The Characters

Meet Chandini, Anitha, and Harriet, the three pillars of the Happy Harriet Team!


Chandini, in what she hopes is not her last happy photo

As a child, Chandini was constantly ambushed by well-meaning relatives who force-fed her a steady diet of adventure stories. (The type where the king goes on an adventure across seven seas and seven mountain ranges to find the beetle imprisoned in a mud pot that hung on top of a palm tree in order to kill it and release the curse that hung over his kingdom.)

Succumbing to this constant assault of adventure stories, she decided to be a king when she grew up and go on these adventures herself. The king part didn’t pan out, much to her chagrin, but there has been no dearth for adventure in her life. She signed up for the Mongol Rally, because, why not? She was hell bent on doing it herself, when a normally fun-loving colleague turned all serious on her and twisted her ear until she promised to bring on a teammate (I’m blaming you, Ellsworth! Especially if Anitha and I fight, I will be cursing you!). She mentioned the rally to her sister who suggested her friend Anitha. Anitha and Chandini spoke for 10mins before they decided they wouldn’t kill each other, and hence were perfect to be cloistered together for 40-60 days in a tiny car, 24hrs/day, while only encountering unknowns.


WTF have I gotten myself into this time?

A nomad with home and family (the husband, kids, and mother-in-law types). A vegan, and a barefoot trekker, and runner who does enough abnormal things that her family and friends consider un-friending her on Facebook at least once a day. From doing a barefoot hike in the Himalayas to doing unplanned travel – she never says no to an adventure. She researched the Mongol Rally for precisely 1.32 mins before deciding to abandon her family for 2 months. She hopes this rally will test her coordination and people management skills. It might end up testing her singing and dancing skills instead.


Meet our mighty steed and most important teammate, Harriet! She’s a 58bhp, std transmission, 2000 model Nissan Micra with 100k miles on her. We’ve never met her in person. Hunted her down on the internet and begged/bribed/cajoled/threatened Andy Young (who is currently contemplating blocking Chandini on FB) to go rescue her from living out her last days in an unremarkable fashion in a godforsaken little town. It’s all good Carma, Andy, good Carma.

We’re fully loading her and expecting her to drive on the Autobahn, The Pamir Highway (4600m altitude), Altai Mountains (sub zero temps), through the Eurasian Steppes, and the infamous Kazhak roads where we expect to seriously damage her 6″ clearance undercarriage by driving over the potholes and large ruts the cargo trucks have gleefully created. We will meet her just days before the rally, and inconsiderately dump her in a junk yard in Ulan-Ude, Siberia at the end. (IF she can hold up until Ulan-Ude. She might be inconsiderately dumping us long before then.)

car2 2
Ugh! Kill me! That would be preferable to putting up with these loonies in my twilight years.

3 thoughts on “The Characters

  1. S. Ganapathi says:

    Wow! What narration. I wish you both jointly author a book soon after the Rally is over. Alongside, please encourage Miss Harriet to write one too! That should be rattling fun. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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