Hi All, Pooja here. After asking each other countless times ” Are we there yet?” we finally made it to Delhi on 6 June 2010 . It took us 51 days to travel through 15 countries and we completed our journey at 5:00 pm at Qutub Minar, Delhi. The journey from the Nepal – India border to Delhi took the following course.
Kanpur Connection – After stopping in Gorakhpur for 1 night we headed to Kanpur via Lucknow. The drive was tiring because the traffic was appalling! It took some time to get used to oncoming vehicles on our side of the road. Overtaking an army of trucks, which wanted to drive in the fast lane at a speed of 50kmph was not easy either. However, within an hour or so we got used to the mayhem and started enjoying the drive. In Kanpur we met with Mr Vinit Jain, who sponsored the jerry cans for our trip. He made our stay in Kanpur memorable with his hospitality and presented us with a beautiful painting, which he made himself along with a poem that he printed on a card.
During our stay we attended the Rotary club meeting, where we were felicitated by the members and were given an opportunity to speak about our trip. Times of India, Kanpur did a feature on us as did other local newspapers. I must admit that giving interviews is not nerve racking but posing for pictures reminded me of the day Tushar and I got married ( photographers with big camera lenses directing our poses:)
Taj Mahal, Agra – We arrived in Agra the next day and I got a wonderful surprise. I was expecting my mother to come to Qutub Minar,Delhi where we would finish our journey but she came all the way to Agra a day before. At night we all drove around the city in the hope of seeing the Taj Mahal at night but were told that due to security reasons, the Taj is not lit at night. Back at the hotel, for the first time in the trip I sat next to the pool side restaurant and ordered a cold coffee ( oh! the joy of a nice smelling hotel.. courtesy my sister’s friend). That night was very special because we were 1 day away from completing what we had set out to achieve 51 days back.
6 June 2010 – We were joined by Tushar’s family in Agra on the 6th and before we set off for Delhi, we visited the Taj Mahal. At the Taj parking a guy came up to us with a newspaper in his hand and said to Tushar ” is this you sir?” ( a write up about our trip and our picture was in the local newspaper). It was the first time we got spotted and its not happened since:) . On way to Delhi we stopped in Palwal for lunch, which was organised by Octave events. The local media was present and we got an opportunity to speak about our cause.
5:00 pm Qutub Minar, New Delhi – 6 June 2010 – After 1,500 litres of petrol, 51 days, 15 countries, 9 timezones and lots of exciting experiences we finally switched off our engine at 5:00 pm at Qutub Minar. Its really difficult to express how we felt at that time. All I can say is that we couldn’t believe that the car that we drove in London was with us in Delhi…it was surreal. There were lots of people and reporters at the venue to welcome us and it took us a while to realize that Goofy, Tushar and I had arrived in Delhi in one piece:)
Media - One of the reasons why I have focussed on the media coverage in this blog is that we are trying our best to raise awareness about the reasons behind our journey. ” For the love of Dogs and Animals” and ” For the love of Driving and Discovery”. We featured on Zee News, Star News, Sahara, CNEB and also came live on India TV. Media is a great way to raise awareness about charitable/social causes and hopefully we have managed to motivate some people to tie their personal interest of sports/adventure/arts with a social cause. ( One thing Tushar and I figured out is that sometimes the media may not be interested in the charitable aspect and one has to keep on reminding them not to edit the parts that are really important in the context of the journey)
Friendicoes – Tushar and I visited Friendicoes yesterday. We met Mr Gautam Bharat, co founder of Friendicoes who showed us around the Defence Colony shelter in Delhi. He told us that at any one time they look after 1,000 animals at the Delhi and Gurgaon sanctuary. They never refuse treatment to an animal ( a camel was recently treated and released at a sanctuary…so its not just dogs and other pets that are cared for at Friendicoes). We are still in the process of raising funds for Friendicoes ( a part of the donation raised has already been transferred to them) and we will be giving them all the donations received by the end of June. If anyone would like to contribute please click on the Donate Now link on our website or alternatively cheques can be made in the name of Friendicoes SECA, which can be couriered or collected.
This is not Good bye – Thank you all for your support and encouragement throughout our journey. Tushar and I have been keeping very busy these past few days with the homecoming but will continue to update the blogs. We will now start focusing towards writing a book and are hoping that a publishing house will take interest in our journey and publish our book.
Goofy – Goofy was my dog in Delhi. She lived with my family for almost 13 years. I decided to name the car Goofy because I knew she would get us through all the challenges during our journey. Her spirit lives on in our Jeep and in our memories:) Goofy the Jeep is waiting to be shipped back to London. She has to travel to Bombay first though. Will fill you in about that soon.
Till next time…which will be soon
Thanks for reading