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Old 10th July 2010, 11:59   #1
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Default Newbie Goes Bananas

Hello from Pune,

I am just a newbie here but quite a veteran on the road, driving cars for almost 22 years and might have clocked 2 lakh kms? umm …maybe more. Wow, that’s almost halfway to the moon and without a spaceship of my own … er, I mean a car. My first flight was in a Fiat Premier Padmini, followed by M-800, then the M-800 EX (5 forward gears ), Omni, Tata Estate, Zen, Wagon-R, Logan, Corolla, and presently an Alto. The Fiat and Marutis were owned by my dad (always a Maruti man) and the rest belong to relatives and close friends who consulted me before buying. They think I am an expert on cars but honestly I don’t know half of what most BHPians know, shhh … don’t let them know … OK?

So then what brings me here? I happen to be a computer professional, more into hardware than software, based in Pune and I commute to office in a driver driven cab provided by the company I work for. Weekends give me the opportunity to hit the highways doing odd jobs for my dad who is into farming and land development. Even today at the age of 76 my dad drives his car …..oops, “drives” is such a decent word, …. “he ploughs his car” unmindfully over pot-holes and other obstacles on the road. The present Alto happens to be his 5th from the Maruti stable and he is quite a privileged customer at the Maruti service centre. One day I jokingly said “Look dad, the car has 6 sides and except for the topside you have dented it from all other sides”. A week later he dented the roof trying to pass under a tree with a low-lying branch.

Many a times I have had heated arguments that he treats his car so inhumanly…. he always rides the clutch; honks when he sees a pot-hole; scrapes the car belly over speed breakers and large rocks; keeps on driving with a flat tyre; bumps into cattle and tractors; shifts from 2nd to 4th skipping the 3rd gear. Recently we were together in the car and sitting next to me, eyeing the speedo that was reading 100 kmph, he asked …

“Why are you driving in the 3rd?”
”Dad, this is the 5th…”
“5th? …the Alto has a 5th?... do all cars have 5 gears these days? …..that’s why there are so many accidents. Maruti should not have provided the 5th gear and that’s no excuse for you to drive fast … blah, blah, blah…

Screeeech! I can’t take it anymore. I need a car of my own and that how I got here. The Ford-Figo has grabbed my attention and having read the reviews – kudos to Team BHP, it certainly looks like my kind of a car. Dad’s not interested if it’s not a Maruti so I am on my own as far as finance is concerned. Basically I am looking for a hatchback that's suitable for non-city driving. FE is not a concern but the car needs to have a firm road-grip and excellent maneuverability at speeds 60 - 110 kmph. Figo seems perfect but your valuable suggestions are most welcome.

Since this post is an intro, let me take the liberty to list some the wackiest and nostalgic moments in my life on the road….

>> Long time back, returning to Pune late at night our good old Premier Padmini got overheated in the ghats. To allow for faster cooling, I opened the bonnet, then the radiator cap and then the engine oil chamber cap (this was done cautiously since it is boiling hot). The radiator was probably leaking so I topped it with cool water. The water sizzled and the engine spewed out steam. That’s when I realized I had filled up the wrong hole!!! … I am never this stupid but blame it on poor light and fatigue; we had to spend the whole night in the car. The next day we caught hold of a mechanic who drained the oil chamber and refilled with fresh oil, then we were good to go.

>> Got arrested for stealing a Fiat when I was 22 years old. !! sounds weird? read on… I and my uncle were returning home late night after attending a wedding reception. I had a brand new Suzuki motorcycle and my uncle had his good old Fiat that was parked two blocks away from the venue. We decided to exchange our vehicles for 2 days so he handed over the keys to his Fiat and drove off on my bike. I located the Fiat (from the numerous other Fiats parked there) got in the car and drove off, oblivious to the fact that I had stolen someone’s car!!! Now don’t ask me how the keys worked on the wrong car and for that matter, both keys worked!!! (Fiat those days used to have separate keys for door lock and ignition). The rest of the story is predictable and you can imagine how I landed up at the police station the next day.

