Evo India - - CONTENTS - SIRISH CHAN­DRAN @SirishChan­dran

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’

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