Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chalchitra Expedition '09

The Chalchitra Expedition’09 was organized by Bring Your Own Film Festival (BYOFF) in collaboration with The Tourism Welfare Society of Rajasthan (TWSR) and Western Motorsports (WM). BYOFF was conceived as an independent platform for film-makers five years ago and has been held on the beaches of Puri since then. This year, BYOFF had put together a last minute team of film-makers and film students for an expedition through Rajasthan, coupled with a workshop for the students on documentary film-making. The film-makers were to interact with the students, guiding and giving them the impetus to create films heralding their own unique styles and perspectives. The resultant documentaries are to be show-cased at the next edition of BYOFF.

TWSR and WM provided logistical support to the expedition tapping the expertise in their respective fields of concern. While WM promotes adventure tourism in Rajasthan by combining motorsports events with historical destinations, TWSR aims to redefine tourism in Rajasthan by opening up new destinations and incorporating global best practices in the Indian tourism industry.

Rediscover Rajasthan. As I read the byline of TWSR an involuntary smirk came on my face. Having travelled through Rajasthan on some occasions before, it seemed like another attempt to catch the unwitting traveler’s imagination. Certain images immediately came to mind: desolate highways leading from one tourist paradise to another, imposing forts and embellished havellis, decorated camels, women clad in colorful ethnic dresses; and all the tourist kitsch that has become typical of Rajasthan.

Yet, as an aspiring film-maker myself, the expedition sounded alluring with its promise of close interaction with former and current students of India’s oldest film institute FTII Pune along with a handful of other independent film-makers. The possibility of observing how the visually rich landscapes would be perceived by diverse sensibilities was always interesting to learn and hone one’s own skills.

The expedition kicked off on a sleepy early morning from Jal Mahal, Jaipur. A sense of over-riding enthusiasm lingered heavily in the air as all of the participants wanted to make the most of a land and culture new to them. Mapping the vibrant colors, music, dance and song, the living traditions of Rajasthan, was a challenge cinematically and aesthetically.

After the ceremonial photo-ops and fanfare at Jal Mahal the expedition proceeded to the quintessential Jaipur attractions: Amber Palace and Jantar Mantar. As the evening settled in, the motley crew hustled back to the Pink City Restaurant, a hotel run by TWSR. Rajasthani folk dancers performed later, culminating the first leg of the 10 day expedition.
Early next morning we left for Bikaner, home of the famous Junagadh Fort. Several pleasant surprises came our way during the day: indicators of how the expedition would shape up ahead. Instead of the long, lonesome, often cold and impersonal highways we took the bumpy, narrow but welcoming country roads that led through dusty, unwary and unsuspecting villages. The locals in Rajasthan are a friendly lot, and we fielded their curiosity readily. The highlight of the drive came around noon, when we crossed the 2nd highest peak of the Aravalis. The loops leading to it are a strange sight in this otherwise lucid landscape. The peak is also home to a 1000 year old temple known as Harshnath. A row of windmills scattered around the top perfect the setting and add to the prominence the hill rightly deserves.

These intriguing roads have been unearthened by WM in their long grilling recces across Rajasthan for the motor rallies they organize. As a young energetic outfit, they are on a constant lookout for landscapes that captivate and yet are challenging for the participants. By the time we reached Shekawati, home to the famous painted havellis, the sun had cast its shadow on the land. Hurrying through a couple of havellis we saw glimpses of the painstaking details and designs that had made the embellishments famous worldwide. The darkness made filming/photographing rather cumbersome and unfruitful, and we decided to continue our journey to Bikaner. But we had seen enough to know that this district warrants for a timely and researched visit in the future.

The chill of the night at Bikaner caught some of us off guard, sending us scurrying for shawls and jackets. The next morning we headed for Junagadh fort, turning over another page in the annals of history. The fort and palace are set in huge grounds overlooking the administrative area of the city. The museum inside is very comprehensive in chronicling the history of the city and its fort, and is definitely worth a dekho. Our next stop was another out of the ordinary and interesting destination: a camel breeding farm and research centre, one of the biggest of its kind in India. There we had the rare privilege of watching the likes of Mr. Bikaner, Miss Jaisalmer et al, chewing cud peacefully, satisfaction brimming large on their faces.

