The North remembers

‘We’ve been planning this for three years’ bellowed Jay from the other end of the phone. Hang on, let me add Rahul, I said. The phone rang on….no answer from Rahul. I’m sure he’s on a call in one of those meetings, I thought. Those meetings, ah! Yes! those meetings. ‘No answer buddy’, I said to Jay.

I knew that useless fellow will not pick the call stated Jay. True that! We had been trying to get that friend of ours to talk to us for a while now…without luck. Now this quaintly popular application has zoomed into our lives, controlling most of our conversations (mostly muted) in a rather autocratic way. 

I looked around to find that my walls hadn’t changed much, given that I stared at them for at least 6 hours a day. So, we had planned on getting away on a road trip with some spirits in tow. The road was ready and so were the spirits. But something had cast a dark shadow over our bright plan (also read spirit). 

Next morning. I hear honking outside my lair. Get in, said Jay. Let’s swing by and say ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ to Rahul. Good idea, I said jumping in. Traffic, all over the world,  I must say, has been slightly muted thanks to a very unique virus, which allowed us to make time getting to Rahul’s. Jay was on speaker in the car….zoom call of course. Which meant that I had to keep my trap shut (for most parts at least). 

Cut to the part where Rahul walks up to meet us.

The bugger has a cocky smile to boot (That’s where Jay and I wanted to gag him and dump him in our boot). I have news! So, Rahul was bogged down by the sinister and complex web that life had spun around (most of us have that happening, but this chap was inexplicably down on spirits for quite a while). 

Over a cutting chai, we discussed life in its purest Y chromosome form, needless to say sprinkled decadently with profanities. Rahul had been laid off. It was his last day at work. Wondering, why the cocky smile then? You should. As it happens, our man had invested in a few stocks that had skyrocketed when everything else had plummeted. The bugger had made a fortune. What seemed like a morbid investment a year ago, had helped him turn the tide in the most testing times of our lives. Good for him! 

We met up again after a couple of weeks at Sathyan’s, our hangout over decades. A little about this quaint little joint nestled right between two towering Gulmohar trees. Sathyan was someone that everyone loved. We ended up going there to chat up with the scamster, rather than satiating our bellies. The food just happened as we liked to keep our mouths busy when not spewing out profanities. Sathyan’s idlis are still significantly softer than paperweights and the chutney has a tad less water than the Harangi dam. The coffee is great too! He generally takes the ‘filter’ in filter coffee very seriously, but that’s our Sathyan for you. All in all, we still felt like teenagers, and that was good!

So, about Rahul, a month ago, this man was a wreck; disconnected from us with a constant scowl for company. The situation had flipped around and our buddy was alive again; full of life and enthusiasm. 

He had used a part of his fortune wisely and that was the reason for his new found cheerfulness. It had so happened that our man had gone and treated himself to something that he was dreaming for decades. Now this friend of ours loved the outdoors and for the longest time, lusted for the 4×4 life. Cargos and bad terrain in the middle of nowhere was his aphrodisiac. So the treat had to be in line with his lifelong ambition of taking off on aimless drives across untamed territories. But the critter also had a hidden love for creature comforts and gadgetries. So the machine that he possessed had to have the best of both worlds. Not to mention a comfortable drive when not negotiating the western ghats was also something on his checklist. So, from the pedigree of taming terrains to happily munching miles on the long winding roads of life, the machine had to bring joy and hope back into Rahul’s existence. The canny bugger had managed just that; that too in a fantastic green; talk about saving the planet!!! 

Gentlemen, we hit the road on Friday. I’ll pick you rascals up at five AM and see the first rays of sunshine on the highway; preferably, with nothing but trees, birds and our trusty Canon DSLR for company. The car needs to be where it belongs; away from masks and concrete. And hopefully, we’ll see the full extent of its capabilities on this trip. Let’s just ensure that we pack some coffee from Sathyan’s! 

A new chapter of life opened its pages for us on Friday….sharp at five AM! Life’s Compass doesn’t always point north. 

Go Anywhere. Do Anything. Jeep.

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