We’ve been friends since we were in our diapers,” Ethan tells me as we pull out of his driveway in Bengaluru. “Rohit and I grew up right next to each other.”
Ethan Mascarenhas was born in Udaipur, Rajasthan, and spent his school years in Rajasthan’s lake city. His father managed a hotel there, a humble property on the banks of Lake Pichola. Rohit and Ethan spent the bulk of their childhood in the tiny lanes of Udaipur’s old city, engaging in shenanigans as children do. But as the years passed, things changed.
“I always wanted more from life than Udaipur could offer. Big opportunities are difficult to come by there,” says Ethan. Fascinated by video as a medium of art and communication, he moved to Bengaluru to collaborate with an acquaintance and launch his own video production house. Rohit, in the meantime, stayed back in Udaipur. He enjoyed working in the city’s bustling hospitality industry and started working with Ethan’s father after college.
The video production business kept Ethan busy. He would end up travelling regularly for work, making it impossible for him to go home. He hadn’t gone home in six years, he told me. “I miss my best friend,” he says wistfully.
When the ‘Bridging Distances’ post popped up on his Facebook feed, Ethan jumped at the chance. He really wanted to go back home and spend some quality time with his family and his best friend.
Bengaluru to Udaipur was a long haul, but Ethan was more than happy to spend all his time behind the wheel. “I’m not a relaxed driver,” he warned me as we set off. “I’m safe, but I am not relaxed.”
The moment we hit the highway, Ethan downshifted and rapidly picked up speed. With his right foot pinning the accelerator to the ground, he gobbled the kilometres very, very quickly. The journey took us through Pune and Mumbai, followed by Surat and Vadodara, until finally, after two gruelling days, we entered Rajasthan. All along, Ethan stayed planted in the driver’s seat, his favourite tunes blasting from the music system.
Ethan was excited to drive in Rajasthan, on account of its famed roads. “This car feels really planted,” he told me. “It feels like it is glued to the road!”
Things got trickier as we got into Udaipur. The narrow streets of the old city are just about as wide as the car, and populated by cows and oncoming two-wheelers. Ethan, however, navigated them with ease. As we turned into one claustrophobic lane after another, the Terrano’s turning radius earned silent applause from us.
After half an hour of squirming between buildings, we pulled up outside a small boutique hotel. It was 5:30am, and the front desk was being manned by a sleepy young man. Ethan asked him to fetch Rohit, telling him that it was an emergency. The young man dutifully hurried behind a door. Ten minutes later, a dishevelled Rohit walked out, still decked in his night clothes. The sight of Ethan inspired a look of utter surprise on his face.
The two spent the day together, starting it with a cup of coffee on the hotel rooftop with a splendid view of the city. Later in the day, they visited all their childhood joints, reliving the good old days when hundreds of kilometres didn’t separate them.
Ethan could not stay too long, because work beckoned. But he was happy he took the first step towards bridging the distance between Rohit and him. “Life really swallows you whole when you grow up, but it is up to you to try and stay on top of it,” he philosophises. “Anyway, let’s get back on the road, because I’m itching to drive this thing again.”
What distances is the Terrano bridging?
In this busy, information-buzzing, work-oriented world, people often tend to lose touch with those who are important. Distances develop between people, sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, and sometimes, a combination of both. In a world where people are rapidly losing real relationships in favour of virtual ones, the Nissan Terrano will attempt to bring people together, road-trip style. Share your personal experiences of emotional and/or physical distancing at email@example.com, and we just might take you on a road trip to bridge that distance.