Words: Aatish Mishra
Photography: Gaurav S Thombre
A car is only as good as it makes you feel. And the VW Jetta was making me feel bloody good. Hands around the flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, the clock well past midnight, the streets of Kalyani Nagar in Pune all quiet and deserted. How had I managed to get my hands on the Ed’s long-termer and sneak it out for a joyride in the middle of the night? Well, that was mostly his own doing.
Most people think that the life of an automobile journalist is nothing but a high octane, testosterone infused holiday. That all we do is drive fast cars, wheelie exotic bikes, #getmuddy (shameless OFF ROAD Expo plug), and get paid to do so. They’re not wrong, we do have our fair share of that. But it isn’t all we do. In reality, a lot of our time is spent at a desk, staring at our laptops, wondering how the hell to put what we felt the previous day in to words and give you something worthwhile to read. It isn’t the driving and the riding that pays our bills, it’s the writing. Earlier that afternoon, the boss had stormed into the office and said that he wants all of my stories that day itself and that I can’t go home till they’re done; it’s at times like these that I really don’t like my job.
A lot of grumbling, a lot of Red Bull and a lot of writing later, I was finally done with my stories. I had skipped dinner, but on the bright side, I didn’t have to brave rush hour traffic. Rummaging through the drawer with the long-termer keys, I was deciding what I could drive home — the Gixxer? It’s too cold outside. Ouseph’s Thar? He’d murder me if something happened to it. Wait, what? Are these the Jetta keys? Peeking out of the window I see the Jetta parked on the street below, beckoning me to take it home. I dropped a message to the Ed that I was taking the Jetta and I was off before he had time to respond. Of course I didn’t go straight home. And though the Jetta looks bloody good, I hadn’t taken it so that I could just stare at it in my driveway. Oh no, the streets were empty and I was going for a nice, long drive.