16th April, 2014

Tar Rebels

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By Aminah Sheikh

It was a lazy Sunday in Mumbai. He looked forward to the bubble bath, the sparkle and the roar. Perhaps it’s a good time for a spa, thought Sanam Dhir. And so he drove his ‘Proper Patola’, to a car spa centre. As he stood there admiring his one month old Thar, he met Maverik Mukerji, also a Thar owner. They exchanged pleasantries and decided to meet for some ‘Thar talk’.

One evening over a cup of coffee, Sanam floated the idea of forming a ‘Whatsapp’ group for Thar owners in Mumbai. Maverik and Sayed Sahazad, another 4x4 enthusiast dug the idea. The group was christened ‘OTR Rebels’. They discuss off-roading, accessories, apart from coordinating for OTRs. “I’ve had an obsession with the word ‘rebel’ and hence the group’s name. Guess it has something to do with me being Punjabi,” quips Sanam.

In just six months since inception, OTR Rebels have grown from three Thar boys to 35 active members. The group predominantly owns Thars, followed by MM 550s. Sahazad recalls driving on the Palm Beach road highway (New Mumbai), spotting a Thar, waving to stop and exchanging numbers. According to the founders, the Whatsapp group has around 30 members who shares notes almost every day.

Articulated trails and jungles interest the OTR Rebels, more than deep water or rocky terrain. They off-road at least twice a month in either of the places – Rajmachi (Lonavala), Mhape (New Mumbai), Pen (Goa road), Manor (near Thane for camping OTRs). “Every time we gather for an OTR, people are fascinated by the vehicles. Some want pictures clicked with their kids. It adds to our pride. Each such moment is memorable,” shares Sanam.

Most Thars in this group are equipped with winches, rock sliders, LED fog lamps, engine tuning kits, mud terrain tyres, and some modified cosmetic changes.

Like every 4x4 enthusiast group has at least one story that goes down in history for the lesson it taught, OTR Rebels too has an episode they won’t forget. Maveric recounts, “We were off-roading near Lonavala. Sayed was stuck and needed to be rescued. As I was winching him out, the tow hook broke because of the amount of excess force used. The hook flew smashing my Thar’s windshield.” Maveric was hurt but fortunately with no serious injuries. “He was back to off-roading within 15 minutes while I remained stuck,” adds Sahazad.

It’s the never back down attitude that ensures these rebels keep off-road.

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