Kochi: The city might have found its own Phileas Fogg in 62-year-old Thomas Chacko who is trying to travel around India in 80 days. Chacko, who started his all-India driving expedition in a Tata Nano car from Mumbai on May 3, made a brief stop in his hometown for a day.
A motoring enthusiast, Chacko said the idea came to his mind when he helped his friend Suresh Jospeh edit his book, ‘Ek Swift Bharat Yatra’. Joseph had gone on a 124-day solo trip in a four-wheeler visiting the capitals of all the 28 states and the headquarters of the 17 zonal Railways.
“Mine was also supposed to be a solo-trip, but my family also wanted to join in,” said Chacko, who will leave for Kannur. “My wife was with me from Mumbai to Guwahati. From Guwahati to Kolkata, my brother accompanied me. My daughter came with me from Kolkata and my son will join me at Udaipur,” he said.
Driving through the 13,800 ft high Sela Pass in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, visiting the Tawang monastery - the second-largest in Asia - and walking on the living root bridges of Mawlynnong in Meghalaya are his most cherished memories of the trip so far.
“Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are all places I’ve driven through many times so nothing really stuck out but Chilika Lake in Odisha and the Konark Temple lit up at night are worth mentioning too,” he said.
Chacko starts off early each day so as not to get stuck in the city traffic. He feels lucky that so far, he has not had any major car trouble or health problem during the trip. “I’m very careful about the water I drink and I eat only at dhabas run by Sardarjis,” he added.
Chacko has covered 18 states till now. He will continue his trip through Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.