HOLDING FORT
evo India|December 2020
The Kia Sonet heads out on a road trip, discovering the grand monuments left behind by the Maratha empire.
AATISH MISHRA

WHAT WAS THE SUBJECT YOU hated the most in school? For me it was history. George Santayana may have written ominously, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”, but I didn’t see how I could create an army and go conquer lands as a fifteen-year-old. We learned about ancient civilisations, about the rise and fall of dynasties, of invasions and the struggle for independence. My fifteen-year-old brain was more interested in what scam I would need to run to be able to afford a Gallardo, while working overtime to not look like a fool during the bi-weekly sports classes in front of the girls. History was nothing but an inconvenience. But now I’m older and wiser. My brain seems to have figured out a way to get me behind the wheels of nice cars, and it has developed an appreciation for history. That bit about not looking like a fool in front of girls? It is still trying to figure that out.

During the lockdown, long-distance travel seemed to be an impossibility. And while I was forced off my jetsetting lifestyle cold turkey, I figured that I could at least chart out a few routes in the vicinity to keep me occupied once the rules eased. I dug deep into the recesses of my memories back to those history classes in school. What was Maharashtra known for? Tilak, Ambedkar and the Marathas. And the Marathas were known for their forts. These forts, or gads in the local Marathi language, were scattered all over the state and deserved more attention than the occasional trekking enthusiast. I charted out a route that would take me past four forts to the north of Pune, the city where evo India is based, that happened to be the seat of the Marathas as well. Now all I needed was a car that was up to the task…

The Kia Sonet had been in the evo India offices for some time before I managed to get my hands on it. As soon as it got here, it was whisked away for a comparison test with its rivals, that it won. Soon after, it was driven to Rajasthan on a 2000km road trip. Both stories said mighty good things about the Sonet. I was itching to get behind the wheel and figured that this route would be ideal to get to grips with the Sonet. The roads in these parts are narrow and unpredictable, and I needed a compact car with generous ground clearance. The Sonet fit the bill just fine.

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