Neeru Gandhi, Monica Chanana and Pratibha Sabharwal are three homemakers from Delhi in their early 60's, who decided that it was high time to get out and explore, than spend the rest of their lives in the comforts of home. They have shown such ingenuousness, which proves that you can't throw your age around as an excuse.
Last year they took on the most remarkable journey, that changed their lives, and since then they've thrived to travel the lengths and breadths of this country, and maybe even abroad, to live the life they had only dreamt of. They've overcome the blocks in their life and taken a leap into the unknown, which for many women their age, is a major difficulty.
Gandhi decided one day, that she wanted to travel extensively in India, and her daughter Aastha encouraged her to fulfil this dream. This is how Age No Bar, which is the tagline of their journey and the name of their Facebook page, came about.
In March 2016, these three wonder women left for their first road trip and drove from Delhi to Rameshwaram. They planned their journey extremely well and it took them 29 days with 23 stopovers to cover 4,400 kilometres.
They came across many interesting people who had their own unique stories, and this left an everlasting impression on them.
On the first two days of their journey, they had already dealt with two flat tires and ruined break pads. The funniest part of their journey, however, as Aastha tells me, is the number of times they were asked why they were travelling alone! Alone? Well, a group of three isn't really alone, but people on the highway found it hard to believe. With the kind of spirit Neeru, Monica and Sarita had, even conservative men and women were taken aback by their courage.
What inspired these women to take on such a long journey?
Neeru Gandhi used to be a Senior Research Officer at AIIMS and has always loved everything adventurous, one fine day she decided that it was time she did some travelling for herself. Sarita Manocha is Neeru's sister who went for the road trip in 2016. While Neeru and Sarita were fearless, Monicka Chanana had to overcome a lot of such fears after her youngest son passed away in a car accident.
By documenting their journey on their blog, the three women want to inspire more elderly women to travel.
How the 'naanis' prepared for their journey ahead...
Despite being in the senior bracket, these women are very 'road wise'. Before leaving for their trip, they learnt how to fix the car if it breaks down (which it did quite a few times) and how to use new-age gadgets such as dongles, selfie sticks, cameras, hard-disk and tripods. They charted out a route, the stop overs, and everything else from must-visit destinations to best places to eat.
Women on the highway once again in 2017!
On March 6, this year they have started their adventure again with a trip to Rajasthan and Gujarat. They plan to come back to Delhi with the wind in their hair, and sand under their feet! However, Sarita has decided not to join this year. In her place will be Prathibha Sabharwal, an ex-banker and Neeru's college buddy. She had to be pushed out of her comfort zone by her children to join the gang this year, and she says it has changed her life!
This is their route:
Delhi – Sikar – Bikaner Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Barmer –Palanpur –Patan (Rani ki vav) – Modhera(Sun Temple) Ahmedabad –Rajkot –Jamnagar – Dwarka –Porbandar Somnath – Diu Mahuva –Ahmedabad –Mt. Abu (18,19,20) Udaipur –Nathdwara, Ajmer –Neemrana/ Jaipur –Delhi
By now, these naanis are almost halfway through this year's trip, and with so much of experience in their backpacks, they are going a step further and making video logs wherever they go. As you continue to read this post, they would have packed again and left for another day full of adventure and new encounters. People are welcoming them to their villages with love, and assuming them to be reporters with tripods, are more than happy to make conversation.
To know where they are on the map, follow them on their Facebook page Age No Bar, where they post regular updates and video posts. To know more about their itinerary, preparations and experiences in detail, read their blog Woman On The Highway.