Rough roads ahead

A Malayali trio is going to participate in the Mongol Rally across Europe in a worn out car to help Ukrainian war refugees. The friends talk about the adventure that awaits.
A Malayali trio is going to participate in the Mongol Rally across Europe
A Malayali trio is going to participate in the Mongol Rally across Europe

Picture this. You have been on road for weeks, rallying in a worn-out car, through uncharted and challenging terrains, transcending borders. You’re on your own for all of it, even when your dilapidated car breaks down. This is what every participant at the Mongol Rally goes through. The plan is to just finish the ride with all those crazy, challenging experiences.

Akshay S, his twin brother Adwaith S and their friend Jaseem Umar are gearing up for the greatest adventure of their lives. The trio from Kerala represents the team ‘Horn OK Please’ and would be one of the 100 teams worldwide participating in the rally that will have entries from across the world. “Horn Ok Please is our theme that resonates with everyone. It has an Indian connect,” says Akshay. 

As they get ready for the European cross-country car rally, their ride, a 2004 model Skoda Fabia, is also getting ready. “The more worn out the car, the better the ride feels. They want us to ride in a car that would fail us for sure. That would add to the obstacles we face during the course. We should overcome it all on our own. The rally tests you, breaks you and not everyone  finishes it. Many people walk away half way, because they cannot deal with the stress and exertion. It takes a toll on people. But we intend to finish it,” says Akshay, a product engineer.

The trio will document the journey and upload it on  social media. “Though the rally has a 15-year-old legacy, very few people from India have been a part of it,” says Akshay. The twins have undertaken long road trips before, but this will be their first time at a rally. Their journey will begin on July 1 in Amsterdam and end in Georgia, by August 6. There is no set route. The riders can chart it themselves. The rally will see the trio traverse 18 European countries through terrains as diverse as deserts, valleys and cities.

In preparation, the team is also working on its fitness and mechanical skills needed to repair the car. By making this trip, the team will be contributing to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal by the DEC, with the goal of securing the futures of the refugees in the Ukraine war. The trio has been able to raise J 50,000 by now through an online campaign.

Adwait says that preparations are going in full swing. “The journey is riddled with challenges but there is a crazy fun element to it as well. We are in it for the adventure. People break down, quit and you end up getting bored with each other or end up fighting. It will squeeze the life out of you but we intend to survive this,” says Adwaith, a data scientist.

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