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June 3, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

Day 17. Amravati to Aurangabad

Amazing is the name of this game! The Superdrive 2 was flagged off from Amravati by Mr Atul Deshmukh of Jaika motors. What a drive we had!

The roads all the way from Amravati city right till we reached Aurangabad were by far some of the best I have ever travelled on. Seconded by our team drivers, the entire team of Superdrive 2 Route 1 really enjoyed the early morning drive.

As the sun came up, our cavalcade of Tata Nanos drove onto the highway with first light. The cool early morning breeze and the freshness of everything around was like a massage for our senses. Bilal, one of our drivers said ‘Sir aisi subah me gaadi chalane ka maza hi kuch aur hai’, I nodded in approval.

We drove through many small villages today and also witnessed miles after miles of paddy fields on both sides of the highway. The smooth tarmac allowed us to observe the early morning scenes of life in India with peace. What better start to a day could one ask for?

At a distance of about 300 plus kilometres from Amravati, Aurangabad is our next port of call, the Superdrive 2 team drove with a renewed vigour. Our first stop was for chai at a small village about 200 kilometres before our destination city. We halted at a local dhaba/tea stall. Hot chai poured right off the coal stove and into our ‘cutting’ glasses. That feeling of a hot cup between the fingers on a cool early morning when the sky is overcast, it’s just better if I don’t try and describe it.

We reached Aurangabad a little after lunch time and settled down. We didn’t get too comfortable though, the Mall carnival takes place tomorrow! The preparations are underway and the word is going around!

Meet the Superdrive 2 at Prozone Mall, MIDC Aurangabad, tomorrow the 3rd of June 2011, from 4pm to 8pm and join the happiness parade with your Tata Nano!

The journey in pictures:

June 1, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

The preparations begin!

In Amravati today, the preparations for the carnival are on full swing! The venue is being prepared and the people have been seeing the Nano cavalcade on the streets. Our attention grabbing Nanos have already generated much hype amongst the people of this sleepy city.

The Superdrive 2 team distributed pamphlets and put up posters and danglers all over the city today. We even took a small drive to a town called Patarwada, where the local Tata motors dealer wanted us to show off the Superdrive 2 Nanos and spread the word.

We reached Patarwada around afternoon and after a short breakfast break, where we were offered missal without pav (Chapati se khao!), we took off on the village roadshow. We drove our cavalcade through the ultra-narrow streets of the village, while the people of the place gawked at our cars. We even drove through the sabji mandiof the village! What an awesome drive! We loved Patarwada and the vibe of openness and friendship that the people had.

After this short road show, we decided to head back to base. Back at Amravati, the flyers were being distributed at major town centres like the Jai Stambh Square and the Science Square.The people responded with earnest. They all seemed excited on the prospect that they will get a chance to get up close and personal with the Nano. The children love it, the youngsters love it and even the oldies love the Tata Nano!

The team thinks we will have a good number of people getting involved with the Tata Nano Superdrive 2 carnival at Amravati.

The sleepy town of Amravati is gearing up for the happiness parade! Get involved by joining us for the carnival on 1stJune at Nemuni Inn, 3 pm onwards and get a chance to win loads of Nano goodies! See you there!

The journey in pictures:

Heading into town


Tata motors at Fatarwada

Flag in at Jaika Motors in Amravati

June 1, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

Taking a pause, for the cause, 15 days on the road!

Today we were flagged in at Amravati, at the Jaika Motors Tata Showroom. We have spent half a month on the road! The Tata Nano Superdrive2 Route 1 team, after reaching Amravati, had some time in hand before the preparations for the carnival began again. We laid back, kicked off our shoes and relaxed.

On any road trip, it’s not just about going from one place to another. Our Journey across mainland Maharashtra hasn’t just been about the drive. The things we saw, the people we met and even the cups of chai we had on the highway – all put together have made the first half of the Superdrive 2 a memorable experience. Starting off with the Kolhapuri chappal and meeting the unhurried pace of Sholapur, from their driving into the metropolitan city of the orange fruit and now at the town of Amravati, The route 1 team and cavalcade has covered more than 1800 kilometres.

Right from when we left Mumbai, strangers to one another, the bond between us brothers has grown. The leaders of the drive on this route and I now share a friendship deeper than most. We don’t think twice before joking about each other. Making new friends, now that’s what life is about!

