Travel is for everyone. For the faint-hearted, the romantic lovers, the adventure seekers, the soul searchers, travel transcends age, gender, caste and creed. A perfect example of this would be the heartwarming story of the 77-year-old Mohanlal Chauhan and his wife, 71-year-old Leelaben from Vadodara in Gujarat. The couple has travelled 30,000 km across the country in their vintage Royal Enfield 1974 Bullet with a sidecar. Their strong desire for travel took the couple from the sunset of Rameshwaram to the lush green meadows of Meghalaya.
The Start To The Journey Of A Lifetime
The start to the journey of a lifetime began with a pitfall. Mohanlal, a former employee of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) suffered a heart attack in 2011. After which, the doctors forbade him from even climbing stairs. But Mohanlal was not the kind to sit at home. His wife, Leelaben stated to The Better India, that he wanted to live life on his own terms. So, in 2015, he opted for voluntary retirement and started going on solo trips. But he wanted his wife to also join him in his trips. In order to make the bumpy ride, an easier one for her, he attached a sidecar to his bullet. In 2010, Leelaben fractured her leg and a sidecar would ensure she is much more comfortable.
Travelling 3000 Km Across India In A 1974 Bullet
Mohanlal and Leelaben went on their trip together in their Bullet in 2016, after attaching the sidecar. The couple started from Vadodara and travelled through Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu. They wanted to cross borders and visit Sri Lanka. Alas, the political tension there put a halt on their plans. Nevertheless, Leelaben had the finest memories of her life, witnessing the sunset and sunrise at Rameshwaram. In 2018, once again the couple embarked on another journey, this time to Thailand. They crossed an array of states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Meghalaya. The landslides in Meghalaya played a spoilsport to their plans. But the journey of visiting so many destinations made their trip a special one.
Managing Budget, Food & Challenges Along The Way
To make their travel desires come true, Mohanlal and Leelaben meticulously plan their trips. Leelaben is the official finance manager of their trips. She informed The Better India that they budget anything between ₹3000 to ₹4000 as their daily expenditure. This budget includes food, petrol, stay and other costs. In this way, they spend just around ₹2 lakhs for each of their trips. The couple are vegetarians who eat everything except onion and potato. No matter where they go, they request cooks to prepare food according to their dietary requirements. But their journey isn’t one without any challenges. In 2018, when the couple travelled through Madhya Pradesh, Leelaben fractured her ankle and had to undergo surgery. Despite being in severe pain in an unknown land, she never said she wanted to go back home. With a cast on her leg, she was ready to continue on her journey with her life partner. Mohanlal fondly calls his wife, the second battery to his bullet.
Travelling With Your Best Friend, Your Spouse
With the coronavirus pandemic halting travel across the world, Mohanlal and Leelaben have also put their travel plans on hold. In 2020, the couple went not their last journey to Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh. But until they get on their Bullet and travel the country again, their bucket full of travel memories keep them hopeful and happy. Leelaben stated to The Better India, “He’s my husband but when we travel together, he becomes my best friend. I enjoy riding with him.” Their heartwarming story indeed proves that there’s no age to travel the world. Mohanlal and Leelben have set total travel goals, and we have a lifetime to even come close.