Want to experience a real life struggle? The one capable of delivering a near-death experience! Go ahead and plan a late night drive on a highway with fewer facilities. The struggle will be real!
Ever since my parents started allowing me, I’ve been travelling during nights. The experience compared to the day time is totally different. And, a night owl like me can still have a number of things to do in order to pass the time.
Other than all the factors which come into existence during a night ride, the “need to sleep” is an important one. It’s the make or break of every night journey. Whether you’re driving or not, the factor is always there.
I went to Dholpur (Rajasthan) from Jaipur on 11th July to attend a marriage party of one of my close friend. I decided to do it during the evening, as the highways in Dausa, Dholpur, Karauli, and Bharatpur districts are not that safe for night drives. Also, there are no resources available if one gets in some technical trouble.
We reached Dholpur at 9PM, attended the marriage, enjoyed a lot, ate a lot, and then returned back to Jaipur on 13th night. Out of all the memories I have of these two days, the return drive from Agra to Jaipur is my favourite. We went to Agra from Dholpur at 2PM, as coming back to Jaipur via Karauli was out of the question!
While covering the Dholpur to Agra at about 2AM, I did notice a stupid thing. A Baaraat (the bunch of people who gather from bridegroom’s side to attend the marriage party) was standing right between the highway.
Things like these always remind me of my decision to drive between the road, not close to either ends.
We had tea at Agra Bus Stand and then started driving back to Jaipur. I decided to drive for as far as I can, as I wanted to have this experience. I never had a chance to drive a car during the night. Also, three of my friends were feeling sleepy.
The NH11 is not that wide, compared to the NH8, which was a longer option, but it had lesser traffic. At about 3:30AM, we were the Bharatpur and I started feeling sleep. None of us had a good sleep in last two days and one and half a night.
Suddently a memory flashed reminding me to look at the clock. The time between 3-5AM is the toughest to drive, as the mind feel sleepy. The control I had during previous hours was almost gone, and the only thing I was left was the will to drive.
If it was the NH8, I could have stopped right there and had some tea. As that highway has a lot of tea-stalls, dhabas, restaurants which are open 24×7. But, this highway had nothing!
With three of my friends sleeping in the back seat, one on my side, I slowed down the car and started thinking. Tried all I can to come to my senses. It was tough. The struggle was real!
I badly needed a tea or a coffee!
Rahul (the friend on my side) asked me to take over but I refused. He is a better at driving than me, but I wanted to test the situation I was in. I wanted a way out. I told him that I’ll continue but the moment he senses a slight error, he can take over.
Even if he was driving, I had to stay awake as the person sitting next to the driver is advised to stay awake during the night drives. It helps the driver to stay focus, and not feel alone.
Then Rahul says, “उबासी असली दुश्मन है, एक को आयी ना तो दूसरे को पक्का आएगी|”
Being my friend, he was aware of thing which will help me (and all of us) in this situation. The Music (my favourite numbers)!
You all must have noticed that drivers keep old songs in the playlist as they help them stay focused. The modern numbers don’t have the glue to stick with. In my case, the old songs do have the same effect but two albums have a totally different one.
Rockstar and Highway!
Each song has some power within them. They affect me and gets inside the head easily. Sooha Saaha and Phir Se Ud Chala are the ones with maximum effect.
Thanks to those numbers, I came back to my senses, gathered all my attention to the road ahead, and did it till the dawn. Then, we saw a tea-stall near (Mehndipur Balaji) and had the tea, while the other three still sleeping.
I did saw a couple of things on the road which weren’t actually there. It was my delusion! The objects I noticed were because of the interaction of light from other vehicles and the light rain. They were still good enough to convince me and get me into a trap.
After driving for about 50 more KMs, I gave up the steering to Rahul. I felt a weakness going in and out my veins, but I knew the hard part was already done. The real challenge was over. Jaipur was just 50kms ahead!
While sitting on the side seat, I started reminding all the late night bus and car rides I previously had with the driver on my right side. The experience of watching the highway in the night was always delightful, but I never thought the story will become this tough if I had the steering in control.
Thanks to the skills of all those people who kept me safe during those late night drives. I don’t know if they find it this tough but now I share a similar side with them. I now know it’s tough to drive in night. Real tough!