written by - Gitanjali Banerjee
One thing is quite certain in Army – You can never have a planned trip. Either there is a last minute crisis and your leave gets postponed or some senior officer decides to visit you on the dates when you have confirmed tickets. And, all this confusion leaves an Army officer’s family with one reliable mode of transportation, the road drive.
We often opt for road rive and each has a fond memory and associated nostalgia.
I had never seen snow falling. We were posted in Chandigarh then and I was having a mundane day at office when a random internet search flashed news of probabilities of snowfall in Shimla. Bas phir kya tha, applied for a quick leave, packed a few clothes and jumped into my red Wagon R. Search of snow thus began. It was decided that we would keep driving till we find snow. Driving on winding mountain road amidst pine trees only with moonlight to guide is quite romantic. We stopped at a midway dhaba to have a steaming cuppa of tea and a few paranthas at 12 in the night. We kept driving till wee hours of morning.
Amidst rounds of vodka during 31st night celebration, I whispered into my hubby’s ears that I wished to start my new year by sipping tea amidst mountain. And, my wish was granted. Soon after 12 o’clock after wishing everyone ‘Happy New Year’, we began road drive to Kasauli. Driving through the night and, that too after a happening New Year party was an adventure in itself. Well, I did feel lucky and happy to sip the first tea of the year amidst verdant mountains.
The pleasure of drive in desert roads is simply amazing. Your car just glides through the smooth roads. We drove a lot on desert roads of Rajasthan and every time we took our car out on the roads it was a new revelation. The roads of Rajasthan are also a photographer’s delight. Some of my best clicks are from the road drives especially towards remote towns of Bikaner.
From Chennai we would often drive to Pondicherry. The road was smooth and with vast blue sea on one side it was a romantic drive. There were many exotic sea side resorts on the way and we would try out a different one each time.
We drove from Rishikesh to Lucknow. This one is the latest one. As usual we had booked our tickets in a comfortable night train and assured that we have atleast one lower berth. But everything went down the drain when our trip had to be postponed. Well, peak summer vacation it is almost impossible to get a ticket. Thus, we hopped onto our Duster at 4 in the morning and drove 520 kilometres to Lucknow where family was waiting to cheer us on our indomitable spirit. Trust me, driving on roads of Uttar Pradesh does need a brave heart. Bad roads, not so clean hotels and people who drive in full bokali take the romance away from the drive. It is only CEAT tyres and a true CEAT drive that can give the requisite cushion on such a drive.