Monday, 16 November 2015

The Tall Man Tales

Being tall is a wonderful thing. 

Within any crowd, the tall man’s head wobbles over the preening eyes of the mob. In a crowded abbey, while everyone suffocates with the closest neighbor’s sweat strewn clothing, your head acts as a viable receiver for oxygen for your sustenance.  Often regarded as the weather man and being mocked upon the weather enquiries up there, life being a tall person has its fair share of perks and liabilities. It is always the head that needs attention while you walk down that goddamn narrow lane, strewn with branches of trees that encroach their way into the lane. Every bump on the road whilst in a crowded bus brings out a rhythmic beat of the thud of the head on the headboard, each syllable born out of the poor head’s peril.  Not to mention the woes of sitting in a crowded bus, the knee cap cracks with the pressure of the impending braking in the hectic city traffic.  

Can you find proper clothing that you fit in? The shirt that you fit in properly is short for the arms and torso.  Go one size big and you find yourselves wearing a baggy one. No jeans or trouser requires alterations in the bottoms. You are good to go just like that.

Can you find a car that you can comfortably sit in the driver’s seat? If you can, can you seat a normal human being behind you? If you can do that, man, you have got some serious disposable income to buy that big burly SUV.

And then, the privilege of being tall kicks in. Have you tried being in a temple where you have lunge up to see the deity? Well, it is just a breeze if you are tall. You can communicate with Him, eye to Eye, man to Man.

People look up to you. Literally, figuratively and yeah physically too, craning their neck to see you in the eye.

The best part of being tall is that you are tall. In the world of burly and petite midgets, you are the Gulliver. Despite the Lilliputs trying to pull a sling on you- (read ‘pull your leg for the stretch that you scale’) it often is just the byproduct of jealousy that spews from them for not being able to see the world from up here.

So, the weather is fine up here, you puny earthlings, strewn on the roads like pebbles by the brook. Take care. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

S Cross- India bound

While the nation blindly trusts this brand, Maruti has taken its image a notch up by going all premium, First, it was with the Ciaz. The full size sedan took the well-populated segment by storm and is now the highest selling sedan in that price bracket after the Honda City. 

With the world raving all about crossovers and SUVs, Maruti too follows suit is on the way to launch its cross offering- the S Cross

Built based on the SX4 platform, the S-Cross shares little resemblance to its Indian version of its sedan sibling. 

S-Cross comes in 2 engine options- the tried and tested Fiat sourced 1.3L Multijet that powers the Ciaz and Ertiga, churning out 89 bhp of power with torque of 200Nm. The second engine on offer is the all new Suzuki's VGT engine that produces 118 bhp power with a 320Nm torque. 

The variants are badged differently this time with the LDi, VDi and ZDi giving way to the Greek naming conventions- Sigma, Sigma (O), Delta, Zeta and Alpha. The 1.6L engine would only be on offer on the top variants. Th interesting fact is that twin airbags and ABS with all disc brakes is standard equipment. Top variants get touch screen infotainment system with Sat Nav, auto AC with climate control, auto headlamps, cruise control, push button start and the likes.

At 180 mm ground clearance, S Cross will stand slightly lower than its competitors-Duster, Terrano, Ecosport and the soon to be launched Creta- all towering north of 200mm. 

Likely to launched at the end of the month around the time its head-on competitor Creta is launched, this beast will cost you between 8-13L ex showroom. 

Stay tuned for the first drive report.  

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

It's raining SUVs

In those days, SUVs were known for their sizes, ruggedness, macho looks and for being a fuel guzzler. The major attribute of a SUV is that they would possess a size that would directly divert the road’s attention to them. Its impeccable off-roading ability, the high ground clearance and the traditional looks were the flagship of any SUV known to mankind. As time progressed, technology seeped into the crevices of obsoleteness and they evolved to become mean, huge machines of power.

Gone are those days when an SUV used to be huge and massive. People wanted the ease of drive of sedans and the looks of an SUV which gave rise to a specific class of vehicles called the crossovers. With the over the top fuel prices and the slurry of vehicles on the road, SUVs were not the car aficionado’s discerning choice. Their bulkiness was not easy to be tamed and along came the class of baby SUVs. The utility of a SUV boxed in the size of a sedan and frugal like a hatch is the USP of the entire baby SUVs in the market.

The flurry of the new entrants was fuelled by the demands of such a niche segment. People wanted something that was a part of both the worlds, easy on the pocket and less frequented to the fuel stations.

In India, the start was Premier’s Rio which flunked mainly due to the lack of showrooms, service outlets and a lacklustre design. But soon, Renault launched the Duster which, even though, followed a crude interior design, drove through the hearts of the people. Ford went for the kill with its amazingly designed Ecosport. The futuristic designed mini SUV locked its dimensions at 3999mm length to get the tax concessions making it even easier for the pocket. Along came the badge engineered Nissan Terrano which was a pricier makeover of the Renault Duster. Even though it had a design that looked dated, Renault’s offering had value was the best seller in this segment.  

