Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Ambassador

I spied an Ambassador today and was really surprised. A private one at that. The car, and not the embassy head. Imagine!

Time was when the mighty Ambassador ruled the Indian roadways. There were a few others cars. Fiat was one. But Ambassador was The car for many a decade when a tiny car - Maruti -appeared on the Indian car scene and changed its face for ever. Now we have a huge range of Indian cars as well as foreign ones to choose from. Ambassadors are still being manufactured but mostly for ministers, IAS officers, other governmnet officials and taxi cabs. I have not heard of anyone and I mean anyone going and buying one!

How simpler life was back then. I should know. We are in the process of buying a car and the decision making is taking forever. Everyone has his or her own favourite. Zen, Santro, Honda City, Maruti etc etc. Which one looks better, which one gives better mileage and so on and so forth. But no one mentions the Ambassador. I wonder what will happen should I suggest it as my choice? Everyone will surely keel over.

And yet, this sturdy Indian car cannot be dissmissed so easily. It has something in common with - Rolls Royce no less! Till very recently, these two were entirely hand assembled and not rolled off some assembly line! But for entirely different reasons:- Rolls Royce...well because its a Rolls silly and not just another car; and the Ambassador, because thats just how they did it in the begining and never bothered to change! Maybe they haven't changed and are being hand assembled even as I write!

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