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Day 1 – The Renault Kwid heads northwest from Delhi
29 states 29 days

Day 1 – The Renault Kwid heads northwest from Delhi

By Jehan Adil Darukhanawala

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Day 1 – The Renault Kwid heads northwest from Delhi

The epic drive begins

The numbers just don’t seem to add up. 29 states in just 29 days. Over 11,000km of highways, B-roads and no roads. In a hatchback, seems far fetched. Very far fetched, doesn’t it? But that’s just what we are aiming to do with the Renault Kwid 29 States 29 Days Challenge. That, we’ll be doing it in the monsoons, presumably the worst time to do anything in our country, only speaks volumes about our confidence in Renault’s fourth best selling passenger car worldwide – the humble Renault Kwid. Back in office in distant Pune, we have discussed, debated and fine tuned every aspect of this mega adventure. Bot now, the wait is over and D-day is here.

We’ve been up since the crack of dawn, shuttling between the Red Fort in Shahjahanabad to the India Gate in Lutyen’s Delhi. We need to get the photos in place before we set off, for on this drive there will be no second takes. Thankfully, it seems to be working out for the photos look quite grand, don’t they? Both Rohit (our photographer) and Alameen (our videographer) are quick on the job and soon enough we’ve wrapped up the photo shoot and are all set for the next step that lay ahead. Breakfast.

The Robin Hood Army

Today however breakfast is a bit unusual for we have teamed up with the Robin Hood Army and are off on a food drive before we’re off on the 29 States 29 Days challenge drive. The Robin Hood Army is a global army of more than 14,500 volunteers that has made it its business to collect food from restaurants, hotels and even office canteens and distributing it among the world’s underprivileged. Their aim is to end hunger by reducing food wastage and over the past three years has distributed more than 60 lakh meals in 65 cities across 11 countries.

We pair up with volunteers of the Delhi chapter of the RHA near the Red Fort and set about distributing the food packets. It’s quite fulfilling to see bright smiles of happy children light up the day. A moment worth cherishing. But only a moment for there were none to lose with nearly 500km between us and our destination. Our own breakfast, more aptly brunch, took place in Karnal as all of us were keen to try out authentic Punjabi parathas. After a good session of hogging, and burping might I add, Chandigarh was just an hour and a half away.

Our first stop after Delhi was the properly planned city of Chandigarh

Being the state capital to both Punjab and Haryana as well as a Union Territory, Chandigarh helped us tick off three states in a single go. In Chandigarh, we again teamed up with the RHA and conducted a similar food drive, this time feeding over 400 mouths. Feeling rather happy and satisfied, it was time to move on. Unfortunately, getting out of the city took a lot of time. Once out on the highway, there was little to complain about apart from the usual truckies who refused to give way.

Our final destination being Hoshiarpur, it did not make sense for us to rush. And as we eased into the town, the first day of the journey was over. With Punjab and Haryana knocked off, it’s time for us to chalk up to now states today – Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.