>> Driving the 5 seater Omni with a friend and our spouses in the rear, we were descending a steep ghat section at approx. 30 kmph. After negotiating a turn the road straightened but there was a foot-wide ditch running across the road and I had to brake really hard. The Omni being an older model without disk-brakes couldn’t entirely stop. We came to a jarring halt with the front wheels resting in the ditch. The vehicle’s inertia combined with the incline of the road caused the Omni to flip headlong but the crash-guard having rested on the road prevented a complete flip-over…. Saved!!! Our spouses and the luggage in the rear toppled over to the front and we were all kissing the wind-screen from the inside !! There we were in the middle of the road parked almost vertical !! Imagine getting out with the doors opening skywards? and to risk toppling the vehicle sideways ? No way!! Fortunately some passing vehicles stopped and with their help made the Omni fall back gently on all fours. The Omni’s narrow wheel-base is truly ominous and since then I have always hated the tall boys.

>> Driving the Logan with my friend on NH17 in-between the coastal areas of Honavar and Kumtha (Karnataka) we happened to take a wrong turn en-route a shrimp farm. These were narrow elevated roads flanked by creeks and mangroves, good enough for small cars only. We drove on for 14 kms before realizing our mistake but then there was no place to turnaround the car. We had to drive in reverse for almost 12 kms and the road was not straight. Later we had a stiff neck that hurt so bad that we couldn’t even look straight ahead and drive.

>> I was on vacation with wife and kid to Himachal. We hired an Alto for the entire tour starting from Joginder Nagar (NH20) to Manali to Manikaran and finally to Shimla (NH21). This was the most memorable and scenic drive and at times dangerous because of the frequent land-slides. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that looks after the maintenance of the road link between Manali and Keylong had cleared the snow and we could drive 6 Kms beyond Rohtang pass – the highest motorable road in the world. The oxygen content in the air diminishes to an extent that people sometimes find it difficult to breathe or get exhausted easily. Similarly the vehicles have a tough time because the fuel does not fully burn. It is here that you will see the haplessly stalled diesel SUVs by the roadside cooling their heels, as if like Superman just lost all his super-powers on reaching mount Krypton. Whoever said diesel burns better than petrol, I beg to differ. The Alto with its 3-pot engine (often ridiculed) amazed me with it performance and nimble handling over treacherous bends. Believe it or not: the small turning radius of this car can be a life saver – go figure. This “bread-n-butter-in-a-tin” car has gained my respect. Truly a winner, Alto - Let’s Go

more later, this post is getting too big.

warm regards to all...
Chewbacca
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Old 10th July 2010, 12:08   #2
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What an intro Chewbecca. You certainly have a superb way with words. It was a real pleasure to read. Seeing your dad's driving style did he ever consider rallying? Just kidding. Nice to know that you are getting your first car. Looking forward to reading more on that front. Since youre in Pune you should hook up with the Team BHP boys out there. Theyre a nice bunch.

Do take a stop by the Rules to understand the forum protocol. Welcome to Team BHP.
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Old 10th July 2010, 12:28   #3
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Welcome to Team-BHP Chewbacca!!
That's one great introduction - one of the best I have seen in the forum.

Your dad's adventures of honking at potholes and denting the roof were hilarious - ROFL!!

And each of the moments you described is worth a seperate thread.

BTW, how did you come up with that username?
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Old 10th July 2010, 12:42   #4
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Awesome introduction.

A few lines of this intro can make anyone ROFL !! The best i have seen so far on Tbhp, great & looking forward to your "First Car Ownership Thread, which iam sure, will come up soon " Good Luck
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Old 10th July 2010, 12:47   #5
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One of the best write ups I have read on this site. Welcome to the community. Do consider Punto and Polo before booking Figo.
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Old 10th July 2010, 12:48   #6
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Welcome on board, Chewbecca.

Wackiest and nostalgic. Certainly they are. :-)

Stealing the fiat episode is the highlight. I too had a similar experience though not to the extant of police getting involved.

