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Sunday, January 13, 2008

The one lakh car and its effects

The Delhi Auto Expo has become famous for providing engineering students an opportunity to see women in real life (models next to displayed cars). But this year, the Auto Expo gained worldwide fame for something else, the unveiling of Tata’s one lakh ($2,500) car, cheapest in the world. It’s a landmark event indeed even if most of us have gone tired of the local media’s mumbo-jumbo reporting on anything to do with India.

Finally our cricket heroes, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni will be able to abandon their TVS motorbikes and afford a car. And after zero, the car is the most significant mathematical achievement from India as finally foreigners will understand what a lakh stands for. With its compact shape, it may also bring about a health revolution in India, forcing Indians to shape up so that they can fit in. The car may also give a boost to the art scene in India if one can take a cue from the rear of trucks (see picture). It will also bring relief to the bums of millions of children so far forced to sit over the engine or spare tire of their father’s motorbike.

But amidst all the gung-ho, several questions are yet to be answered. Environmentalists are appalled at the prospect of less wealthy people buying cars in large numbers. The car will be a bane for beggars and eunuchs as many more commuters will be able to hide their compassion behind locked car windows. There will be more dowry deaths as around 45 million households will demand a car instead of the standard motorcycle. And even though the car adheres to Euro III norms, it is yet to be clear whether it adheres to Vaastu 10,000 norms.

So with the Tata’s getting all the attention last week, how will the brothers at their arch rival Reliance react? They may just get along with life, after all, “Tata ke paas one lakh car hai to kya, humare paas Maa hai”.

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