Thursday, October 21, 2004

Clutter-putter Indica

It's another fine morning, and I am so happy. Not that mornings make me happy, today is Thursday, and also the last working day for this week. My mind crunches schedule for the day and something tells me I need to check my car for 'hava-pani' before I drive it down to Mumbai.

I go down to crank up my car, which has been standing out in the bitter-cold Pune climes. Right behind my car's ass is another ass - a dirty green Indica V1, with its not-so-smiley front grille. How on earth am I gonna take my car out? Whose god-damn car is this?

I chat up a by-stander in the society to get information about the car, but alas! He's just a carpenter. I move up to the first floor and see a man coming down. He looks like the watchman. This society does not have a functional watchman, the one who is appointed only turns the water pump on and off. I ask him, "woh hari gaadi kiski hai?", he points to a door and I thank him.

I ring the bell, and a middle-aged, soft-spoken lady opens the door. I ask her if the Green Indica belongs to her. She affirms, and asks what the matter is. I brief her how the ass of a car that she owns, won't let me remove mine. Without a moment passing by, she hands over the keys and confirms "yehi hai na?", I look at the big T on the key and say "yes, thank you."

I go down and open the Green Monster, the front seat is pulled too far ahead, and too close for comfort - at least for a person of my stature. The seat is jammed, and I have to park my ass in all the place I can find. I close the door, and it shuts it a rattling thud. This car certainly is not as good as it looks from the outside. I depress the clutch and crank the car. Oh my god. Is it an earth quake? The whole chassis seems to be trembling, but no sign of life. Crank again, no luck. I depress the accelerator and crank this time. No luck again. Finally, after about 6 or 7 tries, the engine begins to putter and what a noise it makes. For a moment I am confused whether I am sitting inside a car or a TATA truck. This thing rattles so badly, I wonder if my intestines may fall out. So bad NVH levels!

I engage the car in reverse gear and find that the gear shifts are almost non-existent. The gear stick moves freely in any fuckin' direction you want. Finally, after tries and retries, I manage to engage the truck of a car into reverse. Being diesel, this car won't move without an extravagant depression of the accelerator. Also, the engine response is so sluggish! I manage to move the monster far enough to take my baby out.

Get into my car, and it seems so much better. The door doesn't shut with a bang. There is ample leg room. I crank my car and it is up within half a crank. No intestine shaking, gut wrenching vibrations here. It's a Maruti Zen after all!

Pull my car out and get back into the monster. Park it deep inside, and thank myself for hating this car. I think to myself “Tata certainly didn't know how to build passenger cars!” I go for a short drive in my baby with my favorite music playing. Not much traffic in this side of Pune! Oh, what more could I ask for on a perfect morning?


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