If you’re a motoring devotee, staying in a proper metropolitan city has some advantages. The more exclusive brands — Merc, BMW, Audi, Jag etc — don’t seem all that exclusive, and you can find the rich-and-famous type coming out flashing their Ferraris, Lambos and Porsches at night.
I’m swimming through a mid-life crisis. Being able to drive and experience some absolutely kickass cars was supposed to be the antidote but the more time I spend with exotic machines, the more I feel drowning in the sea of desire. These are cars that I ordinarily wouldn’t have been able to so much as even touch, let alone drive. That I get to drive them is an incomparable fortune.
Yet, whenever I drive past the showroom of any of the supercar brands, I slow down and look at all the glossy metal posing proudly from behind the glass walls. The admiration is immense; lust, even greater. I feel just like anyone else would — anyone who has the same appreciation for such things.
The showrooms of quite a few super- and sports-car brands light up the character of one particular road in Delhi.
Every time I drive past the showrooms, I see the ordinary, very middle-class people like me stand at stare at the exhibits. And that’s it — they only stand and gaze. They don’t ever think of entering the place — out of the fear of rejection, perhaps.
When I was a teenager and even through my college days, I had such inhibitions too. “What will the guys at the showroom think of me? Am I even dressed appropriately enough for such a place? Would they indulge me or dismiss me? Would they sternly tell me to go away?” Blah, blah, blah…
This occurred fairly recently at a very exclusive supercar dealership. A rich guy in his fittingly expensive clothes, shoes and jewellery walked in exhibiting carefully confident strides. I was there to meet the India rep and also shoot a car. I was dressed in very middle-class jeans-t-shirt-sneakers combination — clearly out of the league. Clearly confident in my middle class-ness.
The sales representatives went into a bit of spirited commotion. Some chit-chat, brand and product explanations and the customary offer of artisanal tea later, things became a bit more free flowing.
The young, rich fellow started talking about his motoring exploits and that he’s a regular at track events in Dubai. The head of the showroom was very kind in introducing me to that breathing-walking exhibit of pelf and he seemed curious when told about my work.
After the much-expected I’ve-driven-this-owned-that kind of faff, the conversation drifted towards the complexity of modern cars and we also spoke about the storied past of the brand that the grand showcase on the showroom floor represented. He literally had no idea what we (the showroom head, a tech guy and I) were on about and tried to fit in with his pretentious butt-ins.
And then he farted. I know it was him because the only other guy in that physical space at the time was me. And it wasn’t me who did.
We were all retiring from the car to sit and talk a bit more. The two showroom folks were already a few paces in and I was just preparing to get out of the passenger seat — which is a time-consuming procedure in a really low-slung sportscar.
I had gripped the roof to pull myself out when my nostrils protested about whatever it was that I’d inhaled. The beautiful interior of that car would’ve been ruined with my partly digested breakfast had I not cannonballed myself out.
I guess Mr. Richness thought no one would notice. But unfortunately for him, the wrong guy did. Me.
Writing is a great art. I’m somewhat good at it and I like a good story. This incident afforded me a particularly entertaining one to scribble! I hope that guy reads this.
So you — one with the average level life, middle-class appearance and unwanted shyness — you shouldn’t be reluctant in entering such grand display places. It’s because of folks like you that the culture and passion for cars is still alive.
You’ll take pictures and tell your countless friends about the car you saw or sat in. It spreads the excitement which is always needed. And the showroom executives are encouraging and kind folks who always appreciate and welcome anyone coming in — even for just standing and admiring the cars.
So go on, walk in. Who knows there might be a uselessly rich guy in there who’s just cleared his trumpet. You’ll almost throw up, but at least you’ll have a good story to tell!