It was the first of many for me as I geared myself for a weekend away from the bustling chaos of Mumbai city. The Mahindra Adventure team had organized an amazing one night Camp Out which was not far away from the city. We along with other Mahindra customers had assembled at McDonald’s in Navi Mumbai early evening around 4 pm before proceeding towards our campground’s location. The location where we were going to camp is called Big Red Tent also known as Zaki Farms, which is owned by Mr Zaid, who was our host for the night. Driving from McDonald’s is a comfortable 21 kilometres and has quite an amazing view on its way. All the Mahindra customers who had registered for the event came in their tastefully modified Thars and Willys! Passionate bunch, I must say. On the other hand, Mahindra gave me the Thar 4×4 which obviously had seen better days. The odo was reading in close to 22k kilometres. Also, the fact that I had never sat or driven a Thar meant that I had no views on it but have only heard two sides of the story to it. They either love it or hate it. There’s no in-between. And so we began, all lined up and ready to hit the roads. Before that, a quick radio check and a roll call were done by our lead car driven by Mr Ryan Lee from Mahindra Adventure.
On our way, I saw a lot of heads turn, some of them even scratching their head, wondering what’s going on here. At a signal even overheard a young kid asking his father why this car is different than normal cars? Before I could hear what the father was going to say, his Rickshaw drove away. From the convoy, it was wonderful to see quite a few women take the wheel. There were many families on board and we could see kids in the back seat clicking pictures of the scenic view around. We were halfway through Karnala’s famous Bird Sanctuary road and had to drive a few kilometres inside the Kalle village.
All the 10 families parked their beloved Thars and Willys. Yes, We had two Willys in the convoy! Didn’t I tell you this crew was a passionate bunch? Everybody settled down had some chai and biscuits. Meanwhile, the kids took a dip inside this cute customized pool at the campground. I was curious to know what all modifications they had done on their Thars. That’s when I came to know that from the 10 vehicles, seven were from one group, which has religiously attended Mahindra’s Adventure events all over India and some people from that group couldn’t make it this time around. I could surely feel their bond for one another. It’s like a brotherhood!
After strolling around the beautiful campground and hearing some of Thar’s riveting off-road stories. It was time to get ready for the main event, the night off-road trail. Mr Zaid briefed us about the night off-road trail. This time, I wanted to trail behind Ryan in the lead car. As we moved out of the campground’s gate, I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous and excited at the same time. I knew that it wasn’t going to be a proper off-road trail that would test the Thar’s ultimate potential, but it was enough to get me hooked!
The night off-road trail led us to a lake, people were enjoying the view and chilling with their loved ones under the starry sky. Surprisingly, we could find stars. I wasn’t expecting that. It had rained the night before, such unpredictable the Mumbai city’s weather has become. Thankfully, it isn’t as bad as Delhi, anyway, after spending a good half an hour at the lakeside, we headed back to our campground. This time, I was trailing the convoy just ahead of the last escort vehicle. It was a fun task to drive the Thar 4×4 on some rough road patches and water puddles. It’s true that you wouldn’t hear a thing what the passenger at the back seat is saying because of all the rattling noises inside the cabin. The bouncy ride and the constantly moving steering wheel could take a while getting used to. But you can whine all you want about all these things, its dated looks and the lack of modern features. The experience of driving a mega beast like this beats none.
After reaching the campground, the staff was setting up the barbecue. We were served simple dal rice alongside veg and non-veg starters. I love the fact that the host didn’t serve anything fancy. There was a homely vibe to the food. And when you have your tummy full, lying down on the bed is all you need to do next. But the atmosphere was getting pleasant as the temperature began to drop. Also, the sky was clearing up even more. Now, it was time to sit on the charpai and gaze at the stars in peace.
My first camping trip was definitely worth remembering, all thanks to Mahindra Adventure. The Camp Out was very well organized by Ryan and his team in collaboration with Mr Zaid. Happy to have spent my weekend away from home, technically for work nevertheless enjoyed every bit of it. Right from driving the Thar 4×4 to sleeping in the tent. It is definitely worth considering if you are looking for some solo adventure road trip with your beloved Mahindra vehicle or even with your family.
Until next time when Mahindra Adventure hosts another Camp Out away from the city, this is me Saurabh signing off by driving the Thar 4×4 back home! Yes, I took the Thar home and I am going to blame the off-road Adventure bug that bit me to do this! Also, a big thank you to Ryan for letting me drive it back home. I’ll save that story for some other time! Cheers guys, keep adventuring!