WHAT HAVE THE LAST FEW months of being locked up at home been like for you?
I put this question forward to our motley crew of road-trippers once we reached our destination in Goa. The answers ranged from tearing-their-hair-out frustrated to ecstatic to be spending time with their families. Some people’s jobs got significantly harder, while one was even stuck outside the country because flights were halted. But one thing was agreed upon — it was great to get out on the open road and have a change from whatever they were up to in last few months. This trip, the journey, the destination — it was a breath of fresh air, both literally and metaphorically.
We had no clue what we were getting into. Were the roads open? Were there long lines at toll booths? Would there be police check-posts at district borders? Would we head out, only to be turned back home again? The Centre had announced that state borders were to be opened, and Goa had opened its doors to tourism. But administration at the grassroots is arbitrary, and there was no saying what we would encounter. This was a leap of faith. The only thing certain was that we had a safe place to stay when we reached — the Lemon Tree Amarante Beach Resort in Goa.
Something else that was certain was that we had an interesting bunch of people joining us on the drive, with an equally interesting set of cars. There was Byram, easily the most experienced of the lot having driven extensively around the country and having done a London-Mumbai expedition with a solo car. He brought along his mighty Toyota Land Cruiser. Jay, who considers a 10-day road trip ‘short’ and does two ‘long’ trips every year — in his modded Toyota Fortuner. A lot of his trips involve camping and the Fortuner has been made self-sufficient to that end. Soumya too had brought his Fortuner along, and he is a seasoned road-tripper too — having driven with Jay all the way to the Tibet border and even got chased by Chinese jeeps up there. Harshil was in his Hyundai Creta and this drive was special to him, as this was his first roadtrip with his baby daughter! The Ed, Sirish had the BMW X5 and then there was the man who brought this bunch together — Prasad, in his Audi A6 (a 3.0 TDI quattro, no less). Prasad is VP at Lemon Tree, looking after Digital and e-Commerce, and this roadtrip was his idea!
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