Jeep Mystique, Nostalgia, Historical...Blah-Blah-Blah...

by Pavan

Himalayas (File Photo)

Himalayas (File Photo)

Sorry to break 'yer hearts fellas. The Willys Jeep (everybody just calls it Willys, and sometimes Jeep, only rarely nowadays would someone say MAHINDRA) is a working vehicle in India.

I have traveled in the Himalayas in these working jeeps but there's a twist to it. Back in the day it would cost me a $1 maybe, or $2 maximum, but hardly more. That's because a standard jeep zip and buzz through the Himalayas early morning for sure and all day long more intermittently doing newspaperman runs. Also fresh bread, pastries, milk and eggs would be piled on. Maybe chickens and cases of rum too...maybe.

The 'runner', just called the driver, and not the owner; would always manage to take on a couple but no more 'passengers'. The $1 or $2 max. would be his 'cut', 'bakkhsheesh' or side income. It's called plain old moon-lighting in other parts ;)

The haggling for the price, for me, was all fun and games, but price haggling is real life over there. It's not a romantic drive type of thing. Just plain old transportation from point A to point B.

Most people would get off and then continue walking to their destination for another couple of hours. The jeep journeys were not for the faint of heart. It was cold and clammy, mostly uphill runs in the Himalayas. No heaters, doors, no protection and the arctic Himalayan wind felt like it would slice your throat in no time.

This being in the Himalayas, the jeep would drive right through a cold, zero visibility, moisture laden cloud in hair-pin bends with no problem - standard practice.

At the time it was a mixed bag of fun and challenge, but now...aaahhh...the memories.

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