With all the things getting into place and beginning of the journey, me and all in the car were gleaming with joy. The approaching one week was the time where we all wanted a break from our mundane lives, bond with each other and make some great memories. The first halt was about 2 hrs away. The morning sun which rose like new beginning, the chirping and flying of birds which we miss, the empty roads of Mumbai which we crave for and the cool breeze which you find for some time in summers. Enjoying all this we wanted to be on the Expressway before the Mumbai heart starts beating and we been stuck. We reached our first halt pretty much before time in 1.5 hrs. Dude, if this happens there is a sign of relief that things would fall in place as per schedule.
The other car with the remaining members was stuck in the Ghodbunder traffic which is unpredictable. It did not get us in a panic mode. We ate and thought would rest till they came. Alas! I spoke too soon in my heart. With the passing time, our anxiety was increasing. The dark black clouds took over the orange blue skies and we saw the first rain of the season. The trickling of rain became a strong shower. The men in the car tried to take a break while, we tried to be inside the foot court to keep ourselves dry in the rains. Our little cousin who is just 11 yrs. old kept was shuttling between both the places. Kids you can’t control their energy levels. Me and our little cousin had made a pact, actually she made me promise that we won’t sleep on the way. Being awake the whole night in stress my eyes started becoming droopy. The rains halted I went and slept in the car while others took a stroll in the parking lot and waited for the remaining family members.
I woke up after the 30 min power nap and thought we would get moving, hoping the other car would have reached. Our wait was destined to be tad longer. We were checking the status intermittently however, till long nothing was so encouraging. With every passing moment, our energy levels and enthusiasm was replaced by questions of when and how we would be on schedule now.
The other members were not having a gala time though. Being stuck in Mumbai traffic can be horrifying and takes a toll on oneself. We were frustrated been at one place and they were frustrated being in one vehicle. With elders and our pet dog who is travelling for first time they also wanted to reach as fast as possible.
After more than 5 hrs. of wait, we 5 met the other remaining members. We stood waiting for them on the road to show them the entry of food court as it was unbearable of us to just sit. The morning rose had changed to a grey sky back to scorching summer heat. Felt like we saw 3 seasons. We were supposed to cover about 60-70% of our journey in this time, we hardly had covered a 10% of it. We had a second round of snacks while, they refreshed themselves and ate something. Finally, our halt was ticked off the list and we all began the forward journey. The dripped energy levels were quite evident but we tried getting back to the groove.
Our next stop had to be quicker as lunch time was approaching. We had planned to have a longer lunch break to avoid the sun and complete a huge chunk of journey before that. Since, things did not go as per agenda we thought of shortening our halt a bit. We stopped at Shiv Sagar at about 2.30-2.40 pm nearing 3, as far as I remember. The food was simple and yummy. We had just completed 20-30% of our journey and wanted to still reach in a comfortable time. We ended up misplacing the car key. We searched and finally found it.
We restarted somewhere close to 4 pm. Going ahead a bit the weather was quite weird. The sun was there in half of the sky while, it was quite dark on the other half. The weather was really unpredictable. We got a shower of rain again and we continued on our path. The unpredictability was not outside but could be felt inside me as well. We halted again 2 hrs. later for some tea and were on the wheels in no time. The unpredictable weather continued, it was around 6 pm but slowly we felt it was as dark as 8 pm. There were winds with some intermittent showers. We wanted to at least reach for dinner. Luckily, 80% of the way is through Expressway. The roads weren’t a problem. Post 2 – 2.5 hrs. we again took a quick halt as 80% of our journey was about to be completed. We would be leaving the Expressway for smaller road to the ghats and then our destination.
Time was surely testing us. Roads seemed never to end. We still slept but my husband had been driving since morning unlike him. Things were the same in the other car as well. The thinner roads weren’t comfortable in between. Restlessness kept on increasing and time was just not moving as if, our destination was still far off. There were no street lights on the way. It was like walking in a dark never-ending tunnel which refused to get over. As adults we were so ruffled, our little cousin was scared. Every 15 mins she asked when we will reach only to get an answer after 2 hrs. The 2 hrs. seemed not to end, as after 2 hrs. also we still had 2 hrs. more to go. The ghats were about to begin.
We just took a halt to go freshen ourselves. I went alone while, others were waiting just relaxing themselves from sitting continuously in the car. In few seconds, the lights went off. It was a restuarnt where we halted with few people and no houses far and away. The night looked so dark and no electricity made it worse. With a mix of anxiety and fear gripping my heart, I was helped by other people to reach my family. We just wanted to stop now at our destination and nowhere else. We sat in our car and began the drive began again.
It was not long that we met with another roadblock, dust storm which just came from nowhere and we had to slow down more. The impending ghats and the dust storm were enough to give us a spooky feeling. We keep our momentum going on!
What is inevitable, happens it’s not in our hands. We moved little ahead and heard a huge sound. We were on the ghats mid-way somewhere. We could not see the second car with the remaining family members following us. We stopped. It was around 11.25 pm.
My husband went first. Next was my Mami and next was me. I did not know what to expect while walking but what I saw I did not want to ever.
It was between our car and another one. The people were on the road shouting and about to hit each other. The sight of my family members sitting on the edge of the ghat on the road was the best sight. All were fine. There were no mishaps. It was some minor glitches, just the cars. That day somewhere in your heart you realise nothing is as precious as life! Everything else can happen but if life goes you can’t get it back. I could not smile neither could cry.
Understanding the gravity of the situation we had members of 2 cars which had met with an accident on the road figuring out what to do ahead. Sitting till others found a solution, we had just one car which was working and other which was damaged. 10 members with all the luggage can’t fir in one small car. Plus, there were people from the other car also searching for some way out.
We sat on the road with mobile lights on, sounds on the forest which was creepy and darkness was never ending. The silence of the moment and situation was still not getting registered in our brains. Thankfully, our sense prevailed. We called our extended family members which weren’t staying far away to help us out.
We want that we have wonderful adventures but never such an experience. That day I saw different moods of nature. The vibes which I was getting from the previous day’s incident as if had come true. I thanked God to keep my family members alive. I thanked God to give me an extended family who came to help us. God has his way, but mind you he never leaves your hands anytime. Keep your Trust Alive always!