It is a known fact that Pragati Mehra who plays Divya Thakur in Colors' Uttaran is a very good actress. But this multi talented lady had other aces up her sleeve and one of them is driving. She decided to put her motoring passion (which she had for years) to test by taking part in last Sunday’s Lavasa Women’s Drive 2012 (26 February 2012) along with 3 member navigation team consisting of Uttaran co- star Vaishali Thakkar (who plays Damini), sound artist Nidhi and corporate friend Rinkle.
“The distance from Mumbai to Lavasa is only 215 km, and ideally it takes around 3 hours. But a car rally is not about speed or racing, it is about how meticulous and careful a driver you are. In a rally the smartest person has to be the navigator for the driver has no clue about the route are you taking. They have to keep informing you i.e. that after 200 km take a left or 400 meters ahead there is a bump, go over it,” says Pragati.
The entire journey took about 5 to 6 hours for the average speed for large stretches were not more than 35 km/h. “So it was a real character building exercise as you just could not hit the accelerator. The format is such that if you get from point A to point B in lesser time, you lose more points than if you reach late. You do not even know the exact route. You are just given an average time and there are also time controls which you have to report to,” reveals the actress.
Although she went slowly for the most of the time, there were two occasions when she sped to around 100 km an hour as well, “On the very third direction, we went wrong which meant we were losing points. So to make up for the lost time I hit 100 km/h. Similarly, we also got confused between octroi post and a toll naka from where I was supposed to take a left. Here too I took a u-turn on the bridge at 90 km/h to meet the next time control.”
Pragati, who was driving an Sx 4, says she is quite hopeful of finishing in the top 10 among 500 contestants “for we met all time controls which according to our sources hardly anybody achieved. The result will only be known on 4 March 2012 as over 500 calculations and tabulations have to be done.”
In closing the talented actress says, “One of the main reasons to take part in this race (apart from her love for driving) was to show my audience that I am more than just a bharatiya nari. And I am sure some of them might be shocked seeing me behind the wheels in a rally environment. I also want to debunk the argument that woman are bad drivers, we are actually more careful. As for navigation, it is a no brainer for we all know that men don’t like to ask for directions.”