Nine states, 6000 kms. and 40 days – these numbers represent the already impressive feat by Raghunath J, student at SCMS Cochin School of Business. This journey all began on the last day of his final course, when he left for his road trip from Kozhikode to Leh. Armed with his lust for adventure, Royal Enfield (his “only possession”), and the rationale learned from his management studies, he embarked on this journey along with his friend, and has now gathered memories and stories that he can tell for the rest of his life.
It’s interesting to note that Raghunath had done a similar trip the previous year but had to cut it short in Keylong valley close to Manali. “We only had a three week vacation, which is why we couldn’t go any further”, he says. “But I really wanted to get to Leh, which is why after completing my graduation I decided to do this journey. There were several highlights along the way, including Mcleodgunj, Manali, Golden Temple, Wagah border, Dal Lake and Kargil. Pangong Tso Lake close to China border was the highest point we got to.”
Doing a road trip across the length of a diverse country like India definitely has its charms, as you encounter different cultures, landscapes, and people. But at the same time, there are challenges, especially if you start your trip in the month of May. Raghunath looks back on the trip, recalling “Temperatures up to 35 and 40 degree Celsius in states like Uttar Pradesh and MP. But as we got to Himachal Pradesh and later Leh, temperatures were quite low. We had to go through a hailstorm as well, but the spectacular views we enjoyed were worth it all.”
Embarking on a long and tedious journey like this one definitely requires preparation on your part and this is where Raghunath’s management education came in handy. He had done his homework and put his experiences to good use throughout the trip. “I knew there are fewer petrol pumps around Leh, so I had to fix a larger fuel tank for my bike”, he explains. “I was prepared with accessories like a clutch cable, accelerator cable, and spark plugs, as I anticipated breakdowns. I also fixed a carrier for my bike to carry sufficient luggage.”
According to Raghunath, there are similarities between management studies and travel, notably the fact that they both build personality. He believes that both travel and management studies have offered him opportunities to meet people from different parts of the country, and to learn and grow as an individual. And his management studies even bailed him out when travelling, to an extent. Explaining a tricky situation, Raghunath says, “It was when I was stuck in a hailstorm in the middle of a cliff on Rohtang Pass. Frozen rain was pricking all over my body and my hands were numb; that’s when I spotted a car and sat beneath its shade.”
The overall travel experience has been a life changing one for Raghunath and he believes it has made him a more positive and courageous person. He concludes with some words of reflection on his trip: “It helps me in the classroom as well because I can come up with solutions for problems easily. From difficulties on the road to being harassed by some people in Jammu who seemed to have hatred towards our country; we managed to get through it all. So I know that I can survive and succeed. That’s something I would like to tell fellow students too; explore the world, it’s yours for the taking.”