Gunjan and Anshul are the power couple we need to emulate. No, they are not some celebrity couple or a corporate duo. They are just normal people like you and I. What makes them the cool couple, well the fact that they are smashing stereotypes together in unison. There can not be a better story of two genders coming together so beautifully to rip apart the gender rulebook and pave their own path.
Gunjan and Anshul went on a road trip from Bengaluru to Jaipur along with a baby in their backseat. Anshul did most of the driving while Gunjan did most of the babysitting. Isn’t that something different? They tell us more about their one of a kind family road trip and why we must think beyond the gender roles.
Interesting Fact: The names are deceptive. Gunjan here is the Male (Husband), and Anshul is Female (Wife).
Anshul: “I am a CA by qualification. I once saw a video of Gul Panag driving in hills to remote places. That had a huge impact on me. I realized that life is unpredictable. When you have an opportunity, just grab it. Don’t overthink.”
Gunjan: “For a long time, I have been living by the book focusing only on my career. On my 35th birthday I realized that almost half of my life is over and a reverse countdown has started. That’s when I turned adventurous & spontaneous and decided to fulfill all the wishes I have, however crazy they be. This trip was one of such crazy wishes.”
Travel bug which bit us
Anshul: “My interest in travel developed in childhood. My father used to take us on trips since I was 2 yrs old as he is very fond of traveling. At that time, I obviously could not drive but I used to observe my father and brother driving & discussing about car and related technical stuff...”
(Gunjan cuts in)
Gunjan: “The travel bug was transmitted from Anshul. She used to share her family trip stories and it awakened the traveler inside me. Now, I have bigger travel bug than her. We try to take couple of big trips every year and a small one every quarter.”
Why drive when you can fly?
Anshul: “I have been driving for some time now but not for long durations. When this thought of Bangalore to Jaipur Road trip came, I got super excited. I thought it’s not every-day that you get a chance like this. My only concern was well-being of our 3 Yr. old daughter Anya, who took this road trip with us.”
Gunjan: “After quitting my Job with Apple last year I started my own venture that led us to shift from Bangalore to our hometown Jaipur. While evaluating logistics, the idea of driving on our own came. We realized that it will be a once in a lifetime experience for us & our daughter. So we decided to materialize a fun & love filled road Trip. When we told our families about it, they declared us mad beyond repair.”
Gearing up for the road and how we shared chores
Anshul: “I took care of food and engagement for our daughter. Packed nuts & home-made snacks, opted for homestays where ever possible so that she can have home cooked food. Relied a lot on locally available fruits and simple food like Dosa, Idli. I also made an activity bag for her with colors, sheets, story books and craft accessories to keep her engaged while in car.”
Gunjan: “I focused on three areas on this trip: Safety, convenience and experiences. We created a setup for our daughter where she could sleep comfortably in car & yet is in safety of a seat belt. One of us always sat in the back seat with her. All medicines, Swiss Knife, portable chargers were always handy in the car. The route was designed in a way that after every day of long journey, there is a break of 1-2 days for her. We also included visit to offbeat places & interesting experiences like beaches (Read Goa), Homestays, Art Cafes, Performance spaces & travel cafes in our trip.”
Dear wife was now controlling the steering wheel
Gunjan:” As always, the trip started with me driving the car. I handed it over to Anshul after an hour as I was feeling a bit sleepy and there was no going back. Tables turned on this trip. She drove for more than 2100 km and turned out to be a kickass driver be it on a straight highway, curvy roads or even crowded cities.”
(Anshul giggling and nodding in agreement)
Anshul: “I took the steering and started to drive. Something clicked in my mind & I decided that I will drive for the entire journey & I never gave it back except for very few times that too when he came begging for it ;)”
Anshul simply loved her time during the drive and Gunjan enjoyed spending time with his kid and enjoy the view from the backseat.
Anshul: “Long winding Roads, sound of tires brushing the road, changing terrains, “Ek Kudi” song from Udta Punjab Movie in background … & I felt Peace. The reaction from people passing by was very funny. They first looked at me on the driving seat and get surprised. Then they would turn to back seat where a man is playing/sleeping with a kid and get the shock of their life. They would look at us in disbelief.
It is a funny reaction for us, but shows the stereotypes that exist in society. Most people expect a guy driving a car and a female handling kids or sleeping. But we as a couple do not believe in this. In fact, we have figured out that this is a better arrangement for us.”
Gunjan: "It was great to be in the back seat for a change. I trust her ability to drive so I could relax, enjoy the landscapes, update social media and most importantly spend loads of time with my daughter. We laughed, danced, played, painted, read stories throughout our journey. Our daughter too had a great time. Her resistance for water went away & she fell in love with sand & beaches in Goa."
Takeaways from the trip for the cool family
Anshul: “Experiences while travelling are the best ways of learning for kids. Rather than seeing a windmill in a book, she saw them in real and was amazed. She learned about vehicles, concept of different cities. For her, it was a truly enriching experience. For me, 12 days turned out to be too short, I now crave for more roads, more miles, new challenges & new terrains to conquer.”
Gunjan: On the 4th day, our daughter asked us in a very happy tone: “So, which city are we going to today?”. That’s the biggest takeaway from the trip. Live one day at a time. Every day when you get up in morning, ask yourself, “What new am I going to do today” and then just do it.
Hear hear, what the couple has to say.
Gunjan: “The trip is an example that females are equally good drivers & Dads can totally take care of kids.”
Anshul: “For all the SHEROES out there, always believe in yourself. If I can do it, than anyone can. Second one is for society: My father & brothers taught me to ride geared scooters & motorcycles, they also taught me basic repair so that I don’t get stuck. No one filled in my mind that I am a girl and I should only be riding a Pink Scooty, and luckily I have a husband too who encourages me.
Take a lesson from this, do not create mental blocks in your kid’s mind, irrespective of gender. Never tell them, that you cannot do something. Instead encourage them and guide them on how to do it and they will shine and live a confident life forever.”