Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stuck in a car on a highway.. that too on a winter night!!!

It was on a cold night in march that we decided to go bowling in brunswick. Now why would we drive all the way to brunswick for that... I am not sure.
Having lived in US northeast for about 2.5 years, I know how bad winters can be. But it's that "I am getting into a car right in my apartment parking.. getting out right at the entrance of the bowling alley and getting back in" confidence that led me to wear a regular leather jacket and rush out.
We were happily driving down the highway next to newark airport watching an airplane land (an awesome sight). All of the sudden, our car started slowing down and my friend drove it to the shoulder and right after we sneaked into the shoulder, the car just STOPPED! I mean just STOPPED!

Even after multiple attempts the car did not start. We were not sure what to do. We thought of getting down and pushing the car thinking battery is out of charge and that might help. But wait a minute.. if that is indeed the case, a running car would not have stopped (I mean the battery keeps getting charged when a car is in motion).  But when the other alternative is suffering longer in the chilly winter, we let our knowledge of basic physics/cars sit aside and got down and started pushing it... no luck.
Then one of my friend's wife called her dad expecting some suggestion.
she on the phone : "papa, Baddha saru che" (daddy, everything is fine)
Are you kidding me everything is fine? We are stuck on a highway on a cold winter night, without enough winter gear, next to an airport runway by the bushes and not sure if we should call 911 because the guy who was driving does not have insurance... Are you kidding me everything is fine?
then after some che che and che (folks who don't understand Gujarati can only understand that word), she came up with an idea. Too bad that did not work either. Finally we decided to get out and wave hands so that someone would stop and help. That is where the fun starts.
Ohh yeah, in the midst of all these another friend needed to use the toilet... now I can understand her instructor told her drinking lots of water is good for health and weight reduction, but drinking too much water when its cold and when you are driving far in a 10 yr old car is not exactly the best thing to do... this is something I learnt after this incident though. Now she did ask her husband to go into the bushes to find if its safe.... but the husband decided not to act too brave...
Now her look said "Before getting married, when you were my boyfriend, you would have definitely done it to score a point" and the evil look in his eyes said "Mwhahahahahah, we are married now " .. anyways this prompted her to come up with the idea of waving hands so that someone would help.

Wait this is USA.. we heard many stories of how helpful people are..... Finally a BIG shady looking van stopped... Does the van actually look shady... or just because a large van stopped when no one else did, we just assumed it was shady? anyways... me and my friend walked towards it. I asked her to walk slightly behind me just in case.
The guy who was driving looked shady.. to add to the problem, he kept looking to the back of the van as though he was hiding something..
"Brother, what is the problem with the car, it needs a jump-start?"
"Yes bbbbb brother, can you back up lil more so that you can help us"
"No problem brother, but wait wait wait  a minute, why did you call the cops, if cops here brother, I gotta go.. I cant help you if cops here"
I was wondering what he was talking about. I turn around and see some red and blue lights flashing right behind our car ... me and my friend said in tandem "WTF"

"No brother, hang on. we did not call em. if the cops cant help us.. we would need your help"
the van moves into driving gear
"No brother, let me go. If the cops here, I have to go. sorry brother" .. and he leaves
All this wile my friend cant stop laughing...SO we turn around and go to our car. the cop flashes his torch right into our eyes... On a dark highway if you do that, how do I walk? Anyways we walk up there and he says
"Guys this is dangerous. you cant hang out in the shoulder like this for long and you cannot keep walking outside. Get into the car. i will call AAA and they would come by". He says that and he started lighting up flares to put behind our car. That reminded me of Diwali.
I wanted to say  "Uncle Uncle, can I please hold one in my hand".. But damn, given I am a grown up, I could not do that and had to get into the car and wait.
After sometime the AAA vehicle came. The guy walked up to our car in a hoodie. Me and my friend got out of the car and said in an accent "Whazzup".. He says in a indian accent.." I am the AAA guy. Can you please sign here and tell me the problem." What? why is this guy speaking in indian accent. Might be he learnt Indian accent. After all he works in new jersey. That can help him talk to his clients. Then I saw him sign.. it said
"lakwinder singh".. Immediately my friend says "lucky paaji (lucky brother).. problem yeh hai.." and narrated the story in hindi with a punjabi accent. A Gujarati guy talking in Hindi with a Punjabi accent and a Telugu guy chipping in with Hyderabadi Hindi making an attempt to put a Punjabi accent. This is what I call "unity in diversity" rather "Unity in diversity during a calmity". He told us the alternator was screwed up and he jump-started the car and guided us to the nearest gas station.
Meanwhile all of us brainstormed on how one could construct toilets on highways, or if we could go into the bushes to see if it was safe.. But finally thanked who so ever constructed the rest area and once we reached it we rushed into .. you know where..
We finally gave up the bowling idea and first thought of unfreezing our own frozen balls :P
Moral of the story "Always carry heavy winter gear.. Sh*t happens. The amount of water drunk before getting into a car should be directly proportional to the condition of the car and inversely proportional to the distance to be traveled"