Mumbai pune expressway
Pacific coast highway new zealand
As is evident from the title, this time I want to talk about another of my interests, cars. I have been fascinated by cars since I was a kid. I had a huge collection of those tiny hot wheels cars, which I had preserved till a long time but finally had to be thrown away afterwards since my brother didn’t show any interest in them. Even in my school days, I had the power and engine capacity figures of all cars on my fingertips since we used to have fewer models at that time, something which is impossible now because of the sheer number of manufacturers and models we have today, from Maruti to Mercedes and Audi to Skoda. '
One of my most cherished memories is the car journeys that we use to undertake when my dad got transferred. In those days (I’m talking about the mid and late 90’s) our highway network was not as good as it is today and the roads used to be double lane without a divider separating the two lanes. Driving and overtaking especially really required a lot of skill, especially at night when your vision was obstructed by the headlights of the vehicles on the opposite side. Travelling 1000 + kms in those conditions used to take 2-3 days with 3-4 stopovers in the middle. I remember the Jodhpur- Pune journey distinctly. We had a Maruti 800 at that time and it took us 3 days to traverse 1100 kilometers, stopping at Mount Abu, Gandhinagar and Nasik on the way.
Of course, now since my parents have settled in Delhi, long distance jaunts have reduced to a great extent. The only outstation journeys these days are to Agra and Jaipur, 200kms and 300 kms away respectively, with those modern 8 lane highways. Somehow I get bored driving on these state of the art highways since it gets monotonous munching up mile after mile at 100 km/hr. I love driving on challenging, snaky, mountainous roads, where each curve brings upon a surprise and those stunning views when you reach the summit.
I must say that driving in Delhi’s a pleasure, though. Those wide, tree lined roads are like heaven and speeds up to 100km/ hr can easily be achieved. In fact, I learnt driving at the heart of New Delhi, at India Gate and Rajpath, where the Republic year is held every year. Another great road is the Noida Toll Bridge road, which is truly an architectural marvel, it seems like you are in a foreign land, cruising on the DND (Delhi Noida) Flyway.
Talking about cars, among the ones I have driven, the Honda city is by far the best. Its smoothness is really legendary. In fact even after logging 15000 km +, it still feels like new whenever I take it out for a spin. Though the one we have, the older model (City ZX) is a bit down on power (it just has 77 Bhp), this is not noticeable in city driving. The only time the power differential comes into play is when you are overtaking a faster car at 120 km/h and it then races past you. The new Honda City’s a scream though; it’s got 107 Bhp, so no issues with high speed driving. The Honda Accord is another stunning car, beautiful, big and blindingly fast.
My favourite car? There are many I would love to drive, like the McLaren F1, which can reach 350 km/hr. Another one of my fantasies is to get behind the wheel of an F1 car, and experience that rush of adrenalin.
I would also love to drive on the brilliant Mumbai-Pune expressway, which is one of the best roads in India and also on the scenic East coast road, along the Bay of Bengal, which connects Chennai and Pondicherry. I have travelled on both these roads 3-4 times but haven’t got the opportunity to drive on them. Among foreign roads, the renowned autobahns in Germany, the picturesque Pacific coast highway and the highways in the Alps in Europe are definitely on my list.
Chk out these pics on the Delhi Jaipur NH8 with me at the wheel in the middle of a thinderstorm