Life in a Support Vehicle
We’ve been on the road for 32 days at this point. And if there’s one beast that has been our constant, most trusted companion, it is the AVIS Support Vehicle. Our love affair started in Bangalore, with the vehicle carrying us around for our humongous shopping sprees. Within the first couple of days, the XUV 500 went from being a swanky car carrying shopping bags, to all geared up, loaded with all our things for the SunPedal ride.
Ruthvik and I have been manning the support vehicle, (whom we shall henceforth call Beast) for a month now. From loading up our things, to arranging food and water for the team, stopping a few times for those few cups of mandatory coffee, scouting bathroom breaks, facilitating battery change, carrying the spare battery, it all falls to Beast and us.
Here’s how we keep Beast interesting:
We play our music loud:
While sometimes both of us are dazed in our thoughts, listening to a lot of Floyd, Kansas and Lynyrd Skynyrd, sometimes we turn into li’l divas blasting Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend at damaging decibels.
Ruthvik organizes our things:
Everything in the boot is placed in neat straight lines. Of course, only at the beginning of each week. By Wednesday, I have destroyed his straight lines like a tornado. The dashboard contains our toll bills and the cupholders have our flasks, with chilled water at most times. (We choose to not write about the times we’re scavenging for water for kilometers at a stretch).
We turn into tourists:
We like to take Beast out on lil trips around the towns we go to. We went to the Monsoon Palace in Udaipur, Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, Qutub Minar in Delhi. Ruthvik and Cheppu haven’t seen much of North India, and why wouldn’t we see famous places! The beast is our formidable companion, our forever-replacement for Uber. Hey, sometimes when traffic is bad, the tuk-tuk bails us out too. We’re a team like no other!
4. We stock our Yogabars:
We’re on highways at lunchtime, everyday. When we’re lucky, we eat McDonald’s loaded fries for lunch. On the highways between some cities, there’s literally no restaurants, dhabas or restrooms for stretches of over 100 kilometres! Who comes to our rescue then? Yoga Bars! We’re carrying cereal and nutrition bars from Yogabars! Their fruit bars are simply delightful!
5. We nap peacefully in Beast
Sudheer and Sushil sometimes have meetings all day. Sometimes when we aren’t required or are late (which is often), we cover our faces with towels and nap.
Funny story: We reached Zostel Agra an hour earlier than we were supposed to. Since we’re so comfortable in Beast, we slept in the car instead of checking in.
6. Beast carries Saheli’s spare battery
Battery swap for the tuk-tuk happens after about 60-70% of our daily travels. After all the sharing of live locations, we usually meet at the side of the highway, replace the exhausted battery with the fully recharged battery, refuel ourselves, and complete the day’s ride. This is usually the time when we crack inappropriate jokes, bully Sudheer and the like. Often, battery swap is the best time to catch the day’s sunset too!
7. We cruise all day
Since we follow Saheli almost all day trying to be as close as possible for battery swaps, and our car is set to speed limit 80kmph, we end up speeding very little each day. The alternative? Drive as chill as possible. Sometimes, I end up at the wheel, with Ruthvik either screaming like a frightened chicken or patiently helping out, depending on traffic.
The tuk-tuk and Beast make a formidable team. We’re at 50% of our trip and in UP, and we’re trying not to think of the time when everyday isn’t going to be a new city to travel to, together.