A road trip to Goa was on my bucket list, since I saw it in the movie “Dil Chahta Hai”, where 3 friends go crazy while roaming around beautiful locations in Goa and enjoying themselves. I always wished that I could plan something similar with my girl gang and have loads of fun. That was back then when I was in Delhi. Things never fell in place for the plan to succeed.
In 2017, my husband got transferred to Mumbai and this again brought my dream of going to Goa on a road trip into the forefront. In 2019, God and the Universe heard my pleas and was blessed with an opportunity of going on a Goa Road Trip. The desire, a glimpse of what road trips would be and how much fun a road trip could be with your girl gang and like-minded friends was granted in the form of “Times Woman Drive”.
All the newspapers and hoardings were flooded with announcements of Times Women’s Drive. The dream which was once shelved due to reasons like family, their concern, who takes care of kids etc., safety and security, etc. again started turning into reality. I soon realised that all this was like a never-ending list and were just unfounded fears that were holding me back from taking up this challenge. I realised that in Life - The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking any risks.
I knew that great things in life is never done or accomplished by one person. They are done by a team. So started the looking out for the “partners in crime” who would be as adventurous and excited as I was about this trip. They would not think about the other participants or co-passengers, the routes chalked out by Times Women Drive and the fact that participants would have no control on the decision of the routes etc.
A good team only needs 3 things: The Right People, The Right Spirit and of course a couple of inside JOKES, which you think throughout your life and laugh it off. My hunt was fruitful and I found like- minded partners in Shweta Rastogi and Meenakshi Agarwal.
All 3 of us were ready for the “The Big Day” on 03rd May 2019. Our car was decorated in-house by 3 of us overnight. And all dressed up and decked up we “Thankfully” reached the venue on time.
4 minutes before the rally started, a booklet (hereafter termed as the “TWD Bible”) is provided to us. This TWD Bible had all the instruction manuals and road signs, which we had never seen in our life, not even when we learnt how to drive, so how are we supposed to understand this sign language. We were supposed to have done a “Dry Run” to ensure that we understood our Biblical signages, but what can be expected out of a “Fun Loving Group”, busy chit chatting, we possibly couldn’t understand head to toe of the sign language that was provided to us.
Anyways when you don’t understand, then the best thing you can do is “Shamelessly copy and paste”, and hold behold, we did exactly the same thing at least for starters. And by the way we aren’t supposed to use “Google Baba”, just read the driving instructions manual and drive.
Enroute, we are supposed to look for “TWD helpers” who would hand over the Time charts to us and like I have already mentioned, we weren’t in any race. We were so much glued to reading our “Bible” and trying to understand the route, that we missed one of the TWDs. Boom!!!! 1 penalty. Now this was serious, we didn’t want penalities. But our seriousness lasted only for a few minutes. And thus Car No. 31 was back on track. Suddenly we realised something was amiss!! All the cars – even Car No. 170 has gone ahead of us and we are like really way behind. We have had too many bio breaks, Lunch breaks and laughter breaks late by about 1.70 hrs.
Poor our Navigator is also tired of reading signs and just takes a nap of around 5 mins, which means it costed “US” as a team of around 40kms of detour. That surely wasn’t a good sign. Now we were getting somewhat serious and started reading the sign language and following the instructions given to us.
We were to reach Ganpatipule at 1900 hrs and we are nowhere near the finishing line. Its already 2000 hrs on 03rd May 2019, and we have lost our way big time. No phones, No network, but only Trust in God and yes, all my friends (Co-participants) trusted me and I had placed my trust and faith in God. As rightly said, if you place your trust and faith, in the Almighty and his powers, your faith in him can move big mountains, tried different combinations and calculations to find the route and hold behold it was going all wrong.
Suddenly “God” listens to my pleas and from nowhere a beautifully dressed up “Bridal” Car No. 196 comes from nowhere. And as we are accustomed to “Copy Paste” in our day to day lives, Team Women Voyagers starts following that car. The Mantra that I found that day was “Just train your mind to do it, and see Good in everything you do”. Our losing the way was somewhere good, as we passed through so many unique places and picturesque locations, lofty mountains, true natural untouched beauty… the sight of clear and clean blue skies, it seemed to us that all simple things of nature was giving us a message, message of Love, Patience, Togetherness, Tolerance, Happiness and Peace.. making us understand. Rejoice in the Lord, your spirit and your soul is alive. Nature is truly very strong and powerful… We just couldn’t take our eyes off…
The Second Day of the Rally started sharp at 0700 am. We were this time well prepared, understood the signages provided to us by the ushers. Again, a new booklet and new instructions, but we were today determined not to lose our way and of course not to lose track of TWDs. That was a bad mark on us for Day 1. And as luck would have it, we were going pretty good the 2nd day.
Less of Bio breaks and hardly any food breaks and we just made it in time to reach Goa, our destination. But fate had something else written for us. A cop detoured us and said that all the cars belonging to TWD are going this way and we should change our route. We diligently listened to the cops and drove that way as there was no other choice left for us. And hold behold, we are late again by 2 hrs, as that route was the longest and there was no diversion whatsoever. Anyways, as they it all ended on a high note. For us as a “Team” it didn’t matter whether we came in first, or last, what mattered to us was 'We have done it.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that. For Team Women Voyagers – Participating in TWD Rally was a matter of spirit not strength.
These amazing 2 days were followed by a gala night, wherein lots of celebrities had come and we all danced till we dropped. Icing on the cake was that we were allowed to even grab the stage after sometime and some of the participants went crazy dancing on the table as well. There were awards for teams including the Best Dressed Car, Best Karaoke, Best Dressed Tea, Best Coordinated Team, Best Groupifie, Best Selfie, Best Video and whole lots of other awards were handed out.
It was truly an enthralling experience for us. We felt on top of the world!!! Times Women Drive ensured that we were treated as “Divas” and it was a great honor to be associated with TWD.
It really made me believe and realise that “Traveling is to take a journey inside ‘YOU’ ”.
Read our blog on Women Solo Travel Here!