Being Desi · Blog · Personal

HondaToyota ToyotaHonda – 3

Third time’s a charm. So for the third time in the last 12 years, I ended up buying another Toyota. This time it was a Prius and it’s been such a joy so far.

As the summer faded away, my procrastinated mind finally settled to buy a car and replace the Camry that was bought nearly 11 years ago. Given that this was a commuter car, I started to look for an AWD SUV. The new Honda CRV was my first choice, given it was redesigned inside out this year. And when I visited a local dealership, not only they didn’t have a CRV in stock but they also didn’t show any salesmanship in trying to persuade me to buy one. The car wasn’t bad at all, except for the weird taillight situation.

Back at a friend’s place, he showed me his newly bought Toyota Prius which apparently was driving at 55+ mpg. So I test drove a Toyota RAV 4 and the Prius. The Prius was hands-down a better car. There was a night and day difference in the driving experience between Prius and other ICE cars. It was smooth driving, relatively quiet and had a quirky personality to it. From then it was an easy decision to buy a Prius because it was the most efficient car in the hybrid market.

So I’ve been driving it for the past few months. What do I liked about it? Everything – The drive quality, interiors, JBL speakers, maneuverability and of course the king of reasons to buy a hybrid – fuel economy. So far I’ve been averaging at 58 MPG despite the dropping temperatures. What do I hate about it? Nothing at all. I’m sure the styling of taillights look obnoxious to guy behind me but it doesn’t bother me at all. That’s probably why the car was rear ended within a week. But that’s another story for another day. The Entune entertainment system needs an overhaul but given that one can operate everything via Bluetooth from the phone, its bearable.

The best feature of Prius is the driving feedback loop. The digital buffet of data that’s available in front of the driver would make every one of us a better driver. There’s a rating for your overall drive, a quick feedback about the fast turn you just made and the lifetime driving average. Basically the data is gamified to the point, one can say its the best real-life car game ever made. It certainly helped me realize how all these days I was overstepping on the gas.

It’s easy to stereotype a Prius owner as listening to Fleetwood Mac or NPR, shopping at the nearby Trader Joe’s and talking about environment friendliness. But it’s also easy to make fun of the geeks. Regardless, they always strike back with their smarts and the latest Prius is certainly a nerd strike-back car.

Previously – Honda Toyota 1Honda Toyota 2

Being Desi · Personal

the city

35 days or so in chennai during the midst of a music season was so liberating. Not because I’m some NRI running around in kakkhi shorts and a sporty sandal. Its ironically true and I will explain why.

I was somewhat faceless, like a nomadic traveller. There was no friend who spotted me when walking in Pondy Bazaar, no mael veettu aathi pinnal ponnu who chuckled at me atleast once a day, no paalakaran who asked when I dropped by, no librarian welcoming me like a bakra to his shop. Ok, a distant distant related maama actually found me in some kutcheri and asked me, ” ambi eppidida padippu poguthu?”. Something he should have asked me 10-12 years ago. That apart, I was a literally anonymous in my own city. And I’m grumpy about it but not then.

While I was enjoying the new found anonymity that I never had in Chennai, I’m irritated that Chennai has lost its small cityness. You know what I mean, more places, more automobiles, more people, more everything. This again sounds like a desi rant or cheran’s nostalgic movie episode but its very true.

Anyway, I find travelling so invigorating and its because of this anonymity but not in my own city. No.

Being Desi · Personal

And that’s how

Picked up a dozen packs of Milk Bikis from the local Indian store. It was in a new wrapper. I was shocked. While tripping in Chennai, I bought a Milk Bikis pack in a totally new packaging and found the design of biscuit completely changed. Instead of Britannia embossed in the middle and surrounded by flower patterns, it had squares all over the biscuit. That wasn’t the biscuit design thats imprinted in me. After all its probably the only biscuit of choice on any given day followed by Bourbon by the same company. Even though it had the same taste, it felt like a different biscuit.

So I was indeed shocked looking at the new pack today. When opened, to my relief, I found it had the same design. Somehow they haven’t changed the design, atleast yet, for the exports. So that’s good. And that’s how I got my biscuit back.

More Biki love, here and here.

Being Desi

Yap Yap

I unable understand the emotion with desis who are gloating over the fact that there are 4 Indians on Forbes Top 10 List of Richie Richs. Well, its defintely an accolade for those individuals but what has it got to do with the national pride. It seems to me that this is becoming the same case as the privately controlled cricket board. While there is a subtle difference between being patriotic to a country’s team and individual country men, I don’t get the yap.

The country has been on a vicious circle path of rich and poor, for who knows how long. And not many have bothered about how the 80-20 rule has been affecting the economy for sometime now.

There are other things, beyond being rich, like giving back. I’m sure Ambani brothers would agree with that sooner or later.

P.S – Here’s a great article, not on getting rich but about giving back.