For seven years now, Himanshu Arya has been leading a dual life. While his family sees him as the CEO and founder of Grapes Digital through the week, they don’t know much about how he moonlights as an off-road enthusiast on weekends.
A college friend who owns an adventure sports company in Gurugram introduced the 36-year-old CEO to off-roading, a sport he has been addicted to since 2014. Arya would accompany his friend and observe the visitors trying their hand at the sport in special vehicles on a 500-metre track.
Soon, curiosity got the better of him and he finally decided to give it a shot. It took Arya months to get used to the vehicle, understand the body weight of the car and the apt angles that would make it sail through tough terrains. Once that was sorted, there was no looking back for Arya who would spend almost every other weekend on his friend’s track, courting the sport. “The more you practice, the better you get at it,” he says.
An off-roading event in the Himalayas was on his list last year but the pandemic played spoilsport.
For Arya, it is the thrill, adrenaline rush along with a sense of achievement after an off-roading adventure that drew him to the adventure sport.
But what about the risks attached? “There is fear before going for a drive but at the end of it, the sense of accomplishment makes it all worth it,” says Arya.
His family, however, isn’t as enthralled by it. In fact, he admits that there have been times when he has set off without letting his family know. “They are worried about my safety. While they are aware that I am into off-roading, they do not really understand the risk associated with the sport,” he says, adding that it is still a niche sport in India.
His family’s fears aren’t unfounded. Arya recounts a 2018 incident when his car turned turtle on the track but luckily, he managed to escape with a mere neck sprain. Safety has been of utmost importance to Arya, which is why he hasn’t suffered any grievous injury till date. Explaining further, Arya says that he has modified his Maruti Suzuki Gypsy with an internal steel casing, professional seat belts that hold the driver from both sides of the shoulders and special tyres for better grip.
“It is an expensive sport. One needs to spend a lot on car modifications and its maintenance. I spent Rs 300,000 to buy a second-hand Maruti Suzuki Gypsy and Rs 750,000 on its modifications. I spend around Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 on its maintenance every month,” he says, adding that whenever that Himalayan off-roading event happens, he will have to upgrade his car which would cost him anywhere between Rs 400,000 and Rs 500,000.