The following day’s drive to Jaisalmer was easily the most rewarding and riveting. Shortly after we left, we had brief photo-ops with scores of Rajasthani women clad in traditional colorful clothes putting in their hours of work for NAREGA.

Lunch time saw us arrive at Kolayat, a small bustling town in the middle of the desert. But what makes this otherwise ubiquitous town unique is a lake blooming with lotuses in the heart of the desert! One could take a shikara ride or share the religious fervor of the numerous babas/sadhus lingering around the edges of the lake. The small eatery which housed our hungry lot also surprised us with its well managed response to our unannounced visit, without compromising on the quality or the taste of its offerings. The small town of Kolayat gave us several deep and fond impressions.

The journey ahead got more interesting as we raced, albeit in futility, to meet the sunset at a huge permanent dune. What had set our pulses racing were the sights on both sides of the road: a lush green landscape fuelled by the Indira Gandhi Canal on one and huge sand dunes on the other. Perched on a suitable summit, the views are nothing short of striking; both for the stark contrast they offer and the sheer volume of landscape they engulf in their reach. Being in the constant company of Dr. Mahaveer Singh Nathawat (President of TWSR) and Mr. Anukraman Singh Rathore (President of WM) , illumined me in no ends on the travails and tribulations of Rajasthan. Seemingly trivial to a casual tourist, the incisive information they share fills the nooks with sympathetic details and make travelling a much more inclusive and immersive experience. Women shoveling sand in a daunting landscape, a surreal boat ride and the visually dramatic drive; the day seemed to hold too much at times and we carried on, our spirits rising to a higher crescendo with each experience.

The next couple of days were spent in Jaisalmer, the city which for me perhaps epitomizes Rajasthan the most. The Jaisalmer fort is one of the few living forts still and is also known rightly as Sonar Qilla or The Golden Fortress. It houses a couple of museums, ancient Jain Temples, havellis and entrepreneurial city people. The narrow winding cobbled streets from the erstwhile ruler’s era seem to be burdened with an enormous sense of history and the friendly tourist shops dotting them make walks immensely rewarding. We also did the customary visits to the larger and more famous havellis inside the Jaisalmer city and the camel walk in the dunes of Sam.

Outside the city limits lies a village in ruins, the ghost town of Khaba. According to legend, it was abandoned in one night, as thousand fled to escape the wrath of the ‘evil’ Pradhanmantri of Jaisalmer Saalam Singh Oswal. The ruins run for a mile or two and the numerous windmills strewn in the backdrop add to the eeriness and give weight to the numerous creepy stories floating around.

The last leg of the expedition saw us making our longest single day haul yet, pushing from Jaisalmer to Pushkar. Enroute we stopped at the village of Khichan, which has been in the news of late for being the favored place of resting and feeding of the migratory Demoiselle Cranes. The breeding grounds of these birds are the plains and steppes of Eurasia and Mongolia, and many perish on the long arduous haul due to fatigue, hunger and attacks by predators. Here they are revered by the villagers for their vegetarian eating habits and for the practice of monogamy. Conversations with the local inhabitants gave us interesting clues about the recent migratory trends. From a handful of birds visiting the village some years back, it has now become a full blown migration with close to 10,000 birds resting in winters. The efforts of the villagers have not been in vain and now the Government of Rajasthan has taken note in view of the international fame the village has attained of late.

Racing ahead, we caught the world famous Pushkar Camel Fair a couple of days before its culmination. The low attendance of the cattle this year caught me with surprise and disappointment. The primary reasons attributed to it were our late timing (the best cattle gets traded in the initial days) and if you would believe it, recession! The villagers complained of the low prices most of them had been offered this year being hardly enough to cover their costs of travelling back home. There was much hum-ho at the festival with many cultural, religious and tourist activities being staged at different parts of the site.

The day the group split for their respective destinations we had an informal discussion wherein all the members shared what the expedition had entailed for them. The frequent sessions of interaction as planned earlier could not happen due to paucity of time mostly. This sole session did come too late but was not too little for sure. Numbers and pleasantries were exchanged thereafter.

