Jun 30, 2010

Rainwater Harvesting – 9 Hours to Mahabaleshwar

So I recently tried to drive to and fro from Mahabaleshwar in my 11 yr old BMW. It was eight thirty in the morning on a Sunday and the weather was awesome and i thought what the heck, who takes a bus on a day like this right? The only problem, my Ram Pyari wasn’t up to it.

Now there’s a lot of things you can do to your old faithful car like drive it, race it, wash it, service it, talk to it at a lonely hill top. I’ve never done any of those. One thing you shouldn’t do to your old faithful car is neglect it. It’s a sacred bond and you don’t mess with such things. I learnt how to drive on that car for Pete's sake, it deserves better. By this time my folk who’re reading this are probably bursting a nerve but people listen, i honestly did keep an eye on the car and took good care of it. I used to check the battery water levels, the radiator coolant levels, the oil (it was in bad shape), the wheels, the belts, the brakes, and everything else from time to time except for a slight little problem, I did all this with the engine off. BAD IDEA.

Now in my defence, I usually just drive to my office and back everyday so that really doesn’t give you an inkling that may be your car’s fan’s not working so it’s heating up.

So anyways, I'm in the hills, climbing up slowly about 60 Kms out of pune and whoa, SMOKIN!!!! I pulled over on the side (where there was none) and got out to see all my car’s fluid draining away right in front of my eyes. I was in the middle of no where and had no idea what to do (since I'm the only non mechanical types in my family).


So i started calling up these highway helpline people and they somehow knew it was me calling so they acted just like me. They didn’t freaking answer!! I called up dad and he told me to be patient and arrange for some water to top up the radiator once it’s cool. We got in touch with the Tata Motors help line and they said it’ll take them at least an hour and a half to get there so i also called up my usual mechanic and he very calmly told me to find a mechanic and ask him to connect my fan directly to the battery. He said it’ll cost like a couple of hundred rupees and I'll be able to drive back home easily. I decided to take dad’s word on this one and decided to wait for the towing people.

Now if normal people are planning a road trip alone, they’d carry water. Not me though. I opened the trunk and found empty bottles of water. So i figured I'll fill em up but the only problem was i was in the middle of nowhere. There’s lotsa things i love about living in Pune and one of them is the lovely sahyadri weather around the monsoons.


There was water dripping from the rocks on the side and i didn’t have anything better to do so i started doing a bit of rainwater harvesting.

IMG0001A IMG0005A

I was stuck there for quite a while and both the bottles slowly filled up drop, by drop and turns out i actually had enough after a couple of hours.

The tow people came around after five hours since i got stuck and dropped me off at the next village called Vele in the foothills. I was starving so i really didn’t give much thought to how i would get to my destination and went to the next vada pav stall and hogged down four of them and man they never tasted better than they did that day. The stall owner told me i could get a ride to Mahabaleshwar right after i crossed the next bridge. He didn’t quite tell me how far the bridge was so i started walking down, humming along, taking in the sights.


I guess after three kilometres or so i reached the bridge where the taxi guy was demanding a ridiculous 800 bucks to drive 40 Kms. I sat in the normal shared taxi which was supposed to drop me off 12 Kms to Wai.


I reached wai and ate a couple of more vada pavs at the bus stop. Mom and dad picked me up from there and we finally drove down to Mahabaleshwar a full nine hours after I'd started.

The rest of the trip was pretty eventless and a whole lot of fun. Lovely weather and some time with folk. That i think I'll reserve for another post.