If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Apr 15, 2010

Maybe even Arizona...

On the road again. Three weeks ago . And there was me and Aalia and Aalia's sister, Mahia. Picked up sleeping bags tent stove and bucket. Then headed on to Bijapur via Pune. Big Sunday morning breakfast in Pune at the Coffe house near Dorabjees. Accompanied by every Sunday paper the paperwallah outside was selling. Theres no coffee ,like filter coffee theres no coffee I know. On past the vineyards and sugarcane farms that have come up around Pune. Past garden hotels with their private cabanas. Past tractors with trailors 10 feet wide with the protruding load of sugarcane adding another 10 feet on each side. Overtaking? Only if you want to die drinking ghana juice. A stop for a lunch of Kohlapuri chicken. With extra strong Khajurao beer on the side. It was the only one available. Which even diluted with sprite was formidable for it's alcoholic content. Sitting on khatiyas and munching on masla papads while the chicken was caught, killed, defeathered, cooked served and eaten. On to Sholapur. With a sudden detour thrown in that said " Shortcut to BIjapur." Which meandered us thru Pandharpur. That mythical place that people from all over Maharashtra converge on periodically. We were looking to top up on gas once we hit the main town. Which like early sexual experiences was over as soon as it began. The tractors with their sugarcane kept our speed in the first quarter of the speedometer. Until we passed the sugar crushing plant. After which we had to contend with the tractors and their trailors coming at us head on. Tea stop. With the evening sun on our faces. Nothing between us and the horizon. A stray goat dropping by to see who had come to visit. The tractors getting fewer as the end of the crushing shift came closer. We have four pages of Google maps for the Mumbai to Bijapur route. Now rendered null and void by the "shortcut to Bijapur" sign. The kids are practsing the fine art of negotiation. One song from Camp Rock for them one Gordon Lightfoot for me. One Jonas brothers trades for Elton Johns Yellow brick road.
The sun sets. Leaving us alone in the world. In this little space which could well be a interstellar vehicle on its way to Mars. A code has evolved. TarMac for the good roads, MacTar for those that are not so good and CamRat for those that God and the Highway department has forgotten about. Dinner. Before the kids fall asleep. We have a choice. Panner mutter, Biryani, Paneer Makhanvalla or noodles. It's like magic. All it takes is boiling water. For any of them. And we have our gourmet noodles ready to eat. With their yellow fold open cutlery that comes as part of the package. The villager who has to turn off onto our dirt track to get home, rides his cycle into a ditch. He turned around to see what a stove was doing with camp chairs and a Bisleri bottle where only this morning was dirt track ,dirt track and dirt track. He gets his torch and climbs back onto his cycle leaving us to the stars and the eerie howl of a dog that we imaginatively think might be wolf or jackal .
Coffee from a sachet that comes premixed with sugar and cream. Almost as good as this mornings filter coffee. And we’re on the road again. In our Sorpio pretending to be spaceship headed for Bijapur.. Rot in hell Jonas brothers and Demi Lovato .The music system is mine. The kids are asleep. The road belongs to the truckers though. With their high beam headlights and more coloured lighting than Las Vegas. With glo tape slogans that proclaim “ India is Gret “ or India Is Greta” and even “ India is Greet”. Ma tuhje salaam. All the left over glo tape, the odds bits and corners that remain after HornOKPlease has been cut out is plastered onto the transmission or the axle.
I stop to check where we are. Yes I have GPS on my phone. Do I need to know ? No. Then why.. Because they I can. The milestones tell me I’m on the right road.
It’s 2.00 am in the morning when we drive into Bijapur. It’s a big town. They’ve got a Lions club and a Rotary Club both of whom warmly welcome us. Should I pitch the tent ? Too much effort. I find the one person awake in all of Bijapur. A policeman on his way home. He gives me directions to a Hotel at the foot of the Gol Gumbaz. Ten minutes later we’re checked in and asleep.
Aalia and Mahia are up early. Watching TV. Silent animated characters jumping across a snowy screen. The volume turned down so that I can sleep longer. They respect the additional responsibility I have as driver. We’re a TV’less home in Mumbai so even silent cartoons are better than no cartoons at all.
Dosa’s and upma before we set off to tell the Adil Shahi dynasty that we’re here.


bablu said...

You would have been better off taking the road via Belgaum and then going to Bijapur from there.

Devendra said...

Missing all of you.
A road trip with you guys would be fun... Even new Mexico!