Proceeding back to Jaipur as the expedition drew to a close, my face was split open in a wide unabashed grin. How the cynical smirk at the start, slowly transformed itself into an easy recognition of the richness of the vivid landscape eluded me myself.
Atharva Gupta

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chalchitra Expedition '09

Privet or Asalom Aleykum (Russian and Tajik greetings)!

I am Sharofat from Tajikistan pursuing Film Direction course at Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. I recently participated in Chalchitra Expedition ’09, organized by Western Motorsports, Tourist Welfare Society Rajasthan and BYOFF, Puri in collaboration, as a part of our workshop. It was first time that FTII workshop was organized travelling across cities in Rajasthan.

The Expedition started from Jaipur and covered Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Pushkar; ended at Pushkar with Pushkar Fair.

Firstly, thanks a lot to the organizers of the expedition and creators of such a beautiful program with medieval Rajput forts where voices and footstep of their inhabitants can still be heard, lots of folk dances with ringing ghunghrus and flowing ghaghras, camel rides on the sand dunes in peach sunset light, small havelies that became a bridge between past and present and the golden town Jaisalmer, that looks like an arabian fairy-tale with all these shining panels on the walls, which are put by sellers...
Rajasthan amused me by wildly colorful dresses and craft-making. Only after visiting Rajasthan I can perceive an idea of such a colorful world: People living in desert compensate the flatness of landscape by wearing red, pink, yellow, orange, green clothes and even their houses are very colorfully painted and decorated.

To me Rajasthan seemed to be frozen, I could meet people from the historic times in the preserved frescoes on the walls of the palaces or havelies. And then ‘meet’ them alive right around the corner. The famous style of moustache, the big eyes, the transparent veil covered women and their costumes… are really fascinating.

Right before the expedition I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find right communication with local environment, which I had to document as a part of our documentary workshop. And what a surprise and pity was when people started to accept me only as a tourist, and demonstrate only "formal" touristic side of themselves, which they show to thousands like me coming to their places to discover exotics (but I was just a student of FTII...).
For instance, at the Pink City Restaurant in Jaipur, where we were hosted, we met a guy who was preparing Rajasthani puppet show. We got interested in the performance and we approached him. Befriended, he showed us the puppets, taught how to handle them and let us perform for a while. From being spectators we were at backstage performing. It was an awesome experience. I remember this incident because there was something which didn’t happened to me later in whole trip. Inspite of my previous expectations about communications with local people, I felt that I couldn’t enter the space behind that colorful touristic curtain and become "one of them" (like it happened with puppet’s show), but had to remain as a viewer.

Certainly, there was a great job done by organizers of the event, chalking out the beautiful route of the expedition and schedule, taking care of lodging and food, but the problem seemed to be that this expedition wasn’t designed for the documentary workshop of the film-students and their requirements. Firstly, due to very tight schedule (of course, organizers tried to show participants as much of Rajasthan as possible and that’s their ‘plus’). But for us, in my opinion, it was too much of information, you even didn’t know to what object to give prerogative to be shot. Also the saturation of impressions provoked tiredness… Cause of a tightly planned schedule most of the time we couldn’t stop wherever we wanted to shoot something on the way from one place to another. It would create unnecessary delay and shifting of all the plans. And of course it would be impossible for the workshop to have a separate program than the main one.
Anyway, if you didn’t try you wouldn’t have an experience which would be helpful in future, but definitely it was a lesson how to manage in unknown location you see for a first time and shoot in rolling rhythm.


meet me at :

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Monsoon Ride - 2009

By : Dhiraj Arora


Overall Cars Category

Ok so I went to The Monsoon Ride 2009 organised by the Western Motorsports headed by the experienced and I would say versatile Mr Anukraman Singh Rathore and ace biker Raj Singh Rathore,over the last few days. Attached are my thoughts on the experience.

First off, yes, we went on the swift diesel. Originally, I wasn’t planning on attending. As I thought I wont be able to spare 3 days, though the event was for 1 day only but going to Jaipur(500 kms away) to attend a one day event would cost me 3 days. But after getting a call from my friend Chidanand Murthy who happened to be my Navigator for the event I decided to finally go for it.

