This year definitely didn’t start well but its running fine…like my car sometimes need multiple ‘heating’ sessions before the diesel warms up to power the engine. It happened thus: a good house party at a friends place on new year eve and sleep sort of played the party spoiler, i overslept. There went my Haridwar trip, from reality back to dreams. But i am not disappointed about it, because there is a road-trip planned for this weekend. Oohaa!
So to compensate the spoiled plan and to ensure that 2014 is not a year of cancelled plans, i decided to visit Adilabad Fort. Never did i think that the road which i travel often would be a different experience today.
I was not in a hurry, stopped at Tau’s Dhaba for a decent lunch and packed tea in thermos. Sun was playing hide and seek and a light breeze was taunting me to sip up my jacket. I used accelerator like a miser and entered the Gurgaon-Faridabad road, one of the best roads for a jolly ride in NCR. Up and down, the road cut through the old daddy of mountains in the world – Aravali (some 4500 million years old).
constantly exploited by mining mafia, the barren Aravali
The high-flying friend
Beyond the toll-plaza, the road narrows to a two lane road. Its here where i met my first friend, a high-flying peacock. I have seen peacock’s fly, but this chap broke all records and flied high across the road over a truck! By the time i stopped, he disappeared into the crusts & troughs of the abandoned mines inside the forest. Farewell friend and fly high, i murmured.
another set of high flying folks on the same route, they were too high to make friendship with
Burey Khan (evil Khan), my lorry-stylist friend
Burey Khan (evil khan), the lorry stylist
Further down the road is the left-turn to Surajkund. and there i met my new friend Khan-sab or Mr. Burey Khan (burey in hindi means evil!).
He is a lorry stylist (i invented this title for him). He was sitting on the roadside with flashy accessories used by truck drivers to decorate their trucks (lorry). I stopped to click a picture and i could see his eyes narrowing under those dark glasses. I was embarrassed that i didn’t ask his permission for the picture.
So I got down and decided to buy something for my jeep too. In few minutes, we were thick friends. He suggested me some stickers and danglers, and i obliged.
my ride after the facelift, or should i say rear-lift
He did the honour of hanging it up himself and asked me to click a better picture of his. This time he posed for me and made me click numerous pictures till ‘the picture’ was clicked. Old chap even promised me a ‘Horn-Ok-Please’ sticker which he will keep aside for me and i told him that i will get a print-out of his ‘sexy’ photo. Friends we are but he is a shrewd business man, charged me 50 bucks for those danglers and stickers.
buri nazar wale tera muh kala – an ad on the same concept
(written behind trucks, meaning ‘evil eyes (bad intentions), let your face turn black’)
The gypsy saint of Aravali jungles
A few metres after saying good bye to Khan sab, i saw a Maruti gypsy car with unusually big tyres parked on the opposite side of the road. There was an ascetic with no clothes (but a lot of yellow paint on his face and body) at the driver seat. He stared at me and i could see that he was intrigued by my ride (an army scrap 4*4, refurbished).
So i turned around, again, and parked in front of him. This time, he gave a frightened look! Now i had doubts on whether my decision was right. The car was too fancy for a sadhu (ascetic). Now his frightened look and the unruly hair did scare me a bit. But I went ahead and complemented his car’s tyres. A short conversation followed. His car was registered in Rajasthan (RJ 02…) but he stays at Banni (someplace inside the jungles of Aravali).
His hindi was influenced by a lot of languages…Rajasthani, Haryanvi, Punjabi and some more which i do not recognize. The car was stuffed with lot of grain sacks and groceries, enough for a month, if not more. He asked for a match box, i didn’t have one. Like magic, he produced a filled chillum, stuffed with marijuana and a match-box.
While lighting this contraption, he started off, without even saying a good-bye. I didn’t even get a chance to click his picture. I have no hard feelings for him, we both are same, save the attire and lifestyle, seeking and living life our way… through the high-ways.
sadhus (ascetics) are mysterious and sometimes very funny too
Strangers from the road, friends without names
At the turn of Manav Rachna Institute where the road dissolves into pits, few people stopped my car. One of them was a truck driver and requested a lift for few kilometres. I obliged, they are great story tellers out of obligation from my experience. So i paused the music because i knew he would talk to me out of gratitude. And he did, while the other two passengers sat in silence. He works as a truck driver with some company which fills money in ATM’s. Apparently the man has travelled extensively through South India and recognised me as one from the region. Though i believed him, he had to prove it and talked to me in length about Madurai and Rameshwaram, the Padmavati temple he missed to visit, seems like it is the biggest loss in his otherwise successful life. He didn’t disappoint me further and told few stories and some unsolicited advice on why I shouldn’t give lift to strangers! All this happened within few minutes i took to cover few kilometres!
The devilish angels of Adilabad
If you think I stopped making friends, you are wrong. At Adilabad Fort, i went on with my legacy. This time i met a bunch of ‘devilish angels’. They approached me and ‘demanded’ to click their pictures. I obliged again. Then started the long list of questions from my age to the mobile model number. At some point I was worried that they will get me married off to some local village belle. Thankfully they didn’t. They clicked pictures on my phone, told me about their village behind the fort, and some interesting stories on their favourite hobby: finding couples in uncomfortable positions in the nooks of the fort. Little devils even cracked some jokes which my grown-up friends wouldn’t dare to. And then they moved on.
‘devilish angels’ of Adilabad Fort
Somehow i consider myself lucky, to have met so many new folks…listen to stories, spread some smiles and visit a 700 year old fort. An unusual day to start the new year, and a very promising year indeed.
What’s your new year story?