There I was; sitting quietly at my desk, sipping coffee from my tall mug. I occasionally fancy shots between my tall mugs of black coffee; but I like them dark. Uncompromisingly dark. And strong. It so happened that a little sparrow had earlier flown into my cabin, softly whispering in my ears that we had a new car in the office. From a distance I could see Rahul make his way to me bearing sweets. I have never really fancied sweets, except maybe for a well made cheesecake, or carrot cake, or ice creams, or brownies, or chocolates, or truffles, or gulab jamun, or something like you-get-the-drift ……So, the box of sweets was, quite evidently, not a welcome sight.
There was quite a buzz in the office as a few experts were discussing Rahul’s car. Since I had cleverly spread a rumour that I happened to know a thing or two about cars, Rahul had asked me for my two cents on his list of probables a month ago.
It was an office party and I was happily downing my fourth spirit and making small talk with leprechauns on how my things go missing after the fourth drink. That’s when Rahul happened. And suddenly, I had a list of cars in my hand. I failed to fathom which was worse; the handwriting or the list of cars?
Snap back to Rahul walking towards me with sweets. I imagined the horror of having to compliment him on his new machine. I’m never too good with lies and this was taking it to ‘rot-in-hell’ levels. So I managed a weak smile and said congratulations, not waiting to see which car from the list finally made it to Rahul’s garage.
That’s when the earth opened up to swallow me whole. Rahul handed me the keys and asked me to take the car for a spin. Never mind the car, I was spinning lewdly towards trauma. What choice did I have, but to drive the car? So making peace with the God of Automobiles, I ambled into the car and cranked the motor to life. What seemed like a lifetime, was about 2-3 hours of driving as Rahul wanted to understand the car better.
And understand we did.
There were 1 or 2 tiny little problems. The design was dreadful. The AGS (As-Good as-Shit or whatever that means) gearbox was rather half-witted and I felt safer in my daughter’s doll-house. But the party piece was that it occasionally veered violently towards left or right whenever there was a light breeze, which brilliantly made up for the lack of excitement that the car otherwise lacked. If you ever feel throttle happy in the car, just find a wonderful piece of road. Photograph it. And let the picture do the talking. Just a small tip; make sure to get more of the road and as little of the car.
For all those folks who did not ride a bicycle growing up, this car addresses that as well. The tyres are from my old bicycle, just thinner.
But outside these tiny little problems, it will get people from point A to point B with the least amount of fuss. The car seems tailor made for the unenthusiastic driver who likes mileage, lots of it, and swears by Maruti because his grandfather owned one. In true Maruti Suzuki fashion, the car is very fuel efficient. And why not….its three cylinder, one litre engine riding on slim-fit tyres, will drive you to the moon on a single tank of fuel.
The car has an AC, seats four, or five and will haul your arse in discomfort where you can comfortably overtake an odd snail or two. The dashboard hosts a ghastly circular design with body coloured trims. There nestles a touch screen infotainment system which seems to be a mandate with new car buyers. It also has buttons that do something. The two airbags in the front are quite deceiving as you need to be doing over 30kmph to actually deploy it. But yeah, it has airbags and a book of hymns to evoke the Gods of safety for the passengers in the rear. Thankfully, we don’t have ‘sports’ mode.
Maruti Suzuki has made good cars, but this is not one of their better ones by a long shot.
I was weary of the test-drive buffoonery and needed some ‘real’ coffee. The S-presso was ludicrously not even close to being coffee and I needed coffee. Lots of it. After the two hour drive, I decided against any sort of cleverness involving presses or brews and quietly headed off to Sathyan’s for a few cups of filter coffee.