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Sunday, March 30, 2014

CHAL BE HARAMI!


 
CHAL BE HARAMI!
In 2007 10 days before my marriage I lost my job as my company decided to shut shop in Pakistan!  Today I realize that this was the best thing that could have happened to me but at that time I was shattered!  I won’t go into the details to tell you what crap I went through because you won’t care and frankly I do not need sympathy or your empathy!  After trying my hands at a lot of crap someone very close to me who mattered in this country gave me a gift of where I got a contract to armor plate and bullet proof vehicles in Islamabad.  This was good business as the money was steady and when you are trained by foreign consultants and have the support of 4 stars it really cuts down the learning curve! 
 
Pretty soon the work became mundane and playing with Toyota SUV’s, and Mercedes & BMW’s became boring with the odd US manufactured SUV.  We were creating nothing just opening up a vehicle and sticking on what was sent to us and that was it!  The only one time we had a great time was when an embassy wanted to test the efficiency in a Level B7 Toyota Amazon so we were allowed to witness a full scale assault on a 7 year old (but in pristine condition) Toyota Amazon!  It was very educational and I got to know that nothing is perfect!  As we had become grease monkeys in suits and were extremely bored walking in and out of the Diplomatic Circles a close friend (my partner in crime) and I got our paws on a Toyota Surf from a UN auction for 64,000 rupees!   
We borrowed the cash made the payment and came home with this vehicle excited that we would sell it and make a quick buck!  On the drive home the 2.4 liter diesel engine we realized was weak so we took it to our workshop!  At first we tried to rebuild it to maintain the originality but then realized that it was not worth it.  So we had to change the engine! Great!   Being a gearhead who spoke many languages I started scouring the markets of Bilal Ganj, Sultan Ka Kahoo, & Shershah.  We got so many options for Toyota that it was not funny!  BUT there was one thing common in all the engines! They ALL needed some form of work!

As we were sitting and discussing about what type of engine to put in and costing of how much it would sell for at the Cinepax Office (where I occasionally Helped out) the son of a major Land Developer came over to watch a movie.  After the film he was showing us his brand new customized Range Rover.  Of course we went on the Motorway and were impressed!  On the way back he dropped us off at our workshop near Adiyala Jail and saw the Surf!  When he inspected it he offered to take it off our hands for double the price and do us a favor because he said that we did not know how to do what we wanted to do and were only good enough to observe real people who would do the work!  Two of us looked at each other and made a bet with him that we would rebuild the surf and have a race with him from Islamabad to the first petrol pump towards Lahore.  The winner would walk away no questions asked with the other ones car keys!

He laughed and walked away as daddy’s money, armed goons and the ability to get things done does make one over confident!  After 3 weeks I bumped into him at a restaurant in F7 where he laughingly told us that in a mocking way that this was not for us in front of his entire entourage and my in-laws!  I made him the same offer to race his Custom Range Rover 2008 against my vehicle after I had prepared it.  The conditions were the same!  After a rebuttal that questioned his Alpha Male ego in front of his chamchas we shook hands in public and got a date of 3 months.

Ok! Now what to do!  Well first thing was that I had fantastic support from people who were auto engineers and fabricators!  Everyone gave me ridiculous ideas which I knew would somehow or the other kill me either financially or on the road when I drove the Surf!  I said a prayer and we started looking at the markets again!  In Bilal Ganj I found the perfect engine.  It was a XJS V12 engine from a jaguar that had been rear ended.  I was about to buy it and was waiting for the money to come in from a payment when I took off with my in laws to the then known NWFP to attend a wedding!  As a joke we wound up driving to Torkhum and walking around the markets I saw a lot of cut offs and parts!  As I looked further I almost was in tears when I saw a Toyota Supra being torn apart and melted down! I noticed that the car had 9,000 miles on it and being a Left hand drive everything left hand was being thrown away. 

I speak Urdu mostly so when I was talking to the owner of the lot he asked for 3lacs for the engine and transmission “with clear papers”.  We started haggling and he somehow came down to 255,000/-.  It was not a deal and after I realized that my in laws would be missing me I wanted to take off and have that fantastic salted lamb we all know about!   As I walked away he leered at me and told me that a farangi like me in jeans should not have come to no man’s land!  I turned and walked away and he mockingly in tribal pushto told some chap behind me things that were very insulting!  In my blue Levis, white T-Shirt & Nike’s I turned around walked back 10 steps and politely told him in Pushto that I am sorry to have disrespected him and wasted his time but there was no need to sling insults related to the women in my family!

His eyes opened wide he dropped his joint and started scratching his scraggly beard and we got into a conversation about me and where I was from…  Bottom line I told him I knew nothing and what I had gotten myself into by protecting my ghairat!  We got lost in talking and after lots of kawa my inlaws found me terrified that I had been kidnapped as mobiles did not work in those areas only sat phones.  As I walked away at dusk and sat in my corolla I had just gotten a 2Jz GTE6 with the entire transmission and everything for free!  Zero money!  It would be delivered to me in Rawalpndi by 6 mechanics who would come down and install it for me and train me how to modify any car.  All I had to do was give them an Ac’d room to sleep in and food and a LCD tv with All the music channels! 