So we (me, my wife n my little daughter, shes the one who enjoyed the most) left Chandigarh at 6 in the morning. The 500km drive took almost 9 hrs with the never ending traffic jams in Delhi (should have taken the other route) a stopover of 1 hr at a friends place in Gurgaon to reach the Amer Road Jaipur. Called up Anirban, the official (nice guy and always supportive) on reaching the picturesque Amer fort, though wanted to stop at the Fort for photography (clicked some on the move) but wanted to get the documentation and the scrutiny done at the pink city restaurant first. With the efforts of the very professional Shalini Mam and Anirban it was a breeze It hardly took 1 hr for all the documents completion with stickering and all and the scrutiny thing. The venue was good but it could have been better had it been on the roadside or something so that its a bit easier for an outsider like us to reach. The rally had a number of enthusiastic bikers with some coming from as far as Bangalore

We were asked to reach the flag off site, next morning, which was opposite Jal Mahal at 5:00 am, beautiful site with Jal Mahal on one side and beautiful scenery on the other reached the venue bit early so had got some time to move around the place and click some pics. Were given the breakfast packets to be had on our way I think that is the reason the average speed was given 30kmph on a nice Highway so that the breakfast can be had on the move comfortably LOL .....

The first leg started had to maintain a speed of 30KMPH too low for a road like Delhi Highway but rules are rules and in a rally no rules are meant to be broken(if you wanna win) Taking a U turn on the highway entered a wildlife reserve kind of place which was all gravel It was fun but a bit disappointed for the low speed due to the free-roaming wild animals(for which we were warned in advance) in the reserve area. Lots of slowing down and breaking in every turn, it was somewhat disappointing but that is what is called a TSD rally.

So after arriving at the finish of the Leg 1 at Fort Bhangarh the so called haunted place we had enough time to have our lunch and to visit the fort, Excellent food, but would have been better if those were prepared and served on the venue itself with giving a little more comfort to the participants and not to forget the Water. Being a first of its kind event by a new Motor Sports Club the efforts were commendable.

After finishing our Lunch we walked the path around the Fort, reading the information stands and taking pictures among the ruins of the fort. We saw a number of folks climbing the trees over the pond in the Shiv Temple situated within the fort and jumping into the pond, which we all thought was pretty nuts, but made for some neat photography. After the almost I hr walk around the base and lawns in the Fort, we reached to the top of the fort to find a big spectacular view of the Bhangarh village and the ruins of the fort.

On the very beginning of the leg 2 we were stopped by a herd of Camels, We lost some precious minutes wading those off but had coverred up the time lost in next few kilometers. The leg 2 went through small villages it was a great road, lots of twisties. We had a few spots where we found a good rhythm but again the speeds were kept pretty low and there was a lot of braking through the turns as the ride wore on. Then came the perfect spot, the catch, very well planned Bhul-Bhulaiya, a loop, this is was the finest spot of the whole rally this was a turn where almost everybody including the Dhurandars of rallying got wrong But not Chidanand (he is perfect at reading the road book), may what comes stick to the roadbook this is what I have learnt from this). The ride back from the Bhangarh fort to Jaipur was awesome, with great views of the Marble Mines, Forts on top of the hills and small villages.

After a long wait, actually it was not a very long one but 2 hrs seemed to be very long one when you have nothing to do but wait. Finally the results for both the legs separately came out there was a little problem in the results but soon it was sorted out. And there came the moment of joy we had won the event.

Then there was a celebration, drinks, & party Got the winners trophy from the JK Tyre the main sponsor for the event.

All told, a little more than 1000 kms of highway driving and 200kms of rallying. And a pretty fun time and well tasted the sweet win. Thanks for reading!

Dhiraj Arora

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Western Motorsports n ME

"Motor Sport" , a word that had never came in my mind even in my wildest dreams till I met Anukraman Sir , who used to tell me about Desert Storm, Raid-de-Himalaya and other motor sport events and I used to think that people involved in it must be really crazy to do all these kind of things.

