Spending
Toyota Must Come Clear
The car major is a victim of workshop gossip over the issue of airbags
 
Toyota is facing global queries on the issue of faulty airbags supplied by Takata Corp, manufacturers of safety devices, including seat belts, for major car companies across the world who constitute its consumers. Toyota is taking rapid action all over the world to fix the issue. Here, in India, the news is that the manufacturers are still ‘considering’ what action needs to be taken, beyond some small gestures here and there. ‘Voluntary recall’ of safety feature is seen as a big favour to customers and diluting the message is par for the course. (According to news reports, airbag inflators made by Takata are exploding with too much force and government officials and regulators in many countries, including the US, are investigating.)
 
What’s even worse is the disinformation campaign being spread: genteel queries with taxi-operators, on the airbag recall issue, reveal that most taxi-operators don’t have airbags even in their top-end cabs and, if they do, very often, these airbags have either been de-activated or have simply never been tested. In one case—and I am talking about one of the oldest cab companies going—the middle-level staff told me that they stay clear of the issue of airbags as it makes drivers careless.
 
Another rumour, which has gained mileage, is that replacing airbags will reduce fuel efficiency of larger vehicles. I have no idea how these things start; but can only assume that this is workshop gossip. The message is everything—one would have expected Toyota to have issued full advisories on the subject of safety.
 

Different Approaches

 

On the subject of safety and cars, one manufacturer, which does not appear to be diluting any global standards as far as safety is concerned, is Volvo cars. Here, I must point out that this is totally different from the approach taken by Volvo heavy vehicles, buses and trucks, which have permitted major changes, especially to their buses, to ‘adapt’ to Indian standards.
 
Volvo buses appear to have bowed to market forces by permitting buyers to build ‘sleeper’ coach configurations which would not pass muster in most other countries. Even China has stopped registering fresh sleeper bus coaches on safety grounds. But, in India, this risky approach continues unfettered.
 
Volvo cars, on the other hand, simply do not permit any flexibility with safety on cars sold in India. This is unlike most other manufacturers who smartly delete safety features, passive as well as active, without really letting customers know.
 
If you care for safety and are spending good money on your car, the simple question you should ask the seller of the car is whether the piece you are getting in India is exactly the same as what is sold in the manufacturer’s home country or in, say, the United Kingdom. And take that answer in writing. You will be surprised.
 

Tough Task

 
In summers, when manufacturers choose to throw press conferences, getting hold of the motoring media willing to come to an air-conditioned hotel for a mediocre meal and to meet even more mediocre middle-management-level people is a tough task assigned to public relations (PR) entities. One such PR agency, obviously, couldn’t gather enough headcount for a Monday afternoon press conference in heat wave wrapped New Delhi. Come Sunday, then, the barrage of plaintive emails and messages started flowing in—it will be followed by lunch, can I send you a taxi?
 
Just to see how far they would go, I asked them if they could specifically send me a high-end SUV, made by a global rival, as a taxi to pick me up and then drop me back after the event. As I type this out, I am told they are working on it and will revert. Such is the reality behind ‘exclusive’ press conferences too! 
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)
 

User

COMMENTS

Kiran Chitnis

2 years ago

Agree on the sleeper coach configuration bit. While at that, shouldn't buses by TATA, AL and Eicher built on a truck chassis be stopped as well?

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Kiran Chitnis 2 years ago

There is a cost-benefit issue here too - ladder (truck) chassis with bolt on bus bodies do have their role, especially on the back-roads.

Spiritual Soujourn in Govardhan
There’s more to Mathura than just the usual trip during Holi
 
This may be a tiny little town in the nondescript district of Mathura (Uttar Pradesh); but its religious significance goes back thousands of years, steeped in the Indian epics. Tourists and pilgrims, from all over India and abroad, flock to this holy town throughout the year, to offer their obeisance to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. 
 
Situated around a wide hill, popularly known as Giriraj Parvat, Govardhan is one of the holiest places. Hindus believe that Lord Krishna came as a saviour of the people here and protected them from devastating rains caused by the wrath of Indra, the Lord of thunder and rain. He lifted the entire Giriraj Parvat on his index finger and sheltered the villagers under it. 
 
