My relationship with her started about 9 years back, i.e with the one parked across the river & under the trees
It started as a reluctant relationship
Initially I didn’t want a car
but i enjoy driving & if i had to drive 20 hrs a day i would, day in day out. I had ambitions of being a truck driver, driving truck chasis that just come out of the factory with the bare minimum and are then taken to other places for their final dressing up
Anyway back to our story
We were just three of us in Delhi, so why go for Ruksana ?
The logic behind it was we would be driving a lot with friends, nieces & nephews up into the hills. Also by a quirk of fate birding came into our lives courtesy our son….. so bharatpur, sultanpur, basai, kaladungi, corbett, pangot, sonapani, landour & god knows where all we had headed & once without a whimper she took us all the way up to Jalori Pass to the height of 10,800ft above sea level !! Friend Sumit once suggested we should all go to Leh….. but (un) fortunately that did not take place. Most of our friends & extended family have been in Ruksana at some point of time or other. The most constant friend was Suni, who was with us for most of our long drives & having her in the car along with our son meant we had to be well stocked with food, so in the meantime i had to up my ante vis-a-vis what food we would’ve in the car & that explains how yours truly became an expert in making different types of sandwiches & cutlets. I have dropped & picked up partner & other friends at the oddest of times from IGI. Plus of course spending quality time with partner was always on our drive to either drop & pick her up from office- with Raag Malkauns, Bhopali or Hansadwani resonating in the foreground!!
Some years back a drunken Delhi driver gave her a battering on 15th August, but she never complains. For delhi drivers red light means green light & yellow light means hit the acclerator to the floor, she has withstood all these advances of the fiery jats, haryanvi’s & the rich, stinking, spoiled delhiwallas like a dusky surreal beauty. Even today the battered door is as is. She has the same logic to life as i do : i may look ugly, but beauty comes from the work i put in !! ( & now she is facing the wrath of the pune two wheeler maniacs who always cut in from the left hand side.)
Then the farm came into our lives, so we decided to take Ruksana to pune & pishwi fitted with a CNG tank.
Rains, bad roads, non-existent roads, in a hail storm, or in the delhi winters with fog & vicinity to a bare 2 mtrs, ….. she just goes, not even once has she refused & said no i cannot go. On expressways we choose to go on the far left lane & she is great at ambush overtaking (a technique taught to me by friend Maniza), which sometimes leaves many a SUV livid & red. The traffic police had fined her a few times for over speeding…. (jeez, imagine Ruksana over speeding !!) The best part of her is her turning radius, tell her to turn back on the narrowest of roads and she willingly turns where none would even attempt….
When construction started on the farm – for about 3 months I spent on average about 6-7 hours a day with her or in her, including the time spent in CNG filling stations & crossing the two railway gates before we reach our home.
I tell partner… she is my best girlfriend !! I listen to the best music with her, all the awesome pod casts from ‘BBC radio 4’ or from ‘Democracy Now’ are listened & some are re-listened, if i want to cry or laugh unnoticed i do it while i am with her, some of the best & worst thoughts which used to come while in the loo, now come while driving Ruksana… so on & so forth. She came to me when i was an arrogant guy in his early forties & one thing she has taught me is to be patient & now here i am in my late forties with all my arrogance knocked out of my system & in fact very much humbler as a person.
She is approaching 1 lakh kms, since everything lasts with me, slippers, shirts, pants, watch, books, relationships, friends, in fact nothing is thrown out of my life & now Ruksana has also withstood the test of time
peace, luvre & an unusual honk, honk !!