Day 5 was dedicated to the journey back to Hyderabad. It was a day of mixed excitement, excitement of a fantastic trip and the excitement of going home.
We started from Mandya by 7.30 AM, driving past Channapatna, Ramangara and the drill. We decided to avoid driving through Bangalore city. Bangalore traffic on a weekday morning was a big NO ! We took a detour via Nelamangala and Doddaballapur, this was a longer route and the road was not too good. We did waste more time than expected but we never know what would have happened if we got stuck in the city traffic.
Once we hit the NH7, we were back on familiar ground, racing down the highway until we reached Andhra border, the Telugu sign boards bringing a smile. For the past 4 days we were trying to read Malayalam. None of us knew the language properly and we’d try to match the Malayalam letters with the English letters, this is a good way to learn to read a language.
We stopped at Haritha Restaurant at the border and also filled diesel, as budding economists, we know that diesel is cheaper on this side of the border. It was brunch time, so we decided to have a heavy lunch because we hadn’t had breakfast and also because we would not need to stop until we reached Kurnool. We had to wait for half an hour while food for served, in the mean time we caught up with all the local news that we missed. The vegetarian thali was piping hot, freshly cooked meal (we seemed to be their first customers for the day), it was re-energising and by the end of it, we were raring to go.
We drove non-stop passing by Anantapur and Gooty, the landscape is breathtaking here as the NH7 passes through the dry, rocky land. The entire stretch is usually a breeze because the traffic is less or probably the road is so good that people simply zoom away and you can hardly see any vehicle in the distance. Bollywood hit songs of the 1990s kept us company throughout the journey, it was fun to go down the memory lane, back to the days of Superhit Muqabla on DD Metro !
Just before Kurnool, we spotted a mango vendor on the roadside, the mangoes looked delicious and we couldn’t let go of the opportunity. Here is a picture of the mini mango mela on NH7 !
We reached Kurnool around 3 PM. We stopped at the Bharat Petroleum run Ghar Dhaba, small eating/resting joints on the highway operated by Bharat Petroleum. Until that moment, we had no idea about the heat but the moment we stepped outside the car, it was blazing hot. The few yards between the parking lot and the dhaba was enough to give us a sun burn ! We gulped packets after packets of butter milk and soft drinks to let our bodies cool down.
The journey then proceeded like a melody, the distance to Hyderabad was down to double digits and when Hyderabad was 25 kms away, the melody broke into hard rock ! There were a few boards on the road for diversions arranged in a zig zag manner. Figo 2 had slowed down a bit observing the boards. There was a Tata Indica ahead of us which braked suddenly on panicking at a lorry that seemed to be coming its way from the opposite direction. Do we need to say more? Figo 2 had noticed this and braked really hard, yet the distance was very less to completely stop the car and Figo 2 hit the Tata Indica from behind with a big bang ! The big bang wiped off the smug look on our faces until then.
Figo 2 got a very, very nasty dent, surprisingly the Tata Indica only got a mild scratch. It was a scenario of much ado about nothing because the lorry was not actually coming in the way of the Indica. The driver of the Indica got down for a fight, saw the state of Figo 2 and quietly went away ! We were so stunned that we found the whole thing hilarious, still reeling under the shock ! We had driven 2300 kms through risky ghats and rash driving without so much as a scratch and here we were just 25 kms from Hyderabad, on the best of the roads and left with a car which looked like a wounded soldier. There is a proverb in Telugu which says there was a man who swam across the Arabian Sea and returned only to drown in the drainage canal in front of his house ! There couldn’t have been a more apt proverb !
For the remaining 25 kms, we analysed the sequence of events, the fact that the car was completely insured contributed greatly in keeping our cool. We also concluded that the person driving Figo 2 must have got distracted by the song he was listening to (“Choli ke peeche kya hai”) !
Hyderabad arrived at 5.30 PM, we stopped on the roadside on the ORR, recalled the best moments of the trip and consoled each other about the state of Figo 2 and decided it was a learning experience, situations like these bring out the philosophers in us !
We dispersed from there and headed straight home. Now that is what you call ending with a bang !
Early next morning, Figo 2 was cooling its wheels in the Ford body shop !!