But, this motorsport bug bit me also in September 2008, when I did “Indian Motor Car Rally” with his team and enjoyed every moment of it. I didn’t even know the ABCD of this thing but Sir told me only one thing about being an official in any motor sport event and i.e. “Bahot lagti hai officials ki” and this line of his came out to be true in all the events of which I have been part of, whether it was Indian Motor Car Rally (my first rally as official) or be it Desert Storm 2009 in which I went as his co-driver or would rather say “passenger”, The Monsoon Ride’09 & Polaris ATV Challenge’09.

Team Indian Motor Car Rally

The thought of forming a motor sport club came in our minds when Me, Anirban Sir and Anukraman Sir while we were coming back after finishing with Desert Storm 2009 and were having tea on a roadside dhaba and everything clicked perfectly and thus Western Motorsports came into existence after 2 months.

I still remember that telephonic conversation with Anukraman Sir when he thought of doing our very first event “The Monsoon Ride”. Few lines of the conversation which I remember are

Sir: I am thinking of doing a TSD event.

Me: Great. When are you planning to do that?

Sir: Next Month. Dates are 4th and 5th July and the event will be called “The Monsoon Ride”.

Me: What !!!!!!!!

Sir: What whoot ka time nahin hai, kaam shuru karo ... Entry form design karna hai , shuru ho jao.

And that’s how, it all began , everything came out of nowhere, sitting on laptop throughout the day, searching for different documents, rules and regulations of a TSD rally, making documents (Supplementary Regulations, DCOC manual, Time Cards, Control Sheets, Logo for the event, Logo for the club etc.).Discussing everything on phones, chats, mails working day and night till 4-5 or sometimes even 6 in the morning.(Gosh, I never studied this much for an exam also).

Then I went for the Recce, from Jaipur to Bhangarh, one of the most beautiful tracks I had seen. One thing which I have noticed about Anukraman Sir is his tremendous skill of finding tracks for any motor sport events in which he is involved, be it for the Indian Motor Car Rally, Desert Storm 2009 (The very first night section , yes I was the lucky one to accompany him in that recce also),The Monsoon Ride and Polaris ATV Challenge, each and every track found by him were appreciated by all the officials & participants.

We had only 25 days to go for The Monsoon Ride in which the core team of Western Motorsports(Anukraman Sir, Raj Singh Sir, Aazaad Sir, Anirban Sir, Shalini Ma’m) all of us worked like maniacs for sponsorships, road books ,logistics, planning and execution of the event.

Finally D Day arrived for our very first event “JK Tyre-The Monsoon Ride”.(Yes, finally we bagged in some sponsors JK Tyres, Big TV, Club Mahindra, Trendy Webs, Dhruvan and some more) and everything started as we planned & everything planned for the first day went on smoothly. We received 50+ entries in one month which was a great achievement for all of us being new and no big names from motor sport world.

The next day was very crucial for all of us as everything has to be perfect no matter what comes in our way. None of us slept for last two nights because of the last minute work load we all had, but I salute the spirit of every official of JK Tyre - The Monsoon Ride that everyone reported on time and worked like anything to make the event a success. Everything went on smoothly on the second day also, we did have some critical comments from the participants but we’ll make sure that those things should not be repeated in future. Critics are the part of the game and if healthy one’s which we fortunately had are good for development of an organization.

I would also like to mention Team Northern Motorsport for standing beside us and were there for us for every single moment when we felt we were lagging somewhere. Thank you JD sir, Sudev Sir, Philip Sir, Bharat Sir, Deepak Sir, Rahul Sir, thank you TEAM NORTHERN MOTORSPORT.

While we were gearing up for The Monsoon Ride, came another good news about our next event which was India’s first ATV event “Polaris ATV Challenge”. Right after finishing with The Monsoon Ride, we started working for the ATV event which was announced in the Prize Distribution Ceremony of JK Tyre-The Monsoon Ride.

Polaris ATV Challenge was a 3 day event and god was kind enough to shower his blessings in form of rains throughout the event. A total off-road event with heavy rains throughout the day was a real treat for everyone in those hot humid summers. I would love to mention “Chhotu” (Shalini Mam’s Bolero) who was our companion throughout the event. We had a great time with everyone present right from officials and participants (especially Mrs.Deepa Malik, hats off to her spirit).