The likes of these SUVs are gaining good traction in sales volumes. To engage in this fierce competition, the other car makers too are entering this arena. Hyundai’s Creta and Maruti Suzuki’s S Cross are the first ones to join the party.

Hyundai Creta: Launching on the 21st July, Hyundai’s latest offering is a sure shot head turner. At 4.2m length, Creta is the first diesel automatic SUV with a 6 speed offering (borrowed from the sibling Elantra) in this price belt. Touted to be priced between 8-12 lakhs, Creta’s range would be offering a host of safety and luxury features. With 3 engines on offer, Creta would come in 4 variants from the basic S to the top SX(O).    

Maruti S Cross: Unveiled at the IIFA awards on 7th June 2015, this Maruti offering would be a powerful offering if priced right.  Based on the S Cross platform, this muscular cross would be coming in both petrol and diesel, the latter being Fiat sourced. The Ciaz inspired cabin and a host of other safety and luxury features, along with the legendary Maruti trust would make the S-Cross a discerning choice. 

Lets just say that the spite is going to get even more powerful. 

Stay tuned for the test drive reports!! 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Busride Chronicles

The scorching heat had unveiled its wrath to the fullest as the fifth bus overtook me without a whiff of guilt. The expanses on either sides of NH7 lay barren with a few strays wandering limp and dehydrated.

The mirage of seeing many a bus made my hopes soar and dampen on understanding the truth of the eye's magnificent mistake. 

The yearning for momentary pleasure of clutching the handle bar of a bus and feeling the icky plasticky seats had reached its peak. Finally the oncoming rickety old bus slowed down for testing the incoming passenger reflex. There is just a moment to get in the bus. And failing to sync the right moment with the driving would mean dangling down the handle bars or even worse, kissing the mud on the ground. 

Well, the yearning to get in stops, kickstarting the desire to get out. The never lasting host of desires is a characteristic of the common man. While the battle of desires wages war, I sit on the dilapidated seats of bus whose legroom was set eyeing the dwarfs and midgets. The suffering of the leg to squeeze in numbs the blood flow to the lower part of the body, giving the upstairs copious amounts for quality thoughts. 

The conductor enters asking people for tickets. The folded notes and bundle of tickets in his hands, he goes squealing 'tickets' in a baritone. Buying tickets and the horizontally folded balance from the balding man whose eyes hinted remorse or last night's hangover, I surveyed the surroundings. People were ingressing and degressing the bus at regular intervals. The naive innocence of the village folk and nonchalance of lives lighting up in the way they talked made me realise how much filth has piled up in the city mouse in me. 

The bus stops at a make shift tea stall where driver leaves the bus idling while he stands out stretching and puffing away rings of acrid cancerous smoke. The tea shop boy brings him a plastic cup of piping hot tea. Caffeine and nicotine pumped him side by side, awakening and rejuvenating him after a supposedly hectic monotonous day. Ready to take off, he got in and chugged the key. The rackety engine rose to life with a groan. 

There were hawkers plummeting into a bus everytime it stopped at a big junction. There were samosas, pineapples, cucumbers, water melons and many more. The aroma of those went in and triggered a gastronomic response making people go for buying. Rummaging their money sources for coins and loose change, they bought their item of desire and started indulging the momentary pleasure. As the bus kicked off from the junction, the hawkers would make haste in collecting money and jumping off the bus. Some unlucky ones would run behind the bus for the cash till it reached an unsurpassable speed. Weary eyed and having lost a potential sale, they would walk back. The freebie wielding man would gobble the succulence of the fruit which would house in it a curse of a common man. 

The winding village roads and occassional entry to the highway was in a  way a fun journey. The unpolluted air brushing against the face was one of its kind in this part of the country.  

People were getting down at their destinations and moving to pursue their daily activities of life. As the cycles of the clock moved, I too stepped down and made my way through the blazing sun. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

School chale hum

A year has passed since my life has been revolving around schools. While everyone's lifr was a transition from schools to colleges to confinement of a cubicle, mine went from school to college  and back to the place where we spread wings. 

Each interaction made me delve into the rich memories of my childhood. 

The gleeful chanting of memorising the formulae, the innocent peering at each other, the doleful looks when a test is announced and the puissant surge of energy when the last bell rings- all are just characteristics that reminds us of the good old days at school. 

The happiness of learning and joy of understanding coming onto you is a feeling that needs no mention. The sweat stinking classrooms with the pungent lunchbox odour makes the heart meltin a  cranky pot of nostalgia.  

The kids being uplifted as the men and women with mettle to lead the country to the world and the world to a better place to be. 

The kids who miss out on the chance to kindle the wick of knowledge- let thou soul be enriched with an opportunity to learn and let learn. 

The Barbershop Ordeal

I have always loved evading crowds. Seldom does it work on the roads on the way to the office, but otherwise I hate crowds and will go to ...