Forgive the clichéd title, but being a petrol-head and admiring those metal beauties zipping around on rubber on black tarmac since my childhood, my share of driving one came too late in life. The start of my thirties to be precise. And so I believe I must be allowed this indulgence.
Anyway, I grew up in an era when the choice of tourist cars was the grand old HM Ambassador with windows that wound down manually and a sort of igloo shaped cabin that magically expanded to hold as many people and stuff as you needed it to. I enjoyed my vacations to different holiday destinations in my state in this car and every trip had some breakdown or accident that was worthy of being retold generations later. It was but natural that my curiosity would gradually turn into an avid and keen interest and admiration. A part of it was also due to the changing passenger vehicle market. Tata Motors gave us icons like Indica, Safari and Sumo – timeless cars that still have a soft corner in my heart. The Daewoo Cielo, that loooong sedan majestically advertised on the glossy pages of The Sunday Times, Ford concepts splashed across some glossy magazine that I got for free while rummaging for comics at a local bookstore, all added to the awe and I was thoroughly smitten by these divas. The impact these harbingers of the history of cars to come would be indelible.
Fast forward to about 20 years and the car segment in India has drastically changed (and for the good, of course). Consumers are now spoilt for choice, car makers are busy releasing new design languages, models, variants, refreshes or outright creating new segments! What a time to be alive!
It was high time I grabbed me one of these beauties and check off one item from my bucket list – owning a car. The first challenge was to learn to drive. Since we didn’t own a car before,I never really got a chance to lay my hands on one and learn driving. And as I always fell asleep when I rode shotgun I was scared if it would happen while driving as well. 2 days into my driving lessons and I was hooked! The acceleration, the awareness that you have the power of a hundred horses at the tip of your right foot was exhilarating to say the least! I knew then that I would enjoy being behind the wheel come highways or twisty narrow lanes choked with traffic. Falling asleep at the wheel was the monster under the bed I had already vanquished.
Driving tests done and dusted, I then turned my attention to buying the best car my budget could allow me to. For me it was a simple decision, the new compact sedan Zest from Tata Motors. The buying decision, my thought process, the pros and cons warrant a new post altogether but the bottom line is that in my humble opinion it’s the only car in its class that gives the most value for money. For me that had a significant impact on my buying decision.
And so during the auspicious Ganesh festival last year as I grinned from ear to ear while accepting the keys to the metallic grey petite beauty, I fulfilled my dream of owning my first car and checking off an item off my bucket list and added some much needed ‘Zest’ to my life.
That grin still comes back on every time I take the wheel.