Sunday, April 10, 2016

16 August 2015 – Hubli to Thane – Day 4

I have travelled the Hubli-Mumbai stretch at least three times in the past. The drive through
Belgaum-Kolhapur-Satara and the Pune-Mumbai expressway is a beauty. Since I was continuing onwards to Surat the next day my destination was Thane. I left Hubli a bit before daybreak with the intention of getting to Thane just after lunch because I had a few things to attend to before proceeding to the start point of the expedition.
The 590 km was an effortless drive and it being a Sunday the traffic was not heavy either. Some parts of the road near Karad were poorly surfaced, besides which the road was easy to take.

I reached the House of Hiranandani complex in Thane by about 2 pm, where I halted the night in the loving home of George Kuriakose (Chakochan), my cousin, Anupa, his lovely wife, Michael, their precocious first born and Dominic, the latest addition to the Mooleplackal family. I sought the assistance of Chackohan to sort out the problem I had with the GoPro camera. The camera would automatically switch off after 7 seconds of recording. He had gone through a lot online and set about attending to the problem immediately after I had settled the luggage into the room where the 'theme' bedspread in my room took my breath away.
By the time I was through a few pieces of the evening snack and coffee, which was specially made by Chakochan, he announced that the GoPro was ‘good to go’.  I tested it over and over again, after which Michael took on the responsibility. The music system in the car which was linked to the reverse camera had been misbehaving ever since I left Palghat. It was quite frustrating because I like to listen to music on good roads. I wanted this to be attended to, if possible. Chakochan suggested that the system be left untampered because it would be a greater problem if the reverse camera gives up too! I found the suggestion sensible and decided to let the matter be. Later Chakochan took me to a car wash where the Endeavour was given an expert makeover and we were ready to park for the night.

When I got back to the house Michael was all beans, as he usually is, and wanted me to spare some time for his ‘lab’. Michael is an extremely precocious child and the manner in which he
had ‘organised’ his ‘laboratory’ in the small balcony, where he conducted ‘experiments’, showcased his special talent. The keenness with which he described every item and the use he puts them to was infectious. The special care and attention that Anupa spared, despite the time she had to spend with Dominic, was indeed something that one does not experience much in modern households. The Puttu and Kadala, my favourite food item, was on the table for an early dinner. As we were to sit down for it Binson Mathew, a fast friend of the family, dropped in. Binson has been following my expeditions on Facebook and has been a staunch supporter. All of us partook of the hot Puttu and Kadala over light banter and discussion about the expedition.

I turned in early as I wanted to leave before daylight to spend some time en route in a farm near the Gujarat border with a Facebook friend. I also intended to take a detour to meet with an IPS couple who were posted in Arunachal Pradesh during the East-West Expedition and were recently transferred to Daman. I could not thank Chakochan for all the techie solutions and excellent coffee and Anupa for the homely care.

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