Grounded in Ghats
We were a group of experienced road trippers. This definitely wasn’t our first road trip. We knew the roads, we knew the ghats, and we knew what we were doing without the help of Google Maps. And yet it happened to us.
The road tripping thumb rule is to check the vitals of the car, fill the petrol tank, check the tyre pressure… well, you know the drill. And we did all that (Honestly!). Somewhere down the line, we just lost track of when we did it. Conversation flew from one topic to another, and the miles flew by equally fast. Next thing we knew, we were approaching the Mahabaleshwar ghats, nary a petrol pump in sight, and the fuel tank on reserve.
It was already dusk, and our options were limited. As per our hasty calculations, there was enough petrol to ensure we reached Mahabaleshwar. We prayed to all the Gods, crossed our fingers and toes and forged ahead. Our prayers remained unanswered though. The car sputtered and died midway.
There was no network on our phones, but there was a small restaurant close-by where we chose to wait while our man Ali hitchhiked his way to the closest petrol pump. We sipped on really bad coffee, had intense discussions about life choices and waited. Ali, the saviour, hail-Mary, master of jugaad, returned in a milk wagon with a 5 litre can of petrol. We cut an empty water bottle to make a funnel and poured the petrol in the car.
The strawberries tasted much sweeter that night. The petrol tank has always been at least half filled since then. That evening remains one of my favourite road trip memories though.