In my factory cars are parked side by side. I walked to my Maruti 800 and opened the door with the key. The inside looked unfamiliar. I scratched my head and realised my mistake.

Perhaps you should open a thread titled 'wackiest and nostalgic memories' in the appropriate section once you qualfy to do so.

Wait. I will do it for you and copy the appropriate parts of your post there. That will be fun. Very few people visit the introduction posts and I don't want the majority to miss your memories and perhaps relive their own.

Cheers

Murthy
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Old 10th July 2010, 13:11   #7
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welcome on board chewbecca.i am sure you will have a great time here.
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Old 10th July 2010, 13:46   #8
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Excellent intro post.
Could not stop laughing.
Was just wondering that your father is 76 years old and you have 22 years of driving experience, what must be your age.
Person writing such a humourous post at this age is quite interesting as many of us get bogged down by life so much that we are not able to recall such interesting events.
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Old 10th July 2010, 16:23   #9
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Welcome aboard Chewbacca!

Loved your intro - from the title to the very last line. (I must have watched "Herbie goes bananas" 500 times as a kid!).

The omni story had me in splits! I guess thats one car on which you definitely want a bull bar on (since the crumple zones = your feet, and now this new "feature")

cya around,
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Old 10th July 2010, 16:42   #10
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Welcome Chewbacca(r)!

One of the most amazing intros i have ever read. Hope you will keep us laughing with your humour-in-posts.

See you around with all your four wheels on the ground.
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Old 10th July 2010, 17:20   #11
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A true hardcore Automobile enthusiast intro

Welcome to where you belong. You write nice. Hope to see more of you here on the forum.

lol... What a Fait-ful story. Our fiat guys will start flaring up now.

Last edited by PAVAN KADAM : 10th July 2010 at 17:21.
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Old 10th July 2010, 20:52   #12
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Wicked sense of humor, Chewbacca! Fantastic first post! Loved the 'honking at potholes' bit. Reminded me of an uncle of mine!

Waiting for more!!!
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Old 13th July 2010, 01:22   #13
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Thank you all for the nice comments and a warm welcome. I had spent lot of time compiling the events and making it juicy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ch.nathan View Post
BTW, how did you come up with that username?
Chewbacca is a Wookiee character in the movie Star Wars, one of the highest grossing film series (total 6) in the history of Hollywood. As a teenager I was facinated by Sci-Fi movies and Chewbacca was my favourite character - the co-pilot of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) flying the fastest spaceship - the Millennium Falcon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstonMartin View Post
Do consider Punto and Polo before booking Figo.
Palio was my past favourite but with Punto the VFM equation has gone haywire. Also I dont entirely trust TATA's A.S.S. (no pun intended!)

Polo? .... A mint with a hole? or a pocket with a hole? Too pricey!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gavinimurthy View Post
Perhaps you should open a thread titled 'wackiest and nostalgic memories' in the appropriate section once you qualfy to do so.

Wait. I will do it for you and copy the appropriate parts of your post there. That will be fun.
So nice of you Murthy. I will continue to post some more juicy episodes over there though I am still learning how to drive on this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkcrpl View Post
Could not stop laughing.
...
Person writing such a humourous post at this age is quite interesting as many of us get bogged down by life so much that we are not able to recall such interesting events.
Very true. Memories are forever (not diamonds!!). My wife wants a solitaire and so my new car dreams are fast fading into memories. Damn it! You see ... I am already getting bogged down. BTW, I am wee bit older than you, we are in the same boat or car ... whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
I must have watched "Herbie goes bananas" 500 times as a kid!
Me too! I simply loved that bug! ...and guess what... we were born on the same lucky day & month

Warm regards
Chewbacca
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Old 13th July 2010, 10:53   #14
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Very nice intro. You've had amazing experiences.

Welcome to T-Bhp.
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Old 28th July 2010, 16:48   #15
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Here's a video to compliment your OMNI story



cya
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