Saturday, April 09, 2005

DIB 342 - an introduction

I am sure you will agree with me on this. A family is made of not only the humanoid members, but also objects, places, events that create that a web of memories, experiences and inside jokes. All feelings of nostalgia, pain, homesickness, sickness emerge from these.

Not too long ago, we owned a car called the Fiat (premier padmini). You cannot offhand realize my jubilance when I use the word "owned". We got rid of it prior to shifting to Delhi. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. This is one of those many incidents which I plan to document. There is a plethora of memories associated with the car. The chronological order might be a bit skewed, but I assure you that will in no way affect the authenticity. An insight into our car - DIB 342

There might be a few readers out there who are not aware about this phenomenon called 'Fiat'. Till maruti entered the market in mid 80's, the Indian consumer had to choose between a rotund ambassador and the Fiat. A few esoteric brands like Toyota Corola and Coressta existed, but hey ! We are dealing with bourgeoisie here. Some also call this a 'Colonel's Car', since the sterotyped heavy-mustached army officers generally succumbed to the car's charm.

We (mom, dad, sister and I) arrived in Mhow a month before the car did. [time scale 1994: I had just progressed to class 6th] For 30 days, we managed with a scooter (Vijay Super - another jurassic item, weighing a ton) and a hero kids cycle. It was squeaky arrangement, but I loved it. I would lead the way on the cycle, the euphoria of riding it obliterating any exhaustion. The rest would follow on the scooter illuminating my path.

If I remember correctly, the car was grey in colour when it arrived on the truck. It was grey a day before, and for the 8 years before that too. In case you thought she was a lassie, let me clear things out. It was a 1956 model, bought sapiently by my late grandfather in 1986 (second hand). It lay unused in our Delhi garage for 3 years before it was hauled 600km to the cantonment.

If you are wondering 'where is the funny stuff', I empathize with you. This perfunctory introduction takes an awful amount of space. Lets skip the remaining irrelevant data
Promptly, the car was moved to an enterprising mechanic's garage christened "Munna Motors". The mechanic (I guess called Munna) flipped out a few catalogues suggesting beautification along with the usual overhaul. I remember we (6th and 7th graders) were not involved in the decision making. Finally a pastel shade was chosen and the deal was made.

We (dad and I) went to see the car a week later. For some reason still unknown, Munna had decided to apply his cognition in the aesthetics. (I vividly remember his garage. To compensate for the visual noise created by the grease and the tools, our man had decided to decorate the fence. Varied frames of radial tyres were arranged as a composition. His mechanic buddies might have appreciated the intricacies, but it looked like a graveyard of vehicles. I wonder how many owners were ripped off before us to amass such a collection) He pointed to the refurbished car with implicit pride. It lay out in the open. It was horrifying. The machine merged with the azure sky. Of all the colours of the world, Munna had chosen sky blue. It was a consummate monster. The windows were correspondingly tinted with a sky blue film. Any modification was impossible, having already spent thousands on the renovation. I am not aware of the abuses my father showered on him. I just hope he had spewed them full throttle. Why ? Lets just say if we had had a more classy looking vehicle, I might have turned out to be a completely different personality. We drove back home - dad fuming ; me smiling ; oblivious of the pain the blue monster was going to be over the next 4 years.


Read the other two DIB 342 stories here and here.

7 comments:

  1. off beat for ur style..

    we also own a premier padmini fiat gifted by my grandfather.. which was initially painted sky blue and is now white.. thanks to the office that provides cars to papa.. it has not been used for the past 6 years i think, but goes to the service repairs every six monce..

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  2. agree with mayank(oh yeah, he can be called that)...off beat for your style...

    i thought i heard more of the fiat than is presented in the blog...why not bring them out as well?

    when i started typing this was to be another iyer bashing comment...but you know love conquers all...

    Nice blog anyways.

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  3. yeah i can understand your jubilance and pain about owning a fiat with all its "pride and prejudices part" , KEEPING it alive and going on skulkingly...like a "soon going to be fossilised" aged , broken back ox...

    most taken for granted memoirs presented in most intriguing way..well that was not off beat for iyer i think ...

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  4. will bring them out..in due time my love.
    I too think this isn't off-beat. In fact, it is bang in the middle of the beat.

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  5. This blog does not allow anonymous comments.It does.
    nice blog ;;)

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  6. Well, my father owned a 'Fiat' back when I was a kid. It was then, I think, supposed to be the height of luxury or something. Anyways, my father had to part with it when we bought an Esteem. He was reluctant to part with it: felt it was his lucky charm; but had to, in the end, when it started rusting and decaying. I still love it, though: hope it still exists.
    -Arjun

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