In a different time, and maybe even in a different world, I had the brilliant idea to buy a 4x4. I drive for leisure. I love driving. I love the experience of it, especially when heading out of town or driving around in the middle of the night for a midnight snack or two.
My first true car was a hatchback. The second was a sedan, and well, the third had to be a truck of sorts. Not that there was a need for it, but rather a want to be able to drive to anywhere, on difficult terrain (read as Indian roads), and still be able to reach somewhere with it. I test drove a very expensive, over the top, and over the budget SUV by Ford. And, it was nothing less than sheer thrill. It gave me goose bumps; it felt like the chills you feel when you’re listening to your now favorite song on repeat — frissons. The test drive, it gave me
wings frissons. The small test drive made me experience power, freedom, and glee; all neatly packed into one shot. I was hooked. The want now, it had somehow transcended to something of a need…a fix, if I may.
But, the damned thing was expensive. And, I did not want to apply for a loan or mortgage or borrow the funds. Although, I did try borrowing it from a friend. And, then decided against it; futility of it all. Nevertheless, the experience left an imprint somewhere, onto something within; much like a calling card.
A few months after the test drive experience from within a mountain, I drove an acquaintance’s 4x4; a Suzuki Gypsy; known, and renowned around the world as the Suzuki Jimny, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Farm Worker, and so on. It was a different experience than the previous test drive with the Ford truck. The test-drive with the Gypsy, felt more real. The truck felt barebones. It felt more old-school than anything else that I have had driven before. All of that, while still retaining the clutch that these 4x4 trucks, in general had on my heart.
While test-driving it, the acquaintance admitted to the drive being bumpy, and being rough in general. My ass, at that point was dampened with glee of the fact that I was test-driving a Suzuki Gypsy. And, the dampening was so well done, that it had dampened my listening abilities too or so my rear shock-absorbers reasoned. I didn’t push the man, complaining about the ride quality of the truck, to hand over the keys to me. I wished for it, yes. But, that day I let it stand as a wish.
On a day, much like today, I found myself sitting across this same acquaintance, and some other bed-fellows. He was complaining still, about the ride quality of the truck, and the hard suspension that he had has the pleasure of dealing with. He had recently been on an off-roading adventure with some other truck owners, on the outskirts of the city. It hadn’t been a good experience for him. Suddenly then, he decided to ask me, about buying it.
He was smooth. He knew I had had the test drive with the Ford before. He knew, I was searching for something like it. He knew, I had shown no sign of any complaints about the suspension or the drive quality. And, he played it right. By the time he was done with asking me to buy it, I was eating out of his hands.
I did not want to lose a chunk of money on a second vehicle though. And, the sedan had to stay, because the Suzuki was a two seater, with a ST rally cabin that was recently installed. I inquired about buying it, but paying the dues in installments; like mortgage or credit-line payments. He accepted, and within the next few days, the keys to the first 4x4 I’d ever own, were given to me.
It felt like a blessing. The first drive gave me the same frissons, those that I had experienced with the Ford truck. It took time to register that the truck I was driving, was mine or on the way to becoming mine own. It was a surreal first-second-drive. The truck felt old. It had no creature comforts to offer. The radio was shot, and the only thing you could do, was drive. The ground clearance made me happy; like a child jumping off of the ground, and coming back down, and jumping back up.
Then, all things that could go wrong, did go wrong. I found myself driving it less, and less. I found myself, most of the time, alone. It was probably, the loneliest time I’ve ever felt. I had just entered a space where I had no inclination or drive to do anything. It was probably the most depressed I’ve ever had felt. It was the bluest rut ever. Nothing moved me. Nothing warranted me to get out. Rains came, and they went. Crazy came, and it went. It was frustrating, to say the least.
Then suddenly I found something; something that made me feel okay again. It quickly became a corner stone of sorts, to help me out of any blues; that something still works like a charm on fire.
Realisation came, it had been close to two years of neglect of all sorts. That in itself was another depressing fact. Baby steps, baby steps was all that I was capable of making. That translated into more neglect of things, and people that I deemed of as something alien or a sign post from another lifetime. Work came first. Bucket list came next.
All this while, the truck, locked with the exhilaration it had offered (still does), was languishing down below, in the parking lot. It quickly became a light house of the past two years, and naturally turned into a punching bag for my vents. Though, I did try to get it back into shape. Which, in turn, led me to another spiral of further losing trust in people. Especially when the garage the truck was given to for repairs, had no clue to where the money I had put in, had been spent. No bills either. And, something like that happening, at a point where I was just in the process of recovery, felt like a punch or two.
Those punches became signs, that I should, probably let go of it. I decided to sell it then. Though, I was torn in two minds. Every time I sat in the driver’s seat, I felt happy for some reason. Time not spent driving it, was depressing; a reminder of those punches. It needed work, and a lot of it, to get it to where I had originally pictured it getting to at.
I tried selling it then; with the help of a few dealers, and online ads on some platforms. I got queries, but no bites. Another set of punches then; the fact that there were no buyers. Then, I found a buyer or rather someone I did not trust did. And, I was offered a buying price. It was about fifty percent less than what I had spent in invisible-visible-repairs, and buying the truck. I was then told that the quote wasn’t right, and that I should wait. And, I went with that thought. Thinking that it was my gut. It wasn’t.
My gut was telling me to take responsibility of it, and for it, rather than to sell it. To keep driving it, rather than sell it. It had been neglected for far too long. And, my gut had torn me again in two. I did not know whether to keep it around or scrap it or give it away at whatever offer someone kept in front of me. This went on for a long time, leading up to more neglect on my part.
I love driving. I love the experience of it, especially when heading out of town or driving around in the middle of the night for a midnight snack or two. I love wheels. I love the illusion of freedom that driving leaks of of. There’s something about getting in a car, and getting out of the city that clings to me. And, that was what I had forgotten about, well into my self-loathing. That’s precisely why I’d feel happy when driving the truck around; it made me hold on to a part of me, without me being aware of it.
Once I realized that, I made the decision to give it one last effort; one full of everything I have, to recover, and restore it to the original image of her I had within, when I had first driven it. She also made me realize a few other things, like taking responsibility for its current state, and that I had to do everything with regards to making it, to restoring it, instead of delegating it. She was my onus.
She is my onus. Like the baby steps I had taken, I started with baby steps where her restoring was concerned. And, it was remarkable that another weight had lifted off of me. It feels like this is something I have to do, and focusing on it makes me more happier now.
I’ve just started. There are tons of things left to do, and the goal is to finish them before the next rains arrive. I want it to be a touring 4x4. She’s also known as Aria - a part of an anagram from two distinct words. I also believe that she wants to teach me other things, apart from taking onuses. And, I am looking forward to the lessons. More soon.