January 9, 2010

Auto Exposed

If the first few days of this year are any indication then things are only going to get more cuckoo with the passage of time. Usually it’s during April that the euphoria surrounding the New Year wears off and things get ugly but if progress is some thing to go by we don’t have to waste four months. As usual I’m a little miffed with a lot of things. But am I really shocked?


I'm now used to the same old tale. Another year… the same old surprises. Consider the 10th anniversary of the premier auto fare of this country, The Auto Expo. It’s been 20 years since the only (not so sure but what the heck) auto show of India and the chaos it beings stills surprises many. Even after two decades no one has done anything about it. Every alternate year it’s nearly impossible to travel around Connaught Place during the first week of January thanks to the Expo.

Whenever there is a talk about disparity with regards to age I try and conjure up images. If I get to know that a 22 year old woman is interested in a 40 year old man I can’t help but thing that when the girl was a toddle her mother could have told this man, all of say 18 at that time, to take care of baby while she took a break! The first time the Auto Expo happened someone carried an infant in his arms to check out the latest in world of automobiles. Some years later the kid would have picked up brochures from all the stalls and a couple of years later he would have ogled at the, what shall I call ‘em, the MotorGals! At the lat Expo he would have lied to his girlfriend and checked out the Nano launch and now he would be rushing through the stall to meet her at a coffee shop in so-near-yet-so-far CP!

Why do I think so much about this boy’s life….?

Can you imagine an entire generation has grown up in front of the traffic police’s eyes and yet they haven’t been able to ease the Auto Expo’s complimentary traffic snarls? The last time I braved the Auto Expo was in 1998. Two of my friends were working there- one made a cool packet at Toyota while the other was with a spare part manufacturer and gifted me a screwdriver set which is still functional! The sheer volume of people and the craziness they indulged in was too much to handle. The remnants of the impact impinged my future visits to exhibitions of any kind for the next decade. I saw grown up men get gooey in front of a bike stall, rich businessmen who wanted to book the next big thing cash down and many who just checked out the women standing next to the car. A friend reminded me that they aka authorities were planning to shift the Expo to Dwarka or Rohini. It’s not a good enough thought for a country where planning is only limited to plans.

Why not get all the vehicles on exhibit out on the streets and let people see them in full glory. After all the Auto Expo has are more vehicles on display outside the venue and more people inside the expo!

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