Goin' Down
Motoring World|September 2016

Mahindra follows Freddie King’s advice and heads south to Meet the Monsoon

Charles Pennefather

Please try not to drive over broken glass,’ said the voice on the radio. I didn’t know what the voice meant, until the Scorpio I was in crunched over glass. There was no way to avoid the glass, really, because it was strewn all over the road. There were also a lot of upended dumpsters, massive rocks that were used during the day against any official vehicles — or any vehicles at all — and every so often we’d glimpse troop transports and armoured vehicles rushing away into the darkness, the army and CRPF readying themselves for another day of rioting by the public.

We were supposed to have a ceremonial flag-off at a fancy hotel with the convoy of 25 cars. We were supposed to leave in the morning, our cars with their new decals proudly stating the fact that we were headed to the southernmost tip of the country — and as such we had the Indian flag on the cars as well. Not a good idea when the people of Srinagar are rioting because a ‘freedom fighter has been martyred’. Instead, The Lalit in Srinagar sent us dinner in a boat (which also was stopped and searched) and the next day saw us waiting for the situation to settle. The organisers at Mahindra Adventure had worried faces on, but there was something going on in the background. We had a simple meal cooked by the caretakers of the houseboats that we were staying in — and sambhar rustled up by a couple of IMSC members as well, whose day job is organising events like this.

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