Have you ever been on a road trip where your car broke down in the middle of a jungle (that had leopards)? Imagine being stuck in a broke down car with two kids, no mobile network, no other vehicle or house in sight, not another human soul around and rain and fog clogging your visibility. Well, we experienced it. And, it was Saturday, the thirteenth (did you hear a creaking sound in the background?)
It took us around seven hours to reach Bhimashankar from Mumbai. En route, we stopped at Murbad for breakfast (had misal pav one more time after Vasai trip) and Malshejghat for its sheer scenic beauty. The long drive didn’t matter as the scenic beauty compensated for everything. Who wouldn’t enjoy the mist, fog, cloud, rain, 50 shades of green and waterfalls above your car roof throughout the way? The drive to Bhimashankar was in one word “heavenly”, and I say this without an ounce of exaggeration.
If you ever drive to Malshejghat, during monsoon, you are bound to stop numerous times to get down of your car and enjoy the natural beauty scattered all over the place. It is difficult to take your eyes or camera off those sceneries.
Especially the waterfalls are a scene to behold. If you are the over-enthusiastic type then you can get down and take a bath like Mandakini or Zeenat Amaan. I am the boring type so I stayed inside my car watching teenage girls screaming and sliding under the waterfalls. The best part was when water from the falls was falling on the road giving unexpected drench to unsuspecting drivers.
By the time we reached Bhimashankar, it was raining heavily and the area was covered with thick fog compromising the visibility. It was difficult to look beyond five meters. We were driving through the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary that is inhabited by carnivores like leopards, hyenas, golden jackal, and other harmless herbivores when we lost mobile signal and our GPS stopped working offline. Usually, GPS works offline but this time for some unknown reason it stopped working (remember Saturday the thirteenth).
We entered a narrow lane. My son and our friend’s daughter were sleeping on the rear seat. Suddenly, the car bumped onto something and a heavy water bottle that was lying on the rear deck fell on my son, hurting him badly. This was just the beginning of our ordeal. While I was tending to the little one, I heard the car making a screeching noise and within seconds the car stopped. I could see a glimpse of panic on the face of the husband. He tried to start the engine a couple of times but nothing moved. The panic lines deepened on his face. At this time, I also started panicking. The car was stuck on a road where there was not a single vehicle, no houses in sight, no mobile network, (without network we couldn’t even contact our car’s customer care) torrential rains, and fog. The kids were now equally disturbed. Time as if stood still. We waited there for close to 45 minutes when we saw the first vehicle, a scooter with a couple and a child riding on it coming our way. The family seemed like God sent. The scooter stopped next to our car as they realized we were in trouble. The husband described our precarious situation and the scooterist said that the nearest car repair shop was 30kms away. Not much hope there.
The scooterist said he was going to the same place and he could guide us and help us on the way. He asked my husband to try once again to start the car. The husband was trying since long with his limited mechanical knowledge to start the car but had little success, however, with encouragement from the scooterist, finally, he could start, however, the brake was not working properly.
Sagittarius men are good at taking risks, they are rather infamous for it, mine is no exception 🙂 so he decided to drive sans brakes ( I prepared myself for a buffet dinner with Yamraj). Sagittarius men are also blessed with ‘luck’, so he drove for 30kms downhill sans brake and yet we survived without a scratch. Phew!!! Throughout the downhill journey, I was clenching my prayer beads, the kids were equally terrified, but the man held his cool. At last, we reached one service center near Chakan. They thankfully repaired within half an hour and we started the last leg of our Journey towards Pune. This trip will remain etched in my memory forever for the terrific experience. If you have any similar experience, then do share with me.