Posts Tagged ‘cars’

The Nano graveyard

July 15, 2017

We went on a nature/birding walk to Kalena Agrahara today, and skirted the lake at IDBI Bank Layout. I was amazed to see several Nano cars parked, and rusting in the monsoon weather.

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There must have been about sixty of the cars, parked all around.

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At a conservative estimate of Rs.2 lakhs per car, that’s Rs. 80 lakhs just wasting away.

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I finally found this banner, saying that these cars apparently belong to this rental initiative:

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The problem in our country seems to be, not lack of good initiatives, but keeping up with them. I have tried to call this number to find out why so many cars are rusting…and could not get through. I will try again on Monday (which should be a working day.) ┬áBut meanwhile…would it not have been better to just donate these cars rather than let such an investment waste away in this fashion?

“Oh…this is a new AirBnB effort!” said my friend Rekha-Ram Lakshmanan, from St.Louis, when he saw the cars. “No,” I riposted, “This is CarBnB!”

What a sad state of affairs. Can anyone throw any more light on this failed initiative?

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The Morris Minor, Woodlands Hotel, and a wedding, 190314

March 20, 2014

As we entered the Woodlands Hotel just off Richmond Circle, to attend a wedding, our attention was riveted by this little gem, parked in the campus:

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The

MORRIS MINOR

is a beautiful little car!

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As if to keep perfect company with the car, these old buildings of the Woodlands Hotel looked so lovely:

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We attended the wedding, too…the youngest daughter of one of the old families of Bangalore and Nanjangud:

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All in all, it was a day when history and heritage seemed to thrive in modernity!

Cars in India…my memories

August 29, 2013

A very enjoyable chat with a friend in Sweden set me thinking about the various cars that I’ve seen and used during my life.

My father, who rose from the lowest to the highest executive postition in the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), had all his cars provided by the company, so we went through a wide variety of cars.

It is usual of think of India of the 60’s and 70’s having only the Ambassador and Fiat…but in reality, there were certainly a lot more cars around.

In the beginning, I saw a lot of cars of British make in Calcutta (probably imported from Britain; I don’t think they were manufactured in India.) There were Austin (the chrome letters actually announced, “Austin of England”, Humber, Studebakers, and Raleighs. There were all the American cars that were status symbols…”Shevorley” (Chevrolet) which had the famous “Impala” and the other large-fin “kappal cars” (cars like ships!) that floated their lengths along the roads.

Standard was a car company that had the small cars of that era….the Standard 8 and the Standard 10 were tiny little cars. I have no idea about the performance of these cars…they were just cars that I saw around.

Hindustan Motors manufactured the ubiquitous rhinos of the Indian roads….Ambassador cars (and still do, even now) and their predecessors, the Landmaster. For some reason, I always thought of cars with rounded boots as female, and those with even small tail fins as male. Don’t ask me why! I remember the Fiat (before it became Premier Motors) 800 with a rounded boot, and the 1000 with slight fins (nothing like the kappal cars!). One Fiat model was one of the last cars I’ve seen where the front door hinge was the reverse of the usual near-the-dashboard.I feel this must be quite convenient, and still don’t know why this kind of front door was phased out.

The Fords could sometimes be huge mammoths, in which I felt lost once I got in. I do not remember air-conditioned cars in my childhood, at all. Window seats were eagerly looked forward to, and captured, after pleadings to parents and fights with siblings!

It took a while for the realization to sink in that we Indians were getting the reject cars and designs…at some point, yes, I did realize it.

Standard also had that ever-present car, the Herald. This car, too, came in two models, I remember the engine cowl of one opening the other way (not hinged near the windshield)…the only car engine cowling I’ve seen opening like that. These cars would stop in just a few inches of water, and so they were called the Stranded Herald! They were two-door cars…I’ve always detested two-door cars.

I never thought of the company and the model name as different…such was my ignorance. I had heard, as in a dream, of the Rolls Royce, and seen some photos…but I don’t recall ever seeing one, or having one pointed out to me. Daimlers and Bentleys were simply not in my ken.

I do recall several Volkswagens, yes, the Beetles, running around the city, but they, too, were not very frequent.

I think it was in the 80’s that Standard introduced the Rover. Even I, with my lack of knowledge, realized that it was an uneconomical, unreliable vehicle…I remember calling it the Sub-standard Rover, and said that it had enough fuel range to get from petrol pump to petrol pump.Apparently, the sleek-looking design of the car made it a great attraction to many people.

At some point of time (mid 80’s?) there was a Karnataka-manufactured clunker called the Badal, the only 3-wheeler passenger car that I have seen. Does anyone remember this?

Premier, too, introduced a lemon called the 118 NE, which had some fuel-pump problems. I remember having to abandon our car in the Western ghats once, and coming home by bus!

The arrival of the Maruti 800 truly galvanized mass car ownership in India…it’s amazing to think of the revolution! Everyone who had a Lambretta or a Vespa or a Bajaj scooter now had a Maruti….a major change, indeed. It was tiny, convenient, and one of the most useful cars that I’ve seen. Another useful car was the Maruti Esteem…we used to joke that it would be even more cost-friendly if it would run on e-“steam”.

Now the variety and number of cars manufactured in India is mind-boggling, and the roads are clogged with drivers wishing that the other cars and their owners had stayed home….driving in our cities, with the lack of enforcement of traffic rules, is no longer a pleasure. I have started using buses, and own no car now….and am pretty happy about that!

I do wonder how car designers are doing, hunting around for new car names…it must be getting more and more difficult.

Ah, felt good to set down my memories of cars on Indian roads….if any of you have additions..you are welcome to put them in!

121212,some things I clicked

December 13, 2012

In a small improvement, I can now post and comment on my own LJ,at least and at last…

Everyone made a big fuss of the date, 121212, but I found the following interesting things yesterday…

It may be the twenty-first century, but even a metropolis like Bangalore has this form of transport, quite common:

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Then I clicked this Apt Number Plate:

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(Doesn’t this look like a picture of two asteroids in the solar system? No, it’s only the lovely flakes on my granite kitchen counter-top.)

And would you call the following image a photo-graph juice?

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Something to smile about, and another concert at Memphis

June 15, 2012

Don’t have much to say, as life is very difficult right now…but when that happens, the best thing is to smile!

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If you can’t call in dead, be in style:

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What happens when the wife asks for a diesel car (diesel is much cheaper in India than petrol) and the husband goes ahead and buys a petrol car, and then the Indian government increases petrol prices by Rs.7.50 paise a litre? The wife orders the licence plates…

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Practising for my concert on Saturday at the temple in Memphis, Tennessee…and after having lost my voice completely last week, I don’t seem to have found all of it. I tell my voice to sing something, and my voice says, “Oh, yeah?”

You may remember my concert there from

this post

They liked my singing so much that they asked for a repeat this year…I am thrilled!

We are driving to Memphis tomorrow.

How would it be…

May 4, 2007

Someone recently accused me of only finding fault and not finding solutions. So I wondered if our TT (Terrible Traffic) would improve if….

a. Autos had a much larger turning circle, which would mean they could no longer turn, twist, manouver and squeeze into gaps in traffic, causing chaos.

b. ALL horns were prohibited. Just think about it…aaaah…the silence alone would be worth it…If one cannot advance, horn blaring, to overtake another vehicle, surely the driving will become more circumspect, and better? One would have to give pedestrians a little more respect? (Looking forward to hearing all the negatives!)

c.We had one car-free day per week, or fortnight, per area….

I also realize that anyone who has me on their friends’ page will see nothing but entries from me…so no more posts today. (unless I think of something…)