I thought that all those of years of automotive market research, listening to folks refer to their cars as wife, lover, girlfriend, mistress (the married ones), would have prepared me for today.
But no, it is not easy to see your first car go.
We had him for more than six years. The time by which most people are onto their third car these days.
He was jumpy and would rattle us in the rear seat. An attention seeker if there ever was one. He had the family appetite and would need a refill much earlier than others. He liked being pampered, car window washes, polishes, scrubs, metrosexual's the term I am looking for. Hot headed at times, he would blow hot air though the AC in the sun. Much to my embarrassment if I was with colleagues.
Tall, gawky. Chubby. Black as the night. He would get scratched up and covered with mud like a frisky poodle.
He would greet me with the biggest smile in car land. Waited patiently while I learnt to drive. And then again when he and I got lost time after time as we tried to navigate the by lanes of Mahim. He watched indulgently as K soon abandoned the driver's seat for the back seat. A series of nannies and he was still unfazed.
I loved the times when I would be driving him alone on weekends. Looked forward to the times when we didn't have drivers. When K and I had him to ourselves. I think he did too.
The last few days were tough on him. He aged quickly. A bit like Marley in Marley and Me. Each day saw a new ailment. A pipe which leaked. The steering wheel which went stiff. AC which gave in. Spark plug which got burnt. Headlights which went dim and needed to be replaced. Shrieking linke a banshee when we started it. Each time we would get a mechanic and fix him. But with each day it was clear that the end was close.
We signed the deal and traded him in. A last drive to South Mumbai yesterday with K and me. Memories of many such trips to Churchill and Martins. And the ones for ice cream and dessert emergencies to Carter Road at night.
Fuelled him for the last time. A goodbye treat of premium petrol. A last sprint up the sea link today. And off he went with a big goofy grin.
I guess the first ones are impossible to forget.
Post Script: Sam the car was there with us to welcome Princess Leia at the dealership the next day