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Old 4th April 2015, 23:57   #1
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Default The man who helped me become a millionaire has let me in!

Where do I start? Well I will start in 1939! Yes, that would be the right year to begin a story.No, I wasn’t born in 1939! My Dad was born in 1939. What has that got to do with my introduction? It has everything to do with my introduction. This is no short story, so if you have no patience just skip this. I have no much writing skills, so pardon any short comings. My Dad was born into a family of manual labourers in erstwhile State of Travancore as the fourth child. My Dad’s elder brother (15 years elder to my Dad) had already stopped his education by 7th standard. Big deal? Even reaching 7th is a big deal for a person of his background. But the biggest deal was he was taught in a British school and was staying as a paying guest in a different town! A father who had to toil in the paddy fields had the vision that ONLY EDUCATION can uplift a society. But alas his eldest son squandered this opportunity and ended up a loser. He could have become a teacher if he passed 7th. Instead he let the chance slip by. My grandfather was dejected and was the object of ridicule of an entire village. That left a deep hurt within, he decided that he is not going to spend anything of his meagre income for the rest.

My Dad wanted to study and he studied hard. He became a doctor against all odds, the first in his community. He had to work as a fisherman, a factory worker and had to sell blood to fund his studies. He used to swim 8 kms to avoid people seeing his clothes which would be soiled by evening at school. He would have to wash it and get it dried for next day. The moment he passed MBBS in 1967 he was offered a private job for 1000 Rs and a Government job. My Dad chose the government job as he thought it was his duty to give back to the society which had helped him become a doctor. Little did he know how governments work. My Dad was against bribing and all unethical things which plagued the profession. Poor fellow, he would be shunted every three years as he wouldn’t bribe the health minister. He started job in Trivandrum ( the southern most district in Kerala) and ended his 28 year old career in Wayanad ( The most backward district and northern state in Kerala).

I was born in Kollam and travelled all over the state and studied in many schools and ended my schooling in Wayanad. I never have any memories of my Dad’s first car,a fuel guzzler Standard. He bought it in 1979 as second hand and sold within a year. So most of my childhood I never sat in a car barring the rare opportunity which would come by when Dad’s colleagues would offer a drive . Dad was one of the very few doctors who didn’t have a car. He would travel by bus to his work. I always wondered why my Dad couldn’t buy a car. But I never asked him. I would feel very sad when my school mates got dropped in cars. I would look in awe at the new big luxury cars like Maruti 1000. I would gaze at them till they went off sight. My Dad retired in 1994 and that’s when the reality hit us, we didn’t have our own house! My Dad couldn’t even manage to build a house by the age of 55. He had a blackout while walking home one day and fractured his hand, he felt that he is going to die soon leaving us with nowhere to go. He had got 1.5 lakh at retirement. He started building a modest home in 1996. He had joined a private hospital and started life again as a duty doctor doing night shifts at the age of 55. He didn’t last long there, he didn’t know how to fleece patients. He was not cut out for that. He started his clinic in 1998 at the age of 59. He slowly picked up his practice.

I joined for MBBS at a Government medical college in 1997. On hearing that my Dad was a doctor my friends asked me what car do you have at home. I was so embarrassed to say a no and lied. I told we have an Ambassador car. I felt so bad that day, it hurt me so much that I didn’t have the courage to tell the truth. By 1999 at the age of 60 my Dad bought his first new car. A 5 speed Maruti 800 ( sold the car in 2010 and bought a Ford Figo) You wouldn’t believe the joy I had. I was going to sit in our own car for the first time! My Dad slowly learned driving again after a break of 20 years! I learned driving at the age of 23 that’s in 2002. I badly wanted to buy a motor bike, but my parents were dead against that ( Dad’s younger brother got killed in a motor bike accident in 1985). In March 2002 my parents bought a second hand Maruti Zen. It was a rip off as we were not knowledgeable about cars. Had to sell in within two months. They bought another second hand Zen (2001 December model) in June 2002. A Rivera Red rocket which had clocked only 5000 kms. The car which took me places! It was bought in my Dad’s name. It’s still my only car, WHAT? Yep, my daily drive! In its 15th year and still can leave quite a few fellow motorists with gaping mouths when a signal turns green. I hope you get it, I have perfected the art of launching! Many a time’s people with bigger cars have caught up to find which engine is doing the duty!

