This day was much awaited, not just by Mumbai but by 11 other cities too because something like this had never happened in the history of MAD.
How can anybody think of cycling all the way across 12 cities? The only thing that I can think once I hear this is: HOW FAR CAN ANYBODY GO?
Yes I am talking about the “TOUR DE DIFFERENCE”
A brilliant initiative by the Mangalore team, the biggest task was to cycle across 12 MAD cities in India in 45 days across 4240 kilometers. I couldn’t believe when I actually heard people are ready to cycle that sort of distance. This is called real MADness. And I was filled with excitement when I heard that their first destination would be Mumbai .
After a lot of brainstorming, an event was finally planned to happen on the 15th of August at St. Francis School. The cyclists reached Mumbai late at night and were completely clueless about the fun waiting for them the next day.
Tour de difference was also supported by IIT Mumbai as a part of their yearly festival: Mood Indigo.
The feelings of uncertainty and enthusiasm were filled in me waiting for the arrangements to start off. After a little briefing of the volunteers, everybody started their work. The event was full of minute to minute activities where the cyclists and the IITians got a chance to interact with the kids.
The event started with an introductory session of the kids and volunteers. They were supposed to be in a team of 4 with 1 volunteer and 3 kids in each team. Following the theme of Independence Day we kept 2 groups, the orange group and the green group with 4 teams in each.
After sorting out all this and A LOT OF EXPLANATIONS to the volunteers, finally the FUN started.
Hearing all sorts of playful whispers, laughter and yelling at the top of their voices, along with hopping, dancing, jumping and not to forget a sheer enthusiasm towards the country, Tour de Difference was a perfect event for a greet and meet session.
It was not just the cyclists and the IITians but also the local MAD volunteers had a lot of fun with the kids.
Kids were at their best whilst performing with their big brothers in their team to help them out.
There were 4 levels of relay with 6 fun filed activities in each of them like the flying machine, mighty word, gulp the fun, the guess game, jump it out and finally Colour the MAD way.
The scene of kids running all over, songs in the background, cheers by the other team members was so much fun in itself.
The best part was to see the cyclists and the IITians becoming kids all over again. The joy was so visible on their faces and I am sure they will remember this for the rest of their lives.
After a quick session of these minute to minute activities, rang de basanti gained momentum with various yamla pagla deewana and Michal Jackson movements all around.
Every moment of the day is still so fresh in my mind that I can actually visualise it very well. Our kids were not left behind in celebrating the Independence Day. They got tattoos of Indian flag on their hands and faces to celebrate the spirit of India.
When I look back and think about the Tour de Difference, I can only think of smiles, fun, laughter, enthusiasm and pure unbounded joy.
I respect the cyclists for putting in so much of effort and coming this far to bring smiles on our kids’ faces!