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Old 5th February 2010, 21:01   #1
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Arrow A humble soul searching for the meaning of life

Hi Everyone, I am Sanjay from Mumbai. I am a BE by education and IT consultant by profession. Bike and cars have been a passion since very early in life. During KG, the gentleman who used to stay next to our apartment was working in Premier and I remember he was practically a local hero because he was working with the most happening company at that point of time... fat bonuses and all! We moved within city when I was in 2nd and the new neighbor had 2 boys. The younger one had a toy Jeep, on the lines of a tricycle... but much bigger. You can sit inside and 'drive' it with peddles and there was a proper circular steering. Made from quality metal, vibrant red color with good finish, working lights and horn.... it was a really a neat 'vehicle'. I wanted one, but was too costly for my father to afford at that time (He also thought that I was too old for such a toy ). I guess, my passion for cars and the longing for owning them has roots dating back to that red toy-jeep!

A few years later, the Maruti phenomenon happened and I saw M800 on the roads and in the building compund. It was way more cuter than the Padmini (and the Amby) and I dreamt of owning one. As things in Indian auto landscape progressed, my dream-car kept on changing. Started from 118NE and Contesa. Moved on to Maruti-1000 & later Cielo. Tata Siera was an instant favorite later followed by the Safari. Was impressed by Palio, Ikon and first generation Honda City when they were launched. The Gypsi and the high-top Omni were also close to the heart at one point of time.

During the first year of the engineering, impressed with newly learnt concepts like MA (mechanical advantage) tried to conceptualize a 4 wheeler that you can peddle .. a-la Flintstone style (not exactly but close)! Although it didn't result in anything concrete, the calculation exercise firmed up some concepts like how gears work. A couple of years down, learnt how a diesel engine works as part of Thermal engg. I had not driven any vehicle till that time and was very excited to understand how engine works.. cylinders, shafts, cams, spark-plugs. Right from childhood while travelling my whole attention used to be fixed on the driver and how he is shifting gears and trying to see how he operates the three paddles with his feet. Was always curious to know how does the driver understand when to change the gear.. (and why the gears needs to changed in the first place). With a understanding of how a engine works & the power-to-efficiency chart coupled with the knowledge of how simple gear system from a bicycle works .. it all made sense... it just clicked. It was really a "Whoa!!" experience.

Around the end of the last century, I was settled in my job and had started looking at cars NOT from "I wish.." but from "I will buy one soon" angle. Was mentally prepared for spending close to five lakhs for my first car in India. Ikon Flair was sweetly priced at 4.99L and the ads for Bolero were claiming a similar price. Was mighty impressed by Bolero's front from the newspaper ads. But when I saw the Bolero on road, was disappointed by the overall boxiness. Hundai Accent and Chevy Optra were also on the list, but were way out of my reach. In the mean time, life went on ... got married, bought a largish flat a year later (one of the long-term dream fulfilled) and because of the huge housing-loan commitment 'buying a car' went on the back burner. The HH Splendor was good for our 'need' and there was no money for my 'wish'.

A couple of years later came a twist in the story: we were expecting our first baby and better-half's health situation demanded immediate procurement of a 4 wheeler. I was right in the middle of getting the interiors done for the new house and finances were really stretched. So decided to buy a entry level hatch. Ruled out Indica and Santro (because of their looks as well as price) and since there was absolutely no time, booked a Alto Lx the next week.

<Flash-back to 5-6 years back-> Bought a HH Splendor in 1998 after learning how to ride on a Rx100. I liked the looks of the Splendor and had thought how different would it be from the RX 100 from performance point of view. I was proved wrong on day one of the ownership :-)
</Flash-back> (i.e "flash-back over" for the IT-challenged).

Coming back to buying Alto Lx in 2004 -> Some people never learn from their mistakes! I had owned a used Nissan Maxima in US. It was 89 model : 3 litre, automatic, power-EVERYthing (including 6-way adjustable driver's seat), cruise-control and all the bells & whistles!! From fully-loaded Maxima to an Alto .. where body-colored bumper & LH outer mirror were considered "accessories" was a huge cultural shock. But looking at my wallet, I was ready for a bare-bones vehicle. But repeated the mistake I had made when I got the bike. I assumed ... a car ...is a car ...is a car. How different would it be in terms of performance. And boy, was I proved wrong once again. Although I like my Alto now, it was really difficult for the first few months to get adjusted to the lack of grunt. Took my time to get comfortable with the stick-shift and indian traffic conditions. Went for a real long trip (375KM one way) only after couple of years and realized how inadequate a 800 CC car is on the highways (even on the lousy NH17) where you have to literally floor the accelerator in 2nd or the 3rd gear to overtake another vehicle. You misjudge and you are dead OR you have to back down and (being a guy) you wish you were dead ;-). I should have gone at least for the 1.1 Litre Vx version available at that time.

Anyways, life is too short for regrets. After paying off the car-loan in 3 years, was contemplating selling the Alto and getting something better. The low odometer reading and the "head" was against it. But family-travels with a carrier on top of the car were making me feel really cheap. Ride quality had detoriated over time. Safety of the entire family during travel was also a concern.
But this time I was not ready for a compromise. During vacations, I travel with my wife, 2 kids and parents. I don't want to buy a MUV for those 10-20 days in a year, but I would definitely get a spacious sedan. The reason I haven't bought the next car was because nothing really appealed to me in the <10L budget that I had earmarked. And then came the ANHC in late 2008 .. and so did the recession! In the next few months, I saw my investment portfolio reduced to 1/3rd of what it was. Things have started to look better now and with the Oct-2009 upgrade, ANHC has reaffirmed its top position in my shortlist.
Spending last 6 months on team-bhp (as guest) has further ingrained the choice. Thanks to all team-bhp members for all the knowledge and experiences shared. Out of this feeling of gratitude and the desire of giving back at least something to the forum, I decided to join.

But wait ... I have linked 'buying the next car' with achieving a particular milestone in my life. So it would happen 'sometime' in 2010.. not sure 'exactly' when.
Let me get back to working towards achieving that milestone!! :-) Bye.

PS : Mods- You guys are doing a terrific job in maintaining the quality and structure of this forum. Hats off to you!
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Old 5th February 2010, 21:18   #2
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Welcome to Team-Bhp Sanjay

Boy thats one long & Detailed Intro.

Wishing you happy car hunting for the upgrade.

Also make a quick visit to our rules section to get aquianted with them (e.g. avoid making dotty posts)

Have a pleasant stay

p.s. The Alto VX/i was not available in 2004, it was stopped in early-mid 2003
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Old 5th February 2010, 21:24   #3
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Hey! That's a pretty good write-up!

ANHC is surely one of the best cars in the market at that price. Waiting for your initial ownership report of whichever car you end up purchasing soon
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Old 6th February 2010, 01:33   #4
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That's an impressive intro. Welcome aboard.
AHNC is definetly a smart choice, it'll always make me turn, Waiting to see your AHHC soon.
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Old 6th February 2010, 02:07   #5
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Welcome aboard. Nice write up.
One bit of advice, this time before you buy your car, take a test drive of all the cars within your budget. Also, do take a look at the cedia sports.
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Old 6th February 2010, 13:47   #6
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Hats off to the lovely write up was thinking myself writing something similiar but you have written it for me too !! The love for automobiles from little age the fight of acquiring one between head and heart !! The constraints of family, and setting ones priorities !!
Regards
Saajan
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