I had a big craze to purchase my first four-wheeler.
Yet again today I shall relate a very interesting story that happened to me in 2003. Just as everyone wants a vehicle-I too had a great desire to purchase my first four-wheeler. In those days there was a big craze for "Maruti-800", especially for the people fitting into a lower-middle-class stature. I had a two-wheeler-"LML-Piaggio" and I had already driven Scooter for over two decades by then. It happened so that some of my colleagues in Delhi already had Maruti-800 and whenever there used to be any meeting or gathering of the Delhi team-I used to get very much fascinated at the sight of seeing my colleagues coming to the meetings in a car. Those days, having a car was perhaps a craze and fashion, especially in Delhi. I realized people found a special satisfaction after really showing off to their colleagues-with the stuff like intimate scents, mainly four-wheelers or even the motorcycles of the type like Royal-Enfield or Yazdi-which was also very popular those days.
Arranged the loan from 'Citibank' for my first car.
So finally, one fine morning, I met a Citibank fellow and asked him about the details of the loan for the proposed vehicle. In those days, Citibank was very active in giving vehicular loans with the simplest of other formalities to be followed. I took the loan of Rs.1.50 lacs from Citibank and the rest of the amount I somehow managed from my earnings and also from the earnings of my wife. Those days the cost of the vehicle was 2.25 lacs approximately.
Finally, purchased a white 'Maruti-800'.
So finally, I had accumulated the rest of the amount along with the loan amount. I along with my wife, had gone to purchase our first Maruti-800 at the Showroom in Connaught Place Delhi. We purchased a white-colored vehicle. The delivery of the same was planned to be taken in the evening. The reason for that was very simple-I was not knowing the driving fully and had requested my senior colleague, Mr. Deepak Ohri, to come and help me in driving the car down to my place. Mr. Deepak Ohri was a very nice and kind person-he agreed to my request and came to the showroom in CP and also checked all the other documents, etc-since he already had a Maruti of his own.
Purchased the vehicle but was not knowing the driving.
It was somewhere in the evening, say around-5.00 PM after all the accessories, etc. were fitted into the new vehicle-He drove the same vehicle down to my house in Malviya Nagar. The biggest problem here in south Delhi was that of parking and everyone kept his private vehicles on the roadside and that was all the parking space which we had. When he started from CP-it started raining and my friend told me it was a very good omen-if it rained at the time of such a new purchase. Finally, after getting the pooja done on the way-we reached our place at Malviya Nagar, and just below my house-the car was parked by Mr. Ohri and I thanked him for his nice gesture of helping me out in getting the same to my place.
Learned to drive by taking the new vehicle on the nearby ground.
After the car was parked-I was very excited because the next day I had planned to take the same to the nearby ground and drove it extensively there on the ground. The beauty was -that I learned the drive quickly and started taking the car out on the road and drove it cautiously on the busiest roads around my house in South Delhi. I remember my confidence level had gone so high that it was just after a couple of days only I took my family to “Suraj-Kund”-which was around ten kilometers from my place. We reached the picnic spot there comfortably, and it was only on our way back that it started showing the signs of non-acceptance to us. While driving down the hilly track there, the car suddenly got stopped and there were a few jerks in it. I was not that much trained to understand why it all happened like that in the new car-which was only a few days old. Somehow, I tried to start the car again, and it started well. But while putting the car into first gear, it started taking jumps and finally getting a few jerks and stopping amid the busy road near the “Khanpur” area.
The new car developed problems with the gears.
Again, after starting it the third time, I realized the gears were not functioning smoothly, and it was in the gears only that some defect had developed. Somehow, again after repeating the same procedure, it started again, and I drove it slowly towards my residence and kept it at the defined parking place. I thanked my stars that I could somehow bring it to my residence safe and with no further damage.
The new car was kept for a couple of days at the service station.
The next day, it was decided that we would take the vehicle to the service station and get it checked for the trouble it gave earlier. Normally I was supposed to take the vehicle for its first service, which was free after 500 KM driving-but since it had developed problems earlier so I brought the vehicle to the assigned Work-shop. The people thereafter checking the same told me to collect it after two days since its gearbox was to be replaced fully, which had broken from inside. They even agreed to do its first free service early, along with the repairs.
Exactly after two days, I went to collect my vehicle, and the mechanic told me that the gearbox was repaired but not changed and I had not to pay any amount since it was in a guarantee period. I picked up the vehicle and reached my place. The vehicle was again parked at the same stipulated place on the roadside. I locked it properly and took the remote keys with me.
Found the new car missing from its parking place on the road.
The next day in the morning, my wife went to the balcony and started asking me loudly about the vehicle. She repeatedly asked where I had kept my car. I ran towards the balcony and found the car missing from the spot where we normally kept it. I went running towards the roadside and approached my Car-cleaner-who had come and started asking him about the whereabouts of the vehicle. He too got confused and said that he knew nothing about the same. Within minutes all my neighbors gathered there and told me I could have put the gear lock into the vehicle since the vehicles without such locks were being frequently picked up by the car thieves.Police-No-100 was dialed and the police came within minutes there at the spot and took the details from me about the number and other related queries and told me to come to the Police Station for filing the FIR details based on the information they had jotted on the spot.
Couldn't recover the whole cost of the stolen car even after full insurance cover.
Immediately after they left-I got ready for the Police-Station and there- my whole day was wasted during the whole day, I could only finish my FIR details. Then I had to give the details with the FIR copy to my Citibank -loan people and my Car-Insurance People. After the details were given there as well-they told me to come with the NOC from the Police after around a couple of months for the money to be processed in my favor, which would erase my Bank-loan amount to a greater extent. I still remember I lost 37,000/- including the completion of the Citibank loan as well. This I paid from the amount released by the Insurance company against the Comprehensive insurance done even against the theft.
This recovery of money and other formalities took almost two and a half months. This time was taken mainly because the Police Station had to issue me the NOC where they write about no possibility of the recovery of the vehicle after a couple of months. Here again, normally it takes three months for the process to complete but luckily thanks to my friend-whose brother was an IAS-“Officer on Special Duty” with the Ministry of Labour who directly influenced the Police for the faster action.
Various theories were given by the friends about the theft.
Later on, people gave their theories about the theft-saying that the group of thieves normally picked up only the white “Maruti-cars” and the same was being supplied to Kashmir for the militants or to the Assam side for the extremist activities. Therefore, there was no chance to recover the same. What I suspected was the people in the Service station had been monitoring it since it had no gear lock and it was very new-one amongst them might have been following the address and finally ran away with the vehicle during that fateful night. It was more surprising that on the same night there were three more car thefts in our residential colony and all three were also white-colored cars.
Hardly after a couple of months, later-I became even more curious to go in for the car since I had enjoyed driving my car with other benefits-Finally I purchased another new Maruti-800-but this time it was in carmoisine color-not white. The first thing which I did with it before bringing it to my place got its gear-lock fixed. It has really been serving very well and after a few years I did not sell it but presented it to my close relation-who is still maintaining the same and using it with no problem. Afterward, whichever car I purchased-I made it a point that White color should not be there at all since it has proved very special for me.