Sunday, January 17, 2010

A monk who will NOT sell his Ferrari !

How many time on Indian road have your speedometer needle kissed the 150 – 165 kmph marks consistently for close to about 15 mins ? Read on to see how it happened with my Dzire DDis on the scenic Pune-Mumbai Expressway….

It was a regular Saturday morning in Mumbai and I got up as usual without a plan for the weekend and all set to spend yet another lazy off day on my bean bag making my contribution in solving world problems by following their news on my TV set. But just when i was getting my doze of adrenaline rush for the morning on watching 3 young loins chase a gazelle in the African heartland (on Animal planet !), my involvement in the kill was broken by my family’s building debate on comparison between the busy Mumbai’s life to that of the smaller & quieter towns around the city. The debate moved from congestion in Mumbai to benefits of peaceful & spacious locality to the quite weekend getaways around Mumbai. And in natural progression they shifted to their favorite blame game when i am cursed for not planning and wasting yet another weekend by making them sit at home. Of-course by then it was unanimously concluded that at 11:30 am in the morning, it was too late to go anywhere. Even the nearest place of interest “Lonavala” would be at least 2.5 hrs away and there was no point in going anywhere with more than half a day (of 2) wasted.  Don’t know what went into my head and I threw my hat in the ring that what if I could get them there in 1 Hour !!

To begin with it was treated nothing more than a ambitious claim to cover my incompetence in planning ahead for a holiday. But soon the discussion became interesting when a couple of grands were thrown in as bets. So that how it started -  as a outrageous claim which resulted in a aggressive bet. But then that's not the story.

The story is of my newfound love with the Diesel driven vehicles. New found respect I should say. Every time I take out my Dzire DDis for a spin I experience new limits of its strengths that I haven't discovered before.  I am big fan of animation in life and for all car lovers the relation between them and their beast is as alive as it can be. You have to understand your vehicle and you will find it actually starts taking to you. For those who have read Eragon, the telepathic link between the dragon and its rider is what I have and what I experience with all my cars. My Dzire is no different. When am at the steering, its fun, its a date with your beloved and together you begin to explore the limits that you can scale with your dragon. The current one I am riding is truly a beast that makes all other cars on road look petty in power and speed.

Back on the bet of 1 hour from Matunga to Lonavala, Bushi Dam. We started from Matunga and the only points that I was worried of that could potentially seal my defeat right at the start of the race were bottlenecks at Sion and Chembur. I knew if we hit expressway in good time, then the I & my dear car might stand a chance. Aided by some rash driving and with I guess with some divine intervention this is exactly what happened. Although we did not cruise past the city roads till Vashi Bridge but the traffic was less than expected. Ignoring the regular halt at McD Panvel we hit the panvel expressway in about 30 mins. Decent time I would say, as usually it takes close to an hour So with about 60 km more to do in 20 mins to it looked a lost battle and even when though my car was cruising comfortably at 110 kmph I had started planning of letting go the bet and stopping and having a decent snack break at the Food plaza after the Mumbai-Pune expressway toll that we would have approached in about 20 mins.

Thats when my chain of thoughts was broken a Honda CRV zooming past us. I was at 11o kmph and the zip at which the car sped past me gave an indication of being at least at 130+ . I had no intentions of forcing a chase to an CRV (which clearly is far ahead from my Dzire in power) when my feet pressed the accelerator a bit and my dragon sort of winked at me. The sudden rush of power I felt in the wheels post 2000 RMP was unmistakable.  I got her cue, smiled back and pressed on the peddle. I have done 1200 km on this car and had yet not taken it past 125 kmph. Here what I got on stretching the limits was a pleasantly shocking surprise to say the least. In about 10 sec flat the speedometer was showing 140 kmph and still the car cabin was rock steady. Honestly I had’nt expected a Maruti product to cruize so comfortably at 140 and that too with perfect control even at those speeds. The steering control, accelerator response, response to brake was as good as it was at 40 kmph. Zoom I went past the Honda CRV that had overtaken us some time back.

