#Cruising60’s | Society

Three men and a Yeti on a road trip

(From left) Dilip, Emson and Paul, three cousins on a roadtrip across India

(From left) Dilip, Emson and Paul, three cousins on a roadtrip across India   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Rising temperatures, election season and a mammoth adventure across the country – meet three cousins, all over 65, who want to break the stereotypes around retired life

Paul Panangat and his paternal cousins Dilip Panangadan, a retired sailor, and Emson Cherian, a retired banker, belong to a large extended family that is spread across the country. It wasn’t until recently though, that they became a lot closer, after working together to restore their grandfather’s dilapidated grave in Thrissur.

A couple of months ago, the three men decided to embark on a different kind of journey together: a ‘senior citizens’ road trip’ (their words, as Paul and Dilip are 65, and Emson, 74). Already four days in, they are currently in Goa, after starting from Kakkanad, one hour from Fort Kochi. They will continue along the western coast to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Bhutan before driving down the east coast via Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and finally, Kerala. That’s at least 10,000 km in rising temperatures and all the uncertainty that an election season brings with it. Only Paul (who spent the first 30 years of his life in Lucknow) speaks Hindi, and Emson and Dilip have never been to North India.

When asked how long the trip will last, Paul, a retired businessman and Chennai resident, shrugs. “Everybody has been asking us that. Maybe 40 days?” All with the help of their phones’ GPS and nothing more, because “what’s the fun in complete accuracy?”

The trio has a few ground rules: start early in the morning (around 6 am), stick to approximately 350 km a day, stop driving by 2 pm, and take a break every five to six days for a few days to ‘wash clothes and recharge’. “But we plan to break our rules if we are too tired or exhausted, perhaps stop for more than a night if we have to,” Paul admits. The first major stop will be in Mumbai, where they will stay with a cousin. The trip is a first of its kind for all three men (except for a few rides from Kochi to Mumbai), but they don’t seem too fazed. “We’ll see how it goes,” he says.

With the excess money that the family raised to refurbish their grandfather’s grave, they plan to restore their grandmother’s too (in Lucknow), and will stop by the cemetery on this trip. The journey, Paul says, is also a way to do something fun and out-of-the-box, and to break the stereotypes surrounding retired life. He admits bashfully that even though the cousins’ wives weren’t too happy at first, they are now a big support and look forward to the trio’s daily WhatsApp updates.

If you are, or know, a senior citizen who has gone on a similar road trip, go ahead and share highlights. Follow our social media campaign at @thehinduweekend (Instagram and Twitter) and post with the hashtag #Cruising60s, or write to us at weekend@thehindu.co.in

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 11:22:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/three-men-and-a-yeti-cruising-60s/article26598158.ece

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