A perfect job, a perfect family and supportive friends and a unique lifestyle is something most would associate me with. And, I cannot contest this because I certainly am blessed with an extremely loving family and awesome set of friends who have always been around me, come what may. But, all that apart, there was something missing in my life. And, so began hours of introspection.
I figured that I love traveling and my job demanded the same out of me. So, ideally there was nothing wrong professionally although I knew it can be stressful and monotonous. This is when i thought, I should speak to a few friends (which I did) so that they could help me rid of this confusion. We spoke aplenty and tried to identify the reason for a vacuum, but this never really helped. To my surprise and one day in a moment of solitude, somewhere in the Great Himalaya, I found my answer…an answer that I had buried deep inside my soul.
I had been racing karts and single-seater formula cars at national level, but due to work and its excessive demand of traveling, I had to take a stop doing what I loved the most. It is in those serene mountain ranges that I realized that this is what was was missing I needed to get back to it! I realized that no matter how perfect your life is, but it’s still incomplete if your passion is amiss.
I decided I definitely want to get back to racing. A friend of mine who was organizing a rally called HeatStroke suggested that I try my luck. I had some experience in circuit racing and so thought that it would be interesting to try a new genre of motorsports. Despite the fact that the Sun is not my best friend, I gave in to the idea immediately and for that matter even before hearing the details. The same friend fed me with more information and told me that it’s a sand and gravel rally in Churu, Rajasthan (the hottest city of India) in May (the hottest month). Yet, somehow I took advice and tips from senior rallyist Mr.Ravi Singhania and Mr.Raj Singh Rathore and agreed to go ahead for the rally.
I have been living in London for the past few years and I remember the day I left London it was around 10 °C. I landed in Delhi…met my navigator, Chirag Thakur and we boarded the train to Churu where the temperature must have been close to 48-49 °C! This didn’t dampen my spirits! We stayed in a beautiful heritage hotel called Malji Ka Kamra. The evenings were not that horrifying, but I knew in the afternoon I was going to get roasted!
My friend, Arvind Balan, who was also the organizer had made all the arrangements right from the car, tow strap, rally license to rally insurance, GPS equipment required for the rally. I met other competitors and got to know them. All of them were much more experienced in sand driving and rallies than me, but that did not affect me. I remember that the night before the rally everyone (based on my lack of experience of driving in sand) was telling me that they are ready to bet on the fact that I would get stuck in sand and burn my clutch. But, I never let that discourage me.
I just smiled. 🙂
Next day my navigator and I were all set for the rally. We got done the scrutiny and stickering. Strangely in May, in a rally called heatstroke, just before the start of the first leg at 19.00 hours it drizzled and the temperature cooled down a bit. I guess the weather God was not completely against me and wanted me to give my best! We started the rally on a good note, but the time when the sand stage started I could barely hear my navigator’s calls. I could just hear my heart beating faster and had an eye on the trail and the speedometer just to ensure that I didn’t lose the momentum. Once I finished the first sand stage, I realized that I absolutely loved driving on sand. It was super fun and exciting. What worked for me was criticism. I channelized my energies positively and gave all I could. Now, when I look back, I can vividly recall crossing small villages, sailing through sand, driving along the railway crossings and seeing kids around the ‘time control’. I must add that day 1 ended on a good note. I was leading in my category and overall too and I shouldn’t forget mentioning that all this with a huge margin!
On day 2, I was a much more relaxed and I knew how to maneuver the vehicle. Although at 53 °C I was getting roasted, but the pleasure of being behind the wheel and competing ensured that I do not lose focus. We finished as overall winners in 2WD and our category. It was a moment of pride for me since not only had I made a comeback, but also won with a good margin. I remember almost everyone else in my category had got stuck in sand except me and I smiled again! J It is not just winning, but competing again that felt good. In the end, everything was in place and it reaffirmed the fact that it is important to keep your passion alive! Today, I am still trying to balance work and passion and I know it’s not impossible!
One piece of advice I’d like to give you all is through this popular quote:
“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.”Wanda Skyes
Written by: Khyati Mody