After saving them, Lord Krishna urged the villagers to worship Govardhan Parvat. Thus, inhabitants stated worshipping the hill, mainly by doing a parikrama (circumnavigation) around it. The village has since been celebrating this worship as Govardhan puja (worship) every year, a day after the festival of lights, Diwali. 
 
Govardhan is well-connected by air, road and rail. The nearest railway station is Mathura Junction; from there, one can hire autos or cabs to reach the town which is around 150km from Delhi. 
 
I hit the road from Delhi and took the expressway as soon as my car crossed Noida. It was May and the weather was mercilessly hot. The car sped along the highway at a comfortable speed. I just had to halt midway for lunch, two hours after starting from Delhi. 
 
After an hour, we took off from the highway and veered towards the town of Vrindavan. This is another holy place which completes the pilgrim circuit of Mathura, Vrindavan and Govardhan. Our car passed the narrow lanes of the town. The roads were flanked by temples and sadhus (sages) in saffron. Govardhan is about 20km from Vrindavan. Once we entered Govardhan, it was well past 3.30pm and I stopped by a roadside tea-stall. Many young and elderly people—families, students, couples, et al—were walking barefoot performing the parikrama along the perimeters of Giriraj Parvat. 
 

Soon, we reached Shri Brij Vasundhara Resort, a luxurious abode amidst the natural surroundings of the forests and verdant greens, my residence for the weekend. I spent the rest of the day in leisure within the resort and ventured out next morning. I woke up at 6.30am to catch the morning prayers—aarti. I sped past the sights of devotees doing their parikrama early in the morning with their families. It is this parikrama which attracts believers from far and beyond. 
 
The parikrama is an arduous form of walking barefoot around Govardhan Parvat and covers a distance of 21km. There is no fixed timing to complete it and you can start at any time. Walk at your own pace, take rest, and then begin again. But once you start, you have to finish the circumnavigation. There is another difficult form of the parikrama called dandavata (prostration) which takes weeks and months to finish. For this, a devotee offers obeisance by lying flat and then rolling round the hill. In fact, I saw many devotees doing the dandavata on the way to Radha Kund Temple. 
 
The parikrama usually starts from Mansi Ganga Lake and ends in the same place. The entire journey of 21km takes over five to six hours for many as they walk past shrines, tanks, lakes, shilas (stone sculptures) of gods or goddesses, such as Radha Kund, Shyam Kund, Mukharavinda, Kusum Sarovar, Panchari and Danghati. 
 
Next, I went to Shri Chaitanya Temple to offer my prayers to Lord Krishna. The 25-year-old temple looked resplendent in sunshine. Cast in red sandstone, there are intricate murals (of Radha and Krishna) on the exterior walls of the temple. Flowers were blooming in its premises which attracted hundreds of colourful butterflies. If you are in Govardhan, a visit to this Temple is a must. 
 
Next on my itinerary were Radha Kund, Mansi Ganga and Kusum Sarovar. Kusum Sarovar is a huge lake beautifully enclosed in a protected premise. It looks resplendent against the background of the rising sun or in sunset. There weren’t many tourists here but lot of locals who came with their families and friends. 
 
My evening schedule started with a visit to Danghati Temple where I saw hundreds of devotees performing their parikrama. The evening aarti was going on inside Lord Krishna’s temple in Danghati. The sounds of the bells and aarti are mesmerising and touch your soul! 
 
The Temple is flanked by four or five shops selling offerings for worship. You can buy small packets of red rose and yellow sunflowers, a glass of milk and sweets to offer to the Lord. Tej Veer, a young lad, said: “I have been in this business for many years now. It was started by my forefathers. This place becomes all the more colourful during the Adhik Maasa (extra month in the Hindu calendar which comes every three years) or Guru Purnima in June/July.” There were a few who traded in loose coins. Shyam Sundar, a vendor, said: “These are small packets of one or two rupee coins which we sell to devotees, especially those who do the parikrama. They buy it and donate it to homeless people on the way.” I also made a quick trip to Mansi Ganga and Radha Kund, completing my list of visits in this auspicious town of Govardhan. 
 
