Tale of an Unplanned Excursion

My first ever car drive to the mountains

Tale of an Unplanned Excursion

Dedicated to the musketeers who accompanied; two of 'em - Rao Haris Aziz & Faqir Hussain.

It started with me sending a simple message that we will leave tomorrow evening and that there is no plan. It sounded like a great idea to them and they concurred happily. No questions asked, no explanations given!

One came from Nankana Sahib and the other jumped into the car at Pindi Bhattian. Not only was it my first ever drive on a highway, it also turned out to be my maiden drive leading to the mountains. More on that later!

Islamabad Toll Plaza was the first point where we seriously thought about where to spend the night. It was 11 pm and I had slept only 2 hours the night before (Don't ask me 'why?'). The guest house in Bani Gala turned down our request to let us in, assuming that we would disturb others staying there. They made the right decision. So did we as we spent the night in "Khula Aasmaan", literally and figuratively, in the forests of Bahria Town, where Saad Najam bought us food and kept us awake. What a place to be with such a host!

The amigos were oozing with such confidence in me which even I didn't have in myself. That led us to the Murree Expressway where Fajr prayer was offered. We took rest for a few minutes there in the mosque.

Without sleeping for a minute that night, we were in exotic Bhurban right after sunrise. We found no empty hotel; this got the Mordor-like clouds infuriated and it rained 'kuttas and billas'. Seeing no signs of stoppage, we ultimately took the chance of going to Murree and the heavy rain followed us bounding us to stay inside the car parked at the ever-so-famous GPO.

The next few hours were spent having breakfast, checking in to the hotel, playing Rung (needless to say who stole the show), sleeping for an hour (finally), and having lunch. In a few minutes, we found ourselves sitting in the car again going as far on the Abbottabad road as we could till Maghrib.

The first few minutes of the ride were a bit challenging for a first-timer like me, but it was mostly fine after that. Did I mention that the supply of confidence in the car was aplenty? The only exception was a brick that came flying towards the car from the roadside where a group of Pathans was fighting. Luckily, it bounced right under the tires and didn't damage the car, Alhamdulillah. We made it to Ayubia and it was worth it!

Reaching back to the hotel at night was a forgettable experience. We got stuck for 3 hours in the weekend traffic, 1 km away from the hotel. My knee started screaming after constantly applying brakes on the slopes. After having parathas and chapplis for dinner, we slept for 2-3 hours and started our journey back at sunrise.

We planned to have our brunch at Bhera but KFC and McDonalds both were still closed that early in the morning. The only option we had was Simply Sufi which we tried for the first time. I do not talk badly about food unless someone makes it really bad intently. This was the case this time around. As we were leaving, based on the burger's size, Faqir Hussain gave them verbal feedback that your burger was "choosni". The manager was happy with that feedback which amazed us. It was a moment later that we figured out that he had misheard "choosni" as "juicy".

Within 43 hours of leaving, I was back home again only to find that there was an extended family dinner in honor of my Aunt who had just come back from Hajj, MashaAllah. After driving 1000 kilometers, all by myself, sleeping barely 6 hours in patches over the past 3 days, I was driving again, now to the far end of the city!