1 lakh rupees
Adventure of a lifetime....
I'm an enthusiast who loves to travel. I may be naive and young, but that doesn't stop me. I saw an opportunity to travel and I grabbed it. I mean I was getting paid to travel and take selfies, unreal! My sister, Sahaya and I didn't believe that this was happening cause it just seemed too good to be true! My main objective was to explore the unexplored and the only thing I told Sahaya was that I'm going to go to the north-east and to the Andamans. We were flown into Bombay on 29th April and went straight to the Viacom 18 office in Andheri. Our journey had begun...
Task number 1 of the MTV great selfie challenge was to click a selfie at an international border of India . I was elated as I was all set to head towards the Bhutan border till 11pm on 30th April, an hr before the challenge commences. Last minute adversities forced me to change my route to Jaisalmer. Everything happens for a reason and I'm glad it did.
We were welcomed to Jodhpur by army officers who had arranged a cab to come pick us up from the airport. We ate an elaborate spread of North Indian food at the army mess, after which we headed to The Golden City of India, Jaisalmer. We Stayed at a brigadier's house in the cantonment area and received the royal treatment.
2nd may, we headed out to the border post, 609 in an army jeep. Under the blazing heat of the sun, our tire got punctured. The ten minute delay was a blessing in disguise. We were driving through the Thar desert, when I thought I saw a group of villagers that gradually turned into a herd of sheep. As we got closer, I saw the most breathtaking sight. They were a volt of vultures, at least 6ft. high. We waited, and we saw them hop and take off. It was delightful. We stopped at Tannot Mata, a temple located in western rajasthan near Jaisalmer. The village in which the temple is located is close to the Pakistan border, and is very close to the battle site of Longewala of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. Tourists cannot go beyond this temple to see the Indo–Pak Border unless they have special letter of permission. I was privileged to be able to go till BP 609, let alone click a selfie there. The best part is yet to come, at the border I saw my new smart phone, a Panasonic Eluga S. In my ecstatic state, I clicked the perfect selfie and bounced. On our way back to the city, our tire got punctured again but it was worth it. It was an extravagant adventurous journey in the hands of luxury.
We caught a second class non-AC sleeper train to Delhi where we got off at the Delhi cantonment, relieved after an 18hr heat wave of a journey. My driver took us home where we ate the most delicious meal cooked by my mother, Sabina Sharma. We freshened up and were about to head to majnu Ka tilla to catch the bus to manali when my mother suggested that we go to Kashmir. I started checking flights and searching about adventure sports in Gulmarg. We were all ready to change our plans and head to Srinagar but unluckily, Gulmarg has received torrential rain fall in the last few days and I could not paraglide there. So we boarded the bus, ready for the 13hr journey.
We Reached Manali at 9am on the 4th. Spent 2 hrs in a cyber cafe and ate some half boiled eggs that were seriously half boiled. After a lot of planning, discussions and arguments, we decided to stay the night at Naggar. The local bus cost us Rupees 30 and the journey was absolutely serene. We stayed the night at Chanda's home stay where Lata Aunty took great care of us. We freshened up, ate lunch at a Pizzeria and went to visit the Naggar Castle and the monastery. I wanted to eat trout for dinner so Lata Aunty ordered some fresh water trout and I told her that I would cook it continental style. I gathered all my ingredients, received some help from her daughter and served trout in lemon garlic butter with sautéed vegetables.
We Reached Kashmeri gate, Delhi at 8am, 2 hrs behind arrival time and went straight to Paranthe wali Galli to eat some sinful, deep-fried paranthas. Feeling highly energetic on lack of sleep, we explored Jama masjid, chandani Chowk, ate at the famous karim's, took a rickshaw ride(which I rode as well). For the first time, i saw a culture rich Delhi,through the eyes of a tourist in search for the cultture.
Task number 3 required us to click a selfie with a celebrity. One of my friends tipped me off that Rocky and Mayur from highway on my plate are regular customers at this fast food restaurant called Jughead's in uday park, New Delhi. I went to the restaurant to order some daal fry, chicken tikka, and just when I was about to order roti, Rocky and Mayur show up next to me and order 8 naan's. I was completely taken aback, I mean what were the odds!? The three of us, ate lunch together, talked about my journey until then and sat and entertained me for 45 minutes. They listened, mostly talked and let me get in one or two lines. They're foodies and so am I. They're travellers and I love to travel. I couldn't have met more appropriate celebrities for this challenge.