But why would a young person still drive a 15 year old car? I always wanted to buy a bigger car to flaunt. I was on the lookout for cars from 2008. Yep, I was planning to buy a new car as soon as I finish my post-graduation in 2009. That’s when I accidentally stumbled upon Team-bhp. I WAS HOOKED! LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! I was checking the site almost daily and towards the end of 2008 stumbled on this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/owning...rade-swap.html (ARTICLE: YOUR 5 year old car : Keep, Upgrade or Swap?). That was a revelation. I never knew that the cars can cause so much financial harm. I was about to buy a big sedan the moment I get my first pay check! This single thread made me read about money, need to save and invest and the magic of compounding!!! This single thread saved my life! No, I’m not kidding. I decided that I won’t sell my car or buy a new car unless there is an absolute necessity. While I was one of the earliest among friends to have a car at the age of 24, I still drive the same car at the age of 37! While my friends have moved to their third cars, I’m with my first car. My friends who know my passion for cars still can’t believe that I still have the same car. Technically I haven’t owned a car in my life as this one is in my Dad’s name.

But how did you become a millionaire? I’m getting there. I decided to save a portion of my salary every month first and then spend the rest. I had no real figure to start with. I was duped by few insurance guys in my first years as I was a novice. But slowly I learned more and more, read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and now I can say that in another 8 years I can be financially independent and stop worrying about a job. If not for that single thread and Team-bhp, I wouldn’t have come to this stage. I could have gone my Dad’s way of not saving properly and gone haywire. I owe a lot to GTO for that life changing decision.
Do you mean that your Zen was the ultimate reliability bench mark? Nope, it was not. For the first 12 years it never had any problems except for the clutch cable breakage. But I had the biggest shock when my car went dead in the middle of nowhere in 2013. It turned out that the engine head had gone caput. It was replaced and has done 30000 kms since. I gave her a mid life make over in 2014, put her on alloys and Michellin XM2. Had installed front power windows in 2008.I have done all the servicing at MASS every 5000 kms. Do I miss anything in my car? Yep, Airbags, and ABS. Does my better half miss anything? Yep, an Auto box and Power steering ! For Bluetooth I have a portable Blueant car phone. After the arrival of my daughter I have installed rear seat belts for using infant car seats. The car have met with two single minor accident till date. Off late my left leg is getting pains due to the stop go traffic. Wish I could find a reliable solution to make my car clutch less. I have read few threads but the only reliable option is in Mumbai, which is bit far.

Now a few things about me, I’m Specialist in Internal Medicine working in Central Kerala. I’m married and have a 7 month old daughter. I'm a Rationalist as my handle suggests. Apart from cars, I’m interested in Finance , Wild life, Movies and Books and exploring cuisine. One of my favourite shows about cars is Counting cars. I don’t have much knowledge to help you guys with technical matters, but can help with medical related queries. Hope to catch you guys on the forum. Thanks for reading through.

Last edited by Aditya : 5th April 2015 at 18:07. Reason: Reformatting, spacing
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Old 5th April 2015, 07:36   #2
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Nice introduction and here is wishing you a very happy motoring at Team-Bhp.
Looking for the photographs of your ride and with your ethical upbringing, hope that your posts would definitely be in sync with the forum ethics.
One more thing. Your introduction made me read GTO's thread all over again. I had read it earlier, but this time, it made me think too.

Last edited by rajeev k : 5th April 2015 at 07:45.
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Old 5th April 2015, 08:21   #3
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Welcome. Nice write up there.
We have certainly got similarities, I am an internal medicine specialist too and my dad is a doctor too, and my grandad was a school teacher in a village. My first ride was a red M800 which was only about 5 years younger than me when i started driving in 1996, but a white zen was my ride for the longest time, right through the MBBS days to the whirlwind MD days. Always loved the car, missed it so much when I let it go.
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Old 5th April 2015, 08:29   #4
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Welcome.

Yes that is a touchstone thread that I also have shared with many enthusiastic youngsters. You can get much more out of a second hand car with money in pocket to really go after the rebuilds and mods for performance and not be bothered about warranty etc.

Tuned in to further threads.
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Old 5th April 2015, 13:34   #5
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Wow! That was one of the interesting intro threads I've come across. I was glued on till the end. We own a '04 Maruti 800 and she's running strong. No plans to sell her at all as she's become a part of our family. It'd be cool if you post pics of your ride.
Welcome to tbhp buddy!
PS: Gonna read that GTO's thread again :P
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Old 5th April 2015, 14:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rationalist View Post
Well I will start in 1939!
What a beautiful way to start your tryst with Team-BHP! A doctor with a flair for writing so well is certainly a rarity.

A big welcome aboard, Dr. Rationalist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rationalist View Post
I donít have much knowledge to help you guys with technical matters, but can help with medical related queries.
For someone who's maintained a Zen for 15 years, you are being utterly modest when you say your knowledge of technical matters is poor; but the pain in the left leg can be easily addressed with a new clutch pressure plate and a fresh cable.

We look forward to your expert contributions here as well.
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Old 5th April 2015, 15:37   #7
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A very warm welcome Sir I request the mods to remove this line in your first para "I have no much writing skills.". You write very well, I enjoyed it.

