Armed with fresh GK about Iran, Bi­joy is as ex­cited as a school­boy on a pic­nic as he com­pletes a quar­ter of a cen­tury in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try


Bi­joy Ku­mar, Karun Chand­hok, Richard Meaden, Richard Porter, Ted Kravitz

AL­RIGHT I WANT TO TELL YOU A LOT OF stuff and I have just one page. To be­gin with I am all ex­cited to pack my bags and hit the road. And it is go­ing to be vir­gin ter­ri­tory for me – never been to Iran, Azer­bai­jan and Rus­sia! I landed in Tehran once when the air­craft I was fly­ing in de­vel­oped an en­gine snag but oth­er­wise all new ter­ri­tory for me in­deed. So, I am busy googling cities that the In­dia Rus­sia Friend­ship Mo­tor Rally 2018 will con­nect and boy, am I ex­cited. So, what did I learn?

Ban­dar Ab­bas has noth­ing to do with mon­keys or a Swedish pop band from the eight­ies, Shi­raz is not ex­actly wine coun­try, Perse­po­lis is not a board game, Lankaran has no re­la­tion to Ra­vana, Makhachkal­a is not a peanut snack, As­trakhan has noth­ing to do with Opels and Voronezh is not a char­ac­ter from Archies.

Re­ally, I am miffed at the fact that I know so lit­tle about this part of the world… but hey some 13 days to go and I will do some more in­tense googling.

The rally has been or­gan­ised for the Govern­ment of In­dia by Kalinga Mo­tor Sports Club with Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture sup­port­ing the event with 20 Scor­pios. The first leg of the rally was suc­cess­fully com­pleted in In­dia. For the sec­ond leg, the ve­hi­cles will reach Ban­dar Ab­bas, the port town in Iran, by ship and the rally will get flagged off on April 28. Af­ter go­ing through the above men­tioned cities and cover­ing 5,483km, we will reach St. Peters­burg. Un­like other Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture events, I am not re­ally into or­gan­is­ing stuff and I am sure it will have its share of sur­prises and ad­ven­ture. And yes, don’t be sur­prised to see a fa­mil­iar name or two in the list of par­tic­i­pants!

Talk­ing of sup­port events, by the time you read this an­other con­voy made up of Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture ve­hi­cles would have con­quered the up­per Mus­tang val­ley in Nepal. This is the ter­rain oft men­tioned in hushed tones by off-road en­thu­si­asts. This ex­pe­di­tion is planned and ex­e­cuted by Nidhi Ti­wari of Women Be­yond Bound­aries with my friend and col­league Vinod Nookala in charge of the fleet of Scor­pios and Thars. Ex­pect more ex­otic drives from this as­so­ci­a­tion in the fu­ture!

The point I am driv­ing at is sim­ple. If you have a wild idea and need ve­hi­cle sup­port from a car maker, you can al­ways reach out to Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture with a pro­posal. We at Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture would eval­u­ate your pro­posal and if we find merit in it would sup­port you with ve­hi­cle(s) and as in the case of the Mus­tang ex­pe­di­tion, pro­vide you with ser­vice and spare part sup­port too. What we are not en­ti­tled to do is of­fer mon­e­tary sup­port to such events – so there, if you have a unique dream (ran­dom drive to Leh from your home town does not count) that re­quires a set of ca­pa­ble wheels, you know whom to reach out to. So, ladies and gen­tle­men, start dream­ing.

On a per­sonal note, ‘Happy 25 years of work­ing with cars’ to me! I know it sounds a bit con­torted, but it was in 1993 that I landed in Mum­bai look­ing for a job. The first sev­en­teen years I wrote about cars be­fore join­ing Mahin­dra and Mahin­dra to have some more fun with cars. Al­right, SUVs if you in­sist. Yes, there were ups and downs but it has been a phe­nom­e­nally fast quar­ter cen­tury al­right. As it turned out, those 25 years were rather im­por­tant for the In­dian au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try too. Right time, right place? You bet! ⌧

Ban­dar Ab­bas has noth­ing to do with mon­keys or a Swedish pop band from the eight­ies

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