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Old 21st August 2009, 19:00   #16
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There were no concessions for senior citizens when we crossed the toll gate at the Coimbatore bypass, but Swami seemed annoyed with the suggestion that he was old. I floored the accelerator on the deserted bypass, to see how fast he could go. By my reckoning (The speedo didn’t work) we must have touched seventy kmph. But then, age did catch us with Swami. As we reached Palakkad we heard a loud clattering, caused by the fan touching the radiator. We discovered that the radiator had moved back within its chromed shell and had to lever it back to its position, creating a little clearance between it and the fan.
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Old 21st August 2009, 19:02   #17
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At Palakkad, we took a short detour to visit my father’s ancestral house. Nestling in the picturesque laterite seam between Palakkad and Ottapalam, the 130 year old house provided an ideal backdrop for Swami. We would have liked to stay back, but we needed to press on, to make Kochi by nightfall.
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Old 21st August 2009, 19:04   #18
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Kerala may be God’s own country, but NH 47 is populated by the devil’s own drivers. I reckoned that NH 47 gave the only opportunity to Malayalis to get into overdrive and they used this opportunity to the hilt. (I hope Mallus don’t mind, I’m one too, so I have a licence to pull our collective legs!) We were repeatedly pushed to the brink of the tarmac by accelerating buses and cars. The worst situation while driving a vintage car is when a vehicle overtakes one and then slams on the brakes. A couple of stops to adjust the radiator didn’t help our progress. The final straw was at Angamali, when the ignition warning light malevolently glowed at us – now the battery was not charging. My heart was in my mouth as the gathering twilight forced us to use our lights for the last 30 kilometres, squeezing the dregs of energy from our battery. At Cochin, the battery was put on an overnight charge. A dusty and weary Swami was parked up unwashed; we didn’t have the energy to swab him.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 12:34   #19
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Very nice idea.

I will be following this thread everyday
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Old 22nd August 2009, 13:57   #20
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This is lovely! I love Swami the car. Keep those updates coming.

Cheers!
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Old 22nd August 2009, 15:15   #21
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Wow and wow and wow again!!
Lovely narrative and description. A journey of lifetime indeed. Reminded me of old Morris Minor which was the first car that I could lay hands on - literally - as it was for my (and cosines) exclusive use to learn, drive and repair.

Yeh dil mange more!!!
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Old 22nd August 2009, 20:13   #22
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Reminded me of old Morris Minor which was the first car that I could lay hands on
Yes, Morrises are lovely cars too. I've had several adventures and misadventures in mine, pictured below!
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Old 22nd August 2009, 20:23   #23
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Day three: 6th May, 2001: 220 kilometres covered in 11 hours 30 minutes;

The road from Cochin to Trivandrum stretches just over 200 kilometres and our early morning start spared us the usual commuter traffic. We made blistering progress by Austin standards, bowling along at over 60 kmph. Either the brakes didn’t seem to pose much problems, or I was now getting used to Austinian braking distances. Though I did not want to tempt fate, we were surprised at how well Swami was running; its idiosyncrasies had settled into a familiar and reassuring rhythm. At the start of the day, his engine always sounded a bit asthmatic and rough, but once he warmed up, it began to sound less like a flour mill and settled into a happy burble, a mere dab on the throttle invoking an instant response. Driving along the picturesque coast, crossing the many bridges that span Kerala’s waterways, with the Austin’s tiny headlights and bonnet bobbing in tune with the engine’s song, we realised the true joys of vintage car restoration and driving.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 20:25   #24
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We made a few stops, more to enjoy the scenery than anything else. We also met several specimens of the Malayali spectator, quite a different creature from the Tamil one. The latter is quite uncomplicated and will ask you the usual questions; what mileage? How old? Petrol or Diesel? The Malayalis always crowded around silently and rarely spoke directly to us – they always presumed that we were outsiders; perhaps they believed that no Malayali would be nutty enough to resort to such quaint transport. Invariably from the bystanders, would emerge an expert in the matter of Vintage cars. One such worthy opined that we must be from Maharashtra – the MEQ registration prompting this brilliant deduction. Emboldened by the appreciative crowd, he also concluded that we were driving a ‘puthiya’ (new) autorikshaw. As we left, I could’t resist pricking his bubble, by informing the crowd in pachcha (pure) Malayalam that MEQ was a Bangalore registration and the Austin was a sixty eight year old car. Another expert left a portion of his palm’s peeling skin on our radiator, he had to admit that it was indeed quite hot. However, on our return trip, I was stunned into silence by the resident Austin expert of Vadakanchery, who informed his admiring audience that Tippu Sultan had invaded Kerala in a car such as ours. The only passers by who were unconcerned were the elephants, We crossed our first one near Alleppey and by the time we left Kerala, we lost count of them.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 20:28   #25
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We took a detour to my mother’s ancestral village, the Austin seeming to enjoy the respite from the highway, driving through the narrow roads of seaside Kerala. A visit to a 300 year old naalu kettu owned by a relative was enchanting. Nestling on a sheet of bright white sand, the house was still cool and inviting.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 20:33   #26
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The last leg of the journey was uneventful, as we effortlessly tackled the hills between Quilon and Trivandrum, stopping occasionally to adjust the clattering fan. At Trivandrum, we were given a tumultuous welcome by the family; they were expecting us a day later, as I had conservatively planned for a day’s cushion. After the celebrations of completing the first leg, we still had work to do, mainly to adjust the space between the radiator and the fan. We needed Swami to be at his best behaviour for the wedding drive – after all that what we had come for.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 20:44   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonrag View Post
Yes, Morrises are lovely cars too. I've had several adventures and misadventures in mine, pictured below!
Oh my god! That shot is in front of my friend's house. Are you put up at Whitefield?
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Old 23rd August 2009, 06:09   #28
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Very well written. Really nostalgic.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 06:54   #29
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Quote:
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Yes, Morrises are lovely cars too. I've had several adventures and misadventures in mine, pictured below!
Lovely car and so caringly kept. Kudos.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 11:05   #30
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In Pics #: 1 & 2, your missus has an uncanny resemblance to Benazir Bhutto..

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Dawn is the best time to be travelling in a convertible. The breeze is cool, and the tree branches overhanging the road echo the flat beat of the engine. We crossed the Hosur border into Tamilnadu just when dawn was breaking. The road looks a lot different from what it is now!
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