Looking back at the journey thus far, I now have a great liking for the Nano, it has driven over all kinds of terrain and performed exquisitely for the car that it is. As the motorhead I am, I have noticed the most popular myths about the car are mostly untrue. Having driven these Nanos, I can also tell you that the cars are up to anything you can throw at them. Good machines for the common individual. I might just get one for myself once I’m back home!

At the various events that we have been a part of and even on the road, the team and I have had the chance to interact with lots of Nano owners and their families. One thing that is a constant in the lives of all these people, it is the happiness that the Nano brings into their lives. Also, as I have said before, it is the fulfilment of a lifelong aspiration of owning a four wheeler. People on the road come up to us where ever halt for a break and ask us questions about the car and the drive. Sometimes they even come up asking whether we are shooting for a Bollywood film!

The journey so far has been an interesting amalgamation of people, roads, cars and the experience of travelling with a purpose. Everyone on the team, including our drivers have had a real blast doing what we do. Our cavalcade is blessed with some very experienced steering men. They constantly tell us stories of their life on the road and how they love driving as a part of this event. ‘Sameer bhai’ the most experienced of the lot tells me that he feels proud of the fact that he is driving for the Superdrive 2 cavalcade. He also elaborates on his critique about the Nano and says ‘jitni achi city mein chalti hai utni hi highway pe80 ki speed pe bhi araam se chalti hai hain’.Bilal, our in house speed demon says he like the balance the car has on ghats and hilly terrain. He tells me that for such a tall car, the Nano is perfectly poised on the road. Irfan or Salmaan Khan as he is affectionately called says that that the car is perfect for him. The men are all pumped up about the drive into Gujarat.

Looking forward, the state of Gujarat awaits the arrival of the Superdrive 2 Nano cavalcade and we boys can’t wait to get back on the road. First though, we meet the people of Amravati on the 1st of June. Meet the Nanos and join the happiness parade at Nemuni Inn, 3pm onwards on the 1st day of June.

We are recharged and ready to drive! Are you?

May 29, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

Day 13, Vroom Vrooom!

The Nagpur Mall activation was a terrific success and our team is now sky high on morale! This leg of Superdrive 2 takes the route 1 team from Nagpur to Amravati.

Flagged off from the Jaika Motors Tata showroom at Nagpur, the cavalcade of cars travelled back onto the highway. The National Highway 6, in my opinion is by far the smoothest section of highway – anywhere in India.

The views of the highway itself from the seats of our cars were dumbfounding. The radiating heat off the asphalt created the most stunning view of the road at a distance. Small hills over which the highway paves its track were awesome places to stop and just take in the sight of the entire length of the road.

The temperatures are hovering over the 58 degrees mark as we drive along on the highway. It is an experience travelling in areas of the country under such hot weather conditions. Thankfully, there are clouds in the skies above us. It didn’t rain today but we all hope it rains soon and well enough to make the drive more pleasant – especially in the afternoons.

We covered the distance of 150 kilometres in quick time and were settled in the small town a little before sunset. Amravati is home for the next few days as we prepare to, once again, head out into the comfort zone of the common man and bring to you their experience with the Tata Nano.

The journey in pictures:

 

 

May 28, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

Day 12, Nagpur meets Superdrive 2!

A brilliant interaction! The Superdrive 2 team had a blast today, whether it be the Mall Activation or the NanoSuperdrive 2 intra-city rally. Nagpur really loves its Nano and they want even more!

Early in the morning as we waited for our Mall to open, the Route 1 team was invited for a blood donation camp. All of us voluntarily donated blood for the camp organised by a local co-operative. We care!

The Superdrive 2 team had organised a Mall activation at the Empress Mall in Nagpur and also a rally/drive for the local owners of the Tata Nano. Today, people came in droves to check out the demo Nano kept at our central stand. The guests also played games like ‘fish the Nano’ and ‘ring it’ right there.

For the intra-city rally, rows of Nano after Nano lined up one behind the other in front of the Jaika Motors showroom here in Nagpur. The line-up of Tata Nanos owned by our guests stretched out as far as the eyes could see, like a colourful line of cars.

The registrations poured in and the guests were happy to be a part of this journey of the Superdrive 2 across India. Everyone was ready and game for the drive across Nagpur city!

The Tata Nano Superdrive 2 rally was flagged off by Mr Dongre, Deputy Commissioner Nagpur Division. The cavalcade of 50 plus Tata Nanos made its way around the major city centres of Nagpur as everyone else got a closer look at what the Nano phenomenon is. Everywhere from Anji chowk to Medical chowk, the Nanos made an impression. People asked us what the rally was about and why we were doing it and how could they be a part of it. We told them all to join us at the Empress Mall for the activation.

