My love affair with cars started ever since i was a little boy. One of my earliest memories, of being in a car was in Nigeria- we had a Toyota Corolla-Panelled van (a station wagon with only the front 2 seats and a long flat load carrying area). The day we bought the car, i insisted i want to sleep inside the car, my mother refused and finally i spent the entire night peering out of the window so as to ensure that nobody steals the car. Whenever we went on long trips I used to sit on my father's lap and hold the steering. The roads were long and straight and there was nothing to steer thru but still the feeling of holding a steering wheel has been something which has always lured me, something which has been very hard for me to resist and still is. Even at the age i could make out the make and model and the identifying characterstics of a lot of cars
Once we came back to India there was nothing much to identify, there were only Fiats, Ambassadors and Maruti 800s on the roads. Once i crossed age 10 i was desperate to drive a car. So when ever someone used to come home in a car i'd go missing from the house. I'd spent the time sitting inside the car (if lucky in the driver's seat) talking to the driver or peering inside the bonnet or trying to decipher the various markings on the tyre. We bought a Fiat (Premier Padmini) when i was 11 years old and that will remain one of the most exciting days of my life. I just didn't want to get out of the car. I would rush back from school, sit inside the car and change gears or open the bonnet and try to figure out what each part was. Slowly slowly i convinced my father to let me drive thru deserted roads or in the middle of the night. By the time i reached 13 i could drive quite well. So i started asking my realtives to let me drive their cars too. One of my uncles had an Amby (Mark II), i could barely turn the steering on that one, i had to literally hang on to the steering to make it turn.Within the next couple of years i started driving whatever i could lay my hands on-800, omni, 118NE. I was so anxiously waiting to turn 18 so that i could take license. I was in engineering college when i turned 18. At the next available opportunity i came back home, took my learner's license. I had to wait for a minimum of 1 month before i can take the driving test. So finally on the 26th of december 1995, i went for my test. That is the day i became a 'licensed' driver
Over the course of the next years i drove a lot of cars. I would never miss an opportuninty to drive a car, it didn't matter what car it was, i just wanted to drive. When i was a kid i always used to tell that when get my first salary i'll buy a car. My salary proved to be too little for a car, so instead i decided to buy a bike (Yamaha RX-100). Finally on December 31st 2005 i bought my first car (a red Swift Zxi). It along with my bike is my proudest possession.
The sheer joy of driving a car, especially on open winding roads, is something which is indescribable, something which you have to feel. For most people a car is just a means of transport or a status symbol. To me my car will always remain a part of me, a friend, a trusted partner, something that can cheer me up when i am down, something on which i can let the steam off on when i am angry or frustrated or irritated, be part of the happy and sad moments, a companion thru the journey of life. To me, my car is human and the affair is going to be lifelong