And finally, it was time to click an epic selfie. Mayur told Rocky to do a head stand and he said that he'd do a hand stand. I thought they were joking until rocky picked up a pizza box and used it as a base for his head and Mayur lifted him vertical. In the middle of all this hustle-bustle and madness I clicked an awesome selfie with the craziest tv entertainers, Rocky and Mayur from highway on my plate.
Selfie for a cause. This was not a task for me. It was an experience, that has changed me from within.
We reached Cochin at 9 in the morning where our driver, Sudhevan was waiting with my name on a placard to pick us up. We went to my cousin's in-law's place where we were given breakfast, or should I say buffet. We freshened up and headed out to Jew town. When I reached, I realised that my college had brought me there five months ago. We walked around, I bought a pair of victorian era earrings. I visited a lot of antique shops and was enamoured by The vintage items and bought a pair of Victorian a The rich culture of that place captured my attention. Sudhevan drove us around, saw st. Francis church, fort Kochi and age an authentic meal of Kerala food. We were staying in a suite in Riveira apartments where we had 2 helpers and 1 driver to our beck and call. It was absolute luxury, again. Complete bliss.
9th Morning, we left home by 12. I bought some art supplies and then we headed to the orphanage. The orphanage that I went to was run by a nun who looks after about 28 children ranging between the ages of 8-15 years. I had taken 2 chart papers and a box of acrylic paints and told each of them to paint their palms and put their hand print on the paper. After our art and craft session I played music for them to dance on. They didn't know most of the songs that I played but they danced anyway. They were a spontaneous and enthusiast bunch of kids whom you could love easily.
They wanted to dance on lungi dance but I didn't have the song And so they played their own music, which they blasted on their speakers. I danced on Sheila ki jawaani, did salsa with one of them and one of them Did a cart-wheel for me. One kid, pratullia made a drawing for me as well. We played the blind fold game. The kids were always jumping. Laughing, clapping, calling me Aunty and running around, helping each other. We got each of them dairy milks and made them pose for a lot of selfies. Some of the younger ones were thoroughly amused and fascinated by me, and the selfie stick while I was enamoured the by them in the short span of 2 hrs.
After we had done all the activities that I had planned for them, I wrote spread smiles on their art piece and made them pose with it. I got the cutest number of endless selfies.
This task was just not a task, it was an experience of a lifetime. Something's that will stay with me forever. It was an emotional roller coaster for me, interacting with these children because it made me realise how touching it is to see others' smile because of you. I'm grateful to zerxes and MTV for setting this challenge, selfie for a social cause. It was a deeply touching memory embedded in me forever.
Task no. 5
Take a selfie at a panchayat. I wasn't expecting anything from this challenge for it did not excite me
We landed in goa after a 10 hr stop over at Bangalore where I clicked a selfie with Kanan Gill in my half asleep sate. We took a cab from goa and drove along the western ghats into Maharashtra to reach a beach village called tarkarli. We went saint to the panchayat but it was shut as it was Sunday and so we decided to roam around. We went to the Sindhudurg jetty from where we took a ferry to a diving spot. I went scuba diving after years and even though the visibility wasn't too good, it was a great experience. We are some typical Malvani food, which consisted of prawns, Surmai, Promfet and sole curry. That night I lay down under the stars.
The next morning, day 11 we woke up and headed to the panchayat. We waited for the gramsevak to talk to us cause only he could communicate in Hindi and being a Marathi speaking district, there were some communication barriers. What I loved was hat the head of the panchayat is a women. Women empowerment is not only prevalent in big cities but is reaching the inner villages of India
After having a lovely interview with them and clicking a selfie, the panchayat helper, Datra Raju Ram Malvenkar served us some fanta and cashew biscuits. It was a very welcoming and educating experience.
We were headed towards Sindhugarh fort when we see a wedding ceremony happening. I got off the auto, with full intentions of crashing the wedding and walked in with confidence. We we welcomed so warmly by the groom's parents. They called us up on stage, I clicked a lot of selfies with the bride and groom and their family and friends. Their parents didn't let me leave without eating a typical Malvani meal but I was on a time crunch and hence had to leave. It was the warmest wedding crashing experience ever.