Few pics of your ride would be nice. Welcome once again.

-Bhargav
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Old 5th April 2015, 16:59   #8
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Dr Rationalist,

Welcome on-board.
What an intro Sir! Feel very moved with your story, and your dads' way of life.

A rare combo of Medical-Financial-Motor expert and a rationalist. And "by God"- you write well too
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Old 5th April 2015, 17:53   #9
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What a lovely write up! I have always maintained that cars are not an asset, considering how rapidly they lose value.

And for 99.99% of the population, the novelty of a new car wears off real quick. I respect your thinking about stretching the car you have to the max!
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Old 5th April 2015, 17:55   #10
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Moved by the story of your father, a true gentleman indeed. I am sure with your upbringing you would follow in his footsteps as a doctor (need not be financially).

Nice introduction indeed and now you have made me think seriously about compounding.

A warm welcome and look forward to reading your posts.
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Old 5th April 2015, 18:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rationalist View Post
Now a few things about me, Iím Specialist in Internal Medicine working in Central Kerala. Iím married and have a 7 month old daughter. I'm a Rationalist as my handle suggests. Apart from cars, Iím interested in Finance , Wild life, Movies and Books and exploring cuisine. One of my favourite shows about cars is Counting cars. I donít have much knowledge to help you guys with technical matters, but can help with medical related queries. Hope to catch you guys on the forum. Thanks for reading through.
Welcome to Team-BHP, doc. Finally a doctor who writes in a way that common man understands!

As someone who owns a 19 year old Zen which was originally owned by my dad and came to me when he upgraded, I can understand that feeling of reluctance whenever you think of letting that beauty go. Though I've added bigger siblings to my stable, the ability of zen to bring a smile to my face whenever I get into the driving seat has not gone down at all. The car served our family very well and is currently enjoying a well deserved and relaxed retirement life. Never let your car go if you can afford an extra parking spot, even when you upgrade in future. In the last couple of years when it was sparingly used, maintenance costs were less than 10-15k for me and the occasional drives are always a pleasure.

Here are a couple of threads you might be interested in:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...intaining.html (Zen and the art of maintaining it)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...ns-thread.html (The Zen Modifications Thread)
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Old 5th April 2015, 19:03   #12
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What a lovely introduction! Thanks for sharing.
Welcome aboard Doc.
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Old 5th April 2015, 20:23   #13
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Default The man who helped me become a MILLIONAIRE has let me in !

A lovely intro! Welcome to the forum.

I can relate to a lot of things you said. My father was from Alleppey. Worked (literally) his way through school and college. Got into government service at the entry level, worked with utmost ethics and saved money over the years to make sure our life was secured. Recently I made him upgrade our WagonR (that we bought used) to an Xcent AT so that his aching left knee could get some relief. He would have never made that decision on his own though, as he understands the value of savings and the value of differing such temptations.

I might not be so mature though. Because all that I have earned from 6 years of work- is a Punto 90hp. Nothing more, nothing less. At one point of time, the EMI on my car was 33% of my salary. A stupid decision as almost everyone noted. But I've managed to survive that stage and the car is fully paid for, now.

Do I repent? No. (Ok. Let me say- Not yet!). As someone from the medical profession- you would know sir. People rarely repent not having been able to save enough currency notes, but they do repent not having lived their lives when they should have. But this realisation comes rather late in their lives. The decision to upgrade to the Xcent was taken partly out of this realisation- that I didn't want to risk their lives anymore (WagonR didn't have any safety features) nor put them at discomfort (father was in pain while using the clutch in the WagonR) to save some more of (their) money. Even the Punto has given me so many precious moments over the years, and stood by me during so many lows that life threw at me. And both of these cars will stay with me for a very long time to come. Both of these cars cover all the basics needed from them and an upgrade in the recent future would only be for more luxury- which I would strive to avoid. At this point- let me clarify that I'm not advocating prodigal behaviour, I'm only suggesting that perhaps - we shouldn't compromise on life in favour of money.

What's a conversation without a juxtaposition of ideas. Hence please pardon my ignorance when I take the first chance to suggest that may be you need to upgrade the car. Keep the rocket Zen and add a second car for main duties, may be?

ABS and airbags for the lady and a proper child seat for the baby, and last but not the least - some relief for your knee, for you would agree that their lives are worth more than anything you have saved till this point.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 5th April 2015 at 20:26.
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Old 5th April 2015, 20:26   #14
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Welcome aboard doc. An introduction straight from the heart. Look forward to some healthy advice, much required in today's hectic, confused and merry go round life. There's something technical there !!
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Old 5th April 2015, 21:51   #15
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What an awesome introduction. Love the very pure and humble way you have put down your thoughts.

I must add that I agree 100% with your thoughts on cars and how squeezing the last bit of them is the most financially sound way of doing things.
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