New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) It took Tushar Agarwal 51 days and 12,000 kilometres to complete his dream ride from London to Delhi. Penning the experiences of this incredible road trip and other adventurous sojourns in his debut novel, he hopes the experience will help fellow travellers believe in their dreams.
“Looking at the world map, I thought to myself: It would be wonderful if I could drive from London to Delhi. As I discussed the idea with my family, they just laughed it of,” writes Agarwal in his novel “Road Affair” (Heritage Publishers/282 pages/Rs.295)
Knowing how fickle-minded he is, they didn’t care and he too didn’t blame them for laughing it off. But this was something he passionately wanted to pursue.
“For a year I researched on the route. I started saving money for the trip from my salary. I couldn’t save much because there were no sponsors for this weird idea. So, I took a loan and also used my credit card. I just gave my heart and soul to this trip,” Agarwal told IANS.
“If I can do it, others too can,” he added of the journey that took his from London, through Russia, Central Asia, China/Tibet and Nepal, his SUV consuming along the way 1,571 litres of fuel.
This Delhi-born had many experiences on his way that he has written about in the novel, which also covers two preparatory expeditions he undertook – the Trans Himalayan Challenge in 2012 and then driving to Mana Pass ? the neew highest motorable road in the world that is located at an altitude of 18,399 feet near the India-Tibet border in Uttrakhand. He was one of the first civilians to go there.
He writes about how in the Ukraine, local police would find reasons to take bribes, or how in Kyrgyzstan his car broke down in the middle of nowhere and how he drank horse milk in Kazakhstan.
“I believe only a road trip helps you to discover local culture and flavour. When I went to all these places and had amazing experiences I just thought it would be interesting to write about them,” he explained.
Writing a novel wasn’t his initial plan. Though he had started making notes from day one, but it was to be kept safe as a a memoir for his children or grand-children.
“I didn’t have enough material from first ride to compile it. But then other drives followed and so did different experiences.” he said.
With such varied experiences of being to different places and countries, this part travelogue-part memoir happened.
Such was the addiction to these expeditions that after serving as an IT consultant for a decade in the US, Japan, and Britain, he moved back to India in 2012. Now he is the co-founder at Adventures Overland, a driving expedition company.
“Travelling is an experience everyone should have. If you want to do it, you can,” he concluded.
Needless to say, the book has been well-received, with Hormazd Sorabjee, one of the most respected figures in the motoring world, saying: “The best way to see the world is through a windscreen and Tushar puts you in the driver’s seat with this very readable book. I admire Tushar for his passion for road travel and how he makes his dream job a reality.”