|Participants of India in 96 Hours at Crossword. Picture by Rashbehari Das
This is one race where the objective is not to cross the finish line first. Though, that too is part of the game.
CII Young India organised India in 96 Hours — a race across India, for India — with the aim of promoting understanding of the country and bonding between youngsters. Preliminary rounds at local levels chose 46 participants from cities including Kochi, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Indore and Delhi. The final lap started from Delhi, where the participants were divided into groups of two. The teams travelled through cities like Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, before the finals in Goa on October 30.
There were challenges in each city and teams being eliminated at each stage. “Every morning when we reach a city, our luggage is taken away — everything, even our wallets and cellphones. We are given Rs 1,000 to survive the day. What we manage to save from it is added to our next day’s funds,” explained Chetan Jain at Crossword, who with team-mate Nijoy Peter was leading in the Calcutta round. “In Calcutta, when we reached the airport, we were given a clue to take us to our next destination, which was Science City. There we were given the name of a ride that took us to Nicco Park. We had to take a ride there and were then handed our next clue. From there, we went to Forum. We had to search the entire mall for the volunteer who was to give us the next clue,” smiled Chetan. “We haven’t even been having lunch, so that we can save money for the next day. Of course, we didn’t have time either!” added Nijoy.
It’s a tough trial for the girls and boys, all students. But they aren’t complaining. “We have hardly been sleeping two hours a day for the past few days. But it is exciting,” grinned Md Muzzamil of Coimbatore.
The participants feel the run has given them better knowledge of the country. “We’ve been spending only a day in each city, but the amount of study we have to do to be able to decipher the clues to take us to the next destination is providing us with a thorough knowledge of the place. Plus, we are working with teammates who are from other parts of the country. We are beginning to know their culture, their language. The run has definitely made us more adaptable to situations,” said Anand from Kochi.
But it wasn’t all about lofty aims. “We all enjoy adventure and challenges. I guess that’s what made most of us sign up,” explained Shravani Gupta of Hyderabad. Among the participants was Calcutta boy Uday, who was selected from Kochi, where he studies.
“Young India, through its student body YI Nets, attempts to involve students in the task of nation building,” explained Sidharth Pansari of Crossword.
The first prize of Rs 25,000 was won by Nanda Kumar from Coimbatore and Niya Paul from Kochi, while Nitin Gupta from Delhi and Md Muzzamil from Coimbatore bagged the second prize of Rs 15,000.
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