Jaya, Sushma, Rekha and Hema wives of busy doctors,( those were the days when doctors were still either physicians or Surgeons and not entrepreneurs.) Along their children (daughters 3 and one son) decided to go out road trip. Here we need to understand I am talking about a time when there was no electrification, roads were good but vehicles far few. Women driving were a rarity. Telephones were luxuries.
The plan was pretty ambitious to travel from Udupi to Belur, Halebeedu, Shravanabelagola, Dharmasthala, Venuru, Subramania.
So four women, and four children driver Ganapati Bhat went on their jaunt in the now extinct ambassador, the car was really wonderful I am still amazed with the number of people that seem to fit into an ambassador, There were times when we would have car full of guests visiting us that would mean about 12 people and driver would be like,”swapa jaaga untu banni” we never thought of clothes getting crushed or too many people going by car in itself was the luxury.Somehow people really were generous when it came to sharing and caring.
The driver Ganapati Bhat had just got his license and a new car( his cousins’ uncles and aunts had all pooled in the money to get him the car). Ganapati Bhat was not only popular because he was Jayamma’s nephew, but also because he was the good son . I mean he was right off the movies, 19yr.old struggling to earn for his house his father had left them and moved on a richer wife and life, a sister to be married off and a waster brother. Wow he was Rajkumar and Dileep Kumar rolled into one. The community had taken the onus for providing him business.
Off we went, Belur, Halebeed, Shravanabelagola,Dharmasthala, Venur … the group made its way to Subramania, as they reached Bantwal the villagers told them that instead of taking the tar road they would reach Subramania an hour earlier if they took the village cart road that was motor-able but not tarred. The more trodden road was taken this went right through the forest. The roads full of slush and puddles the forest area all of these would give the Rainforest Challenge a run for its money.
Guess what, hey presto the car conked off,
Now one young boy, four women who were clueless about cars and four kids who very excited at being stranded in a jungle.
A group of women trotted by returning from the woods, “bega hoini, ill kallru batru” wow, the kids thought, Kallru battru.. The thieves will be here, immediately vibrant pictures of Sunil Dutt and Dharmendra as Daku Bhairav Singh clad in spotless white dhoti and earth shade kurtas popped up. But the next group of workers looked nothing like either Sunil Dutt or Dharmendra, it turned out they were woodsmen, they knew something about machines.
From sundown it had now turned dark, and the travelers had no torches. One of the villagers had a kerosene lamp. Fear had crept into the travelers, they were in dark terrain with fierce looking men surrounding them, a broken down car no lights to top it strange sounds coming from the jungle.
The Gods now decided to really add thrill to the adventure with thunder and flashes of lightening and it rained that night, it was the first time the women and children heard the forest howl as the storm whipped through it, now dangers that they saw in various movies and read in various books seemed true…
It had become rather impossible to work with rains, and slush, nor was it possible to move the car out.
“Aane, mari-yidtooo” was next thing heard, that is an elephant was birthing and that mean the herd of elephants would be on rampage, the trumpet was heart right up to car.
When the going gets tough the tough get going…
Jaya…Rekha…Hema…Sushma got off the car, asked Ganapati Bhat to get into the car and pushed the car right up to the village ahead…..Now You know who inspired the Nirma Advt.
At hamlet, drinking hot coffee as it poured and rained outside was fortifying. With the help of the dhabhawallah the car was set right and group reached Subramania at 11 in the night.
The drizzle now, had gathered momentum to a full fledged storm, 4 women 4 kids and a harried driver, everyone was so exhausted that people did not even miss dinner, all that everyone wanted was to dry up and warm up. Which was precisely what they did.
But then after the stormy dark night with pouring rains, the dawn broke into a beautiful day, waking the weary travellers with wafting fragrance of hot coffee, and upma.
Ganapati Bhat resolved never to take a Women only Toli if he did he would not drive after 7pm.