Two weeks of non-stop crisis management at office managed to achieve what a couple of months of rational thought couldn't – it was time to say ‘enough is enough’. I was on the verge of a burnout and a break was desperately needed. A friend in Boston gave me a good idea. I had to rent a nice car and drive up to my favorite place in the North East – New Hampshire – a state that has an official motto that goes ‘Live Free or Die!’ The right theme for my little getaway.
I had my heart set on renting a Hummer H2, the American elephant, but the bad economy has supposedly affected Hummer rentals so much that rental companies have chosen to dispose their Hummer stocks off. A few frantic calls later, the 2011 Camaro was chosen as the ride. I had to settle for a stallion instead of the elephant. The emotion this car evokes among people and especially the fair sex was nicely demonstrated by the lady at the Hertz counter. This lady who welcomed us with a bored look quickly enquired about our relationship (two guys renting a sports coupe, couldn't blame her) and was all smiles once she realized we were only friends.
My friend and I set off early on a pleasant Saturday morning. Traffic was normal and we hardly shifted from the fast lane. This beast has a 3.6 litre V6 powerhouse that churns out 312 horse power and we had to exercise a lot of restraint in order to stay within the speed limit. However hard we pushed this car, it was always ready to take more. Shifting lanes and overtaking was a breeze, such a difference from my daily commute on a 2000 Toyota Camry.
We reached the foot of Mt. Washington a little after lunch. This peak is the tallest on the east coast at 6288 ft. It’s an eight mile climb (by car) and the car has to travel on low gear all the way. About 30 minutes later, we were on top of the peak, a mile up, literally among the clouds. The view was breathtaking and the gentle breeze made it difficult to believe that the fastest wind speed recorded on earth was here- an unbelievable 231 mph! As I sat there on the top, surveying the world, I felt like the master of the universe one moment and felt totally lost the very next moment. I suddenly realized that in the grand scheme of things, I am nothing more than a speck of dust. At that moment, all ambient noise turned into a mild hum, all the people around me vanished and all of a sudden, it was just me and the universe. I must have sat there for 15 mins, but it felt like a lifetime. A sense of calm and peace had settled in and for the first time in months, my mind was totally blank. The purpose of the trip had been achieved.
A few photos later, it was time to head back. My friend was driving now; we whizzed past other cars and reached Boston late that evening. We dropped the car off and as I sat inside my ten year old Camry, it felt strangely comfortable. My dinner that night felt tastier than usual and as I closed my eyes that night, I felt the same calm breeze and the same sense of peace that I had felt on top of Mt. Washington. I don’t know if a part of me stayed back there or a part of Mt. Washington came with me.