A Petrol-head’s Dream

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.

 

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NOTE:

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Ferrari 1-2, the Red Devils score…this should be promising…

Massa has a soft corner for Turkey… i am sure. The Prancing Horses had a perfect weekend with Massa on pole going on to win the race and Kimi coming home a fine second. The Mclarens never looked threatening and Hamilton’s tyre failure was another factor to play in Ferrari’s favour. But is is a case of too little too late??? with just 5 odd races remaining, Kimi will have to close a mammoth 16 point deficit and then win some more to beat Hamilton to the title race. With the Englishman’s pace and competitive package, that looks very difficult. And Alonso wont just sit there and let the took take away the coveted spot. He’ll do everything he can to make life miserable for them. This season is heading for a photo-finish it seems.

 

Elsewhere, in the EPL, Manchester United finally registered a win against Tottenham Hotspur with screamer from the Portuguese playmaker Nani. That was one helluva shot and must’ve made any manager and fan proud. But the problem is that MU have started with a huge disadvantage and only time will tell whether they can recover from these early disappointments.

 

May the Scuderia and the Red Devils win them all…

 

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When ego is greater than g force…

The cat is finally out of the bag. The split between the two ace Mclaren drivers is clear and what is delightfully surprising is the way team principal ron Dennis has handled the problem. By sticking to the team policy of fairness and equality, he has made it clear that the services of current world champion Fernando alonso are not needed next year and that he should go nurse his bruised ego with some other team or alone, if he wants. Clearly Fernando is being a sore loser. The fact is Lewis Hamilton has outperformed everyone, including the sultans Kimi and Fernando and has taken the F1 community (teams, experts and fans) by storm. the sheer talent and driving skills of the rookie are maddening. And that he has outperformed Fernando consistently has not gone well with the champ and hence the rants and outbursts.

 

It’s not that Lewis Hamilton is that down-to-earth, honest-to-God driver who just goes about his business with nothing but goodwill for others. He too has an ego equal to that of Alonso’s and with his recent successes, maybe a tad more. This is clear from insider reports that Ron Dennis is pissed off with both but clearly Fernando is the black sheep here.

 

What does this spell for Ferrari? well, if this goes on, there are chances that both of them continue fighting and give Ferrari chances to capitalize on their mistakes. But at the same time, Ferrari should be well aware that it still doesnt have the performance of the silver arrow and the prancing horse lacks the reliability it once boasted of.

 

With just 6 odd races left, the chances are grim for the team from Maranello. But they sure will go down fighting. Fernando and Kimi for Ferrari next season??? that would be the mother of all combos… wait and watch

 

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Dabbawalas…the essence of ‘Work is Worship’

I know I’m contributing after such a long time, but let bygones be bygones. Today is one of the most exhilirating days in my life as a student. We had a guest lecture today and the speakers were the president and general secretary of the Nutan Tiffin Box Suppliers Association or more commonly and affectionately known world over as the dabbawalas. What I learnt there??? read on…

I learnt that if you know what you are doing inside out, you dont need to be a great orator. Language is never a barrier to delivering knowledge. I learnt that you dont have to study in a convent school or in a bigshot college to be an effective speaker. You need to have that art of mixing wit, simplicity and knowledge in every sentence you speak, and the crowd wont ever get distracted. I learnt that no matter what you become in life, what heights you attain, if you forget where you come from and what is your purpose for being where you are, you have not achieved anything. I learnt that at the end of the day, your culture and your people will remain the most important factors that make your business a success. I learnt that time management and discipline have an unparalleled importance and can be neglected only at your own peril.

There are a lot of things that come forward when you listen to such people speak. Here you have a president and a general sec. who co-ordinate 5000 employees focussed on just delivering tiffins. So much so that when Prince Charles expressed his desire to meet them, they first of all werent fully aware of the enormity of this visit and they didnt care less if he was God. They had but one answer, ” If he wants to take a look at how we work, he’ll have to be with us and see for himself .None of us have the time to sit and explain things because there are people with hungry stomachs waiting for home made food, and our duty is to serve them “. These are guys who still dont know what is the importance of Six Sigma and what it means to a business. At first they thought it was something tangible and were sort of dejected to find out it was just a certificate. Imagine that!!! ITS JUST A CERTIFICATE FOR THEM!!! They dont know that what they are doing is harnessing the transport system and setting an example in the Supply Chain Management. They didnt know who Richard Branson was, when he was travelling with them in the luggage compartment.

They do know that unless it’s a life stopping situation, they have to deliver on their commitments. The statistics are amazing and can be found anywhere on the Internet. But you have to see and hear them speak to realise that they are your next door neighbours who take pride in the Marathi tradition and values and who put duty before anything and everything else. For someone who are globetrotters now, they are perfectly humble without any air of superiority whatsoever. We always say that discipline is a big issue with Indians, but they are a scintillating exception.

There are many things to write here. Felt really proud to see that ‘aapli marathi manse’ are soaring high in the sky. Please dont miss a chance to listen to these humble but great people.

till then, take care n all the best,

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