Monday, April 12, 2010

when whew doesn't just cut it

I love this blog. Every time I read it, I want to jump into the car and drive off.

I love the road. I used to love flying till a couple of years back. Now of course the mention of it is enough to make me quiver like jelly. And yeah, trains are fun, because I belong to that group of people who think train food is cordon bleu stuff.

Serious tip: If you ever want to go to Kerala, and for some reason decide to take the train, please catch the Nethravati Express. Dude, Jiggs Kalra can dumpukht himself to glory when he finds out that the best chicken biryani on any side of the world is on that train. And yeah, fried bananas. Gulab Jamuns. Egg biryani, and various other bhajiyas and snacks.

Anyway, back to the road. I think I got my love for the road from my dad. Every time he got transferred, we drove from one part of the country to another. An old ambassador, my dad, mom, I and the dog.

Our longest trips were from Bidar (near Hyderabad) to Hasimara (on the Bengal-Bhutan border). And of course Hasimara to Chandigarh.

These trips lasted for a week to ten days, depending on the distance and the number of temples my mom spotted.

The thing with a road trip is you are the master of your destiny. Flying and taking the train is all dependant on someone else’s skill or whims. (yup, the trains in Bengal sometime stop near the engine drivers house so his tiffin can be dropped off)

So on one road trip, there are four of us and a dog. The three guys can’t drive, which is making me pretty happy, because there’s no fighting for the wheel.

We’re on our way back to Mumbai, the highway is empty, CCR blasting. Then at a small dabba, a truck pulls in front of me.

So now he’s in front of us. Not going fast. Just chugging along, and refusing to give me room to overtake.

Usually I have a lot of respect for truck drivers and they’ll always indicate if you should overtake or not. The guy refuses to do either and keeps swaying in front of me.

I have no choice but to bide my time. Till the road widens and I peek out from behind the truck. The coast is clear. I accelerate hard, pull out from behind him and start to overtake. I’m just about to be level with him, when I see another huge truck coming at me, from the opposite side.

There’s no time to pull back, there’s no time to try and sharply careen out of the way. There’s only one thing to do.

We cross. At one point I’m between both trucks. My feet are still on the accelerator. I don’t move the wheel an inch. And then, we’re out.

The boys don’t talk for two minutes. Then it’s a babble of voices. I’m trying to stay calm. We’re all taking at the same time. And then finally, they tell me both the trucks were inches away from us, and how did I stay so calm?

I smile, and tell them my dad was a fighter pilot. And I must have inherited some genes from him.

It’s only a month later, when we all meet up again, that I tell them the truth. I saw the other truck, I figured we’d just have to drive through, so I held on to the wheel for dear life and I shut my eyes tight till we came out through to the other side!

PS: And yes, I now treat trucks with the kind of respect you’d show to Donald Trump’s bank balance.


hyde said...


Didn't think you'd love the series this much!

But yes, I always trust truckers especially the long-haul ones.

Flickering Cursor said...

Reminds me of the time when one of these took a coat of varnish from my car with him.
While praying, make sure to include the Aerodynamic God of Wind Drafts. Especially if you're riding a bike.

scratchpost said...

similar-to-same happened to me when driving to goa. the screech. the silence. the fear. the release.

The Cloudcutter said...

If I could drive I probably wouldn't still be around to comment ;-) Imagine someone like me behind the wheel! It does sound fun tho and I've been a very entertaining backseat/pillion rider for years, with very good navigational skills I might add.
And you're right - that Jiggs Kalra is one pompous ass.

The knife said...

arre baap re...reading this was more than enough adventure for me

Tamanna Mishra said...

I love the post, and the trip must have been super fun! And yes, train food IS cordon bleu stuff.. Anyone who says it's not doesn't have taste buds as evolved as ours :P

Tamanna Mishra said...

Oh and I am turning green... I just CAN'T drive! Super scared of driving though I did learn many years ago :(

Shamanth Huddar said...

respect @ "And yeah, trains are fun, because I belong to that group of people who think train food is cordon bleu stuff"

It is so hard not to love the train food, when you know knowing how much khoon-paseena they pour in it for us...innit?

agent green glass said...

@hyde: i do : )

@flickering cursor: my only regret is i can't ride a bike properly. i tried learning the RX 100. i learnt to ride a scooter when i was 14. so the balance and everything was cool. just the damn gears. drove me pretty mad.

@scratchpost: oh ya. then the slight wobbly feeling in your legs and finally the urge to put the windows down and stick ur head out coz you are alive.

@cloudcutter: yup, good navigators are a plus. and more than that entertaining riders are a must. and one who would carry a cake...the best.

@the knife: oh yes, i remembered the Great Salami!!!!

@tamanna: i swear. the first thing i do on the train is ask about the food. even the english dinner with the two peas and four carrots is sooo yum. my mom insists that all these years of cooking good food for me is a waste.

@shamanth: yup, the paseena part i agree with it. that adds to the taste doesn't it!!!

Small Miracle said...

hahhahaha...u are such a typical good ol fauji brat!! I am tellin ya...fauj made a brat outta us and life is tryin to get us back on track...and the struggle between the 2 continues!!

Anita :) said...

When my better half drives and overtakes trucks I tell him that we have a lot to lose and the truck driver doesnt care a tiny rat's ass. Cos the truck usually doesnt belong to him. Also because if there is an accident the truck wont even know what happened. And we wont live to see what happened.

Altho I say all this, I always keep distance away from them while driving. But this post scared me a little.

Sangfroid said...

I'm a sucker for road trips. Have hit a lean patch of late though :|

I see you bank balances are at the top of your mind :D

ani_aset said...

"yup, the trains in Bengal sometime stop near the engine drivers house so his tiffin can be dropped off)" gawd is it a true? and thank god..but that was too risky a way to learn a lesson no!?