All the Snazzy Cars and Nowhere to Go

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A typical day on Delhi's roads.
A typical day on Delhi’s roads.

Where do these latest car models battle it out? Where does the Mercedes overtake the Jaguar? Where does the Ecosport show superior Ford technology to the Palio? Where? Not on roads, where maximum speed now with so many cars around is 20 kmph

ROBERT CLEMENTS

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] few months ago a prominent newspaper carried a headline that ‘the sophisticated soft roader Honda CR-V will shortly find a tough rival in the soon to be launched Hyundai Tucson.’

I have only one question. Where do these rivals do battle?

Where does the Mercedes overtake the Jaguar? The Fiat the Santro? Where does the Ecosport show superior Ford technology to the Palio, the desi Indica, better mileage than the sophisticated Innova? Where?

Not on roads, where maximum speed now with so many cars around is 20 kmph, where potholes with grim determination lie in wait to break foreign axle and laugh jubilantly as spring and suspension give way!

Surely not on highways, where overloaded lorry and outdated bus occupy middle and do not give way to horn or headlight signal, instead take perverse pleasure in knocking lighter vehicle into ditch and gutter!

Where then do we show off glittering fancy toy?

Outside homes, that’s where.

I watch with envy as Sardar neighbour parks fancy Chevrolet near my old Honda City. I watch concerned as his driver stares with disdain at my old car. I jealously stare at building secretary, chairman and treasurer as they salute, scrape heels and salaam owner as he with not the smallest glance at them strides scornfully to snazzy sedan, not to drive away, but to open door and instruct white liveried chauffeur, to bring up paper and briefcase.

The car lies parked in self same place, gleaming as society watchman, pump man and lift man take turns to keep the shine shining.

And then when he finds neighbor buying same style car, he hands keys to wife to drive, to shop nearby, or pick child from bus stop outside the gate, and buys for himself another fancy set of wheels.

“We have no parking place for your second car sir.”

“Remove the gardens, cut the trees!”

“Third car sir?”

“Knock off the children’s slides and swings!”

“Fourth car sir?’

“Use the badminton court!”

And there in compound where children used to play, where trees and gardens bloomed, lie now these vain fancy showpieces.

I have a suggestion to make; manufacturers save thousands of rupees; install ancient rundown engines or no engines at all inside lavish, extravagantly sculpted limousines. Till roads are fit to run yon powerful engines displayed in magazine and paper, your cars are only sensuous, sexy models moved from showroom display window to display outside owners home.

Sort of reminds me of many of us, what? Looks with no content..!

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