fingers ache hitting those key boards day in and day out. The job of a
journalist is to play with words, and it’s not one or two, but hundreds of
thousands. The reports never cease, the words come out flying as the fingers go
ballistic on the keyboard. But then like all mortals, we too need our break, we
too need our freedom, we too need to satiate our desire to breathe fresh air.
How long can you have the mask around your mouth and nose and pretend to be
enjoying the world?
then in a flash I was off. I found a companion in the trusted 4x4 Jeep Compass
Limited Plus edition. Jeep is no ordinary brand; it encapsulates the best in
driving and comfort. Come rough or smooth, you can trust its firm footing. Off
I went leaving the city behind, overtaking traffic and the city rush into the
hinterland. The 2.0-litre BS VI complaint turbo-diesel engine worked perfectly,
generating 173 HP and 350 Nm of torque as it sped towards its destination. The
nine-speed automatic transmission slotted itself into the right gears as we
moved. Everything was automatic about it and I did not have to fret about
is a lot the Jeep Compass has to offer like the exciting dual-pane panoramic
sunroof, the 8.4 inches touchscreen display, automatic headlamps and
rain-sensing wipers, 8-Way power-adjustable driver’s seat, 18 inches alloy
wheels, electro chromic auto dimming
inside rear view mirror, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, the
more than adequate storage space and the six-speaker music system. The feature
list is endless.
It was almost like a dream come true. I was
getting closer to the gentle world of bovines, I was getting closer to green
pastures and narrow roads that leads to the pristine hinterland of Saharanpur
in the state of Uttar Pradesh in North India
took a diversion towards the Church of Sardhana, around 19 km north-west of
Meerut. It is also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces and is dedicated
to the Virgin Mary. Interestingly, the church was founded by Begum Samru - a
Muslim woman who married Walter Reinhardt Sombre - a European mercenary
soldier. Later when she became a Christian, she built the church which was
completed in 1822. The church of Sardhana resembles the St. Peter Basilica of
Rome, albeit with an Indian touch. The Church of Sardhana is the only Basilica
in entire North India. The church looked grand and so did the red coloured Jeep
Compass parked majestically in the forecourt. It was as though we were in the
lap of God.
few hours later we reached Saharanpur. I had acres of land to play and drive. I
spotted the traditional hookah near and equally traditional Indian cot. I was
tempted. They say smoking is injurious to health and in covid times one must
desist from smoking completely. But a non smoker like me was itching for some
fun. One odd puff does no harm, I told myself. But I realised my lungs did not
agree with the decision.
was time to explore the expansive fields. I walked with the villagers, trying
to understand the landscape. The overnight rains had left the soil slushy and
slippery. The motley crowd of villagers
was excited. Two brothers Rehan and Maaz accompanied me in the fields along
with their father and several curious onlookers. They were curious why a city
bloke like me was so excited at the sight of green fields. For me, it was
bliss, surrounded by a handful of simple folks and acres of land. I was away
from all the hustle and bustle of traffic. I was breathing fresh air and I had
discarded my mask like the others. It seemed that covid had spared this village.
It was apparent that nobody had ever stepped foot into an airport, the
notorious route from where the deadly covid had entered our country. It was as
though the Gods were smiling at us.
walked by the side of a rice field, that stood so green and lush in the
afternoon sun. It was hot and humid. I covered my head and face. But the
intense heat did not deter me from reaching out to the crops swaying in the
breeze. I gazed for a long time at the dense foliage around me, the mango
groves, the corn fields, the rice fields and the trees laden with guavas. I
stood in the midst of the field gazing into the horizon as far I could see.
I wanted to test this Jeep Compass which
claims to be a dependable off roader. In cities it seduces you with its comfort
and ride quality. Now it was time to go over some very slushy and uneven
terrain. I press the knob on the floor console to engage the 4x4 feature. I
turn the knob to ‘MUD’ mode. As one
wheel digs into the deep slushy pit, the wheels spin, shifting traction and
power smartly to the others, yanking the vehicle out of the mess, making
everything look so easy and achievable. The curious villagers had expected more
fun and drama, but they were disappointed. The Jeep Compass had just proved its
off roading capabilities and there were several witnesses to it.
drove to my heart’s content. It did not take much time for the bright red
colour of the Jeep Compass to don the colours of Mother Earth. By the time I
had enjoyed my off road adventure, the vehicle was a patch work of mud and
slush. It was time for some more fun. I spotted an old and dilapidated Escorts
tractor. Surprisingly, it was in working condition, I was told. I asked Rehan
to accompany me as I took a short spin. There was so much to enjoy. It was the
first time in my life that I was driving a tractor!
are fun, but cities never leave the vice grip they have on you. It was time to
head back. It was time to wash the Jeep Compass and bring it back to its
glorious red. We bid adieu to the fields, the animals and the people as we
headed back to the city, promising ourselves that we would be back some day.