The Autobiography of a Motor-Car 

Well, well, they were all so sceptical of me, as I was put outside for display. People crowded outside the showroom, trying to sneak a look, both disbelieving and agape, at the same time. To imagine that a steel and iron structure of my girth could actually move without being pulled or pushed by an external force, or so they imagined was unimaginable. I, on the other hand was feeling proud to be flaunted, paraded and put on display. It was my moment to shine and I would have it no other way. If only, now I could get a buyer who was willing to test me out on the streets.

The bid to replace the horse with something that could go further and faster led to the advent of the first motorcar or ‘motorwagen’ as named by its originator Karl Benz in 1885 .Germany, being at the forefront led by able support from France, United States and United Kingdom harnessed their best resources to change the mode humanity would hence stride forth in its journey to master time and space. Motorized vehicles were here to stay and assumed a place of pride. Entrepreneurs, engineers and aristocrats played prominent part in manufacturing, selling and promoting cars from a beyond reach luxury item to a common middle class household denominator. India had also imported its share of foreign cars to cater to the needs of the aristocratic families and the English bureaucrats of the East India Company.

So, here I was sold and dispatched to the Raja of Cooch Bihar in West Bengal. I had quite a journey covering miles and miles to reach the imposing palace of the Raja and all his subjects, servant and near and distant family members stood on guard to give me a royal welcome. I was suffused with this excess attention and the next day papers would carry my pictures and write about this motorized sensation that is set to take the streets of India, by storm.

After a long drawn Puja ceremony lasting for days in which all the Gods and Goddesses above were invoked to keep the passengers daring enough to take a ride on me, safe and sound. I was finally set for my inauguration ride that would take the Raja through the length and breadth of his kingdom. Officially to inspect the well-being of his subjects, unofficially to flaunt and parade and show me off. I was bedecked with the choicest of jewels and flower sand wherever I would go, people would welcome me with flower petals and prayers. It was a magnificent ride indeed. I would go on to take the Raja for his wedding in the next few days and bring home the new bride. I would also be instrumental in saving many lives when the epidemic finally struck and a faster means of travel to the nearest hospital spelt the difference between life and death.

Gradually, people became more and more used to my presence and now my journey on the streets do not invite that much of adulation or wonder. I have so many of my children and grand-children streaming on the roads today while I myself am relegated to being a display prop in the Raja’s personal museum. However, I cannot say, I have much to complain, since life here is just the way I had imagined it to be, regal and larger than life.


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