A month-long road trip that spans 4500 kms and three different countries may sound daunting to some and the journey of a lifetime to others. But whether you hit the highway yourself or not, I’m sure you’d find it intriguing to follow the journey of 10 young people from diverse walks of life who drove down the Asian Highway 1 from Delhi all the way to Bangkok, Thailand. They passed beautiful places like Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Jorhat in Assam, the world’s largest river island called Majuli in the middle of the Brahmaputra and then some truly unexplored bits of the North Eastern states like Kohima in Nagaland, or Moreh in Manipur. They then crossed the border and discovered the magic of Myanmar before reaching Thailand. They were driving the stylish S-Cross, which offers the toughness of an SUV along with the comfort and luxury of a sedan.
Nexa, the premium arm of Maruti Suzuki, which stands for ‘New Experience’ has been dabbling in events related to fashion and music. Their newest foray, announced at an elegant event in Delhi’s Andaz by Hyatt a few days ago, now takes them into the realm of travel.
Nexa collaborated with World Wide Media to do an extensive recce, invite the participants, arrange for this wonderful journey and create content for a fab new one-of-a-kind travel show. This will go on air every Sunday at 7.30 pm starting May 21, 2017, on all three Discovery channels in India, Discovery, Discovery HD and Discovery Turbo.
So who were the personalities involved? Actress Pallavi Sharda, chef Saransh Goila, fashion photographer Taras Taraporvala, TopGear magazine editor Girish Karkera, opera singer Natalie Di Luccio, professional race car driver Hussein Kachwala, cinematographer Sai Sanil, media consultant Naved
For Goila, who has not only reestablished butter chicken as the go-to comfort food in Mumbai’s Western suburbs with his much-lauded home delivery service, has also authored a book, one of the most exciting parts of this journey was the border crossings, apart from the spectacular sunrises and sunsets his mind’s eye is still in awe of. Also, cooking at monasteries, understanding the local spices and recipes was revelatory for him. “We are so used to going to places where we can communicate easily. When there is no language in common, it’s especially difficult to understand what ingredients the lady from Myanmar adds in her khauswey!” he shares.
For Kolkata singer Kunal Kundu, the trip was inspirational in a different way. He came back with a new song called Laapata, written in Myanmar, composed in Thailand and finally produced in India! When he sang it live, accompanied by his guitar, the assemblage had goosebumps from the sheer beauty and evocativeness of it. This one is going to be on my travel playlist for a long time to come.
Canadian opera singer Natalie di Luccio shared her own emotional moment when she sang the songs of the tea plantations with the ladies who pick the tea in Assam.
Clearly, Deepak Lamba, CEO, WWM, has a deep understanding of what charms the reader or viewer. “Content becomes engaging with people sharing their experiences. It’s important to immerse the brand while telling a story,” he explains an interesting insight.
RS Kalsi, Executive Director – Marketing & Sales for Maruti Suzuki, explains, “The idea to create this journey that travelled untravelled paths came from our endeavour to go beyond a purchase experience for our customers. We want people to see a lot of new things, to appreciate that a road trip isn’t about racing but about absorbing the experience, the local flavours, using all five senses…”
Now that’s my kind of journey. If it’s yours too, don’t miss this series, glimpses of which, revealed some excellent cinematography in stunning locales and beautiful, transformative moments that embodied the essence of travel.