Three women from Chennai, who travelled 5,000 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Sunita Dugar, an entrepreneur and candid photographer.
Parneet Sandhu, an employee of a U.S.-based company.
Neetha Jegan, who works as a manager.
It wasn’t a crazy spur-of-the-moment decision, but something that sedimented over months after they read about Roshni Sharma a year ago. “She is a biker who did road trips alone. We were quite inspired after reading about her, and thought why don’t we do something similar?”
For Self-Defence equipment used -:
Pepper sprays, knives, a hammer, a pair of scissors, a puncture kit and a coil of rope. The hammers and knives, Finding a bag full of these tucked into a corner of a car could be misleading. And with a woman at the wheel, it could maybe even make for a Gone Girl sequel.
On August 8, when the sun dipped and crows found their way back to their nests, the three left Kanyakumari.
They made it a point to cover at least 800 km per day, With this target set, it was hard for the travelling divas, as they call themselves, to stop for shopping or any kind of recreation, apart from photography. They sought help from H.V. Kumar of the HiVayKing Club for routing navigation, mobilising help in case of maintenance issues enroute and hotel bookings.
Over the next five days, clear blue skies and green lands replaced the windmills, in Karnataka. Slowly, the green turned brown in Andhra Pradesh. Next day, they were again on a carpet of green, with farmers tilling the land, sweat glistening on their shoulders and neck. From Central India, they moved upwards. “As they reached Delhi, they couldn’t see the sky. It was all grey because of the pollution. It was only after they entered Punjab, that the sky was clearer with sarson and ganne ka khet on both sides. And then came the best of all — the greener, and more colourful belt of Kashmir.
A few kilometres before Kashmir, they found themselves stuck on a mountain road because of a landslide the previous night. “They couldn’t move because of the traffic. A senior police personnel approached them on noticing the TN registration on the car’s number plate. Knowing that they were three women doing this trip, they were asked to move forward in the line. they were escorted by convoys to Kashmir!”
They reached Srinagar on August 14. Three women amid a crowd of Army men. “They were all around, with their AK 47s. It was a different experience. However, when they went to Dal lake, it was just like any other tourist spot, bustling with people.
Next up, is a trip across the breadth of the country. “Ultimately, we want to be a Roshni Sharma for someone. We want to spread the message that with proper planning, it is completely safe for women to take a trip on their own,” says Sunita.