By Karan Shah
TLC’s latest show, The Great Indian World Trip, that is being telecast on the channel from December 15, was flagged off from India Gate. The riveting series on a record breaking road trip sees expedition specialists Sanjay Madan and Tushar Agarwal hitting the dirt trail in their quest to explore the world and experience new cultures as they travel across six continents, 50 countries and drive over 90,000 kilometers in a car, without a GPS. In the process, the duo have created seven new world records and has broken one Guinness World Record.
The show that is being telecast on TLC, projects the dream of these two simple Indians with only one dream in common between them— to travel the world by road. “After creating seven official entries in the Limca Book of Records, it was clear to us that we had to do something which was much bigger than anyone could ever imagine. It took us more than a year to formulate permutations and combinations to chalk out the plan and give life to a never-heard-before road journey. It was a mammoth task to work out the logistics —carnet (a customs permit allowing a motor vehicle to be taken across a frontier for a limited period), funds, visas, hotels, shipments and a million other things. But, we made it and today our dream has come true.”
In order to raise funds for the trip, both Sanjay and Tushar decided to get a cameraman to join them on their trip. This way, they could not only capture the various wonders that they encountered along their journey, but also relate the experience on camera and turn it into a show. “The expenses were humongous and they had already left a hole in our pockets. TLC, therefore provided a great platform for us to share with the world our experiences and how we lived during these 14 months, besides helping us recover the money,” added the duo.
From driving to the end of the world in Ushuaia in Argentina to the top of the world in Deadhorse in Alaska, having barbeque in Kentucky, doing the tango on the streets of Buenos Aires, listening to blues in the South, wearing a kilt and shopping in Scotland, eating a weiner schnitzel in Vienna, the duo have done it all.
The highlight of the show is that it is not scripted and hence creates empathy amongst the viewers. Capturing candid shots while travelling, the show gives a spontaneous feel, as the duo interact with NRIs while travelling through the countries, providing an insight on their lifestyle. The show is endearing to watch as it arouses feelings of patriotism with the immigrant Indian upholding his identity in an alien land. The challenge also lay in visiting unexplored places. For instance, Sanjay and Tushar visited the quirky Coober Peddy — an underground opal mining town in Australia and the Dead Horse, the northern most city of the world in Alaska, which is famous for the mysterious Northern Lights (The Northern Lights stem from when large numbers of electrically charged particles (electrons) at high speed stream in towards the Earth along its magnetic field and collide with the highest air particles. The air then lights up rather like what happens in a fluorescent light tube.) The show will also highlight their experience with locals, their food (for example, kangaroo and crocodile meat served in Australia), the challenges they faced in terms of communication and much more. But the warmth, respect and love that they received from the people that they met along the way, made up for all the hardships that they faced on the journey.
“The journey would have been a lot simpler with the GPS, but definitely not so interesting. It was about talking to the locals and asking for directions all along. You’ve got to see it to experience what we have lived. None of the travel shows on air so far have brought you the experience of driving the length and breadth of the world, exploring unknown territories, places less famous, cuisines you would dare not try and many more.”
With their aim to create a new record, the show sees Tushar and Sanjay embarking on the first leg of their journey, an 8,000 km drive from India to Singapore, crossing Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia.The journey flagged off from India Gate, New Delhi to the borders of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur before entering Myanmar.
“It’s very difficult to say which place we liked the most. However, to name a few, we liked Myanmar for its ancient heritage and simplicity, Masai Mara and Serengeti national park in Africa for the wild life and the sight of the mysterious and mesmerising Northern Lights in Alaska,” state Sanjay and Tushar.
Talking about the lessons that they learnt, the duo are emphatic that people around the world are superficially discriminated, but mankind has evolved with the same feeling of love and affection. “The perceptions we form about people and communities are from the little knowledge we receive from the media and internet. However, the world is definitely nicer to see and experience. It was also a privilege for us as Indians to understand that Indians around the world have made their mark and are known for being intelligence and hard-working.”
The show is telecast on Monday and Tuesday at 9 pm on TLC.
The journey was flagged off from India Gate, New Delhi. From their the duo went to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur before entering Myanmar. They went to local markets as well as met up with the north-east India tribes.
The duo went to a river side area locality in Singapore, followed by a mall and market places. They met up with NRIs and tasted local cuisines.
The team visited the Golden Pagoda in Bagan. They even went to the tribal market that was set up beside an inlay lake, the Irawaddy river and
The Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon on their way to Singapore
The duo visited Zimbabwe where they met with the local tribes, spoke to them and even posed for pictures. The duo also visited the Vicoria falls and the local markets.
The team also visited Australia, where they visited a few NRIs, traveled to Byron Bay — the westernmost point of Australia. The duo also tasted kangaroo andcrocodile meat, the local cuisine of a few cities in the country.