Monday, March 23


So Nano is finally out. The jellybean with four wheels, as someone described it, could mean great business for Tata, and the fulfillment of many a dreams for numerous Indians. However, I am unable to overcome my skepticism for the car. Its not the carbon footprint I am concerned about, but the safety aspect of it (especially the basic Rs 1 lakh version.) The car has no airbags and is lighter in weight. Not exactly the most comforting thought. I worry about how it will fare on highways. When in an accident, will the lighter and thinner metal sheet affect the intensity of injuries? Not to forget that there are no airbags.

Another concern is our infrastructural capacity. Are our roads ready for a greater influx of cars in terms of the durability of the road and its size? Even 'main roads' in India are on the smaller side, not the mention the lanes and bylanes which form an integral part of the road network. It is impossible to drive and park two-wheelers in big cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, can we fit in more cars there? And then we aren't really known for our traffic discipline, are we?

Of course this does not mean that the 'common man' should not have his car. It is easier to protect your respiratory system from the pollution in a closed car. It is good to be able to drive the entire family comfortably, without precariously balancing four or five on a vehicle for two. The feeling of accomplishment and luxury is well deserved and necessary. There are many more reasons to own a car like Nano. It's just that little voice in my head...

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