It was the summer of 1999 and my summer vacations had just started. I was naive back then, had no idea of what was going around me. But could sense excitement when it spurred, especially in my parents. My parents on one fine day asked me to get ready to go somewhere and I got up with enthusiasm and curiosity to prepare myself. My brother was quite young back then and my parents decided to leave him with my grandmother at home. Ashok uncle had come to our house that day and I started to play with him. My parents got ready and we took off from our home. We took a rickshaw and reached the place. To my surprise it was a car dealership. My excitement knew no bounds and I jumped with happiness. In it we went and there were all kinds of shiny cars. The green one, the red one and the sweet smell of new rubber. My parents were greeted by the salesperson who brought them a brochure of their most successful car- The Maruti 800. The elders got busy and I went around the showroom to explore the cars. Everything was so shiny and so new. I remember sitting in every seat of the car and then the driver seat. The driver seat was something else. My hands could barely fit the steering wheel but I imagined it to be so much more. I imagined so much more back then. Captain Vyom had just started to get famous and I was stunned by it. I was intrigued by the stories they showed and the effects they used.
My Maruti was my Spaceship and I was the partner of Captain Vyom.
I tilted the steering in every way possible with all my force and steered it across the galaxy fighting the ugly aliens. I was the Galaxy’s Protector. I was interfered by mother who called me back to her. She told me that the one in white would be ours. I was ecstatic. The salesperson even took me to the car where it was being prepared. It was being washed and I remember how the light falling on it created a rainbow. I could see my spaceship prepare for flight. The formalities were complete by the end of the day and we bid our goodbyes to the dealership. My father didn’t know how to drive so it was my uncle who took the steering wheel. I sat in the front touching everything that was ours. We reached the home where my grandmother was ready with a coconut and lots of molly or red ribbon. She applied a tika on the car, tied a molly to the steering wheel and my father cracked the coconut in front of the car. Everyone was so happy and why wouldn’t they be, it was the first car in the family!
It was treated like a family member and even a single scratch would make my father run for repairs. My brother and I always played inside it. Sometimes he would be a driver and I would sit at the back and sometimes vice versa. We played for hours inside until my mother would come and grab us by the ear.
It went with us wherever we went and has travelled the same cities we have lived. The model we owned didn’t have an air conditioning system as the time of buying it was out of our budget. I remember spending afternoons of summer, sweating profusely in the blazing heat of the North Indian summer but never did we complain because whatever happened our car was our pride. It showed us what hardwork and determination brought you. It tells you to appreciate, prepares you for future, makes you respect your roots.
I remember not much of my childhood but this car is something which has so many memories attached to it. It has seen all the good and the bad days and stood by us like a friend would, like family would.
I have always termed myself a practical man. Not believing in anything that has not been perceived. Writing this story gave me another perspective of me. I am a lot emotional that I thought I was and the best part is that I am not ashamed of it. What is a man without emotions, without the respect of things that has touched his life.
Being sensitive I think is a gift because the day we stop thinking about anyone except us, humanity would die.
Our 800 took care of us, shielded us from the rain and the elements of weather and has served us for almost two decades. It deserved this. It deserved a teary eyed goodbye.