My brother in law was shocked and silent as we drove home!  After 30 minutes of driving I asked him if the man would do what he said and he told me that I had just spoken to the man who is notorious for many things that could not be proven and if he said he would do it then it would be done!  We had to go back as we had to get back by Monday!   On the entire journey I wondered if this would happen and when I got to Pindi I told my partner what had happened!  He called me a fool and we resumed work as normal still worried that we did not have an engine!   The Tribal dude had told me that he would deliver everything with his people by Thursday and when that did not happen I was a laughing stock!  Disappointed and really pissed off at being made a mamoo out of I forgot and resumed work and I started driving to Lahore on Monday for a meeting with makro.  As I hit Kalar Kahar I got a phone call from an unknown number and when I pulled over and answered it I realized that my engine had arrived and they wanted to know where I was in Bahria Town! 


 I told them to hold on and I would be there in 40 minutes and to have lunch and I would come and pay the bill!  I turned my Mercedes around forgot all about Makro and decided I would test the limits of my E260 and its inline 6.  I drove back at a speed between 205 – 232kmh.  I slowed twice to 120 because my radar detector told me of the Motorway police a mile ahead.  And I made it back onto GT road in 43 minutes!  This is when I realized that I had not felt the speed and was extremely safe because the Germans truly knew what they are doing and became loyal to the brand from that day forth!  When I found these guys they were with some relatives at Sultan Ka Kahu having food and after the hugs and dismissing the calls from Makro and everything else that just did not make sense at that time I was relieved to be somewhat out of the hot water. When these Taliban types pulled off the tarp of the truck they came in and I saw not one but 4 (four) engines & transmissions.  two 2Jz GTE6 engines, one Chevy Corvette C5 and a Ford Bronco 4.5 liter engine!

Worried we went back to the shop and after looking at it they said it would not do as they would feel better staying with the relatives and working out of Sultan Ka Kahu as everything would be available to them there.  So I towed the jeep there as the engine had died and came in my jeans and dirty t-shirt looking forward to three weeks of hell and an education I would not want to miss out on!  Let’s put it this way within 48 hours we had a Corvette engine installed in the jeep and no front end at all after the windscreen there was no body and we set the computer.  As she turned my heart fluttered because if you love American cars you know how they roar.  So we threw bags of cement in the back of the jeep and decided to test drive it.  Guess what over the next 18 hours we went through 5 drive shafts and 2 differentials before we realized this was a bad idea!

I had forgotten about sleep and went home to rest when I got back the next day they would not let me see the jeep and they told me to come back the next day in the evening!  When I got there the jeep looked like the way I had brought it so I was confused and thought they had given up on it!  When they handed me the keys and turned the engine I heard the refined and elegant purr of a petrol engine so I popped the hood and saw the 2JzGTE engine inviting me to push its 3.0 liters.  We drove it and I had realized that these guys had done an outstanding job.  When I wanted to take her away they told me to cool off and not get my panties in a twist because I would not be able to stop the jeep at such speed and she would roll over on a turn!  

96 hours later I had custom, interactive hydraulics, carbon fibre discs & ABS braking, a complete digital interface with radar for the cops and everything funky and leather racing seats bottom line I had a car out from fast and the furious!  Somehow these guys had come up with and called for a NOS kit with 4 tanks and fitted that in the back.  After we tried it out we realized that we went through the gaskets one every run we did and had to remove it.  BUT we wanted more speed for endurance, so they tore up the car allover again, they had bored the engine down to 3400 cc and then they rebored it to the max which was 3860cc and then put it back together and slapped on genuine twin turbos!  After another 5 days and removing the manual transmission and installing an automatic one. We had it right! She could beat anyone hopped up civic with NOS and still endure a long run!
Bear in mind what I learned in these 3 ½ weeks was nothing compared to the friendships I made and that too with guys who could not read or write!  The total cost for me over the entire month was only 37,652 rupees!  EVERYTHING WAS FREE! 

I ran the race against my developer so called buddy and made it back 8 minutes or more before him!  He never gave me the keys to his car but did pay for a trip for my then wife and me to Sri Lanka!  I also got a fantastic client who to this date is more than a friend and allows me to drive his Italian sports car in Punjab as and when I want!   Somehow people got to know and we started Islamabad Limos with only 20,000 rupees after that and built many machines.  
We formed Islamabad Racing club and did many races all over Punjab that were endurance based and where there were no rules except for two.
  1. The Driver and the passenger along with the public must be safe when driving at all times so no recklessness.
  2. There are no other rules!
My health screwed me over and being bedridden it fell apart so we shut shop & I moved to Karachi!  11 days ago my friend from Torkhum was in Karachi we met at boat basin and even though we had lost touch we sat and had an awesome conversation for 20 minutes before he left to go to the airport!  He told me that I should start it up again and that Heroinchi itch of racing came back again to me so I texted a beverage company that used to sponsor me if they would help out.  When within 3 seconds I got a call back saying that they were in…  Islamabad Limos became Harami Xtreme…
I still don’t have a car & I still don’t have an engine but I am sure I’ll find one as three days ago I met with the relatives of those from Sultan Ka Kahu & Torkhum in Shershah where I was assured in pushto “that any friend of ******* (name withheld) is a brother of ours!” so I have entire workshop / yard to play with!  I guess that is a start for a Race Harami!

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Disclaimer! - The opinions I post are my own and I do not intend to hurt or offend you!  If you cannot allow me my freedom of thought then you have the right to voice an opinion and navigate away on the web.  If you follow my blog I thank you as it’s quite ridiculously entertaining...that is if you like what & how I write! 

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