Headstands in Rishikesh

Our weekend in Rishikesh

I was fortunate to have the Honda W-RC over a weekend when I was driving to Rishikesh. And, when I mentioned my weekend plan to Jesal – my friend who is a certified yoga teacher and was visiting from London – she declared that she was coming with me too.

We started off from Delhi at – what was according to her – the unearthly hour of 4.45am. I was a bit grumpy because I had actually wanted to leave at 4am but was faced with delays of the refusing to wake up type!

But the 1.5 litre engine of the WR-V diesel that is rated at 100PS was quite the eager beaver when it came to overhauling HMV traffic that rumbles on Delhi’s road during the pre-dawn hours. I realized that even though there is a fair bit of diesel clatter, the engine is quite eager as long as it is kept near the 3000rpm mark and to keep it there the gearbox needs to be worked often. Even minor irregularities on the road are soaked up quite admirably by the suspension, though the diesel clatter does come into the cabin at times. While the power surge all but completely disappears past 4000 rpm, the added sixth gear keeps the rpm down so that the engine ticks along nicely at 100 kph and has the grunt to go to 120 too without downshifting. This is also what gives the car its great fuel economy. At this speed we were soon past Ghaziabad and Meerut and on the Muzzafarnagar Bypass. Here we came across a huge cattle-fair where bullocks and buffaloes were being auctioned.

Jesal is a pro at doing headstands and she loves to do them at interesting places, so amidst the bargaining and bartering, she turned the world of the cattlemen upside down as she did a headstand amidst the cattle. I am sure that to this day, as they pull at their hookahs under the village tree, they reverently talk about that city girl in track pants and red Adidas Superstars and what she did.

The raspy little WR-V was on song all the way to Roorkee and past Haridwar. When I say little I mean that it’s dimensions are perfect for that nip and tuck on single lane roads. But the WR-V is quite the roomy car inside. The seats are well contoured, firm and generous enough so that you don’t keep bumping shoulders with the passenger when the road is rough or uneven.

On the twisty road to the Bull’s Retreat where we were staying, the WR-V did feel a little out of its depth for quick overtaking, but again working the gearbox vigorously to keep the rpm needle between 2000 and 4000 makes the car a little more eager.

My business meeting out of the way, she and I decided to do a spot of white water rafting which is one of the ways you can get high in Rishikesh. The second method involves a clay pipe and ‘substance’.

The put-in point was at Shivpuri and here the Ganges actually breaks into numerous streams as it rushes towards Rishikesh. This meant that we had to cross a few of them to get to the beach where we’d get into the rafts. And with its 188mm ground clearance, handling minor streams wasn’t a hassle at all. In fact true to the active lifestyle image the Honda wants to portray with the WR-V, the car crossed the streams with aplomb.

Once the rafters were on board it was a race against the river to get to the Golf Course, as one of the rapids, that has many hydro holes, is named.

Now I needed to drive there before the rafts got there and the current of the river, of course, helped them along. I, on the other hand, had to drive downstream, cross a bridge and backtrack upstream find the narrow broken road going down to the river bank park and then scramble over boulders to get my photo. By now I knew exactly how to make every single horse that resided in the crankcase run at full gallop, so long story short I got some great shots of the rafts as they pitched and rolled through the Golf Course.

That afternoon after some quick headstands alongside a mildly surprised sadhu and an impatient scooterist on the Laxman Jhula we headed back towards Delhi.

After I had parked in the capital about 7 hours later I did some accounts and was pleasantly surprised to find that even with all my hard driving the WR-V delivered a very pocket pleasing 18.5 kpl to a litre of diesel.

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