We had turned a family of doubters, as the ongoing list of spectators was on rise day by day. Dad was in serious retrospection mode but solutions were none, adding on to the confusion.
He had plethora of options around him but this was not a cake walk for him, not as easy as choosing a soap or toothpaste brand, though in today’s day and age fetching even the simplest of things is an uphill task.
Decades ago , dad was confronted with the similar dilemma, when he graduated himself from a two-wheeler driver to a full fledged four wheeler owner. He was not ready to part from his second hand scooter, which he bought in times of financial crisis, the reason he could not go for the brand new purchase.
Though, those times were economically not viable and even the sporadic troubles given by the scooter were a regular feature adding on to the monthly expenses.
But the nostalgia of the long rides still rekindles so many memories. Traffic laws being less stringent and lesser vehicular traffic on the roads, back then, made four of us, a happy family on a joyride, that too without any hitch.
Monsoons or the dreaded summer heat, nothing mattered, as we kids just dangled our feet and were thrilled seeing the world around, that too moving, with the wind brushing against our faces. Back then we did not require any air conditioning, only what was required was a free spirited childhood, away from the superficiality of the society.
It was two decades back that on the verge of retirement from the Army, my dad decided to invest in a four wheeler for it was more of a necessity for a family of five, which consisted of him, his better half, two grown-up teenage kids and a dog. Though the car was small, but upgrading to a four wheeler was a middle class dream come true for the times.
This major buy was his second life time investment, after his home. It lacked the safety standards, like the cars have today which offer airbags, air conditioners, auto gear or power steering, power windows, but back then the requirements were few.
As choices were few, so were the confusions.
But off late, this once life time achieved functional memento of my fauji (Army) dad, has become more of a standing joke with family and friends. Same people who, appreciated and adored this major buy, now consider it as a mere piece of junk, which is without basic amenity of air-conditioning.
As relatives, friends flaunt their new sedans and sport utility vehicles, this one is more of an ancient or vintage piece, that too without an antique value.
Though , this mighty buy of its times, abides by the norms and my dad rejects any intervention on our parts to persuade him for a new purchase, but the unavailability of the NOC (no objection certificate) from the concerned authorities has added on to his woes and to our joys.
Our fizzled out plans of the past, can now see the light of the day, as we look up to various offers with gusto and enthusiasm, to convince dad. His ‘old is gold’ phrase can be rephrased or replaced by ‘new is diamond’.
But the doubt still persists, so strongly in his mind, like ‘Hamlet’, “To be or Not to be”.
How can a two decade long association come to a grinding halt; how can the manual steering which he wrestled with his strong forearms be replaced by a power one; does it means that now he also lacks the capability of swerving or negotiating on his own, as the age progresses.
Do we have smart cars like smart phones, and dumb drivers like dumb users now?? he argues!! He has very well cleared his stance of buying a new one, on his terms and conditions.
It has to be within his budget, with all inbuilt facilities of today, if not then he will not exceed beyond his budget or shell out some extra shillings and will continue with his old love, no matter what.
While, for the rest of the family it has become a herculean task. In a confused state, we are working out on luxury as well as on the economics of the budget car. But it seems with variety of offers and numerous hatchbacks, we are just falling into the spiral trap.
Times gone by were much more simple, but at present with each passing day, the confusion increases and dad’s choice of simple things makes sense. To match up to the neighbours and friends, and drawing comparisons has only denigrated our decisive capabilities.
The epiphany of various offers, their delusive charm has only accentuated our state of confusion.
So finally, to eradicate this impasse, we have turned back to the basics where we all have agreed that dad knows the best, we have learnt our lesson that the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’. No amount of coaxing or comparisons can remove our confusions. We have accepted our fault as ‘diamonds are bright by mere reflections’ and gold continues to shine on its own, dad continues to be an alchemist and we mere doubters in a confused state.
Anjali, with a masters in English is a teacher on a sabbatical, loves travelling and spending time in the lap of nature, observing its bounties and being thankful to the hills.