later, when asked why they had decided to do that, he said they had wanted to explore Europe and it was the cheapest way possible – a simple explanation indeed.
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