Adios to a Dinosaur


1. a fossil reptile of the Mesozoic era, often reaching an enormous size.

2. a person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

The first car i ever drove was a white Hindustan Motors Ambassador with its gear on the steering shaft and no hand brake. Funnily enough i didn’t change even a single gear or even start the engine. This is what happened. My grandpa left me inside the car for a short while he got out to get something from a store. I managed to drop it into neutral and unfortunately we were on a slope. The car promptly started rolling, acquired a two digit speed, crashed into a tree and stopped. Luckily the only damage was a slightly bent front bumper which the local mechanic promptly repaired with a hammer. And i fell in love with that car.

Years later when i was old enough to appear for my driver’s licence test i decided to join a driving school. I had no doubt which car i wanted to learn driving in. An Ambi!! While i was learning driving i never really understood the significance of learning in an Ambi. It made you work for everything from starting the engine to stopping. You had to pump the gas while turning the key instead of just turning a key and letting a computer take care of the rest. Overdo the pumping or you could end up flooding the engine. I made you really work hard to steer it. But each time you finished driving and get out you fell you have just driven a car. The new cars don’t have the fell. Driving a new one feels just like playing a video game. Everything is done by the car. Its feels like the most important part of a car, ie the driver, is being replaced.

Last month they stopped producing Ambis. Reading that bit of news was a very emotional exercise for me. But one thing i have to admit. Ambi was a dinosaur. It didn’t even have power steering until quite recently. Like DC put it ambassadors should have been adapted to modern times without altering its DNA. But then again its DNA could have been so pure even the slightest change would have altered it.

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