“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
How often do we travel to set ourselves free?
Not for a business venture, a planned vacation or a retreat, but a journey that teaches invaluable lessons by unlearning everything we’ve known until now.
Hello there, I am a 26 -year-old based in Hyderabad;
A software engineer by profession and a travel enthusiast by passion.
Traveling has always humbled me and has broadened my perspective while taking me to many far-off places, but it wasn’t until last year that I fully realized the spirit of motor sport.
Mahindra has been organizing TSD (Time, Speed, Distance) rallies, under the Mahindra Aventure Umbrella Brand during the monsoon season for the last few years and after much speculation I’ve decided to give this adventure a try and enrolled myself for the eighth edition – a 1000km drive from Mangalore to Goa via Murudeshwar.
For those of you who are new to the TSD concept, like myself, the TSD rallies are not only about speed but also about the calculated precision of time and distance. The driver and navigator are expected to keep track of time in tandem with the distance covered. So, the first thing I did was to borrow the majestic Mahindra Thar from a cousin and take it to the nearest Mahindra service centre in Hyderabad. The Thar is almost 3 years old, when he first bought it from an authorized Mahindra Showroom in Hyderabad itself, yet not wanting to take a chance, I got it thoroughly checked, repaired, replaced and put it together
as good as new and set off to Mangalore, of course the with the cousin. Nobody would just let go of a memorable possession like this one.
The night before the rally, we had a briefing session, followed by a Q&A session and finally on the morning of 29th July 2018, the rally flagged off at Hotel Moti Mahal, amid much fun and fanfare.
We were to drive on a fixed route through roads and stretches, with the magnificent Western Ghats for an omnipresent backdrop.
Although it seemed challenging in the beginning, we weren’t really complaining.
The Monsoon Challenge isn’t merely a rally for deriving adrenaline rush, but also an opportunity to become one with nature. The rally passed through rain-soaked regions blessed with one of the most beautiful natural spectacles’ encompassing a picturesque landscape all-around.
Navigating with instructions and small sketches printed on a paper seemed a bit tough on the first day.
Stopping by the check points, clocking in our time, trying our best at maintaining the speed given to us in the logbook and navigating through the narrow streets and Ghats roads and finally making to murudeshwar by the end of the day, more than anything else, we were happy to have taken this trip.
The best part of the trip being the lessons learnt with no actual classroom. The drive tested our patience and taught us a thing or two about off- roading, in the short span of two days.
While passing a hairpin bend on the way, that was banked up hill, it started raining very heavily and the road washed down to lose gravel and rocky steps. I had to manoeuvre the vehicle in 1st Gear and 4L, pressed the throttle gently and crossed first right then a pot hole and an incline hairpin, I had to increase the throttle to get more traction on the rug and increased my RPM to 2000 and crossed the hairpin. The slope from there was easy to pass on 1st gear and 4L.
This was a test of my steering and throttle input skills, and I learnt the rough way that it is very important to strike the perfect balance between the two. Else you will end up between a rock and a hard place. Also, it is important to let the vehicle do what it wants, otherwise you will land up in trouble or even topple.
We reached Murudeshwar around 5 pm and called it a day post a timely dinner at around 8pm.
The next day was reserved for the final leg of the Mahindra Adventure Monsoon Challenge 2018 TSD Rally, from Murudeshwar to Goa.
After resting at the stationed hotel and earning a good sleep, we were all set the next day drive away to Goa, only stopping by once at the Jog falls in between.
We were glad to have chosen the Mahindra Thar, with its Mechanical locking rear differential and utility options like the Air Conditioner with Heater and the Independent front suspension that provided superior comfort on the rough terrains and more so to have got it checked with an authorized Mahindra service center in Hyderabad, before we started off. Like the say, being prepared is winning half the battle.
Like the previous day, as soon as we got on board, we immediately began our calculations from the logbook for the day. Exactly as per our calculated time, we left the start point where many other competitors were waiting for their time to start. Thankfully we were in sync with the distances mentioned in the logbook. The only challenge left was to navigate, and maintain the specific speed mentioned for that time specified distance. In between, Marshals were noting our time of arrival at specific stops based on which, penalties were calculated at the end of the day.
We improvised on our mistakes from the previous day, driving onward for 150 kms before reaching our destination.
This was an extremely challenging ride, not through your regular national high ways, but through state highways and some villages but when we ended up at the Club Mahindra placing third with a good timing, we knew we made the right choice.
We learnt some invaluable lessons, met some amazing people; People who celebrate the spirit of Mahindra, the spirit of adventure and the fun of driving
It was a drive to remember and this year I’m all prepared to take on the challenge – Mangalore to Ooty, Mahindra Monsoon challenge 2019.
Because you know, the learning never stops.