Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Perfect Road Trip (Day 21: Ultimate Blog Challenge)

Until I got married, I wasn’t a great one for road trips. I was one of those who believed in the romance of train travel. Of packing puris, sukha batata bhaji and vegetable pulao into steel dabbas (that was pre-Tupperware era). Of the elders in the family sharing stories about children, the standard of living in the face of rising prices and of course of the incompetence of the government with total strangers who, for the space of that one night spent in a moving train, became as close as family.

When the Husband and I started dating, I realised that he had a passion for Goa. (I am Goan, of course, but here I am talking about travelling to the state of Goa, an all-time favourite on his quick getaway list). I suspect that one of the reasons why Dil Chahta Hai is one of his favourite films is because the three leading men played by Aamir Khan, Akshay Khanna and Saif Ali Khan choose Goa as a destination for a road trip and a getaway.

Insisting on us travelling to Goa at every opportunity that we had for a holiday, the Husband added the proviso that, in order to heighten the experience and the joy of the travel, we should travel by road. My attempts to espouse the beauty of travelling by the Konkan Railway failed to make an impression. Not for him the hassle of buying a ticket two (or is it three?) months in advance and then waiting for leave to be sanctioned, only to end up cancelling the tickets at the last minute and leaving the Great Indian Railways richer for it. We would go to Goa, said the Husband, and we would take our trusted chariot, read, Maruti Swift, along.

As things turned out, I found myself expecting my first child, known to readers of my blog as La Niña, soon after marriage. Three years later, El Niño arrived on the scene. So holidaying was put on the back burner.

It was only after El Niño turned two in the first quarter of this calendar year that the Husband and I decided it was time to initiate the children into the joys of travelling. And what better place to start with than Goa?

We made exhaustive plans. Since we were travelling with kids, travelling light was out of the question. But that was okay. The carrier atop the roof could be rigged to accommodate all our baggage. The stuff we needed quickly could be stashed away in the boot.

We decided to take the National Highway No 17, the approximately 600-km sometimes concrete, sometimes dirt road (thanks to the monsoon and infrequent repair work) that would take us to Goa, the land of my forefathers and one of his dream destinations.

The perfect road trip, for us, would mean one in which the Husband would do the driving. Partly because he loves to drive, and partly because with him in the driver’s seat, I am more at ease. No hired driver would see the cargo in the back seat as precious the way he would.

The Husband would drive safely, no overtaking on the numerous curves that punctuate the road along the Western Ghats, but still at a good speed, with the intention of reaching Goa before it got dark. But we would still take time to stop once in a while and let the kids stretch their legs or even empty their bladders. Or even stop by at a highway restaurant and grab a bite to eat. Of course, we never travel without biscuits, fruits and drinking water for the kids.

I would be on the back seat, holding the two kids together as they sometimes slept through the journey, or at other times, knelt on the back seat waving out to strangers or even admiring the lush countryside that is the Konkan region.

The windows would be wide open. Why switch on the airconditioner when God filled the hillsides with fresh air? As city-bred people who breathe polluted air all the year round, we should be drinking in the fresh air of the countryside in big, gluttonous gulps. And that is exactly what we would do. Of course, our trusted Ambipur would be in place, in case any malodours sought to creep up on us.

The children would be thoroughly entertained by the spectacle of the natural beauty unfolding around them. There is something beautiful about watching the trees whiz past. La Niña and I would get excited over every Gulmohar tree or coconut tree we saw. And I mean that. Excitement over every single one of them.

El Niño would perk up at the sight of a cat, a dog, a cow or a monkey along the way. I secretly hope no other members of the animal kingdom show up. This is all the excitement I can take.

We would also be armed with music. The Husband likes to drive while listening to music. So he has already saved the family's favourites on two 8 GB pendrives. But beyond that, his eardrums will also be treated to some awesome live music, courtesy the three untrained but still jolly good singers on the back seat.

Above all, between holding the kids tight, and answering their never-ending and incessant questions, I would also find time to pray. That God may keep us safe, that the Husband may drive safely as may others that would be out on the road. For no road trip can be perfect if the safety of the passengers is at risk. 

And when we are travelling with our kids, I would appreciate it if any adventure, if at all it came along, came in small, manageable doses that are U-rated.

That is my idea of a perfect trip.

(This post has been written for The Perfect Road Trip contest on Indiblogger, in association with Ambipur.)


  1. Me and the hubby do a lot of road totally understand your idea :)

  2. Thank you, My Unfinished Life. I can see they're a lot of fun, but with two kids under the age of 5, the adventure might sometimes overtake the simple fun quotient.

  3. I love travelling! How can you say you don;t like the whole jing band of packing food and all! I am happy your husband is initiating you into road travels. This would be a great experience for you and especially for the kids. And goa is my all time favourite destination!!


  4. It sounds wonderful, Cynthia! And, I am in agreement with your husband, Goa is a beautiful place, worth visiting again and again!



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