The time had come to realise that new middle class aspiration, buying a car! Or may be as someone counselled, “the time has gone, yaar; you’re too old now”.
“Besides hurting your big ego, you might incurably sprain your backside (he meant back), replacing a flat tyre for instance”, the counsel’s voice rang in my ears.
But never mind, a firm believer in “Life begins at 60”, I began making enquiries, discreet and furtive ones (about second hand cars).
There was in any case this getting around problem and even by discounted middle class standards, state transport buses were still way below one’s dignity, global warming notwithstanding!
Bargaining was never a strong point with me, yet I somehow felt confident of haggling long enough; relentlessly questioning the motives, the oral history told and re-told and of course the motor mechanics itself!
The seller might actually come down several notches from memory failure and answering fatigue. And I thought, rightly, that it would be handy to take along a tinker with a spanner to discretely diagnose any deliberately hidden mechanical complication or slowly spreading metallic cancer. Thus prepared, I ventured into the world of ‘Used’ cars and their wheeler-dealers.
Like Delhi auto-wallahs, the first question, “Kinne di leni hai”? (How much you spend).
And if you said “Gaddi dekhao”, most would turn away repeating “Pehlan dusso, Kinne di leni hai”?
Frustrated, I returned to my slow, 2G internet connection (damn the scam!). Sometimes it did show Used Car websites, but only swanky looking sedans were on re-sale; none for the earnest tax-payer.
And no “easy” loans for ‘Used’ cars.
After a few such futile forays, my enthusiasm was beginning to wane. So, while the matter remained ‘under active consideration’ (remember, I worked as a babu), one evening, at the club, I raised it among some friends hoping to be enlightened on car consciousness, which I had apparently missed.
“Don’t be fool”, came the first salvo. I was taken aback and could only say, “Boss, you have missed the ‘a’”.
“Why buy second hand car?” questioned my not-to-be-corrected friend. He was promptly joined by the others.
“Surely by now you have some shaving?” Without waiting for an answer, they continued “If you don’t have money shuney buy small-shawl car; take loan shoan”.
A more sympathetic one advised, “Take it from Co-operative bank. You won’t have to return it.”
Before I could ask how, he said “I have done that too; they are very co-operate” he declared bringing his second glass of whiskey down hard. This was getting somewhere I thought, ordering another round for us.
“Don’t listen to Fools” boomed the first one, as his third drink shook before him (along with the table).
“My Tau’s son (who is younger to me; somehow?), and works in computer company in Gurgaon bought Maruti DeJire, recently. I took ride with him to Hanuman temple for mahurat. You must buy DeJire mister”, he commanded.
“How much” I dared. “Not much, only few lakhs more than Maruti Eshteem”.
There was an expectant lull as they all waited for me to decide. I hesitated and said, “If I had so much money I would rather go for a Desiree”.
There was general delight at my admission (and perhaps thinking it must be a new model), a quieter one interjected,
“Such a DeJire calls for another drink!” “Cheers to Dejeree” they chorused, and “don’t forget; another session is already due, whether you have Dejeree or no deJire”.