My Mahindra Scorpio Trip Diary (2004 – 2013)

A close friend quipped, that it’s a ‘One Bed Room’ apartment that you have bought! This was right after we acquired our Mahindra Scorpio, in 2004. Vijayant Kohli was still young and declared that we should have used this money elsewhere. After all we were living in a 880 sq feet Noida Authority flat in Sec 62, next to a super-large slum township, Khora. Newly married (and barely getting over a rather close shave with our darling WagonR that eventually got a new body shell), it made more sense to put the money at the right places. You need to ignore the good advice from your loving friends and that is what we did.

001 Avinash's Marriage. The band would return, watch out
001: Avinash’s Wedding. The band would return, watch out!

It was Feb 15, 2004. We were at Jaipur, attending the wedding of close friend Avinash. Smita returned the very next morning and I stayed on till noon. The plan was to return home next evening along with Manish Syal and Manish Shekhawat, with a stopover at Nahargarh. Mahindra was dilly-dallying the delivery and it was hard to talk to either the folks at the Mahindra Dealership or anyone else at Mahindra but we knew that its is a good machine and we should not get disheartneded. On Feb 16, 2004 I got a call from Mahindra that my vehicle is ready and I can get the delivery today. Jaipur was a quick 5 hour away and NH8 was indeed a highway. Manesar at that time was like a regular far-away suburb and one could drive north of 100 KMPH easily.

Smita reached from her office, which was in Safdurjung Enclave. I withdrew the balance money (Yes, in 2004, you paid only when you get the car) and after the regular paperwork, we got our car. It was indeed a big car and neither Smita nor me, had any experience of driving this size, ever.

00 Scorpio
00 Scorpio

We were driving a Maruti WagonR during that time. My memory of the first drive was that it was pretty wide and I was driving on instinct all through. With great care, we drove the baby home with a halt at Noida Sec 16A where Deepender used to work. We parked it cautiously and slept well.

For the next 9+ years, Scorpio went far and wide and here is my humble attempt at capturing those trips. I have tired to identify pictures from those trips and would add some basic info. Hopefully 10 years down the line, reading this would kindle all these beautiful memories again.

Trip No. 1
When – March 2004
Where – Rajaji National Park, Haridwar, Uttrakhand
Who – Jogi and Mili, Henry and Rahul, Dhall and Jha
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‘HT Destinations’ – Travel Fair : Not much to miss

Visting travel fairs should be in my syllabus so today morning, we dashed to ‘HT Destinations’, touted as a travel fair. This was not the first such fair under ‘HT Destinations’ and I remember seeing quarter page advts in the home-publication ‘Hindustan Times’. The last one happened as soon as March,11 so it is not something once-a-year event. I am guessing that HT is hoping to grow it and scale it up to a large level with possibly a lot of financial-transactions happening.

Coming back to this one.

Venue – The Park, Cannaught Place
Dates – Sep 17, 18, 2011

‘The Park’ is very centrally located so that is good. More importantly, you get a valet service and that is a big big plus since you do not have to get into any parking hassle. Here is the location map.

View Hotel in Delhi, The Park New Delhi in a larger map
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Long Drives in India – A ready reckoner

I started driving long distances after Oct 2001, when I bought my first car, a Maruti WagonR. Before that I have been a co-passenger, and my city driving was mostly on my 100 CC Bajaj Caliber. My drives were mostly around 250-300 Km radius in initial years. In Feb 2004, we bought a Mahindra Scorpio and over time our long distance drives have gradually increased to 500+ KMs a day. The longest single day drive for me, so far, has been from Delhi to Jaisalmer , and Delhi to Allahabad.

Its Aug 2010 now and a lot has changed in last 8-9 years. The changes are for better and what appeared like a real long drive in 2002 now looks like a morning drive to a lot of us. Drive from Delhi to Agra is not considered as a long drive and we all aspire to do Delhi-Manali or Bangalore-Mumbai in one day. We have better roads, improved infrastructure of supporting services like telecom, power and most importantly self driving is beginning to become a preferred mode of transport, at least for short family vacations.

So in light of all that, I thought that I would write a small tip-list based out of my personal experiences. A lot of it is standard stuff and you would know them by heart , e.g. check tyre pressure but I am hoping that some of these are new to you and are helpful.

The tips are not in a order, and I have not taken a lot of time thinking/planning so this is mostly from what I could remember.

Let me divide the tips in three sections.
A. Before the drive
B. During the drive
C. After the drive
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Pataudi Palace – A Short visit , A photo essay

My wife had to do a recci for a press conference so I tugged along. It was to be ‘Pataudi Palace’. Let me give you some more information about the palace before we actually go there.

Nawab of Pataudi, Iftikhar Ali Khan got it built around 1935 and it is designed by Austrian architect Karl Molt Von Heinz. It has a very imperial kind of look, all white, tall walls (very unlike fort-ish). Home to Mansur Ali Khan Patuadi (more popularly known as Tiger), Sharmila Tagore and later Saif and Soha. Now its a hotel run by Neemrana Group and you can have this place for yourself without burning your pockets. Here’s the link of the Neermana.

Not too far from Delhi, about 60 KMs from Connaught Place, Delhi. The directions are simple, just hop on to NH8 (Delhi – Jaipur road), drive till ‘Bilaspur’. Just before Bilaspur, you would notice a lot of constructions going on, my guess is that KMP (Kundli Manesar Plawal) is cutting NH8 on its way to NH 2. Right at Bilaspur, take a right turn and drive down for about 9 Kilometers.

Here’s Google Map.

View Larger Map
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Ghumakkar – Time your travel-posts right !!

Has it ever happened to you that right after you published your story, a new one slided in , almost in no time. The temptation of seeing your work in print is hard to resist. Ghumakkar displays stories on its home page based on time of publishing, so a recent story would be featured on top, though we have enough feedback to suggest that we should let Ghumakkar editors control the top of the shelf space. While internally we debate more on this, here’s a small step-by-step which might work, if all of us try to follow this.

Essentially, what you can do is that you can ‘schedule’ your posts to a future date. A small calendar would help you to quickly scan for ‘free dates’ (it sounds like an oxymoron, free dates) and if you (and everyone else) pick a date which is not already taken, then your story would get top-of-the-shelf for probably one full day.

1. After you are done with writing, take a look at the calendar. This is on your right.

2. This calendar shows you the dates in green, these are the days on which a post  is already scheduled. Do not pick them. Once you find a date, then instead of clicking ‘publish’ button, click ‘Edit’ adjacent to ‘Publish Immediately’. Choose a future day and time. In the below example, I chose June 02, 2010 at 0600 hrs.

3. As you press OK, you would notice that [Publish] button has changed to [Schedule]. Click it.

The calendar is just an added convenience, the feature to schedule your stories was there all the time. The Calendar helps you quickly scan the ‘free dates’. One other way to look at currently scheduled stories is to click at ‘Scheduled’ after you are in ‘Posts’ views/

A post could be one of the following viz Published, Scheduled, Drafts, Trash.

Click on image above to see it in big size

You should be able to look at currently scheduled posts by clicking on ‘Scheduled’.

Typically Ghumakkar doesn’t get more than one post every day, so if we all choose a free day, we get more time at the top of the page. And if you do not find anything scheduled for today and the last story is been there for at least a day, go for instant Nirvana and click [Publish]