All n All it feels great to be a part of something like this, I had always wanted to do something adventurous and would like to thank Anukraman Sir for giving me a chance to experience something like this and accepting me as a part of his team .


Yatin Gupta

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Polaris ATV Challenge 09

Hello Friends,

We are just over with yet another event, Polaris ATV Challenge 09, which was India’s frist ATV Rally. Doing back to back events is not easy but TEAM WESTERN MOTORSPORTS pulled it off beautifully. During “JK Tyre - The Monsoon Ride” itself I had suffered a leg injury, an internal one but that was not going to stop us as a word was given to conduct Polaris ATV Challenge 09. With all the hiccups taken in stride the event was a good success.

As nothing new we also did have differences with the presenter of the event Trans Asia, but if these are not there what is the fun what is the challenge. I do agree we lacked on our part on more than one front but that was due to getting pissed off due to the behavioral discrepancies from Trans Asia, I put my hand up and accept the fault atleast on our part as it was not at all professionalism, but humane.

The event was basically executed in a week’s preparation as we did not have to work on the entries only the execution which was taken as only the rally execution and not as the wholesome rally including the peripheral. It was a great learning experience and has improved us on our logistical arrangements, now the team has the confidence of pulling off an event anywhere with whatever magnitude, but we are not going to fly on the confidence, we would like to progress gradually.

It was a drastic change in climate and from no rains for a fortnight god had mercy at last and it rained almost all through the event, words of Mr. Rusy Kohli came true, weathermen watch out for your careers. The rains were too heavy for day 3, the Leg 2 SS 1 had to be cancelled as going through a particular section of this could have caused injuries as it had become water logged and too slushy.
The event was completed without any protest or mishap. The only mishap which occurred was a breakdown in an ATV of competitor Raj Singh just before the start of Leg 2 SS 1, till then he was leading the rally with a great 3 minutes lead. Rusy kohli and Ashish Bahl emerged winners of their respective categories and Rusy won the overall trophy also. At the time of Prize Distribution Ceremony it was drizzling all the time, the ceremony was conducted in the rain all loved it and enjoyed it.

The effort of all the officials and marshals was highly commendable as they withstood the rain, they rode on their bikes all the way from Jaipur to the stages in heavy rains to do the duties, I salute their passion to the sport. Will not like to point out any single official’s effort but effort of Shalini Singh has to appreciated, she got late in starting off from Delhi but did not take it as an excuse but drove all alone with her CHOTU (bolero) all the way from Delhi reached Jaipur at 2 in midnight and was on her toes by 4 and on stage to take up her duties. HAT’S OFF!! Shalini Hat’s off to you.

Polaris ATV Challenge too just like JK Tyre – The Monsson Ride was very well supported by people from different motor sport groups, that is the sporting spirit which I wish would wish to continue and prevail. Sidharth Singh of Jaipur Motor Cycle Club was the COC, Adhiraj Singh of Rajputana Jeep Club did the starts of day 1, Vikas Singh of Team Jeypore was there for the day 2 starts and Anil Gautam from SAAHAS with his entire team came and did the flag-off.

There was another lady in the event just for her sheer passion and commitment to the sport, DEEPA MALLIK a lady paralyzed waist below came all the way from Ahmednagar, just to take the flag off and ride a few kilometers into the stage. Seeing her courage and passion we deployed a jeep to back her up in the stage with her support system. Hat’s off to you too Deepa.

The Polaris ATV Challenge is over now and we are planning an event in winters. The event would be a tough one for participants as well officials but am pretty sure it will also be through as knife through melted butter. It would also be on TSD format and we are looking into putting in separate categories off-road and tarmac both for 4 wheelers 2 wheelers and there would be another element which I would not like to disclose as yet, but can assure you it would be a spine chilling experience. The event is still in planning stages but can assure you of a new experience and would be trying to eliminate all the flaws which were there in the earlier events

So hope to see you in winters, keeping fingers crossed.

Anukraman Singh,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Living My Dream !!!

