I saw this sign in Bangalore the other day. It has made me realize how quickly things have changed in India since I first visited back in 1996. Back then there were only about 3 types of car you could buy. One of them the (in)famous Hindustan Ambassador beloved by taxi drivers in Calcutta and until recently, Politicians nationwide. While nice to look at and boasting a very comfortable back seat the Ambassador is just a reworked Morris Oxford from the mid 1950’s and, with very few updates since then. It is still available today but sales have plummeted and I think it won’t be long before it is phased out. Especially now that Audis and Mercedes are the politicians preferred mode of transport.
Now nearly every type of car in the world is available in India, some of them, like the Lamborghini, completely impractical for the prevailing road conditions.
I don’t know where in Bangalore one could drive and enjoy a Lamborghini to its full potential. The roads have more craters than the surface of the moon, and wherever you do find a smooth bit of road it is punctuated by some of the biggest speed humps conceived by man.
If I had the sort of money that would enable me to buy a Lamborghini in India I know what I would do.
There is a beautiful stretch of highway running from the toll-booth just south of Kolhapur in Maharashtra to the toll booth at the village of Hattargi in Karnataka. Just over 80kms of smooth undulating concrete highway lined with Bougainvillea. There is not much traffic and not a policeman or speed camera in sight.
I would build a garage in Hattargi, preferably underground, because as we all know, every self –respecting billionaire has to have an underground lair (think Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen). I would stable my Lamborghini there and whenever I get the urge for speed would fly up from Bangalore, and spend the day racing up and down the highway.
One would, though, have to pick the time of day carefully as one wouldn’t want to be doing 200kph while the farmers are grazing their goats in the central median strip (the best grass is in the middle of the highway) or when they are heading back from their fields in their bullock carts.
The best thing of all, is that the toll is only 30 Rupees, so it would be a very cheap day’s entertainment!
Apart from of course, the initial 40,000,000 Rupees needed to buy the car!