Aren’t you not eating well🍝?, “Why are you so lean☝️”?, “Put on some weight”!
These are some of the frequent and often questions/advice I get from many people. Sometimes, not to be surprised that I get mocked at too! 😝 Recently I got an interesting offer – To drive an advanced state-of-the-art student developed car that runs on fuel cell in an international competition – Shell Eco Marathon! I suppose that I got a chance not because I’m a good driver but rather I can fit into the vehicle 😄. An apple pie on everyone’s face who asked me those questions! In life, there comes many a time when we have to choose a decision between two important things! At the same time, I got an opportunity to anchor a very big Indian program – Namaste Stockholm in Kungstradgården which happens on the same date! Taking this opportunity would have been a golden chance to make a performance in front of thousands of people! Thinking that I might get a second bite at the cherry in this case and not otherwise, I took up the opportunity to race! An awe and excitement to drive the future of automotive in an international race😍! But the added benefit of having taken this opportunity is that – I TRAVEL NETHERLANDS! Voila! That’s what this post is about. I was curious because of three reasons – Tulips🌷, Bicycles 🚲and Windmills💨! But as always in any other tour of mine, there was an obstacle! I had three presentations back to back in two days – 19th and 20th. The team had already left on 19th! Then because I persisted that I won’t miss presentations, the race team supervisor booked me a flight ☺️✈️. Even then the constraint was that I had to rush to airport after the presentation in the noon. My professor here was so helpful and supportive that he gave us special consideration by allowing us to present first! Immediately after the presentations, I had to hurry and the only choice was Arlanda express! Their tag line says ARN Sthlm Central in 20 minutes! It was an SAS flight, which is neat and decent as always! This time, the pleasure of the trip was seeing Netherlands from the sky! Beautiful architectures, flat landscape and lots of green and inland waterways. The race happened in Ahoy, Rotterdam, a very big fare complex. I directly joined some of the team mates in hotel, Hotel Hampshire savoy,whereas some were still working in paddock, as there were some problems which were still yet to be fixed! ! Being the driver, I had to wake up early for a meeting and so I went back to bed early. (By 12AM)😝.
Having gobbled up the food early morning, we all arrived and unfortunately, the team was working on the car for the whole day! But there were some perks for me! Of course, clicking pictures going around all the participants’ paddocks. Interesting to see different designs and technologies being used by many teams. Some brought small milling machines while some, 3D printers!
They made parts on the spot and used them in the cars! While most of them were from universities, it was interesting to see some were school students who were studying in 8-10 grades! But all the teams aimed at efficiency, greener and cleaner transportation! During the noon, we had photograph sessions,
Before the cars go on track, they must pass technical inspection. We hoped that we would do it by the evening, but we couldn’t! Finally, back to hotel by 10PM, and straight on the bed! 😴 There were high hopes on the next day as all the 10 inspections were yet to be done. The team was wrapping up their sleeves and geared up the process. While I spent most of the time learning swedish with my new friend, Elin Skoog here.
By 3PM, we were already in the TI centre and finished the entire inspection by 6.
By 8PM, we started back to hotel. Since we had some time, we went around the city a bit and for the first time I had Wok, of course Veg 😝! With high hopes again, back to bed! The next day morning, the team fixed the issue and made it run, while I had the pleasure of driving the car for a short run! As the luck had it, there were some issues again! Two times we went to the tracks but unfortunately the car didn’t move😞😣. Amidst this, I was happy to meet an year long friend of mine from netherlands, Teun Jelle Lasche who helped me in getting many information about the universities in Netherlands an year back. It was an interesting experience to meetup with someone with whom I had been communicating over facebook!
After some more tuning, team made it work but as it was too late we left the place! We were left with just one day. The last day was rather a quick one! We lost the third chance as there was some hydrogen leak detected! Finally we made it in the last and final attempt. I was asked to throttle very slowly and steadily! The car started to move at a snail’s speed and in a matter of seconds, wohoooo!!! The car gained momentum…It was pure bliss to drive a car completely made by students, especially that runs on future technology! Unfortunately, the car busted at the end of second lap, and we were back to paddocks with drooping heads but little satisfaction that something was achieved!
Finally, although I had high hopes of seeing tulips, windmills and cycling, I was happy that I had seen enough enthusiasm and dynamism from thousands of students all across Europe!