The picture says it all! Or does it? In the Instagram post shared by Royal Enfield’s official handle, you’ll see a fit Mohanlal P Chauhan showing no signs of being an old man in his 70s, sitting tall with his wife Leelaben, 67, in the sidecar. It’s their 2018 goal, to take a 16,000km bike ride across the best terrains from India to Cambodia. They have planned a road trip starting from India with their next destinations including Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. Turns out, Leelaben has a dream, a dream to visit Angkor Wat along with her 75-year-old husband, Mohanlal. Sounds swell? Well, the backstory that culminated in taking this trip is evermore inspiring not just for all senior citizens who think they’re incapable of adventures but also the youngsters who don’t believe in spontaneity.
Mohanlal and Leelaben have been road-trippin’ since January when they took off from their hometown in the state of Gujarat. They had a dream and now they’re riding their way towards it. This road trip is their way of combating the ageists who think 70s is too old for people to get adventurous. Their trip isn’t all about proving that age is just a number. On their journey, they are also promoting the values of environment and spreading awareness to plant more trees. That’s right. According to Leelaben and Mohanlal, tree plantation is the only way to save the planet and the future generation.
After having completed all their responsibilities towards their family and children (one son and a daughter, both settled), the couple embarked on this road trip that they’ve been wanting to do for some time now. For this trip, Mohanlal, a retired ONGC engineer, is spending approximately 7 Lakhs. It took him about 10 months to Google the essential details required to get the trip going. In his interview with Telegraph India, the 75-year-old stated, “Everyone thinks this is not an age for adventures. We say age is just a number. My wife and I love travelling and we’ve gone on road trips in Gujarat and South India earlier. So this January we decided to increase the ambit of our ambitions and combat ageism.”
Turns out, Mohanlal clocks about 200kms every day from 8 AM and retires for the day at 4 PM. Just like backpackers, they have their necessary set of essentials that also includes a gas stove, so Mrs Chauhan can cook up some nice vegetarian meals for them in their quest. Their trip did have a minor setback as Leelaben slipped on the stairs and landed with a bad foot. However, as eager as a beaver, she bounced back, and they are on the road again. “Well, this ride is his dream and I am enjoying it too,” says Leelaben.
Also, “We have medical insurance, so no worries. We just want to explore new cities, people and cultures,” concludes Mohanlal.