Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 1 of The Great Indian Road Trip with the Monster Driver and The Beast

 Day 1: April 3, 2013 – Bengaluru to Nagpur – 1200 kms

The day began early at 3:30 AM. We got up, had coffee and quickly loaded all our gear into the Scorpio and left on schedule at 5.15.

Just as we crossed the toll booth on Airport road, we crossed a large hump and heard a loud noise of the kind that w e hear when a Kinetic Honda goes over a hump. We kept hearing it for two more kilometres. Ashok, the diligent driver he is, did not want to proceed further without getting it thoroughly checked and examined by a mechanic. We stopped by the side and everyone was hit by a wave of disappointment. Ashok started saying that lets go back home and make flight bookings and leave by flight tomorrow. I kept insisting that let us get this repaired and see how big the damage is and how long it will take to get this checked.

Ashok started waking people up and calling the mechanic who had serviced our vehicle, the guys who did the wheel alignment and their higher ups. The India Garage people told us to come to Sireesh Motors @ Yelahanka which was close by and he would send a mobile repair vehicle. We drove up to Sireesh Auto and waited for 2 hours when Ashok kept getting more and more frustrated because the mobile vehicle guys were not coming soon enough for him.  The first mechanic of Sireesh Motors arrived at 8:00 am and seeing him was like seeing a beautiful sunrise. He took a round in the vehicle and after examining the vehicle immediately declared that the problem is minor and the spring of the shock absorber has got cut and it can be set right in 45 mins or 1 hr.
But we had to wait for Sireesh Auto to open so that we could get it done which would be at 9:00. It lead to more frustrating moments for Ashok. The mobile repair vehicle also arrived with the two mechanics. Even they gave the same verdict about the vehicle. As soon as Sireesh Motors opened, all of them got done to work and changed the spring within no time while we waited in the visitor’s lounge watching Munna Bhai and we were on the road at 10.15.

We were crusing on Bellary/Hyderabad road NH 7. Ashok started screaming ‘JAI’ to all the Gods, Vajpayee Thatha and the National Highways Authorities, Mahindra Motors, Scorpio and anyone else he could think of. We were delayed by 5 hours but our trip was on and we were excited to be on the roads again. The roads were all 6 lane roads throughout and Ashok did a continuous 140 km/hr to 145 km/hr continuouslt and we were clearing hundreds of kilometres at the blink of the eye.

STARTING METER READING        : 123990 Kms
1st Diesel filling                                  : 33.26 lts             : Rs. 1736             : @ 5.20 AM on 3/4/13
1st TOLL PAID                                      : Devanahalli      : Rs. 20                  : 3 times because of the breakdown
2nd Toll                                                  : Bagepalli            : Rs.50                   : 11.15 am

As we were approaching Pennkonda, Andra Pradesh, the sun was reaching its zenith and the hear was searing. But the Air Conditioner in the car was keeping us cool and we were guzzling bottles after bottles of chilled water which I had carried along with me. Mt mother in law had made us yummy chapathis with a smearing of tomato and onion spicy sauce. We were all hungry and we gobbled up the chapathi rolls as though we had not seen food for eons. The music system was blaring out some hit music of all languages which Apsara had downloaded. We had a minor glitch with the music system as well as the displayed stopped working. But the DJs Apsara and Amrita figured out a way of navigating through their ipods and iphones.

Just as everything was looking perfect, our stomachs full, music in the background, Car flying like a rocket and it was 11.35, there was a stoppage at Pennakonda as there was a political protest. The Telugu Desam party workers had gheraoed a local MLA and they had all squatted on the road and were not allowing any traffic to pass. A smart local Policeman came up and explained that there was a political protest and we could not go further. Ashok launched into chaste Andhra Telugu and explained about our trip to him. He in turn explained about what was going on and assured us that they have been given permission for 30 minutes and 20 minutes more was left and that he would flag us off first as soon as it was over. The local SI and Commisioner were also present to ensure that there was no violence and things went on smoothly. Now all we had to do wait those 20 minutes which started looming large on our heads as though it was 20 hours. I was reminded of Einstein’s wonderful explanation about theory of relativity “when a beautiful girl is near you, 10 hours seem like 10 seconds but when you are sitting on a hot plate, 10 secs seem like 10 years”. Just as we were into a heated up debate about Telangana politics, the good police officers waved us on and we were once again cruising along with great glee and a whoopee! War cry.

The signage on board said ‘New Delhi 1882 kms’ which looked so close yet so far...

