When I was four years old, I remember leaving my dinner half-eaten and frantically running down three flights of stairs because I had heard a very distinctive sound. The sound of a brand-new four-cylinder engine, which was the beating heart of the then newly launched Daewoo Cielo. It belonged to my aunt and they had just brought it home from the showroom in emerald green, Ribbon and all. My mother and father came running down too, probably thinking that I had lost my mind. All the way down, I kept screaming ‘Anutai has bought the new Cielo! Anutai has bought a new car!”
Cars have always been a really big part of my life and it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. Even in school, I used to be really bad at my science subjects and frequently found myself getting distracted. My teachers used to always tell me that I had it in me and that I only had to concentrate. If I put in that little bit of effort, I would be able to get better grades. Well, that never really happened. I guess I’m trying to say that even though school wasn’t a highlight of my life, and that I’d rather forget my years there, cars were always there for me. No matter what, I could always just step into my little box in my head and think about cars. Nobody would be able to take that away from me.
A car for me symbolises freedom. With that much power in the palm of your hands, there is nowhere you can’t go. The whole world opens up, all linked by grey ribbons of tarmac.
We got our first car when I was just a baby. A navy blue Maruti 800. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it used to get the job done. We used that little car to go everywhere, it even stepped in for a 4×4 when we went to Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. I remember going to the showroom to take delivery of the car and the first thing I did was jump into the driver’s seat and press the horn.
My 18th birthday was my happiest and also my loneliest for the most part. It was a weekday, I had decided to take a day-off from college to go to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) as early as possible. It took a while, but I finally got my test scheduled for that afternoon. My test was more of a joke than anything else, the person who was supposed to look at my performance was busy stuffing himself with a fruit bowl. Well, a month later, I finally got the card in my hand and took my car out for the first time by myself.
Subconsciously, I always seem to be on the look-out for distinctive car sounds or cars which look different. I sometimes annoy my friends while having conversations because, I randomly tune out when trying to listen to or look at interesting cars. I really need to stop doing that.
Now though, I have got my own car, sort of anyway. Well, it is in my name, but is still the family car. I really enjoy driving it because it is basically a back to basics, no-nonsense machine which has no electronic aids whatsoever.
There will always be cars around, what they will run on though, might change. But rest assured. We will still find ways to make cars fun and they will always continue to have a special place in my heart and my garage.