I’ve always bought cars that are a bit special and have professed others to do the same, even if they’re a bit impractical to drive in traffic. At the same time, though I’m a car guy, I use a scooter to scoot around as it’s easier to park and saves me gigantic amounts of time on commuting within the suburbs. But that only tells you half the story.
I admit, I suffer from OCD and cannot come to terms with the risks involved in driving my cars in heavy traffic or in congested places. Just like you wouldn’t let your loved ones get hurt, I wouldn’t let my car get scratched.
In contrast, I have friends who use their exotic cars as daily drivers and have no qualms about them. I, on the other hand, try and follow the 9 to 9 rule and drive my cars only between 9 at night and 9 in the morning.
It’s not like I’ve lost my nerve to drive. However, driving in cities like Mumbai is becoming extremely demanding and one needs to drive in anticipation – trying to keep safe makes you self-learn the art of defensive driving over time.
What banishes the joy of driving your pride of possession these days are pedestrians or cyclists crossing the road on a whim with headphones plugged into their ears, motorcyclists crossing over road dividers, speeding taxis and lorries with ungainly crash guards switching lanes without signalling, and a big red bus charging at you like a wild elephant on a rampage. Radio taxi drivers and auto rickshaws risk you being rear-ended when the vehicle before you stops in the middle of the road to pick up a passenger or some driver just pulls out from parking without using any indicators.
What is more dangerous than driving though, is waiting at traffic lights with auto rickshaws and motorcyclists trying to wriggle between narrow gaps with their protruding foot pegs and guards.
Most superbike riders as well as supercar and vintage car groups drive in the early mornings or late at night. Although I’m not really a morning person, the idea of waking up early for a drive or a ride is increasingly appealing to me.
However, do not think for a moment that I don’t like cars and driving anymore. Since my cars are my favourite possessions, and driving them nowadays is getting stressful, I got thinking. What if more of us used compact and practical, yet reasonably fun-to-drive cars or even two-wheelers for our regular commute? We’d decongest our roads, preserve fossil fuels and save the planet.
At the same time, we can always have something special and exciting to drive when we want to get behind the wheel late at night or in the early hours for that sense of occasion. That truly makes us the car guys and driving cars our favourite thing to do!