To Arunachal in a Skoda Rapid: 8,100 km, 19 days & 11 states

For all the places we wanted to drive to, 30 days wouldn’t suffice. Who ever got a one month vacation from their job?

BHPian lucifer1881 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The obviously clickbait title aside, the punning game is also strong here. I am the last of the “language” dinosaurs who still holds on to the “classical” ways of writing. I believe punning is the lowest form of humour but I also believe that clickbaiting is several rungs lower.

Then again, pulling off a “bait and switch” is what the cool kids are doing these days. I am cool. And I choose to remain a kid. So there.

I run off into the desert at Hunder

It is that very kid in me who has been aching to drive to the North East ever since a famous Laura (I am looking at you, Ravveendrra) drove across Arunachal way back when. Somehow or the other, life kept getting in the way. Life kinda tried to put the brakes on this trip too but I am wiser now. I think.

For all the places we wanted to drive to, 30 days wouldn’t suffice. Who ever got a one month vacation from their job? No one. But I am eating a lot of spinach these days. Granted that most spinach I eat is in the form of paalak paneer but those are details that bother lesser mortals. Long story short, I am intelligent now.

The intelligence in me simply customised the plan to the number of vacation days available. This may be straightforward for many. It is life changing for me. Never have I ever done this. I am the kind who plans a trip and then takes the requisite days off.

Anyhoo. The plan was simple. All of North East isn’t remotely possible in 19 days. We restricted ourselves to parts of Arunachal and Meghalaya. Could we have flown to Guwahati, rented a cab and saved us 8 days of to and fro between Hyderabad and Guwahati? Sure. But as they say, “Banality has never created amazeballs memories.” #trueStory

Here is a teaser of epicness to whet the appetite before the main course comes along.

To the edge of India

This time, the sister-in-law (SIL) was joining us. She has been with us on road trips but none of this duration. The burning question wasn’t if SIL would be able to adapt to our trailblazing trip style. That is small potatoes. The question, simply, came down to this: The Rapid or the Elantra?

My Hampi log is a neat comparison of two very different cars in one specific environment. Those points still hold true. The whipped boy in me was pro Elantra. SIL was pro Elantra. Wife was insistent it be the Rapid. Two against one. Guess who won?

The Rapid it is

On 22 September at 5:15am, the journey began. Surprisingly, the Rapid’s dickey (As I said, last of the language dinosaurs) is cavernous.

A surprisingly big boot holds 3x19 person days of luggage plus shopping of 2 women as well

This was a relaxed day. Drive upto Nagpur and chill there for the rest of the day.

Situation Report: Roads up to TS-MH border are absolutely fantastic. The median is beautifully painted and landscaped. Once you hit MH border, it immediately goes downhill. While the dualisation work is complete, the road surface is nasty. Potholes all over. Dips and rises. The lot.

There is something about Nagpur. Every time I drive through the town (i.e. do not take the bypass), the Indian cricket team has a match scheduled there.

But this time we didn’t just drive through Nagpur. We spent the night there. Lo behold, we had the Indian cricket team staying in the same hotel as us. Who knew that Virat Kohli looks exactly the same in person as he does on TV? Umesh Yadav is unrecognisable in person. Javagal Srinath manages to look more dignified.

Between lunch and dinner, somehow the two sisters rode the elevator twice with Kohli but were weak kneed so much that they didn’t even remember to take a selfie. Yes, apparently it’s possible. The selfie obsessed sisters can get overawed in celebrity presence.

The trip was off to a great start. Where do we go from here?

Continue reading BHPian lucifer1881's travelogue for more insights and information.

Live To Drive