There are times when we are handed a reality check or a “jolt” forcing us back on the ground because we make the terrible mistake of presuming life to be a smooth & soothing journey and out of the blue, there lands a speed breaker. But, that’s what kills the boredom, isn’t it? Before I say anything else, let me clarify that at the end of it, it was an adventurous and an unforgettable experience.
This story has four protagonists,
My husband, DM
My first little brother, Dee
My second little brother, K
After living with my brothers for over 20 years & my husband for over 4 years, I was surprised to discover new things about them, as they were about me. The inhibitions are shed & the mask is off….you see the “real person” when the pressure is on.
And so the odyssey begins…DM decided it was time we visit a place of pilgrimage, very sacred to him, Goa! A regular visit to Goa is a time honoured tradition that gives him the energy to function in the hustle bustle of the city life. “Let’s make it a road trip”, he excitedly announced. The more the merrier we thought & enquired if my brothers would be interested at all & they agreed at the drop of a hat. Dee has been there plenty of times too although it was the first time for K.
It was going to be a 10 hour drive from Bangalore and we started in the early hours of dawn, at about 3 am one Friday morning in the month of March. We hoped to make it by 12 pm which gave us the half of Friday, the whole of Saturday & the half of Sunday to enjoy the bliss that is Goa. Destiny had other plans…
In the early hours of the morning, the sun very far from rising and only trucks with heavy cargo to accompany our road trip, we set off. Driving speeds on good highways in India are about 90 to 100 km per hour. These high speeds are restricted to the highways, mind you, because the roads within the city are teeming with traffic. In a flash, there was a very minor freak collision (the details of which I won’t get into) and the impact was not a heavy one. It appeared as if nothing happened or so we thought….After a few minutes of silence, (since we were all fine) DM decided the first order of things would be to check if the car was all right. At times, you can’t help but be practical. “The car” he said “is fine. Let’s move it else we won’t make in time”.
Ten minutes into the drive, the vehicle came to an abrupt stop. Recollecting the incident, DM says ” Suddenly a red light flashed on the dashboard, indicating that the engine was heating up & I knew something was wrong and immediately pulled over.Got down, opened the hood only to see the engine smoking out like a chimney. Dee, noticing the seriousness on my face, joined me as we stood there in disbelief. It was time to dial the number at the corner of the windshield!
Our car was parked was right after a toll booth & a truck stop as well. The drivers trying to get peek into the car & letching & staring at me, prompted ‘the boys’ to park the car in a safer area. We moved ahead, past the trucks & after a couple of hour’s wait, the help from Maruti arrived with a tow car.
I struggled with myself to stay calm & optimistic. Dee was being his pragmatic self. Being a mechanical engineer, he was certain the car was in trouble but kept his composure.
At Shruti Motors, the Maruti help centre, DM & Dee, were down in the workshop with a mechanic where they discovered the radiator was broken. Fortunately it was fixed in no time & since the test drive verified the same, we were back on the road hoping it was just a minor bump in our otherwise “epic trip”.
A few minutes into the drive, I even congratulated myself for my sustained optimism. Alas! It was not be be! Very close to a town called Hubli, the car came to a sudden halt, at about 1pm. The weather was hot & dry and I was on the brink of losing the little patience that was in possession of. This time, DM & Dee knew that it was no small matter & that any more movement could cause a long term damage to the car. Another desperate call to the Maruti helpline praying that they would dispatch help as soon as possible. But we were not prepared for the fact that “as soon as possible meant, 2 hours of wait in the afternoon sun.
DM was nervous by now….silent but tensed. Things were going in a way he hadn’t anticipated. To quote DM, “A situation like this should actually not call for panic, there should be alternatives like renting a car, and to take care of expenses, insurance right? No…it is not to be. We are on our own as no such alternatives exist. The car will not be repaired in a day or two. I will have to probably stay in Hubli and get the car repaired, will have to miss work & pay a hefty amount to fix the engine. By now we should have been sipping some kind of a tropical drink by the beach and look at where we are”.
A tow truck arrived at last. Once the car was in position, we took ours at the back of the truck with the North Karnatakan sun blazing over us and we were all surprisingly jolly enough to joke about it. We were the cynosure of all the attention on the busy streets of Hubli!
We finally arrived at RNS Motors and as per usual DM & Dee went to the workshop with the mechanics & K & me were in the lounge when a girl working there offered us a drink. Food was the last thing on my mind.”For how long was this travesty going to continue?” I thought. The girl with an orange soda in hand inquisitively enquired, ” What happened?”. No doubt our tired & “desperate for help” expressions gave way. K, in a single breath vented out the day’s happenings to her as she patiently heard him out. He was restless and he wanted nothing more than to go back home to the comforts of his room.
In the meanwhile, DM & Dee had just come to know of some appalling news. The car needed extensive repairs & needed to stay in the Hubli branch for a minimum of 10 days. This meant that we had no means of transport to return home or get to Goa. The first order of things was to book a taxi of course!
DM: “So,what shall we do”?
K:” Lets go home. It’s getting worse by the minute. We only get one and a half days anyway”
Me: Nooo! Let’s go to Goa! We can save what little we have of this trip”
(Dee receives a call on his mobile)
Dee: ” It’s my boss! I have to be at work tomorrow morning. He doesn’t seem to care how far I am from Bangalore”
Well, the decision was made and we were going home! DM & me were disappointed at this point.I was still hoping for some magic although a part of me was convinced that this vacation was jinxed.
However, out of the blue, good things happen too. About 10 min of a drive towards Bangalore, Dee’s boss had decided to let him enjoy the vacation. We all turned towards DM & asked him to take a call.(Dee, K & me being siblings would just end up fighting about it!!)… “We’re making this trip happen!!!”,, he said!. I was obviously overjoyed but the thought of Hurdles 5, 6 , 7 & so on, was petrifying as we had to drive through forest areas in the night. But, it was totally worth the risk. Yes. We made it. A little late, but we made it.
The next morning after a yummylicious breakfast, we hiked up the Chapora Fort, relaxed in the beach waters by the sunset, biked along the roads of North Goa & took crazy pictures at the Saturday Night Bazaar. We relaxed in our pristine white gazebos, ate like we had never seen food and slept like logs. Time was of the essence & we ensured that no second goes to waste.
Meanwhile, we needed a plan to get back home & opted for an overnight bus journey. The car returned after some thorough repairs a little late no doubt, but perfectly in shape.
The start to this trip was bumpy, rocky & nowhere near perfect, but we wound up having the best time of our life, we learnt a few things along the way & made ourselves some very treasured, unforgettable memories!
C’est la vie!