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In an interview with Deepa Baruah, an applicant of the Great Driving Challenge, she tells us about her experiences on the highway, her partner, and why she loves to travel.

Excerpts of the interview…

Do you think you will go to the next level?
Deepa Baruah: I have no idea…frankly speaking I would like to. Everybody would love to win this round. Having said that there are many applicants, so it will be tough competition. The jury members will perhaps have a tough time selecting the top 100. However if it’s only about gathering votes than I won’t qualify. I’m at the 11th page.

Then why do you think you should qualify for the next round?
Deepa Baruah:
A far as I know it’s not all about votes. The jury members will also see the profiles of applicants. I think I have done a good job in making my profile attractive…having said that the jury members will have other criteria too. So let’s see…

Have you ever traveled by road?
Deepa Baruah:
O yes! My dad was in the Army so travelling is very much a part of my life. But that’s besides the point…both Dhruba and I have done a lot of traveling since the past 4 years. We have been to many places in Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa and the North-east. Since we stay in Delhi we have not driven to Goa or the Noth-east, but to other places we have driven down.

The challenge if you go to the last phase will involve a lot of driving. What is the maximum distance you have covered non-stop?
Deepa Baruah: I know it will be a 300 to 350 kms drive each day. But we are used to it. Our last trip to Manali in April…I will just give an example: we started at 6 pm in the evening from Noida and reached around 2.30 in the night at Swarghat where we night-halted. The next day after breakfast we left Swarghat at 10 am and reached Manali at around 3.30-4 pm. The next day we went to Manikaran and the third day to Rohtang Pass. That very day at 5.30 pm we left for Shimla and reached there at around 1 am. The next day we stayed at Shimla till 1 pm and left for Delhi. We reached Delhi at around 9.30-10 pm. So that’s a lot of driving we did in 5 days.

Last year during our first trip to Manali, while returning, we drove not-stop. We started at 10 am and after an hour’s break for rafting and in between lunch, tea and dinner, we reached home at 2.30 am.

So, both of you drive or it’s either you or your partner?
Deepa Baruah: No, we take turns to drive, although Dhruba is very reluctant to let me at the driver’s seat. He loves to drive and I like to click photographs. We both click lot of photos on the way. We take our own sweet time and wherever we get to see something interesting we stop to click photos.

Amongst all your getaways which will you term as the most unforgettable one?
Deepa Baruah: I think it will be our Kufri trip. It was during the high monsoons. Everything was lush green and beautiful. Although there were several scary moments too. There were landslides and trees on the road. We had tried to go to a place called Tattapani but midway the guys clearing the roads informed that there was a major landslide and we had to come back.

Do you have a blog where you jot these trips?
Deepa Baruah: Yes. It’s called Travel Hungry Souls. After every trip we write travelogues in this blog. Photographs we share via Picasa although of late we have discovered Flickr. So all our friends are updated on our trips.

Any place you like the most?
Deepa Baruah: I love the mountains. The trips to Manali is perhaps the best I have experienced. I can still go there for the third time. From the place where the Phando Dam is situated the river Beas flows besides the road….it is very beautiful. Dhruba loves the sea…so much so that after our first trip together in 2001, he decide to settle down in Goa. We have in fact bought an apartment in Goa. So it’s almost a yearly affair to go to Goa for a week to rewind.

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts…we wish you luck that you may win this challenge and enjoy. Keep us posted with your travelogues and photographs.



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