We took a the same ferry to Sindhugarh fort, which was built by Shivaji Mahara in the middle of the Arabian Sea. We walked through the fort, which is currently inhabited by 18 families who are descendants of the soldiers who protected it at that time. We were given a tour by one of the inhabitants itself and walked through the village in scorching heat. It was worth it because when we reached the boundary of the fort, it was a breath-taking sight. We walked on the boundary wall and reached our ferry just in time to head to the shore.
After that heat, I needed to cool off so I went to a beach near by our resort and got tossed around by the waves. We saw the sun slowly setting behind the clothes, which gave a lovely purple hue to the sky. It was serene and calming and I will most definitely be returning to Tarkarli soon.
The most fun task up till now, which is ironic because the challenge was to click a haunted selfie.
We reached goa from tarkarli and headed to the jungle hostel, where I had made reservations for our stay. We wasted about 2hrs in getting our dorm room and then found out that they required passports, even for Indian citizens. How absurd!? We took a room at a guest house called Ally Pally and hired bikes to ride down to South Goa after eating a terrible meal at Mango Tree. Our adventure had started to Three Kings Church. We entered the church grounds around 6 o'clock, which was situated on top of a hill from where you got a nice 360' view of South Goa. Located next to the church is this age-old banyan tree with its long roots haunting the church grounds giving it an eerie feel.
The church was isolated, except for a local Christian family who told us the story of the three kings.
Once upon a time, thee were three kings who fought over land in that area. One of the king's, Harold invited the other two over for a royal lunch where he poisoned their food resulting in their death and his victory over the land. When the village people came to know about king Harold's doings, they were furious and came to his palace to kill but he thought it be better to vomit suicide and poisoned himself. The three kings are buried under the church....
It is believed that their spirits roam the grounds in the late hours of the church and people have seen and heard things, hence entry into the church is prohibited except on the first Thursday of every month when the village priest conducts a fiesta.
We left the church after sunset but faced a lot of mis-happenings on our way back. We got caught in a rainstorm and our bike broke down forcing us to take shelter in a petrol pump. When we got on the road again, we saw lightning strike an electrical pole right next to us, almost ran over a man lying on the road and killed a rat.
We went straight to Thalassa at Anjuna beach to catch dinner and saw Ranvijay from roadies as well as sunny Leone. Thalassa was a little above our budget so we ended up eating a typical goanese meal at a small Dhaba called mini Thalassa right outside. We got that meal for free as it was the shopkeeper's birthday.
I saw the scary side of Goa and experienced a lot of pain and pleasure..... See you in Agra
We landed in Delhi and drove straight to Agra. We took some time trying to get to our hotel, Siddhartha. We dumped our luggage and headed off to the Taj to click an epic selfie.
I wanted to capture the Taj from a far off location as I've been to the main ground before. We found an auto that took us to Mehtab park which is the maidan behind the Taj Mahal. We befriended the security guards at the entrance and went closer to the marble wonder. I clicked a selfie with a barbwire in front and posed like a long-lost lover.
There were a bunch of kids who were watching me deliver dialogues and pose for the camera. They seemed highly infatuated so I called them all to come and click a selfie with me with the epic taj in the background.
We went to the local market, jhoari bazaar as well as kesari bazaar. I asked a few locals when was the Taj Mahal built and not a single one of them knew except one woman who told me the tale behind it. Our auto driver was like our local guard. He told us stories about statues that we crossed on the way, the famous fatehpur sikhri and Agra fort. We stopped at a handloom shop in Meena Bazaar on our way back where I tried on a saree made out of Banana leaves. It was fun exploring the city of Agra in my own way.
That night all the contestants chilled in one hotel room and after a crazy night of adventure stories, we all passed out. We all got up early, as our body clocks have been turned upside down in the last 14 days and had a nice breakfast of eggs and paranthas. We freshened up and headed back to Delhi around 3pm.
Sitting in the car, my earphones plugged in, watching the sunset, all I could think about how my life has changed in the last 14 days. I've met so many interesting people, experienced new crazy adventures by traveling the length of this country. I want to thank MTV for giving me this crazy opportunity from which I have gained and lost quite a bit. This entire roller coaster of an adventure has been a learning trip for me and I couldn't have wished for more. This ineffable experience has released a travel bug that has just begun its journey. My want and need for travelling is never going to perish.
As humans we are self obsessed so we always do something to keep our self-esteem high, hence what better way to feel better than to create a challenge based around selfies..