Tata Safari Storme: Extreme makeover

Which probably explains why I even drove it down to that small pond in the middle of nowhere. If we had got stuck, there was zilch around here in the wastelands on the outskirts of Mumbai, to come to our rescue quickly enough, unless of course one of us knew how to lasso the couple of buffaloes soaking in that pond. Of course, there was another small problem – there was no rope.

But I digress.

The Safari Storme treaded gingerly in two-wheel drive mode on the slippery rock. The layer of fresh moss on its surface seemed to wilt under the weight of the two-tonne vehicle. The huge flattish bonnet meant all I could see was rippling water ahead. A quick hand raised by the photographer and I yanked on the handbrake, jumped out of the car and nearly skidded on the moss. By now, I was even more submerged in doubt on whether all this was a good idea for just one picture.

Anyway, picture taken, I put it in reverse while still in two-wheel drive mode and instantly felt the tyres spinning without any effect on my position. But a quick flick of the magic ‘grip’ dial with the arrow pointing to ‘4L’, and the Storme seemed to have developed claws, which it dug into the ground and heaved itself out into relatively hard ground. Did I mention that feeling of invincibility? Yes, there it was again.