We are TEAM VEERASWAY: Three old friends, 2400 miles of the most dangerous roads in the world, one terrible vehicle and no bags. What can go wrong?
Team Member Marsden’s Parents in New Delhi
Patrick’s Dad writes:
I love my son very much. He’s smart, energetic and resourceful. He has a tremendous capacity for friendship. But when he told me he proposed to drive across the north of India from right to left in an auto rickshaw I had to doubt his judgment. He knows India. We lived there for years. On his own admission (see October 7, below) his foolhardiness nearly killed him when he drank water from a standpipe in Ranthambore. This time I won’t be there to hold him as he throws up out of the car for the umpteenth time.
My specific problems are with his choice of companions and the vehicle they will travel in. I have known the two Eds since they were small boys. Read about them and judge for yourself. They are, on their own admission, fine, upstanding young men. But would you, in all honesty, put your life in their hands? I wonder. I would be happier if Ed1 was a doctor of tropical medicine and Ed2 a mechanic.
This brings me to the vehicle. The autorick is an absolute stinker. It’s uncomfortable, unstable, and unreliable. It’s always just on the point of breaking down.
Ganesha upon his steed, the rat
You would have thought the Indians would be able to do better in the vehicle department. There are more Hindu gods than you can count. The best ones all have their own absolutely reliable vehicles. Patrick might have followed Shiva’s example and chosen to make his journey a stately one on a white bull, or Nandi - his mother’s favorite. Parvati’s lion would have been a bit of a handful and Vishnu’s giant bird, Garuda, too much like a recent 3-D movie.
One of India’s best loved gods is the gentle elephant-headed Ganesha. He chose as his vehicle something that can gnaw through every obstacle – an accommodating rat. At some stage on their journey these three intrepids will be ready to trade their infernal machine for just about anything. I know the terrain they will be crossing. There will be moments when a nice big juicy rat will seem very welcome.
On second thoughts, though, Patrick’s judgment isn’t totally out of the window. At least he didn’t ask his mother to write this.