Krishna81 had his foot on the pedal when God took the key off his car. This was one evening last month, at Bangalore. In his office.
He was rushed to a hospital, and I and my better half took the early morning flight next morning to Bangalore. The cab sent by the travel agency was a Toyota Corolla. We rushed to the hospital. Nice, new hospital, on the way to the new airport. No crowds. Excellent facilities. Polite doctors. Efficient service. Bright ambience. All that Krishna81 would have liked. I suspect he was gone, but his body was still struggling in the ICU. The ailment was diagnosed as a brain hemorrhage and they were taking one more CT Scan when we walked in to the hospital.
Afternoon, around 1:30 pm, when I was standing outside the ICU, the vital signs in his body ceased. It was the holy day of Tai-Poosham. He had been absorbed in the radiance of his Master, Skanda Ramana.
We cremated him the next day.
The day after, I consigned a portion of his ashes in a place where three holy rivers meet, the Kaveri Sangama in Srirangapattinam. The drive from Bangalore to the Kaveri Sangama takes little less than two hours. We went in the Toyota Corolla cab. A beautiful car. Cabbie Krishna had bought this second-hand, when it had done some 60000 kms. He told me that the quality was quite superb. No problems to talk about. And the car did some 9 kms per liter in the city and around 11 or 12 on the highways.
I got back to Chennai for a couple of days, and then flew back to Bangalore for the final rites.
The cab receiving me this time, was a Toyota Innova. Ribbon and all…It was a brand new cab. Cabbie Krishna told me that this was the first trip of the cab.
What a lovely car. The inside is to be seen to be believed. Business Class luxury. Seven people can sit comfortably. No need to elbow each other. Space. Lots of it.
But is it a personal car? Looks too big for a personal car. Looks quite like the engine of one of the Japanese superfast trains, detached from the coaches (kind of looks like a first part with second part missing). A long machine. But the fact is that it is only as long as the sedan, Toyota Corolla. It just looks longer.
Cabbie Krishna was all praise for the Innova. I asked him all sorts of questions, but net-net, he gave a big thumbs-up for the machine.
Krishna81 had made a date with me a few weeks before he passed on. He wanted me to take him in my car, to Tiruvannamalai on Feb 2nd, from Chennai. And I had agreed. He booked a room for our stay there. And now he was no more. But then, on the very date that he had chosen, I had the duty and privilege of carrying a portion of his ashes to Tiruvannamalai! Oh the ways of Krishna!
Tiruvannamalai is around five hours drive from Bangalore. This time, I went with a friend of mine, in his car. A Honda City.
My friend had clocked around 80 thousand kms in his car. But the car was none the worse for it. We cruised on our way from Bangalore, leaving at around 6 AM or so, and stopped for a quick breakfast at Hosur. The first half of the route was on the highway and so the going was real smooth. And then you take off to the right and the roads start going back in time, but they are not bad. There was one stretch of a few kms that was bad. The car took the rough with the smooth. When we were some twenty kms of so from Tiruvannamalai, and doing a steady 110 Kmph, a Hyundai Getz overtook us at quite a clip. There was a whole family in the car. The driver must have been doing 130 kmph or so, when a few cows came charging on to the road, right in front of the car. And there, ahead of us, we saw the Getz brake. Fumes rose from the road as the driver stepped on the brakes. But wonder of wonders, the car braked beautifully, no swerving, no skidding…The cows survived. The family survived. The car survived. Good car, good driver, great brakes…
We reached Tiruvannamalai before 11 AM, with Krishna81 traveling with us in the Honda City. I consigned his ashes in the holy waters of one of the sacred tanks at the foothills of Arunachala, and then my friend and I checked into the room at Sri Ramanashramam that Krishna81 had booked. After spending some time there, we left back for Bangalore at around 3 PM, and reached by 8 PM.
Overall: It was a dream of a drive. Smooth as silk. Ten hours on the road and no muscle ache or stiffness to talk about. And the car had given some 17 kms or so per liter of petrol.
And so it was, that within the customary thirteen days rites that were consequent to the demise of Krishna81, I was given a good experience of three cars that were all on my shortlist. Thanks to Krishna81!
Meanwhile, back home in Chennai, my old Diesel awaited to be sold.
– To be continued –