Thursday, November 29, 2012
Sudhir and one of the last Cars he owned
I spoke of Sudhir's love of various types of Cars earlier.To continue further it remained his greatest passion till the very end.Both of liked different type--I preferred SUVs and he Sedans.Mumbai Traffic has always been chaotic--of course the earlier memories of that chaotic Traffic seem from another Era--for today even that seems orderly as things have worsened increasingly since then--and are worsening further still!!After the 90s we began getting the models of newer shapes in India and Suzuki Maruti was and still is a much preferred brand.Those days Tata Motors had come out with a huge SUV called The Sierra in the early 90s. We bought one of these--and despite it being a two door it remains one of our favourites still,after the Peugeot 504 and Dhanno .This was the Car we took often on our day long jaunts to Lonavla--most often just Sudhir and me--driving along the rain soaked misty Sahyadri Hills in the Monsoons.Sturdy and strong it made many outstation shifts--and was perhaps the most used Car in our Family for everyone loved it --including my sisters-in-law and all the children and grandchildren there were in our family!!Sudhir would really go mad at the variety offered--by now we had Opel, Honda,Toyota and Nissan along with Hyundai---all needing just a week to roll out of the Showroom--fully signed and delivered.This was a first for India--where we earlier used to wait to be served we were now being wooed with many new perquisites--as Sudhir succintly put it, it really did feel nice!!
Each time we bought a new Car, Sudhir would be loathe to take it on the crowded roads--specially my favourite Shopping areas--for these were the crowded by lanes of Dadar.The problem here was the Hawkers lining both sides of the narrow lane--leaving barely space in between for a even a two wheeler to pass!!Another new problem that has cropped up in the last 10-12 years is the two wheelers.There are so many of these and these are a big problem.People riding on the Two wheelers squeeze themselves in the bare 1-2 feet of space between two rows of Four wheelers--in a hurry to clear the Traffic Signals faster!!This leads to mishaps and also results in many really expensive Cars being scratched pretty badly.Besides it has given rise to a new breed of Drivers who pay no heed to either the Traffic Signals or Pedestrians as well as to their own personal safety.Their throwing caution to the Winds creates situations where a new term like "Road Rage" applies and very often even insignificant altercations can swiftly escalate into a brawl which can at times be fatal!!
Like the "Bawaji" we called him he was very particular about the way his Clothes--read Coats and his Cars were maintained.His Coats had to be pressed just so--folded just so and above all hung on their special hangers and covered with Plastic Covers to protect them from the Dust.Similarly the Cars needed to be spic and span--clean and gleaming always.He used get the exteriors polished regularly to maintain the gleam--and this was why perhaps we were lucky with each and every Car we owned.We loved them and they respected that and loved us back!!He liked keeping the Tank full--claiming that it made for a smoother drive and better maintenance.He hated hearing even the minutest rattle or scraping sound---going to the extent of pulling over by the roadside just to investigate!!It would be so extreme that I would tease him mercilessly over this!!Once in jest I even suggested covering the walls of our Garage with mirrors--I said that whenever it was windy we'd sit in the Car and watch the Wind whipping the trees in our Garden--and pretend we were driving down the open Country roads!!Another suggestion was to hire an open truck,load the Car onto it and then take it for a drive!! Both these suggestions would bring out his beautiful smile in full force--but his pernicketiness wouldn't change even an ioata!!
Today I still maintain the Car he bought me as mine exactly the way he kept his--the tank is always full,it is washed and wiped daily and everything--the servicing and tune-ups are done regularly--it's always maintained in peak condition!!Despite making numerous rounds of Dadar, Matunga as well as Crawford Market areas--which are dreadfully crowded and choked with Traffic, it still gleams and is still scratchless--just the way he liked it.He would have really been proud of me!!