All along the road, heads kept turning and the eyes followed the huge line of cars. The line-up in Nagpur was a sight to behold.

As the sun readied itself for the day’s sundown, the rally was flagged in at the Empress mall. The parking was exclusively for Tata Nanos tonight! All the guest were invited in, where they had a look at the New Tata Nano and also played games and won prizes. The mood today was of intense fun and joy.

So many families came to our stand in the mall and clicked pictures with our Nano. The technical team from Tata helped answer all the queries the people had and our emcee and team made sure people enjoyed the games to the full. The mall was abuzz with talks about the Tata Nano and why not?

This was an awesome day, so many people, so many cars and so much happiness. All because of just one car – The Tata Nano.

Tomorrow we are heading to Amravati! Stay tuned to this space as I keep you updated with the latest – on the road!

The Journey in pictures:

 

May 27, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

Day 11. We have reached Nagpur!

Today the Superdrive 2 Cavalcade climbed on to the National Highway 7 amidst intermittent rain and crosswinds. 150 Kilometres from Yevatmal, we reached Nagpur early enough. We halted at Jaika Motors, the local Tata showroom, which was to be the home of our cavalcade for our stint at the centre of India.

Its peak summer here but thanks to the rain, as we reached Nagpur, the temperatures have fallen and the mid-day heat is just about bearable. The drive into the city was pretty calm. The traffic of Nagpur is pretty mellow for a working day, especially after visiting the towns of Kolhapur and Sholapur, it really feels good to come to a city where the pace of life gives one a chance to breathe. I hope it’s not a case of saying too much too soon!

Even as we settle down in the home town of oranges, the preparation for tomorrow’s mall activation has started in full swing. There is a flurry of activity all around me as I notice all the team members are on top of their game. I slow myself down even further to take in the sounds and aromas of Nagpur. This is a big city, with interesting people and an even more interesting road network. Almost every crossroad is called a square!

The people of Nagpur are in for a treat as our Nano Superdrive 2 Convoy prepares for the intra-city drive tomorrow. The two Jazzed up Tata Nanos, along with local guests who use the Nano everyday will grace the gala event as we roll across the city. I am looking forward to meeting the people who make up this city. It will be interesting to see and hear what they feel about the Nano and its presence in their lives.

As far as my experience is concerned, I am loving the opportunity to talk to people about a car that has already transformed the lives of more than 100,000 families. It is touching to see and hear stories of individuals as they express their deepest feelings for, what some people would call, a car.

Nagpur, we are here! Join us for the mall activation at Empress Mall, Cotton market, Nagpur from 11am to 9pm and become a part of this mega journey through India – The Tata Nano Superdrive 2.

May 27, 2011 / Nano Superdrive -2

Day 10, First rain!

On the road to Nagpur, we encounter our first rain of the season! Just as the first drops of water fall from the sky, we prepare to leave Nanded. The Superdrive 2 Route 1 Nano Cavalcade headed on to the highway negotiating crooked city roads and the rain soaked tarmac.

When it rains, a beautiful vibe takes over, the windows wind down and the freshness of the surroundings refreshes the senses. That smell of rain on mud is one of the most captivating aromas one may ever encounter; our cavalcade seems to think so too.

Breakfast was a nice affair, our dosa man, Suresh, made us some delectable masala dosas, wadas and idlis in the morning. The sambhar tasted like the real home-made stuff and the coconut chutney was brilliant too. A perfect start to the day!

We left Nanded hoping to reach Nagpur by the end of the day as 400 kilometres didn’t seem like much but the torrential rain we encountered on our way slowed our cavalcades pace down quite a bit. The Tata Nano is remarkably stable on slick surfaces as I noticed today. Well balanced for the tall car that it is. Even the ghats on the State Highway 3 were a breeze for this cute looking car.

Ever so determined, we reached a place called Yeotmal on the State Highway 3. Marked by green milestones all along, Yeotmal doesn’t seem like much of a travel destination, more like a transit town, a gateway to the centre of India. We decided to stop here for the night.

One thing has to be said, the food in Yeotmal is fit for a king. For a Non-Vegetarian this place is like heaven. Whether you’re a Hyderabadi who loves the ‘paya’ or a Lukhnawi who loves the ‘pulao’ it is all here. Stomachs filled up, the Route 1 team hit the sack.

Tomorrow we reach Nagpur, the city known for the Orange! Meet us at Empress Mall there and get a chance to win Nano Goodies!

The Journey in pictures: