NIGHT TO RE­MEM­BER

The Honda Amaze gives us com­pany as we find our­selves on a calm­ing drive through the city of dreams

Evo India - - CONTENTS - WORDS by AFZAL RAWUTHER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by SACHIN S KHOT

A for­tu­itous meet­ing with a long lost friend and a train to catch from the his­toric CST sta­tion takes Afzal in the diesel CVT-equipped Honda Amaze on an ef­fort­less night­time drive criss-cross­ing the city of Mum­bai

T EVO IN­DIA, WE OF­TEN FIND OUR­SELVES on ad­ven­tures to far-off des­ti­na­tions. Travers­ing a wide va­ri­ety of ter­rain and weather con­di­tions, our longer drives are of­ten chal­leng­ing, even to us journos who spend most of our time on the road. And, some­times, af­ter lengthy pe­ri­ods spent away from home, we crave the quiet and the soli­tude that only a night drive through the city can pro­vide. Thank­fully, one such night, as I was about to re­tire af­ter a long day of driv­ing in Mum­bai, I got a call from a long lost friend who was in the city only for the night, with a train to catch in the wee hours of the morn­ing. The stars aligned. I had the Honda Amaze with me and with plenty of space in the boot for his lug­gage, I could pick him up and drop him to the sta­tion and in the process have a peace­ful drive through the city.

I started from a ho­tel in the sub­urbs, drove to Ban­dra and sub­se­quently found my­self on the Ban­dra Worli Sea Link. Those from Mum­bai tell me that at night, it is

some­times quicker to just avoid it and drive through the city. But, it is hard not to take it. Go­ing over the bril­liant sur­face of the bridge, the sus­pen­sion ca­bles lit up in all their glory, you are treated to what is pos­si­bly the best view of the Mum­bai sky­line. It is in­deed tempt­ing to roll down the win­dows and take in the cool sea breeze. The Honda Amaze with the 1.5-litre diesel puts out a shade un­der 80 horses and paired with a CVT, gave the drive a calm, lan­guid qual­ity that was per­fect for the evening.

At the other end, in Worli, my friend was wait­ing at one of the many ho­tels over­look­ing the sea. Pulling up into the park­ing lot – a tight one mind you, south Mum­bai is in­fa­mous for its park­ing woes – the great all round vis­i­bil­ity and rear park­ing sen­sors came in handy. The 420-litre boot was un­locked with a but­ton on the key fob and de­spite be­ing a heavy packer, my friend’s lug­gage could fit eas­ily into the boot with loads of space to spare.

We pulled on to the ‘Queen’s neck­lace’ – Marine Drive for the unini­ti­ated – and found our­selves in a traf­fic jam. It was the week­end af­ter all and turns out the idea of a night drive wasn’t ex­actly novel or orig­i­nal. The CVT and the light steer­ing were our saviours and we could trun­dle along eas­ily. The traf­fic cleared out and we drove along Marine Drive be­fore de­cid­ing to make our way to the sta­tion. The in­can­des­cent lamps bathed the nar­row lanes of south Mum­bai in their yel­low glow and we couldn’t help but take in every­thing with a hearty dose of nos­tal­gia. Grow­ing up, we of­ten found our­selves driv­ing around th­ese very streets at night. It was time to bid adieu though and CST had put on a show. In shades of red and yel­low, the cen­turies old build­ing stood out in the dark of the night. But, as my friend em­barked on a jour­ney and I got back into the Amaze, it was clear that the car was the real star of the night. ⌧

THE CVT AND THE LIGHT STEER­ING WERE OUR SAVIOURS WHILE DRIV­ING THROUGH TRAF­FIC

Fac­ing page: Driv­ing by the re­splen­dent CST. Right, top to bot­tom: Cruis­ing on the Sea Link; parked on Marine Drive as we spent some time tak­ing in the sea; the Amaze was ef­fort­less to drive in the city. Below: The 420-litre had space for every­thing

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