I must say for a Honda CRV rider, its not a good sight to see another car overtaking you when you are cruising at about 130 kmph. That too, a not so-much sedan overtaking your mighty SUV from Honda’s stable. On my rear view mirroor I just about caught a glimpse that there was a young turk at its wheels with a female probably his girlfriend by his side. Maybe out for a power drive on the expressway. True to my gut feeling, obviously it did not go down well with his ego and he returned the challenge with showing off the power of his machine and driving neck on neck with me at about 140 kmph mark. Those who have done this would understand that although this is madness for sure but the adrenaline rush it gives you is unprecedented and worth dying for.

I very well knew the power of Honda CRV vs Dzire DDis was not a platform where this battle would go in my favor. Where we were cruising was a neat straight stretch with a ST bus and a couple of cars visibly approaching the curve at the far end. An apt setting for a conclusive battle.  We all have read of relative velocity in school - here I got a perfect demo ! Speeding at 140+ both cars looked almost stationary to each other even we were leaving behind a tail of trees on either side at mighty speed. To quote as per my love for animation it was straight out of “need for speed” screen. In terms of the size and power of the machine he was riding he clearly had an edge and was starting to move past me. That's when I decided to go for the kill. I had a exchange of thoughts with my car in mind and pressed on the peddle. A few seconds on clock, and the RPM shifted from 2500 to 3500 mark and my speedometer needle was kissing the 160 kmph mark. Zooooom I went past the CRV. I held on to my nerve for a couple more seconds and I was cruising at 165 kmph. Phew, this was the fastest I have even driven. Last time I was moving at 160 kmph I was in the reassuring strong interiors of Tata Safari. This was different. This was car that did not look to be build to topping 160, a car that I did not believe would go past 120 that too with 3 co-passengers with me. But these few second did the trick. The sight of a competitor persistently cruising at about 160 kmph, the approaching curve and the giant ST bus in between made my friend in CRV back off and we won the battle. War went on till the exit of Lonavala. Not to mention we both skipped and Food court and continued our fight for this crazy one up-manship of speed and skills. He overtoook me at a couple of straight stretches but I managed to maintain my lead and exited on the side road for Lonavala and saw him heading straight towards Pune. This may be just my mind but I guess we shared a smile on that last sight of each other as we parted ways. Amazingly exciting contest it was from the Panvel expressway toll till the exit for Lonavala and I must say we followed all the unwritten rules of such a contest on road and parted like gentlemen acknowledging the other person’s competitive skills and knowing pretty well that the fun was in the contest, the outcome was just a footnote. Hats off to my friend and if he ever ends up reading this piece, I must say I appreciate his guts.

Well it may sound simple but a few minutes of looking at your speedometer reading 165 at Indian Roads is not something that happens quite often. And it you have done it for considerable time on clock, you get an unparallel orgasmic pleasure for sure. Anyone who can do that and who has done that knows what it feels !! And achieving that with 3 others in the cars constantly yelling at you to slow down was no mean feat either. I had a good ride and I must day I have a new found respect for my diesel dragon.

Ah well I almost forgot of the bet while telling you about the chase sequence, pretty much the same way as i forgot about it when I was living that chase. Well I lost the bet if its the result that interests you. I took 1 hr 10 min when i stopped the car at the parking of Bushi dam. But guess what, I could’nt love more  - the journey of this loss.

Phew, 150 - 165 kmph for more around 10 mins on a stretch, and the best part if you look at the RPM meter it still nowhere close to the maximum power that this beast can deliver. Not driven one yet but driving a Ferrari after this should be fun. For the coming year though my Dzire VDi would be its synonym for me. And this monk is definitely not selling his Ferrari !!!

The journey of new revelations it seems has just started. Next target 180 kmph.

Wanna join for the fun ride …


Sneha said...

Are you sure you don't wanna write professionally? Excellent piece buddy, I felt as if i was in there with you. Keep up the good work.

I don't support your target 180 though. Drive safe and have fun with you car.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sneha,

Man your writing has very nice flow & ease to read.

Give yourself a chance to do something you like.( 3 Idiots ka dialog)