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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Chapter 7 - Treasure Hunt and a Hi to Padmini

Days were rolling by in Mumbai with work ,college. Thanks to Mumbai’s transportation , Herby was seldom used except for some short hops here and there. There was this time when Herby would max cover a distance of 150 odd kilometres over 2 months. And even those came out of trips to relatives place or the temple.

Boring days were nearing when one Sunday morning I caught an ad in the paper . Maruti Suzuki treasure hunt.It read “ Inviting all maruti owners to take part in this treasure hunt in Mumbai’ The hunt began at 8 Am and I saw the clock , It read 8 30 .

I screamed across to dad in the other room , pops treasure hunt and mum was just getting ready to start Sunday cooking . 30 minutes later I had succeeded in getting the three of us out onto herby filled with sandwiches and water bottles to go on the treasure hunt. The treasure hunt aim is to finish some 13 odd clues or checkpoints and involved some lucky draws for the fastest completion.We registered ourselves and I found my dad signing some rules stating maruti not responsible for any accident which may occur etc and that speed limit will be checked between 2 checkpoints. Max permissible speed is 60kmph.I was miffed hearing that , 60kmph ,, nonsense Mumbai roads especially on eastern express highway and western express highway we could touch 80kmph.

Nevertheless we headed off on our treasure hunt , a lovely Sunday morning and sun out , mum making sandwiches in the back seat and me trying to guess the treasure hunts. Couple of them very pretty easy but they were spanned so across Mumbai that it involved us going from one end to the other . It was so much fun as at every checkpoint we were given goodies like car vouchers teddy bears and water cool drinks . Herby for the first time had a number sticker ! I was so proud because till then I have only seen race cars with numbers on the side. We had caps and maps and boy was it one heck of an adventure. We could finish most of the checkpoints except one which talked about a go karting circuit. We never have been to a go karting circuit in Mumbai , and I wasn’t able to recollect the name where It was located. We stopped for fuel when asked the fuel guy , if he knows any go karting circuit . He directed us to some place on the western suburb. Reaching there we dint find nay checkpoint and that’s one I got the name . I shouted in exclamation HAKONE! in eastern suburb. And thus begin our rather fiery drive from one end of Mumbai to the other .Having reached there we realised that we were running short of time . The race finishes by 4Pm. And we were there at 3 15 PM . The last checkpoint was the Mumbai CST station, a prominent heritage site. From where we were, that was a good 20 kilometres and has to reach it in 40 minutes.

We pondered a little but if we should go home as we have to cross home and reach CST. We dint give up and raced away , with 2 minutes to spare we reached CST and we were scouting for the checkpoint , the last one for us to complete the race. I was scanning around near the station and my dad had almost pulled over to the left side of the road and Herby was just about rolling , when I shouted spotting the checkpoint on the other side of the road . Dad turned to look at where I spotted and the next instant , crash and bang! The little kid screaming away and dad too momentarily lost in it , with Herby rolling and we smashed into a Fiat or better known as Premier Padmini.

Well a little scene with people coming around us and dad coming out to see the damage , well the speed in which we were caused no damage to the Fiat , a rock solid car made out of solid metal from the 1970. Herby on the other hand had some damage , my dad did a quick check and noticed that the radiator took a little beating and touching the fan . He quickly shut the bonnet and went back to the seat ,and we looked in the direction of the checkpoint , and disaster , They were just packing up in a bike and going off .

My dad not wanting to give up as we had come so far , did a quick turn and raced towards them already moving on their bikes. Herby with his fan was making weird noises taka taka taka whirr whirrrr whirrrrrrr with the engine running and the front grill shaking as it lost it bolts and the bonnet was only holding it . I think this is where we broke the 60 rule and went ahead catching up to the guys in the bike. We got our last checkpoint stamped and goodie bag, and proceeded home. Herby was making the whirr noises and mum asked to cut the speed down. 40 minutes later home sweet home. Herby went to the mechanic the next day and got himself treated and back with the radiator and fan fixed,

To this day me and dad have a hearty laugh on how herby by just touching Padmini, took such an impact, we keep saying even today, we just said Hi to a Padmini and we got a trashed radiator.

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