BMW — you need to read this. And learn.
I have two really, really close friends. You know, the kind with whom you can bare it all. Not the let-go-of-clothes kind of bare. Although there might have been some accidental instances of skin-show on an odd occasion or two.
Kapil is one such friend and over the past decade-and-a-bit we’ve done some crazy drives and adventures together. We are very ordinary chaps; completely aware of our existential realities. But we also suffer unripe brain cells that make us do some stupid stuff.
On one occasion, we planned an editorial feature with a few sports cars in-and-around Mumbai for a few days. We got time to recce beautiful locations, drive the cars properly enough to feel them in our pores to write experiential stories, and capture some kickass photographs.
The schedule was fairly relaxed. We explored a few parts of the city and its famous nightlife. I’d lived in Mumbai for a few years and knew it fairly well. For Kapil, it was a joyous juxtaposition. The cultural variance and vibe makes a strong impact on anyone experiencing that life vividly for the first time.
Our colleague — a local resident — suggested going to some fancy lounge in Bandra. I wanted to take the folks to Mondegar in Colaba. We went to Mondegar, thanks to my childishly unyielding stand.
The music was deafening, booze was being consumed at an alarming rate, and we had infinite laughs over crazy team-stories. A young colleague — just out of college — said that Kapil didn’t look like he was the head of the creative team. In his experience, creative folks had a particular look — from hair to shoes. Kapil didn’t have the oddity associated with art directors.
We couldn’t do anything about clothes and shoes, but Kapil declared to the young chap that we could become ‘cool’ any time we wanted. It’s the skill of identifying the keyword that matters here. “We” — because, brotherhood! — could become cool any time we wanted. That’s where I should’ve protested. I didn’t. In retrospect…
In our drunken state, it was decided that we’d get a trendy haircut. So we did — at a properly swanky salon. It wasn’t a salon; it was a palazzo to inflate people’s sense of glamour haughtiness.
“Sir, how exactly would you like the cut to be?” Now, you should know that we grew up in the 80s and 90s and the cool of that era would be an utter catastrophe in today’s time. So we gave the ‘stylist’ a free hand. Again, in retrospect…
When the scissors stopped, I looked like Adam Sandler from Reign Over Me, and Kapil like Dolph Lundgren (he played Ivan Drago) in Rocky 4 – only without that physique. The intensity of anger on his face looked similar though.
Insobriety waned and we went back to the hotel. Not a word was uttered.
After having washed away the layers of ‘products’, we went back to being well-mannered school boys with extreme side-parting and oiled-up hair. That spirited escapade didn’t make us look cool; it made us look obnoxious.
Which brings me back to where I started, because that’s pretty much how a lot of current-day BMWs look. They’ve all gone from smoothness to unpleasantness. The design is, generally speaking, messy and none of them have the sense of graceful posh that BMWs should.
It’s not only about the completely stupid grille on the M3 and M4. The GT, all its SUVs, the Z4, even the 7 Series and the latest electric and concept design absurdities coming out — they all look very uncool. Rather, they all look like they are trying too hard to look cool.
It may seem kickass to get drunk and do apparently funky things. Once the fiery excitement and alcohol levels go down, however, what seemed funky starts to look disastrous. But you simply have to live with it till the possibility of fixing things comes around.
Thank goodness ours was just hair. Shouldn’t have that last drink — right, BMW?