Tag: car

The Delayed Pain of Selling a Car

I sold my first and only car last day to Cars24. It was something that I had been considering for nearly a year after having owned it since 2016. There were quite a few problems with it, which together was the primary reason I decided to sell. It was also attached to a recent failure I experienced, which only aggravated my desire to do so. I was the only one in my family who had no concerns about selling it because of my views against materialism, so the process of selling it – driving it to the store, getting it inspected, sealing the deal, and taking out my personal effects from it for the last time – all flowed like a river going downstream. I was happy to sell it and with the price that I was getting for it. Yet as I returned home car-less that evening, a flurry of emotions stunned me. I suddenly started feeling nostalgic, and as I shared the news with my family and friends, flashbacks of my trips in it overwhelmed me to a point that I felt a slight pain. Not body pain but a feeling of loss. It was something that I had never experienced before (in similar circumstances) even though I considered the decision a financially intelligent one. It was also one of the strongest crowding of feelings I have felt this year, which is why I am writing this piece today.

I am not ashamed to admit that buying the car in the first place was a mistake. It was an old Hyundai hatchback owned by a family friend. He had decided to sell it, so we decided to buy it. I only realized the mistake a year later when I started taking my finances seriously. I hadn’t taken into consideration the recurring costs of washing it and renewing its insurance. Nor did I know that maintaining a used car is double the work; plus, you should avoid dealing with a friend or a relative because you cannot negotiate enough. Owning a car is worse than deciding to buy a house on mortgage. But that October noon four years ago, I bought the hatchback home.

I owned a similar car / credit Wikimedia

Since then we have driven it several locations in the state. But that is not the point of this article. The idea is to highlight the aftermath of its sale.

A relative attributed the idea of “suddenly not owning a car after having owned one for years” to an emotional tug. While I know that sounds a bit elitist and I don’t agree with it, selling my car did fluster me a little. It was a calculated move, all right – I drove it less than 10,000 kilometres in those four years and we are in a pandemic right now – and I know I wouldn’t need it any more than when I had it.

The second reason why I sold it was the constant anxiety it gave me. Will I get a parking space where I go, will the clutch misbehave, will I get asked to pull over by a cop, will I get involved in an accident or a road rage, will I get challaned for an offence committed by mistake, will the car break down in the middle of a toll queue (it has happened once), and all sorts of questions involved with owning and using a car. Some of these have to do with the fact that it was a six-year-old heavily used car when I bought it. Others are because of my obsessive requirement to avoid friction and confrontation. Another major contributor of my anxiety was the lack of an owned parking spot in my housing society. I used to park outside my society on the main road, which required me to check on it every once in a while even though our security guy did a decent job. The issue of ethicality aside, parking on the main road created this loop in my head – that something could happen to the car, so I will need to check on it regularly. It troubled me.

I consider myself a decent driver and I like driving, but being behind the wheel of my car did not always give me pleasure. The anxiety often activated itself while driving, especially during long drives, and it troubled me for four years. Even when I was not driving.

I feel it partly has to do with the responsibility of owning a car, which is as big as keeping a day job. You can take a leave from job but you have to come back to it eventually. Just like with a car; you can’t leave it idle for long or it will start costing you dearly, starting with the battery draining, then the tires going bust, and so on. And I don’t make that comparison lightly because the levels of attention that you need to give to both of them are near equal. The only difference is that they form a loop when you keep them side by side. Money comes from one and a part of it goes directly to the other. There’s no abruption. A perfect example of a liability.

Despite all that, the pain showed itself that day and it confused me a little. I was happy to have sold my car because it meant less troubles in life. Yet, the cavity that it left behind became difficult to fill. And I actively try to avoid pain in life, which is how I see it as, a journey where you try as much as you can to avoid pain and suffering. While I have no plans to fill that void anytime soon, it has made me wonder my real relationship with it. Was there something more than just a driver-car relationship? Or am I just attributing the memories I have while we used it to being overtly personal?

I really don’t know. But I know that it’s going to take me a few more days of routine life to keep the nostalgia away. Sure, it will crop up in future during dinner time or when we travel next. And I am confident that I will turn that nostalgia into an enjoyable collection of the good times we had with it. TN.

Times My Vehicle Has Hit Another Vehicle Since 2004

cars on a highway

I would have used the term ‘motor vehicle’ but then I would not have been able to include my first-ever road accident that occurred back in 2004. It was a bicycle versus an auto rickshaw crash. This also means that I have been using faster transport mechanisms for about 15 years now, making this a perfect time to chronicle some of my worst road incidents, one of which haunts me till this very day.

