Sawaisar, Rajasthan: The time moves really slow in desert. The only sounds out there are of gushing winds, the murmur of a bunch of journalists and chatter of 20 odd children waiting on the sand dunes for vehicles to arrive.
The tiny place called, Sawaisar, is literally and figuratively in the middle of nowhere, but the bunch of kids out here knew one name in particular.
“Rana aayega?” they asked. They were referring to the defending champion in the Xtreme category Suresh Rana. They didn’t really know who he was or what he did, but from the last years’ experience and from hearing stories from people they had understood one thing. When the vehicles come in large numbers ‘Rana comes’.
Sitting in the boot of a media convoy car, writing the report, waiting for the Xtreme category cars to arrive at the spot, surrounded by half a dozen kids, the ones’ who knew a little bit of English, were quick to point out the name of their village, Sawaisar.
The 16th edition of Desert Storm began near Bikaner here on Monday, after an overnight journey rallyists reached here in the wee hours.
They all gathered in Bikaner, tackling a patch of tiny road, dependant on GPS and again, when connected to the state highway, hitting flat out heading into the pitch black road ahead.
Puzzling roadbook and wait
The first stage of Leg 1, which passes through Sawaisar, was the first point where one tackles the Thar Desert.
But finding the place wasn’t an easy task, as trying to understand the roadbook made us realise that we would not make a good navigator.
The time started moving really slow. A sound of the engine echoed somewhere far, as we scrambled to find a good spot.
Finally, an engine raved somewhere at a distance, it was a bike, as Hero MotoSport rider CS Santosh made through the dunes quickly, passing by the cheering kids.
There was clear anticipation in the air, the kids knew, “Rana Aayega”, and he did not disappoint, he zoomed past them, vanished into the darkness.
His title defence was underway.