If Kerala is ‘God’s Own Country’ then Kochi is God’s most special place, according to wheelchair-bound globetrotter Parvinder Chawla. The 59-year-old spirited traveller was in Kochi the other day as part of her expedition from Mumbai to Kanyakumari. Chawla is driving her automatic car from Mumbai to Kanyakumari, along with her videographer friend, and had stayed at Kozhikode, Kochi and Alappuzha in Kerala.
“I was captivated by the placid lakes and exhilarating boat rides. People on the streets of Kochi were always ready to lend a helping hand to me. Food was also great, especially ‘idiyappam’ and chicken stew. I am coming to Kochi for the second time and earlier I came here 10 years ago for medical treatment” says Chawla.
Born in Ludhiana, Chawla was brought up in Mumbai and Delhi and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the young age of 15. Though she was wheelchair-bound, Chawla had a burning desire to travel across the globe and to date had travelled to 58 countries. She has been to all continents except Antarctica. Even when travel restrictions were in place due to the pandemic, Chawla visited many rural interiors in her car and travelled to Puri in Odisha, Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh last month.
The doughty traveller has done it all from swimming, trekking, skating, skiing and paragliding and her vlog ‘Wheelchair and I’ has many followers on social media.
“If you are determined, you can make your life energetic, painless and as colourful as a Holi festival,” she notes.