By : Deepa Malik participant Polaris ATV Challenge

Always wanting to be on wheels and being the active part of the motor sport world is what i forever dreamt of. I often laugh and quote that god mistook my wish and put me on a wheel-chair for good. Relegation to an indoor like was something i was not going to settle for,and thus began my search for opportunities where i could turn the wheel of fate and redesign it to include adventure and fun activities in the lives of wheel-chair bounds.

And one such opportunity came my way when i learnt about the India's first ATV rally organised by Western Motorsports with Trans-Asia Distributions.

I saw some potential of being able to participate as i did a record making drive on my ATV on tarmac road. So I could ride an ATV but a formal rally and that too off-road was a different thought and a scary one for a woman paralysed waist below.

I am glad that Rusy gave me the permission to participate on a condition of filling up formalities of paper work.But I'm also glad that the officials at Western Motorsports welcomed my unending queries with so much ease. I know I was very difficult with my bag full of questions about the route, my backup vehicle and even a place for my husband in it and the list goes on. My heart felt thanks to Anukraman and his team for being so patient with me. They not only made things look easier for me but also encouraged me. If it was not for the comfort zone and acceptance created by them, I dont think I would have mustered up the courage to request
Ashish Bahl of Adventure Wheels lending me one of his ATVs. A request to which he immediately responded with a positive and with it came with his participation as well.

As I landed at the scrutiny point, I could hardly contain the excitement but yes the reception was a little confusing as there were two counters. We did have to shuttle between the two a couple of times as the T-shirts and leaflets were given inside the hotel and documents had to be submitted outside at the scrutiny counter.At it took me a while to figure out wether we had to report at the Polaris counter or the scrutiny manned by Western Motorsports. The stay arrangements at Clarks Amer were good and definitely gave the event a great standard.

I wish there was a better media coverage and attendance at the press conference. A lot of effort and money was spent on arrangements but I sincerely felt a lack of media presence to do justice to match the magananimity of the event.

My parents were there to witness my flag off and my hubby dear to lift me in his Arms and made me sit on the ATV. It was indeed a dream come true for a person who had little hope of ever seeing a podium.I still remember Anukraman's words just before the Flag-off, "Don't keep thanking us,Our motto is to promote motorsports and we at Western Motorsports are just doing that.You wanted to be outdoors and its our duty to help you do that". Seriously they all did a wonderful job.

I had a special vehicle to back me up. Though I just did a few Kms on the Day 1. As I did feel betrayed by my body balance the off road terrain demands skillfull support of legs to balance the ATV,but still slowly I covered a few kms. and at every turn and bend there was a marshal to assist me but those few kms meant the world to me. I was then transported to finish line. Luckily it was a pleasent day and hunger was the only thing which bothered and not the heat, while I waited for everyone to reach the finish line.

The most pleasant surprise came that afternoon, when in the middle of nowhere were the awesome refreshment meal we were served. I am a caterer by profession and can say with a lot of authority that they were the best sandwiches i ever had. The juice and the brownie was the ultimate treat one could ask for....WELL DONE Western Motorsports. It would be not justified if I miss out on the mention of the visual treat we got by watching the hair raising descend of the Marhsal bikes and jeeps from an accute slope, Phewwww..... you guys at Western Motorsports are dare devils.

I have to commend Anjali also for keeping up with boys/men. She surely deserves a pat on her shoulder.

I loved this venue and the food of the break up party "The Farms", but I wished the audio visuals were not delayed so much. I also wish the announcements were a little more amicable and we all maintained the essence of sports and sportsmanship.

Overall I Loved the experience of a being a small part of the history in making. The Beginning of ATVs in India. I was happy that Polaris ATV Challenge gave me a platform to convey to the world that love for outdoors and adventure sports is a must. It gives you strength to fight the odds of life and facing challenges in good spirit. I hope I have been also able to achieve the aim of spreading the message of ability beyond disability. Through my participation i wanted to convey that the words adventure and motorsports go pretty well with physically challenged.

Just a few mindsets to change.

Thank you Polaris, Adventure Wheels and Western Motorsports for accepting me.

Deepa Malik