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Old 22nd April 2010, 16:34   #1
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Default Mumbai to Hyderabad in a Maruti 800

It was inevitable. Time to bid goodbye to my beloved ‘Silver Dart’ – Maruti 800 AC (2006 December) with aftermarket LPG Kit (Lovato). She had served me exceptionally well for more than three years without a squeak or groan in three cities (Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai) as I got transferred and moved up the corporate ladder. My daughter had now started complaining of the discomfort in the back seat on out of town trips and switching the AC off (for power) in Mumbai’s bumper to bumper traffic and inclines in hot-humid weather was getting tiresome for me. But the bond between man and faithful machine takes time to break. I resisted for eight months, begged my wife to learn driving so that I could still have an excuse to retain my Silver Dart as a second car. But my wife’s reluctance to drive in Mumbai and parking space constraints forced the decision – there was no way I would park her on the road and let the dogs piss on her or the urchins scrawl on her impeccably maintained body. She had to go. As she was registered in Hyderabad, moving her back there for sale was the only viable option. I’d never trust a driver to drive her to Hyderabad and deliver her in good condition. I grabbed the chance to have a last ‘session’ with her and decided to drive her to Hyderabad on a week end.

I started out on a Saturday with a friend who was bound for Hyderabad but couldn’t drive ( good – I wouldn’t have to share the driving pleasure). We started from Wadala after wrapping up a meeting by 12.00 noon. The plan was to drive up to Solapur by 7 P.M., halt for the night at Solapur and move on to Hyderabad next morning. The LPG tank was near empty, so we headed into Nerul for a tank up. Bad decision ! Close to Nerul on Palm Beach Road, we were hailed down by a cop who wanted to check our papers. He looked at the PUC certificate and my heart sank. Imagine driving safely for 18 months in Mumbai without paying local road tax and then being caught on the last day! Bad luck or destiny?After some ‘persuasion’ the cop let us go and we filled up the LPG tank. Already had a half tank of petrol, didn’t see the need for more as we would get LPG again in Solapur. The first leg up to Pune( with a quick stop for a burger at McDonalds Panvel) was a breeze. Saw some cops on the expressway busy on their week-end collection spree – speed guns and all. I had read on this forum that they stop cars doing over110 Kmph ( thought the official speed limit is 80). No way they’d catch me doing that in a Maruti 800 ! On the ghats, I switched over to petrol for about 15 Km till we passed Lonavla. At Pune, we took a left turn at Wakad, passed through Oundh, Shivaji Nagar, crossed the ROB at Sancheti Hospital, went past the Pune Railway Station, East Street (Camp), Hadapsar and we were on to the Pune –Solapur highway. Passing through Pune took us one hour. From Pune to Indapur the traffic was heavy and road narrow. I could see that the four laning is in progress – looks like it will be over by Feb. 2011 (some bridges are still at foundation stage). We took a tea break at Indapur and pressed on towards Solapur. The road was still narrow and the traffic heavy. Progress was slow and we reached Solapur ( about 468 Km from Mumbai) by 7.30 P.M.. At Solapur, we took a left for the bypass and got an LPG station (Aegis) immediately after the turn – on the right side. We still had some gas in the tank, but got a tank full again for a thousand rupees and moved on. I decided I still had enough stamina to reach Zaheerabad. We could take a call there on whether to take a halt or press on. A small tea break at Naldurg and on to Omerga. Solapur – Naldurg – Omerga was a great drive. The road is very good and the traffic was substantially lesser. I switched off the AC as it wasn’t too hot now and let her move freely but kept her in the 70-90 Kmph band for most of the time. Given a good road and without the extra load of the AC, the car felt zippy and handled like a dream. Overtaking trucks was so easy, it felt like I was driving a C segment car. After Omerga, we crossed over into Karnataka and on to Basava Kalyan. The road was a little patchy in Karnataka. Another tea and snack break at Humnabad. We reached Zaheerabad around 1.00 A.M. With Hyderabad just 100 Km away, it was too tempting and we decided to continue to Hyderabad after a break. My friend was feeling hungry and persuaded me to taste the chicken at “Punjabi Dhaba” – just after Zaheerabad check post – on the left side. The food was great and deserves a special mention. This joint was full at 1.00 A.M. and we had to wait for our turn! Anyone who has passed by this joint and not tasted the food is missing something! After leisurely meal and Paan we started on the last stretch to Hyderabad at around 2.00 A.M. By the time we got to Sadashivpet, I started feeling a bit drowsy. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t have had a meal and should have preferred tea. Too late! As I struggled with the drowsiness, I felt like taking another break or a splash of water on the face but with Patancheru (outskirts of Hyderabad) so enticingly close, I pressed on. By the time I reached Patancheru, the drowsiness was gone and I was home by 3.30 A.M. But on hindsight, I do feel I should have taken that break and I recommend it to others in a similar position. After my excellent experience with my Maruti 800 AC (my Silver Dart), I was still reluctant to officially part with her and even tried to persuade my parents to keep her for free (they sold their last car five years ago – father too old to drive) but as they have my brother’s car and driver when they need it – they refused. I tried gifting it to my cousin but she already has three cars. I finally left my beloved Silver Dart with my friend, (a used car dealer) with a heavy heart. I felt like I took my cow to the slaughter house. But I suppose some things are inevitable in life. On the positive side, I’m now looking forward to starting a new love affair with a Indica Vista Quadrajet Aura ABS which Wasan Motors has promised to deliver on the day I’m scheduled to be back in Mumbai.
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Old 22nd April 2010, 17:36   #2
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I absolutely share your sentiments,a proud owner of a proud 800 and we have gone about half of India on it.Nice writeup as well.I dont think I would get around to giving her away to anybody..atleast that is the thought as of now

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Old 22nd April 2010, 17:44   #3
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I too owned a M800 for about four years. It was tough to let her go but I needed something better, roomier and more comfy. Never regretted owning the M800. I also did the stretch upto Solapur and back once in my M800. It's wonderfully small and still a great performer.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 00:12   #4
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Nice write up. That's the best way one can let go a car - taking her on one last endearing drive. Do post some photos (if any) of this drive. Can be looked for posterity. Memories are forever.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 21:58   #5
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nice write up...
can you add a few more details on distances, road conditions (which parts are 2 lane / 4 lane) etc?
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Old 4th May 2010, 12:51   #6
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A very good tribute to your beloved M800. Very well written. One request, if you could have posted some pics of your car it would have been apt.
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