“””Ferry?? What ferry?? Theres no ferry to Alibag for another 3 months.””
Ankit stared at me blankly as the the man averred with an air of defiance. Shoulders drooping, he walked back to where we stood and repeated it. And surprised faces is all I could see around.
It was a cloudy morning of June 10th as we all made our way down to Gateway of India to leave for Alibag, but as it turned out, it was not to be. The plan was scraped and a new one made. “”Can you get your cars?””, Kaushal asked me and Dhaval. As we inquired with our Dads we were surprised and elated to know that the cars were available.
So new plans were made and there was a spring in everyone’s step. We made it down to Borivli again and drove our horses out of their stables. We conducted routine checks on the car about the oil, filled in gas and we were off. Not to Alibag. But to Lonavala.
Well it was the very first time I was driving so far away from the city and I was absolutely excited that I was gonna be driving on the Expressway!! As it turned out we took the wrong route and had to wade our way through the traffic at Mumbra. We reached the expressway and it was something I had never seen before. Believe me when I say that driving at 140 kmph on a road that never seems to end and with not a single car in sight is like heaven right on earth!
We reached Lonavala, settled down in our rooms and after our lunch we hit the road once again. There was a thick fog cover as we made our way up the treachorous ghat. All I could see was just 6-7 feet ahead of my car. It was a drive I’ll always remember. Finally we reached a place where not many people go. It was a ledge in the mountains. We parked our cars and were perched on the ledge waiting for the fog to clear away. A few minutes down the fog suddenly started to clear at a lightning speed. It was just as if the artist unveils his latest creation. What we saw down in the valley was a breath-taking view of a green carpet dotted with small houses and fields. It was just as if, someone had cut it out from a landscape painting. Or maybe its the other way round.
It was a serene evening in the ghats of lonavala. Finally we made it down to our rooms and went for dinner. Now this is the time that I always look forward to in our trips. The night. We went out ‘shopping’ for booze and soda. All of us huddled together in one room and started playing cards. We went late into the night and once the whisky started taking effect, decided to go for a drive again. All I remember is that I was driving keeping in mind the tail lamps of the car ahead of me, which Dhaval was driving. The sleep that ensued was the best one I’ve had in sometime.
Strangely enough we woke up at 8:00 the following morning. The hangover was quite bad and we all went ahead to have our baths. The drive back to bombay was quiet and once again we hit that 140kmph mark.
It was time to say good-bye as it was the very last trip for quite some time. Quite some years actually. We are all going our seperate ways to make our lives and careers. A few going for their MBA, others for MTech and some taking up jobs. We are all going to different parts of this country and wont meet for atleast a few more years.”