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The Hilux is a 55-year-old brand name, proudly on sale in its eighth generation worldwide. It was launched in India last year and is marketed as a ‘lifestyle pickup’, targeting adventure seekers and overlanders who occasionally take the 4 Low routes. In the scheme of things, we decided that one of the ways to celebrate our 25th anniversary was to take it on a camping trip.

Touted as the adventurer’s dream in India, the Hilux beckoned us with promises of off-road thrills and the unexplored beauty of nature. Eager to unlock the secrets of outdoor living, I decided it was high time to trade my city comforts for a night under the stars. But I wasn’t going solo — I borrowed our in-house camping expert, Keshav. Our destination: the banks of the Dehrja River, a picturesque three-hour drive from the chaos of Mumbai towards the tranquillity of Manor. Loaded with camping gear, snacks, and plenty of enthusiasm, we set out one pleasant afternoon. Upon reaching the riverbank after navigating some off-road trails — where the Hilux performed delightfully, like a tiger in its natural
habitat — it was time to turn our dreams of camping into a reality.

We scouted for the perfect spot, a flat area on the riverbank, and set up our campsite. After that, like seasoned adventurers, we embarked on a quest for firewood. Little did we know that our adventure was about to be joined by an unexpected but delightful companion — Kaalu, a friendly canine, who soon became an integral member of our expedition.

Our campsite, now complete with tent, firewood and borrowed camper Keshav, became a hub of activity. As the sun dipped below the horizon, we lit the bonfire and turned up some classic Bollywood tunes in the Hilux turned up some classic Bollywood tunes in the Hilux (yes, that is my jam), and decided to kick off our camping culinary experience with the quintessential Maggi noodles — because, let’s face it, when in doubt, Maggi is always the answer.

While we revelled in the simplicity of a fireside feast, Kaalu playfully joined the party. His presence added a heartwarming touch to our night under the stars. As the evening unfolded, we found ourselves sharing laughs at the moronic tales we both had to share while munching on some snacks, creating the sort of camaraderie that only the great outdoors can inspire.

As the clock ticked into the night, we retired to our tents — well, at least some of us did. I was exhausted from the day’s escapades, embraced my sleeping bag with open arms and promptly entered dreamland. On the other hand, Keshav, the night owl, decided to engage in some impromptu stargazing, marvelling at the apparent wizardry of my ability to fall asleep instantly.

The dawn greeted us with a hint of light, as the sun gracefully ascended from the eastern horizon. As we stepped out of our tent on the chilly morning, we were greeted by Kaalu, ever the loyal guardian, who had stood watch throughout the night. The morning air was crisp, the foliage adorned with dew, and the sunrise painted the sky in hues of orange and gold—a picture-perfect camping morning as the Emotional Red Hilux (yes, that’s the official colour name) blended into the frame we set for pictures. Our hearts were heavy with the realisation that the city life awaited, as we prepared to bid adieu to our riverside refuge.

But not before capturing memories with the Hilux against the scenic backdrops we found. As we packed up our campsite, Kaalu looked on, his puppy eyes betraying a sense of reluctance to part ways. With the campsite cleaned up and our temporary home disassembled, we set our sights on a nearby trail that promised off-roading thrills. The Hilux, in its element, tackled the challenges of the trail, showing off its immense prowess. We reached an open quarry with a lake, where the Hilux assumed a fearsome persona, conquering all obstacles with ease.

Our adventure was a medley of fun, laughter, and a dash of tomfoolery, a stark contrast to the routine chaos of city life. Kaalu embodied the joy that a spontaneous encounter with nature can bring. As we reluctantly made our way back to the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, the serenity of the outdoors lingered in our hearts.

Our rendezvous with the Toyota Hilux had been more than a journey; it was a celebration of 25 years of Motoring adventures, encapsulating the essence of exploration and fun that underlies everything we do. The Hilux has also ignited a spark with this camping trip; who knows, in the next issue you might see us learning the art of overlanding. Here’s to 25 years of Motoring adventures, and the promise of countless more!