I was taking an ‘after dinner’ stroll yesterday night when I met another guy who stays in my housing complex. He probably owns a 3BHK apartment in another building. But I saw him drive in on his motor bike along with his family (wife and son). I wondered why; so I casually asked, “Kya Prashant, aaj bike pe?” He smiled at me and said, “Haan, kyunki mere paas car nahi hai. Kaha is mehengaai ki jamane mein gaadi wadi.” It was actually surprising for me to know that he doesn’t own a car. I said, “Kya paka raha hai yaar.” to which he replied, “Nahi Nahi, sahi mein…”
I remember when my father bought his first car. In his generation, he was a first person to buy a car in both my paternal and maternal side. Although only a Maruti 800, it gave all of us a reason to boast our superlative expression. Owning a 4 wheeler almost 15 years back was indeed a thing to be proud of, at least in my town. It attracted lot of jealous glances from people known to us and also suspicion from people not so known. People thought where the money to maintain the car came from. I still enjoyed getting ‘dropped’ at places important to me then (like a friend’s birthday party, school functions) despite having an option to use my moped. And often relatives asked favours from my father in cases of emergency. But slowly, the car seized to be a luxury. Today almost all relatives have one at least.
When I go for a walk in our housing premises, I see a sea of cars. I’m sure there are more cars than trees in my compound. So when I hear some one saying he can not afford a car, it surprises me. And it adds fuel to a suspicion, when the person who just told you about not being able to afford a car is actually an owner of a luxurious 3BHK apartment. Well… times have changed. 15-20 years ago an apartment dweller with a car was looked at with a suspicion. Today, the situation is other way round. 🙂