On top gear


Prakruthi and his navigator Yogita Madhu.

Prakruthi and his navigator Yogita Madhu.  

YOU HAVE seen him air Bhashaloka on Udaya TV, and heard of him as the man who drove from Bombay to Bangalore in 12 hours. Prakruthi Banwasi has yet another feather in his cap now: He has established a Precision Land Endurance Record by covering 33 South Indian cities in 12 days, travelling 4,789 kilometers.

For Prakruthi, the adventure began when TVS approached him for attempting this record on TVS Fiero. This first-ever attempt to connect all the major cities in South India was flagged off by the Commissioner of Police, H. T. Sangliana. The idea, says Prakruthi, was to promote safe driving even at a high speed.

It was no ordinary feat. The 12-day journey took great preparation for the rider and his navigator, Yogita Madhu. Prakruthi was personally involved in the project from the word go — making posters, costumes, road guides, maps, and procuring the right safety gear. He also went through various books on South India, charting out the best route in conjunction with availability of service centres etc. Prakruthi also checked the bike by doing a preliminary Kartnataka trail.

On the personal front, he had to increase his stamina by working out. He also put on extra weight, 15 days before the ride. Prakruthi says that riding 12 hours every day can result in stress fractures as vibrations can crack bones. It can be avoided with extra layers of fat. The rider and navigator conditioned their bodies to all sorts of food and water to prevent illnesses during the journey.

The duo covered 480 kms. each day and Prakruthi regrets that they were not able to see places of interest enroute. The one exception was Gol Gumbaz.

The ride (which was accident-free) has made Prakruthi alert to how behaviours change with the changing terrain. While people of Kerala, he noticed, were hesitant to speak English, those in Tamil Nadu wanted to speak only in English. In Andhra Pradesh, hero worship was prevalent, while Karantaka had a matter-of-fact approach to the ride. Prakruthi observes that Karnataka has the worst roads. Traffic in Kerala is heavy, but well regulated, he adds.

The many moods of nature, of course, were the best part of Prakruthi's journey... sunset and moonrise, the rain, a peaeacock that came from nowhere, the amazing cloud formations...

Next on Prakruthi's agenda is an all India trail, covering 28 state capitals and union territories. Prakruthi advises youngsters to follow their dreams. "It may look impossible, but work it out. Follow your heart." Good advise from someone who follows his!

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