Here are six times when my vehicle hit another or when another vehicle hit mine or when both the riders/drivers were equally responsible. Unfortunately, there’s no way to find out who was to be blamed during any of these crashes. We will have to depend on my point of view. Let’s start.

Bicycle Vs Auto Rickshaw – 2004

I had recently been gifted a bicycle – a black Hero Razorback bought from a private dealership in Airoli. Because I had managed to learn how to ride beforehand with the help of a friend named Alex, I was allowed to take it out for rides freely.

I also had a group of friends with whom I often went for cycling sprints. It is while returning home from one of these that I crashed into a stationary auto rickshaw. That day I learned that you should not put all your trust on mechanical brakes.

The fault was mine because I was at a good speed of ~30 kmph in a crowded street. I would have not crashed had I known that rains can restrict ability of a braking system. The rickshaw driver let me go with a minor admonishment but then years later I wrote something generalizing him.

Motorcycle Vs Sedan – 2014

Fast forward ten years and I now ride a motorcycle – a black Honda Unicorn 150 CB. Thanks to my friends Mitesh and Jithin, I quickly learned how to ride the two-wheeler before taking it for a ride on my own.

It is during one such solo riding in Kopar Khairane that I nicked into a sedan’s passenger-side mirror. It was a busy street and I had crossed about ten meters before I looked back at the car and the driver. I mouthed an apology and the driver waved me off with a smile. Don’t know if it was the apology or the admission but none of that has worked for me ever since, as we will learn later.

This was the safest crash because neither of our vehicles sustained any damage.

Hatchback Vs Motorcycle – 2016

This was probably the most devastating and also the one that involved my entire family save for my dad. We were on a pleasure trip to Murud in Maharashtra, a month after we bought a second-hand maroon Hyundai i20 Magna from a family friend. I was still a rookie driver, trying my luck at our first long trip outside Mumbai. That was probably the first mistake.

I was fairly confident of my driving skills, but that didn’t help me manoeuver the vehicle properly as we hit an oncoming two-wheeler. The bike first hit my right-side mirror, breaking it into pieces, and then slipped into a corner of the zigzag road, eventually hitting a tree. The rider did not sustain any injuries but he claimed otherwise. And so did 100 of his friends who he quickly called up to threaten me and my family. We ended up being traumatized and settling the dispute privately as it had soon turned into a religious issue, something that the on-duty policeman seemed to have enjoyed that day.

I like to believe the blame was on both of us, but the financial and emotional damage was one-sided. It temporarily put me in a state of tizzy.

Hatchback Vs Scooter – 2017

This occurred in a crowded place in Kopar Khairane. I was trying to get my car out of the busy street when my front bumper slightly – just lightly like a feather touches the ground – touched the back of a pink Scooty Pep. The helmetless rider, along with his kid, got out and started splashing expletives in Marathi.

I asked him to relax without downing my window glasses. He appeared to calm down as he took a look at the back of his scooter, gave me another look as if I had rammed into his kid and he was forgiving me, sat on and took off. The surrounding brouhaha as a result of the drama did not seem to matter to him at all.

I am to be blamed here, but then I have some questions:

  • Can’t two vehicles even slightly scratch each other when you are out on the road?
  • Why do some people take so much care of their vehicles (more than themselves at times) when they know vehicles are just temporary objects you use to get from A to B?
    • Why do these people wear their vehicle-protectiveness as a hat of pride?

This brings me to my most recent experience.

Hatchback Vs Hatchback – 2019

Around the dusty area of Panvel, my car rammed into a white Maruti Suzuki WagonR, denting its bumper and screwing up the parking sensor. The guy put on his aggressive suit and started talking like, again, I had rammed into his person. So much drama evolved from that minor crash that I almost ended up giving him the keys to my house. I began my response by admitting my mistake and that’s where onlookers started grabbing popcorn.

I was driving at 60-70 kmph and it was raining, together which led to the crash. But the lack of basic empathy from the victim left me startled, as I moved on to a state of depression for two weeks.

Hatchback Vs Sedan – 2019

This was on our way to Girgaum Chowpatty. Just before the Metro cinema turn, a golden Honda City scratched into my car and sped off before the lights turned red. I think it did more damage to their car than it did to mine, so we’re square, I guess.

The traffic policemen witnessing the scene remained motionless for a few seconds. Then they went back to chatting. Thankfully, it would have cost me a few hundred bucks for the mistake of someone else because my PUC certificate had expired the previous month.

Riding or driving on the roads these days does not come without its fair share of issues, regardless of who’s to be blamed for the ‘issue’. And the best way to stay calm and live life is to use public transit and avoid private travel as much as you can. You need peace? Use your car and bikes less often. TN.