Our Travelogue

2005: Mrinalini, Damini and I Hemant took over 18 hours to cover a distance for around 300 kms from Ooty to Bangalore in May 2005 in our Opel Astra taking our own time in the beautiful tea gardens en route Bangalore, dense bamboo forest, wildlife in Madhumalai and Bandipur sanctuaries, the palace of Mysore and then to Bangalore. It was an exhilarating journey, as we drove at a constant 90-100 kmph (Bangalore-Mumbai distance we clocked was 1013 kms end to end) the next in 13 hours including breaks for breakfast & lunch. 2002: I, alongwith Sujata, my wife and Vivek (son) for the first of over several journeys to Ooty from Mumbai (we went at least twice every year from 2002 till 2008 till the last of our three kids passed out of Lawrence School). The onward journey was non-stop to Bangalore (via Solapur, Bijapur since the road through Satara/Kolhapur was being widened due to the Quadrilateral project). 1992: At night around 10.30pm, it seemed like a crazy request from Sujata, my wife, to take a journey by car to Delhi from Calcutta– a distance of close to 1500 kms. Well, by 7am the next day, we were in the same Maruti 800 and away to Delhi. We drove through the day without food or tea till we had a tyre puncture after Sasaram in Bihar around 9pm. Got the same fixed and started again after 45 minutes to drive till 4am the next morning to stop the car near a dhaba to take a brief nap. We got woken up suddenly as we sensed 4-5 boys in their 20s, curiously peering down the windscreen and side windows inside the car around 5.30am. I instinctively started the engine and sped away, stopping at Kannouj (70 kms from Kanpur) for breakfast around 8am. After a one-hour break, we start again to find the car radiator detached from the body about 30 kms from Aligarh, where it takes two hours to fix the radiator (repair and weld). After that, it was non-stop to Delhi to reach the capital around 7pm. 1991: A trip to Darjeeling in a Maruti800 with 4 adults and 5 children (Mrinalini being the oldest at 10 years) for a week from our then home, Calcutta. The highpoint of the visit in terms of sheer human endurance (and of course machine) was a 30-hour whirlwind journey including sight-seeing from Darjeeling at 6am, first steep climb down close to 7,000 feet driving through mountains and tea estates/gardens, then driving up close to 6000 feet to a point in Kalimpong where you get the breathtaking view of snow-clad mountains. We have driven from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands and back in a hired Toyota Camry. On another occasion I along with my wife and friends have driven from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back. I have also driven in and around Houston on multiple occasions. We have traveled extensively in Europe and UK, Egypt Turkey and Japan etc spending lots of times in the smaller villages and towns and experienced the varied breathtaking beauty, the different cultures, way of life and amazing people and cuisine.