3rd Toll   : Ananthpur        : Rs.90   : @ 12.40 pm      : 214 km in 2 hr 25 mins with the 20 min stoppage
The signage on board said ‘Hyderabad 340 kms’ looks like we can have tea at Hyderabad

4th Toll   : Karegalli                                   : Rs.80
5th Toll   : Dronachalam or Dhomne           : Rs. 80                  : 1:25 pm

The signage on board said ‘Hyderabad 247 kms’. Bypassing Kurnool @ 1.50 pm. Did 105 kms in 70 mins.

6th Toll                               : Kurnool              : Rs. 75                 : 1:50 pm
2nd Diesel Fill up                : 50.30 lts             : Rs. 2610             : Milage reading 124441

The signage on board said ‘Nagpur 675 kms’, ‘Hyderabad 155 kms’

7th Toll   : Rs. 51  : 2.50 pm

2:55 pm Hyderabad just 100 km away. 2:57 Hosarpet. 3:00 Hyderabad just 95 km away. 3:15 Hyderabad just 70 km away. 3:20 Hyderabad just 60 km away!!!!!

8th Toll                   : Rs. 53                 : Raikal                                                  : 3.21

Reached Hyderabad at 3:45 !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nagpur 515 km away. 

9th Toll                   : Rs. 40                  : ORR Pedda Golconda                   : 5:15 pm              : Nagpur 501 km

Stopped at Medak Dist, Manoharabad, Sri Atithi restaurant at PSR Auction Yard. Had lovely gobi manchurian, paneer pakoda, veg fried rice and veg Manchurian. They served us very hot and tasty tea which rejuvenated us all and we were raring to get to Nagpur. 5:35 started from Manoharabad.

10th Toll     : Rs. 105   : Medak   : 5.37 pm              : Nagpur 370 km

Crossed a town called Sadashivnagar. Were remembering Bangalore and also Anu, Prerna and Ashutosh who are from Sadashivnagar.

Nizamabad       : 6:38 pm  : Nagpur 316 km                               : it is getting dark

3rd Fuel Filling     : 7:05 pm  : Balgonda  : 54.14 lts   : Driving mileage 816 kms  : filling fuel every 450 kms
11th Toll    : Rs. 30    : Nirmal               : 7:20 pm
7:51 pm                 : Nagpur 227 km
8:16 pm  : Driving mileage 1000 kms !!!     : 10 hrs
8:21 pm  : Adilabad            : Nagpur 200 km

Our great Indian road saga started from Adilabad. The roads are very bad from Adilabad. It took Ashok 40 mins to navigate 50 kms while up till now he was doing almost 100 kms an hour.

12th Toll                 : Panderkavada                 : Rs. 30                  : 9.00 pm                              : 150 km to Nagpur
13th Toll                 : Wander                             : Rs. 50                  9:55 pm                                : 94 km to Nagpur
14th Toll                 : Berkedi                              : Rs. 80                  : 10:37                                   : 36 km to Nagpur

11:00 pm
I had enquired with one of the professors at VNIT, Nagpur on where to have dinner and where to stay. Based on her suggestion we stopped at a wonderful garden restaurant on the outskirts of Nagpur on the Airport road called “Dwarka”. It is a garden restaurant and has a very spacious and well spread out garden. They have a large car parking and very welcoming atmosphere. There was a big dance party going on and loud music. The play list included many old and new Bollowood hits and some English songs thrown in. It was a very relaxing atmosphere and we had to wait a good 20 to 25 mins for our veg Kolhapuri, Dal Tadka and rotis to arrive. We used up the time to chat with the waiters and enquire about the various routes to take to Delhi. The food was very tasty and we were ravenous. We reached the Hotel Majestic Manor at around 12.30 and it was 1:00 by the time we slept thoroughly exhausted but very happy and satisfied for having done 1200 kms in one day. Thanks to the wonderful roads and Ashok’s superb driving and our never say die attitude.

Total driving time                       : 13 hrs
Total milage                               : 1200 kms
Total number of toll booths         : 14
Total toll amount                        : Rs.834
No of fuel refills                         : 3
Total fuel filled                           : 137.7 lts
Total amount paid                      : Rs. 7253
Total number of stops to refill ourselves    : 2 J     : one chai stop and one dinner stop J

It was all in all a very action packed day filled with drama, suspense, action and comedy. As I switched off the lights to sleep at 1:00 I was humming the song “Yuhi chala oh rahi yuhi chala” from Swades and was into deep slumber within a few seconds....................


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