The latest updates from our man on the front-line, Princely, are in. After a week of driving, our teams of the Food For Live Tuk Tuk Challenge 2016 enjoyed a well deserved rest day, before heading back on the road again for the last couple of days.
Restday – Finally! Neleshwara, is a small fishing hamlet at the cost of Kerala. The resort we stayed in had a village concept and the rooms were in cottage style. The queue for the spa was long, since most teams were dying for a back therapy after what their back bones had gone through the last 7 days. David, an international renowned hair dresser, did hairdressing for the hotel staff for free. A great habit he also has on the streets of London streets, just for the good of it.
The beach was beautiful and clean and thanks to the rest day the teams had enough time to enjoy it thoroughly. Ajay and Deepak, other members of the group joined the teams. Now they are in full strength and ready for the final phase of the rally to finish in Kanyakumari. The new members were taught to drive Rickshaw and they just picked up the driving fast. The sleepy village road gave them ample space to hone their skills.
The drive to Calicut started around 9.30 am from the base hotel. The teams, with plenty of new energy, were energetic and enthusiastic to face the road again. During the briefing they were warned about the Kerala driving style – narrow roads and impatient drivers in Kerala were about to surprise the teams.
Finally when we gathered at the hotel, the teams were exhausted and their words proved that it is tougher traffic to on the roads of Maharastra. Team 4 broke their clutch cable about 3 km from the base hotel and the support team had to rescue them. As that happened right next to beach the team had major crowd from the local to enquire on what is their mission all about. That night, Chandrantah Shaw, had a cake cut for his 72nd birthday.
The drive from Calicut to Cochin started off well and early. The teams left the hotel well before 9 am. Within 1 hour I had two calls concerning a break down. Team 4 had gear problem and Team 5 clutch problem. No matter how many times I tell about the route during the briefing, the teams follow their GPS blindly and they are lead into narrow and unpleasant roads. Both teams made the same mistake and finding them took extra time, but after hat both teams were back on the road within half an hour and continued their journey. Team 1, the film crew, reached the hotel at 10.30 pm. Apart from the team all the other teams made it to the hotel well on time. Ravin’s friends in Cochin took them all to dinner and the day ended by planning the media coverage for the next morning.
The plan was to convoy to the Malayala Manorama TV channel office at the outskirts of Cochin city. The start was early and everything went well till the time the teams hit the crazy traffic. They were surprised to see that it is worse than in Mumbai. The convoy was broken by a break down and it took 15 minutes to set it right. At around 4 pm the teams had 200 km to cover and I knew then that their Media time had taken them to dark drive. All the teams drove themselves without help except Ravin and Nick. When we arrived at Hycith Trivandrum it was around 9.30 pm.
The Plan was to drive to Kanyakumari which is 90 km from Trivandrum and get back to Trivandrum by taxi. The plan went without any problem, till Team 1 broke down 8 km before the finish. The teams offered prayer at the trinity of Indian Ocean, Arabic Ocean and Bay of Bengal. We finally we went back to Trivandrum at 8.30 pm and had the finish ceremony and award distribution.
Teams were often shuffled during the rally, so it was a bit tricky to pick a winner. In the end, the Champions Award went to Pietro Paolinelli, who runs the schools in Virundavan and to Chandrakant Shah, who celebrated his 72nd birthday during the rally. Congratulations!
The Bonkers award went to David H Jamili and Aarti Khetarpal for keeping the mood and the spirit of the teams up all the time with their great sense of humor! A big thanks to you!
I bid the teams farewell at 10.30 pm and drove to Chennai. All of them had developed strong feelings and some of them even burst into tears, such was the power of bonding during the rally and they will all cherish it for long time.