Monday, January 01, 2007

Day 5: One last act of kindness

We're back on highway 5 with Nick at the wheel. He looks ragged like a drunken tramp, he's grown deep stubble and has lost his voice.

It's bloody freezing in the back and none of us slept particularly well, setting off at 6am from Sunny's place to try and creep up on the others. It's unlikely that will ever happen.

Ivan and myself are shivering in the back seat, Ivan trying to get some sleep under a towel and I'm looking out the back for hazards from under my coat.

I hadn't expected it, but India gets really cold when the sun goes down and it's a while after sunrise before it warms up at all. The back of the rickshaw is the coldest part as there is no protection from the cutting sidewinds, which skirt around the driver providing a nice windchill factor in the back seats that makes you feel like you're in a mobile freezer.

Through my frozen delirium I noticed that we had forgotten the petrol can back at the village, but we were already an hour away from Sunny's place and were not likely to be able to find it even if we went back, so remote was it so we decided to write it off as an operational loss.

...then suddenly looking out the back of the rickshaw I saw a figure come over the horizon.

Sunny and his mates had found the can and had wasted no time jumping on their motorbike and driving after us to give it back!

Our hearts were in our mouths. We didn't really know what to say.

But Sunny and his mates gave us no time to say anything. They didn't even get off the motorbike. Handing over the gerry can, they smiled politely, turned around on the highway and disappeared back off the way they came, casually speeding the wrong way up the highway.

Ten minutes later the Dosamobil went through a toll booth. Sunny had made it in the nick of time...


At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written article.


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