Excitement and enthusiasm pervade ‘Heels on Wheels' as participants ransack the city for clues

A huge pink cloud seemed to have descended on the city early on Sunday only to break up with wisps rushing here and there in full speed.

Over 400 women clad in pink zoomed in cars past historic landmarks, popular beach stretches and famous buildings plunging into obscure lanes to find answers to scavenger hunt riddles, cryptic clues and location-based puzzles that were cleverly hidden in a set of peppy English, Hindi and Tamil songs

These enthusiastic women were part of the musical treasure hunt, ‘Heels on Wheels,' that declared open The Hindu WoW (World of Women), presented by Chennai Silks, powered by Tata Nano, and co-sponsored by Univercell and Sowbhagya.

The week-long programme marks a century of celebrating International Women's Day.

With women from different age groups and backgrounds participating, what was most striking was the brimming excitement.

Most had come seeking a day of complete fun but there were veterans too, who had planned strategies to navigate correctly, keep a tab on time and speed. “It works better to have post-paid mobile connection and an internet-enabled phone to get the locations right,” said a participant, Raashi Shetty, a speech pathologist.

It is the preparation for the event that provides most of the thrill - from the challenge of waking each other up to understanding your partners' strengths - said Vishruti Nair. Many of the participants sported unique props asserting their group identity.

Cars with pink ribbons with messages on breast cancer and child abuse too were conspicuous.

Even as teams of schools friends, daughters -in -law and mothers-in-law and many mother-daughter duos bonded over the nitty-gritty of the trip, a group of housewives worked around potential clues taking cues from the sponsors list before the event started. Ask them their actual names, and one of them politely says, “Our families don't know the fun we are having. Let us be anonymous.”

And there was definitely one young mother for whom the event was special in more than one way. “It was the first time I left my two-year-old daughter in my husband's care,” said Elizabeth, cuddling little Rhea after the event.

“The route is so filled with constant screams of, ‘I told you,' ‘Why don't you shut up,' and ‘We are so finished,' but it is all the more fun,” said Srimati Kesan, who has been participating for years now. “Taking those U- turns, making those instant decisions and anticipating the next clue, even as you tap your feet and sing along hit numbers with sandwiches to go with it; it can't get better than this,” said Swetha Thiagarajan, another participant.

From searching for the all- women's police station to looking for schools that remained open on Sunday the clues sent everyone helter-skelter. “We were happy the hunt spanned areas we were familiar with, but were equally embarrassed we didn't notice little things in our neighbourhood,” said Mariam Basheer, who participated in the event with three of her neighbours.

While the event brought in fun for the participants, the first three winning teams had massive prizes to take home. “It takes a combination of familiarity of routes, word power, information about landmarks and team power,” said Sabrina Rajan, from one of the winning teams. “And it helps that the husband and the kids are not there,” she grinned.

Director of The Hindu, Vijaya Arun participated in the event.

The venue partner for the event was Citi centre, the hospital partner was Apollo Hospitals and the H2O partner was Repute. NDTV Hindu was the TV partner and Radio One, the Radio partner. The gift sponsors were Courtyard Marriot, Senza Spas, Page 3, O2 Heath Studio, Button Green and Instore. The breakfast partner was Kirkys and the experience partner beep.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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