Before (starting) Update:This was a few weeks ago.
As I write this, we (Me & Srinivas) are all set to leave for my friend/roomate/college junior’s wedding.
Start Time: 9:30PM IST
Travel Time: 3.5+hrs
Mode of Transportation: My Car
Wedding Muhurtham: 1:30AM
Would we make it in time?: HeHe…No Way
Would we make it in one piece?: God!I Hope so.
For the ignorant, Muhurtham is an auspicious date+time when the couple will be announced as married i.e typically after the Groom ties the auspicious Mangal sutra.
The round trip is around 8 hours with an hour or two at the wedding ceremony. Well we all know what that means – ALL NIGHT ROAD TRIP!!!!
Pointers to myself
Don’t fall asleep
Don’t race with trucks
Drive slow (Yeah..Right!)
Don’t lose your way
Watch out for speed humps
Don’t fall asleep
Facts to ponder
I was the only driver
We didn’t know the way
I fell asleep on the wheel twice before
My spare tire was flat
Well the conditions were not favorable, but luckily, Srinivas was as ignorant (careless) about the problems as I was. We were just happy to go on a road trip.
After! (coming back)
We were off! But I had to warn Srinivas
“Keep talking to me or else I’m gonna fall asleep”
After an hour’s drive, we reached the 4-lane highway, not a common sight in India. This was a nice surprise
GPS – Follow the line
When I told Srinivas about missing out GPS on my bro’s iPhone, he grinned and whipped out his shiny Samsung phone with GPS. Wow! Now I got a chance to test it out.
FYI – I never used maps or GPS before. We always traveled the old-fashioned Indian way -
Ask a Guy.
Go ahead more. Stop.
Ask another guy.
Repeat this until you get to your destination!
We took our first break at a small dhaba (kind of like a hut-sized cafe). One of the best things about a road trip is a casual chai (tea) right next to the highway.
After another hour’s drive we were at Nizamabad, 30 kms from our destination -The town of Bodhan
Naturally neither of us remembered the name of the function hall, and who writes down things today.
We used the old fashioned way to find out. Bus stops are the best place to find homeless guys. We did find someone who woke up….
“Hey..So..ummm…We need to go to a marriage. Do you know if one is happening now”, we asked sheepishly.
“Go straight”, the guy answered. He could barely stand.
“We were looking for this big hall owned by the local MLA”
This guy was dead drunk. Now can we trust a drunk guy to tell us the right directions. You know what they say – You always tell the truth when you are drunk!
Turns out he was right and we reached the marriage hall at 2AM.
Happily ever after
My friend, OKC was happy to see us. He was sitting on the stage, right next to his soon-to-be wife.
OKC works in Australia. His marriage as most marriages in India, was an “Arranged Marriage”. After a careful screening process (Family background, education, caste, financial stability) a bride/groom is selected by the parents and children generally accept that choice.
A tried and successful system that’s been working for ages. The couple looked great together and OKC had a beaming face, trying to suppress the excitement :-)
We were in time to see him tie the Mangal Sutra around the girls neck and all the elders trooped onto the stage to bless them by sprinkling holy rice grains on their heads.
Groom tying the mangalsutra
The marriage (anti)musical band tried their best to deafen the crowd. They managed it very well with a lot of drums. I guess the louder they are, the more, they get noticed.
We started back at 3AM, a dangerous time to drive. Sleep always tries to overpower you at this time and you never know if a truck driver is half-asleep.
After an hour’s drive, I was feeling drowsy and so we stopped at a bhaba. This one was cool with make-shift beds, a loud TV in the background and a sleepy woman.
I love to see these beds, they are so crude and very useful. Anyone can take a quick nap on them (I think).
A chai (Hindi for Tea) felt good and refreshing and we were back on the road.
Still using firewood for the stove
Men and Women
I needed to bring up something to keep us talking till we reach home. We found a very debatable topic – Can Men and Women become good friends?
The good thing is Srinivas said “Yes” and I said “No Way!”. That started a very animated debate. It didn’t matter that we were both relatively inexperienced, we considered ourselves subject matter experts.
I won’t dwell on the details or the outcome. But I do think that I was right :-) (My Blog..so I win)
Srinivas concluded that I had ego issues and had to read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.
The last test – FAIL!
We got so involved with our conversation that we didn’t even notice dawn coming and just like that we were in Hyderabad! The time was 6 or 7 in the morning. I dropped Srinivas at home.
But the dangerous part of the journey was yet to come. It happened before and it was happening now. Now that I was inside the city, my body automatically relaxed too much.
I was falling asleep behind the wheel. My eyes would close down and then half way through snap open again.
What the !!!!
I think my brain registered that being in the city was like being in my home, so system was shutting down.
In the 30 minute drive through the city, I dozed off for 5-6 times. One time I just followed a bus into the bus stop with my eyes half closed.
This was scary, I was losing control. I did the only thing possible – called up Srinivas and asked him keep talking until I reached home.
and then I was home, a quick bath and I was off to bed for the next 9 hours.