After a week of mental anxiety, i was more than happy to welcome the weekend. I had been pestereing my dad to give me a clue of the adventure he had promised, but he kept me waiting until saturday evening. My joy knew no bounds when i finally had his word and i began racking my brain, planning for the event and pooling in people for the challenge. I slept pretty early on saturday night expecting an enthralling tomorrow.
The day dawned bright and pleasant. The team that finally got fixed for the day was my dad, my mom, two of my cousins and myself - all of us dressed in blue. Our anticipation of what was to come grew exponentially as we neared our destination - Le Royal Meridien!!! There were banners that said " Wheels Of Fortune" and a number of volunteers from the Maruti car company were lined up welcoming the participants.On guy came up to our car and numbered it "82", gave us forms to complete and wished us luck. Totally there were around 130 cars in the contest. Slowly one-by-one, cars were being flagged off and we fixed our seat belts and got ready for our turn.
Ok, i guess i have not told you guys what this was all about. So here it goes : This was a contest exclusively for Maruti car owners. The goal of the game was essentially to figure out the clues which would give you certain prominent places in Chennai. We had to plan our shortest route from one place to another and determine our next destination accordingly. This was not a game of speed, but was to test how smartly we drive within the city speed limits, take the shortest route possible(max. 60 km totally) and get back to the starting point within 3.5 hours. Simple rules. Smart thinking. Some planning. Prior knowlege of the entire city. That's all was asked of you.
We were given breakfast and a clue paper at the time of flag off. My dad drove the car, i took the seat next to him, everyone in the backseat leaned forward enthusiastically as i read the clue sheet aloud and instantly we began guessing the places - Anna Nagar Tower, Abirami Mega Mall, Light House, Planet Yumm along Besant Nagar Beach, Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium and finally Birla Planetarium. The order of clues given were mixed up and we were expected to route the places in the order that best saves distance . However, the clue for Anna nagar tower read : Often termed " City inside a city, named after ex-chief minister of Tamil Nadu and a well known tower." Before i completed the last couple of words, everyone began to shout out MGR Film City. So my dad went to Birla Planetarium first. Next we went to MGR Film City only to find that there was no checkpoint there. Later, we realised the correct place was Anna Nagar Tower and knew we were already wrong. Anyway, we were going 6,5,4,3,2,1 instead of 1,2,3,4,5,6. At last, we arrived at the starting point in exaclty 2 hours making 50km totally. Not bad, but definitely not good enough for the first place.
With disappointment, we returned home. We were told that the top 80 would be notified by a call before 5pm for dinner at Le Royal Meridien and prize distribution. Hoping against hope, i was eagerly waiting for the call. At 4.15pm, the phone rang and i jumped to it. My dad picked it up and spoke in his usual monotonous tone that he does while speaking to his customers. I was pinchin him and asking if it was them and he gave me a thumbs up signal. I literally jumped up and gave a hi5 to my mom and immediately called my cousins and informed them to be ready by 6. We left, asking our grandma to recite "Rama Japam" so that we win. ;)
A big hall was set up with a number of games. One guy was DJing and we had quite a lot of fun. Finally it was time for results and the chief guest was Gautham Menon (Director of Tamil movies Minnale, Kakkha Kakkha, Vetaiyadu Vilaiyadu). The only two people who had any hopes of getting at least a consolation prize we the smaller of my cousins and myself!!! Each time, the DJ mentioned that the next prize was for a Wagon R(dats the car we own), a chill ran thru my spine and the the two of us looked at each other. The list of 7 consolation prizes was announced and our name still didnt appear. I lost the little hope that i had. Finally the DJ said that the first prize - a Samsung AC, was for a Wagon R. My heart beat faster. Unfortunately it was not us. However, my mom was so happy that a Wagon R bagged the first place. Later, we had dinner and left the place.
I came back home, thanking my dad for the wonderful Sunday he gave me, though i was disappointed at not having won a prize. On the contary, my mom was satisfied with the crockery set, hair dryer, etc. that they gifted all participants and my dad was happy about the gift voucher for 5 litres of petrol !!! It was quite an experience and a wonderful day out for me and our car. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day. Now, i am just going to improve my driving skills and try to bag the prize under Ladies category next summer. That would be fun!!! :)