When Graphic designer Lakshmi Krishna, 23 and Sales officer Harikrishnan J, 31 decided to quit their jobs to pursue their dream of travelling, one grand idea was to transform their car into a makeshift home, instead of checking into hotels to make the trip budget friendly. So, on October 28, 2020, the Thrissur couple set out on their journey and are Kerala’s first ‘Car Life’ couple.
They have documented their travelogue in a vlog called TinPin stories and have already over 80 k subscribers. They have already covered Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
The car has been restored to alter and detach the additional accessories, so the back seat can be converted into a bed and with a fitted curtain for privacy. A single burner stove with the re-fillable cooking 5kg cylinder (and refilling water cans from the RO filter stations) helps in cooking. On Christmas, they even managed to make a pressure cooker cake (with a readymade cake mix) sitting in the backdrop of a canal in Vadodara.
Along with setting up an exhaust fan using a laptop cooling pad, they plug the USP cooling pad into a power bank that works for 8-10 hours on a single charge. The windows have been covered with a cut-out flex piece pasted with black vinyl paper.
They carry three 10-litre water cans, two for drinking and other for cleaning. The minimalist setup has been done at the cost of only Rs 4,000. They are careful to park the car at safe places during the night, mostly near petrol pumps where there are more people and also use their washrooms to freshen themselves up. “We might not be able to access clean washrooms all the time. Initially, we would use them early in the morning to freshen up but then we found that they were cleaned at 9 every morning and readjusted our time accordingly. Surprisingly, we have not had bad experiences so far. Besides some compromises need to be made during such travels,” observes Hari.
They had to reschedule their plans only twice and book rooms. At some villages, the locals allow us to park our cars near their homes.
Experiencing village life
Through this trip they have learnt to understand each other better, share food and observe the simplicity of the villages they have visited closely. If there is one experience, they keep close to their heart it is their visit to Dola Ki Aud village where they met the Kuchi people. They remember stopping at the Kumbhalgarh-Ajmal road to explore the village nearby, chatting and sharing food with the villagers who were cleaning the Canal as well witnessing bioluminescence at Gokarna Sea.
Tastes of India
Aurangabad’s Naan Qalia gave them a gastronomic high. This ingenious combination of Naan shaped like a hat with a rich spicy meat gravy used to be part of the menu for the Mughal army back then. They loved the Maharashtrian Misal Pav, which was sprouted bean curry garnished with crunchy Farzan, red onions and coriander with a hint of lemon served with lightly buttered pav. And also enjoyed Dabeli, the Kutch street snack, which was a healthy variant of Vada Pav, with a spicy, tangy potato filling, layered with sweet, tamarind chutney and red garlic chutney with pomegranates, grapes, peanuts. onions and sev inside a pav.
Curfew in Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, they realised that at least 13 villages had curfew and had to face some difficulties at Udaipur. The curfew continued during alternate days. Thankfully, since the petrol pumps at the National Highway were open, they would station their cars near prominent towns. The pandemic restrictions did create minor issues for them. Right now, they are at Ajmer, from there they are planning to visit Punjab, Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Interestingly they had planned to cover the whole journey within 2 months, and they have not even covered even half of the places in India. If their money allows, they are planning to visit the North-East, if not they would reroute and take the Madhya Pradesh, Andhra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu itinerary to reach Kerala.