Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mumbai Mumbles:Toyota Tuk-tuks aka- the case of the missing car logo

The first thing you see when you travel around in the Mumbai city is disciplined traffic - well, by Indian standards.   In the past six months, when I used to travel in an auto, or by car, the traffic was much better than what I experienced in Kolkata, Bangalore or Chennai.  Lane discipline, relatively patient drivers and less honking.   Everybody gives allowance for traffic delays.   Or it is the sense of inevitability?

A little deep dive now.   Lesser two wheeler and small car traffic.  Every one advises the other to buy a small car - better mileage, better control in traffic, easy parking.   But all I can see in the city is that the traffic largely dominated by Corollas and City's.  Maruti's market share is not so visible.  

Look at those cars and you notice that there are no scratches - in the front or the back fender.  For a person who has spent most of his time in cities like Bangalore or Chennai, this is pleasant surprise.  The magnanimity of the auto-wallahs is a pleasant discovery.   Cars look new, especially with clean, freckle-less skin.

Then you discover something amiss.  It is actually hard to notice.   I noticed first in my colleague's car - A Honda city.  I used to hitch-hike with him to work during my initial days.

One day he drove his car for service. Once at the service counter, he made an unusual service request.  The Honda logo was missing.   He got it replaced for 8000 rupees.

Safe cars - missing logos!
And another friend, another day.  I was shopping for some furniture in the Malad west, and a friend helped me fish around the furniture shops in that area.  

When we were about to get out of the car ( a Skoda Fabia), we could see this guy hovering around with a small screw-driver in hand near the kerb.  My friend grew suspicious and said he would hang around.  For couple of hours, the stand-off continued.  I was hunting the furniture shops solo.  

When I returned, this friend told me that guys remove car logos and sell it to make a handsome buck.  

After that, you get used to swanky cars with unblemished looks - but with logos missing.  What I understood through subtle enquiries is that the Audi, Benz, Skoda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda logos make the rounds for a quick buck.  The Hyundai's and Maruti's are spared. 

Check the left size of the rick - Toyota Tuk-tuk!
Couple of weeks ago, I again saw my friend's Honda City go past me.   Swanky, but without the logo in the rear.  

My friend later told me - this is the fourth time it has gone missing, and he is not going to change it any more.

An unrelated event: today morning, when I was driving to work, I saw an auto rickshaw carrying a Toyota logo in its rear.  A difficult picture to click, but was worth the effort.  

You realize that there is a strange fetish for car logos in this city.

Welcome to the world of Toyota- Tuk-tuks!!!

-The One

Pics Courtesy Internet, The One




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