NO SHIT CARS
COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO A FEW OF US HAD A SIT down in the office. “We only say good things,” moaned Aatish, an idealist and, we worry, a closet communist. He interned with us to drive cars and ride bikes, hung on to race cars and bikes, but, unlike the rest of us, has the soul of the traditional jhola-wala journalist. He has a larger picture in mind; he wants to do the right thing.
Saying only good things isn’t the right thing, is it? As journalists, aren’t we supposed to be critical?
Aatish isn’t trying to be funny. And Aatish is right. I can’t remember the last time I fired a big ’ol canon. The bloggers, key board warriors and self-proclaimed experts road testing their desks spare no opportunity to accuse us print journalists of being sell-outs; of being on the take; of lacking a spine. Good grief, have they been right all along?
On the way home, behind the wheel of the new Verna, I found the answer. There are no shit cars. No longer does the Verna bottom out or buck around like a bronco. Slamming a shitty car is the easiest thing in the world for a half decent writer but – and these are the days we live in! – new Hyundais are rather good to drive. Shall we slam Marutis then? There’s an AMT Ignis parked in our basement and it has been my preferred city commuter despite the other wheels in our fleet. What about Tata Motors? Well, the Tiago on our fleet has done 12,000km in three months – by guys who are under no obligation to write anything about the Tiago, forget good things.
There are, to repeat myself, no shit cars. Disappointing cars? Yes. Stupidly priced? Yes. Late to the game? Yes. Boring? Oh hell, yes. But shit? There really are none!
So rather than employ that hateful word, decent, in evo India – decent car, decent handling – here’s the task we’ve set ourselves. To enthuse, excite and make you fall in love with cars all over again. Yes, even you Mr Desk Roadtester. Let’s dig out your inner eight-year old and bury your fury. Find not-boring cars and be juvenile with it. Destroy tyres. Hammer in lap times. Go very sideways. Throw our own birthday parties. And remind ourselves that we live in hugely exciting times, peppered with incredible cars and bikes, on the cusp of a seismic change that nobody really has a handle on. Ten years from now we might be reviewing autonomous cars. Our cars might not make any noise whatsoever. We might use public transport. Or we might still continue doing what we are doing today. All I can say is jo hoga, so hoga. For now, take Aatish’s lead – revel in The Thrill of Driving and Riding. ⌧
‘Here’s the task we’ve set ourselves. To enthuse, excite and make you fall in love with cars all over again’