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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Chapter 8 - A new journey begins with a loss …..

August 2005 .The day when we had to pack up and leave behind the city I call home. Mumbai , the place where I grew up and made my actual long lasting friends. There is something about that city I can never explain and alas! The time had come to depart for Hyderabad.

Dad was already transferred to Hyderabad and was still hanging in Mumbai thanks to horrible attempts in finishing my high school. Mumbai was at its usual best , complete rains and the day we were to depart the sun had come out . The packer guy said that the truck could finally head out of city to Hyderabad. A very very emotional moment and we started Herby moving out of the colony for one last time , eyes filled with tears just gazed at the roads which I have been travelling back and forth ,for these would soon be memories. Crossing the Vashi sea link and hitting the shores of Mainland India , we drove along until we reached the beginning of the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Dad handed over Herby to me and under the watchful eyes of Dad began my drive. Of course he was looking at the speedo , so that I don’t exceed 80kmph.

40 kilometres into the expressway approaching the ghats , I noticed my dad sleeping and I moved onto the right lane . Just entering the Bhatan tunnel with a Volvo on my left , I was whizzing away overtaking the bus , when my dad woke up and yelled Shyam! Cut down , Whoops in my excitement to overtake the bus and a smooth road , I dint notice the speedometer , it read 110kmph.

Settled down for a cruising 100 and soon we reached Pune by evening , with a little juggle through the city , we were out on the other end on our way to next major town called Sholapur. 2 hrs into the drive and we took a halt a roadside dhabha , which I would remember for quite some years to come for a specific reason. Why ???? Hang on folks its coming soon …

After the brief halt , we were back on the road and Dad took over , dusk fell and along with it came rain. That drive was tough , with rain tearing through the evening , visibility was low and made it impossible for us to drive , but dad moved on . Suddenly from now where we were over taken by the shiny flashing light car . It was a Contessa( a yesteryear luxury car) of a district collector . The yellow beacon light was so bright that we could see it for miles .Dad stepped on the accelerator and regardless of what speed we were in tailed the beacon car for as long as he could until a time came where we could catch up no more. The car had more power and obviously had the advantage of the beacon at a few places. I think it was god’s way of saying all right buck up your are mere civilians .

Night fell and we stopped at a place called Mohol , seemed like a okayish place for a night sleep. We retired to sleep and next morning in the first instant of dawn we began, I took over wheel again and we just came out of the Hotel and barely a 100 metres , I realised my purse missing. We went back to the hotel and searched everywhere , to no avail .

Its when it struck me that I had left behind my purse accidently on the dhabha near Pune . Well they say you should get blessing/darshan from elderly people or god when a new day begins, I sure got it from my dad. Not only did I lose my purse , along with it went my driving license and 2500 bucks in cash and It turns out that Dad who had given me that money was the only cash we had. Uh oh and oh for 10 minutes I was at the receiving end of my fatherly blessings , and all I could do is keep my mouth shut and probably keep it under my seat .

Soon things cooled and then Dad blurted out , you bugger! that was the only cash which had to be used for fueling Herby. Which village petrol pump do you think is going to have credit card facility. I still threw a sulky face .Well that mean I cant drive anymore and dad took over , all the fiasco delayed us a good 45 minutes and Dad was in furious mood showed it at the wheel , I think we were hitting 100 constantly until a place where a dog ran across and too late ! We could brake in time , and thud !

50 metres further we stopped the car , It dint seem like the day was going too well for us , a lost license and now a dog hit . To our surprise we saw the dog walking away on the other side , don’t ask us how it escaped . Well a good look at the front showed us the right bumper taking the impact with the indicator lamps also broken. Not too bad , but yes that’s where the thud came from.

Started again and soon dad began to worry about one hour down the road , asked him why and he said , we are low on fuel. 6 am in the morning and the petrol pumps weren’t open either. The needle was just a shade above the E mark , E  means empty , damn ….

A few kilometres as we cut down our speed to increase the mileage , we noticed a bunk guy just opening the petrol station . We went to him and said you accept cards , he gave us one weird look , He said no card and with the little money dad had we filled Herby .
15 litres and all dad was left now was with 100 rs in hand.

We calculated 15 litres should take us thru 300 kilometres and hopefully we should be able to find one more Petrol station which of course now has to accept credit cards. Back on the road and we drove along letting kilometres run away , after 4 hours we noticed fuel indicator close to E again . Dad now was getting worried , with all his calculations we had covered 290 odd kilometres . Did we underestimate the mileage , he was asking me ?

I had no answer and couldn’t still reeling under my morning shock. 5 minutes later a big petrol station and credit cards and dhaba and eateries. Phewww We stopped Herby tanked up full and after a sip of coffee started again to reach Hyderabad at 10 AM.

Herby now in a brand new city in the Southern State of Andhra Pradesh 750 kilometres from Mumbai .

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