Even before stepping on the gas, they are describing their journey
as insanely long, incredibly extensive and a never done before
thing. But when Chennai-based couple Harsha and Prabha Koda hit
the road from Mumbai this Independence Day, they would have a fair
idea of the arduous journey ahead.
The web-designer couple from Chennai's Kottivakkam area, who take
to driving across the length and breadth of the country like fish
to water, are embarking on a 70-day journey from Aug 15 to drive
along the entire border of India's mainland.
"This has never been attempted before by anyone. It is insanely
long and incredibly extensive. The places that we will drive along
will draw the map of India," Harsha Koda told IANS on phone from
From hitting the country's border along coastal areas to the sand
dunes of Rajasthan to the LoC (Line of Control) in the Kargil
sector of Jammu and Kashmir to the remote areas of Arunachal
Pradesh and touching the southern tip of Kanyakumari - the couple
will be on a unique 20,000-km journey.
The couple will be driving their Mahindra Xylo multi-utility
vehicle that will see them touch almost all the 28 states. They
say the trip this time has a special message - to create stem cell
awareness and save lives.
"Several drives and causes create awareness on tigers or simple
issues like plastic bags, but very rarely one comes along a cause
that could change the face of health and well-being of an entire
generation. We would like to dedicate our marathon drive across
the nation to stem cell awareness," Harsha said.
The couple have been associated with 'Jeevan' (Life), India's
first and only public stem cell bank (www.jeevan.org
) since 1996.
Harsha said: "A lifesaving stem cell cure which would cost about
Rs.25 lakh can be achieved at Rs.2 lakh for all, when this bank is
fully functional. That is why we want to create awareness about
stem cell among people."
The border drive effort by the Kodas is also likely to fetch them
"We are logging the drive to make an entry into the Guinness World
Records," Harsha said.
They had successfully completed an over 10,000-km journey from
coastal Tamil Nadu to the remote areas of Himalayas in Himachal
Pradesh and Uttarakhand in June last year.
"The unique thing about that trip was that we stayed at home-stay
resorts at most places," Prabha said.
"Every year, we travel major parts of the country by road to get a
feel of this great country," Prabha said.
They have so far clocked over 400,000 km on all types and terrains
of Indian roads in just under a decade to fulfil their passion of
driving and seeing the country.
The couple keep pace with their work of web-designing through
their laptops and Internet even when they are driving in any part
of the country.
"We have this passion for driving and we make it a point to
accumulate and use our holidays twice a year - nearly 50 days each
time - to fulfil this," Harsha said.
Having started their journey with the first car they bought, a
Maruti-800, the couple have driven a whole range of cars from
Maruti Zen, Wagon-R, Maruti Swift to a Mahindra Scorpio.
The couple also give names to some of the cars that they drive -
ranging from 'Chicklet' (yellow-coloured Wagon-R), 'Guns and
Roses' (bright red Maruti Swift) to the 'Haliaetus' - a
white-bellied sea eagle found in India's coastal areas - (white
While Harsha does most of the driving, Prabha is happy to be
guiding him with navigation.
Harsha and Prabha say that the inspiration for driving through the
country again and again came from French explorer Jacques
The couple have created a blog - waitforside.in
- to share their driving experiences. The
'wait for side' has been taken, as they point out, from the most
written slogan on the rear of Indian trucks and buses!
can be contacted at email@example.com)