Amit Sengupta is the founder-editor of travelflat.in. He has travelled in India’s Northeast, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jharkhand and currently lives in New Delhi with his wife and son. He tweetsfrom @lifeon140 and can be reached at amit@travelflat.in

User

COMMENTS

MOHAN

2 years ago

Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram Nayanam Madhuram Hasitam Madhuram |
Hrdayam Madhuram Gamanam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Vacanam Madhuram Caritam Madhuram Vasanam Madhuram Valitam Madhuram |
Calitam Madhuram Bhramitam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Vennur-Madhuro Rennur-Madhurah Paannir-Madhurah Paadau Madhurau |
Nrtyam Madhuram Sakhyam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Giitam Madhuram Piitam Madhuram Bhuktam Madhuram Suptam Madhuram |
Ruupam Madhuram Tilakam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Karannam Madhuram Tarannam Madhuram Harannam Madhuram Ramannam Madhuram |
Vamitam Madhuram Shamitam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Gun.jaa Madhuraa Maalaa Madhuraa Yamunaa Madhuraa Viicii Madhuraa |
Salilam Madhuram Kamalam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipaterakhilam Madhuram ||
Gopii Madhuraa Liilaa Madhuraa Yuktam Madhuram Muktam Madhuram |
Drssttam Madhuram Shissttam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipaterakhilam Madhuram ||
Gopaa Madhuraa Gaavo Madhuraa Yassttir-Madhuraa Srssttir-Madhuraa |
Dalitam Madhuram Phalitam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipaterakhilam Madhuram ||

Jazzing Up the Jazz
The new version of Honda Jazz will attempt to ride on the City’s brand value
 
If there was one car which started the trend of beginning with a high price and then reducing it drastically, thus building up a reputation for itself, it had to be the Honda Jazz, currently waiting to be launched, again, in India. Pushed as a ‘premium’ product in the sub-four-metre hatchback range, the original Jazz had an engine similar to the Honda City—which made it good value for money as well as a star performer.
 
The newer version of the Honda Jazz is expected to come with the same engine as the Honda Brio and the Honda Amaze. Nothing wrong with the size, which is in the 1,200cc range for petrol-engine cars, but certainly it leaves a lot to say about the refinement and seamless delivery as well as fuel efficiency that the Honda City's engine is well known for.
 
So is the Honda Jazz going to be a hatchback version of the Honda City? Not likely; though it will attempt to ride on the City’s brand value. So, initially, we can expect a price which will be way above that of the Brio and probably higher than that of the Amaze as well. Once the dust settles, we can expect Honda to reduce prices. Thereby admirably leaving space for people who bought this ‘premium’ product to say ‘we told you so’ once again.
 

Capturing Road Rage

 
The last fortnight has been full of road-related issues: whether it is the controversy following the judgement in an accident case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan from over a dozen years ago, or the more recent episodes in Delhi of a bus-driver being killed by a biker egged on by his mother or that of an angry woman being hit by a policeman with a brick (new evidence has surfaced that the woman was also at fault). All these incidents of road rage bring out the pressing need to have some sort of digital recording equipment handy—be it a video camera, mobile phone or any other form of audio-video recording equipment.
 
A good dash-cam costs about Rs3,000 and can be installed in such a way that it can have not only a front view but also be swung around to either side or to get a rear view. Likewise, there are few digital cameras which do not have audio-video recording capacities—learn how to use them.
This may save your life someday. It may, or may not, stand legal scrutiny; it may or may not be evidence in a court of law; but it will help in more ways than one—as the episode of woman and the policeman throwing bricks at each other shows. And having experienced the power of just politely telling a policeman that the dash-cam is on, is more than enough for me to recommend this low-cost electronic product to everybody.
 
No specific brand name; but many varieties are available. Go for one. I have written on this before and am glad to note that taxi and auto-drivers in and around Delhi have increasingly got some fitted; now, it’s time for the rest of us too. 
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine)