Purchasing a Car in India

Updated 2009-09-04 08:43

Purchasing a car in India is a much different experience than what I am used to in the United States. Totally different.....if you want to test drive a car, they bring the car to your home or office, the paperwork is crazy (duplicates of duplicates, and if it is a business purchasing a car, it is necessary to provide two pieces of stationary (to prove that you are indeed a business and not a terrorist)......and then they deliver the car to you at your home or office. And trying to accomplish all this with a semi-language/accent barrier is even more interesting.

But, the most interesting thing about the experience is the custom in India of having your car blessed....yes....another PUJA.....Ramesh, my driver, explained that it was a necessary thing to have done to ensure that both he and the occupants are always kept safe and that the vehicle remains in good working order and is reliable......so who am I to argue.... So the car HAD to be blessed. We agreed that we would have it done on Sunday.

There is also another custom....when someone purchases a new car, it is customary for them to share their "good fortune" by giving small gifts of cash to those who help them......yes....the owner has to pay his/her helpers.......not much...just a little something to the Security Guards at the gate to the Home Office and of course...the driver. The priest that performs the blessing should also be given a small token of appreciation

Purchasing a new car in the United States typically involves driving it yourself....getting used to the nuances of the car, how in handles, etc. It is difficult for me, someone who enjoys driving and the independence and freedon it affords to you in the US.......until I apply for an International Drivers License and I can't drive it on the streets.....not legally anyway....and I have not been tempted in the least to even break the law and jeopardize my employment status or have to pay a fine. Not to mention the crazy way people drive and on the opposite side of the road...shifting the gears with your left hand instead of your right.....it is different....NO THANK YOU.

The car/crossover vehicle is a Toyota Innova.....with a 2.5 liter Diesel Engine......chosen for it's spacious interior, comfortable A/C,smooth ride, it is economical to operate and it will be virtually maintenance free. My wife chose the color by viwing photographs that I sent to her, a must do when your spouse is still in your country of origin and you are doing things without her......Champagne Metallic...very classy! And it seats SEVEN Passengers.....so we have enough room for our friends when you come to visit.

While Ramesh shared the custom of the blessing, I shared a bit of cross cultural knowledge with him...our practice of naming our cars!......So...our vehicle has the best of both world's/cultures......meet INDY!

Indy has a 20 gallon tank and received his first FULL tummy on Sunday......1600 Indian Rupees.....$33.33 US.....not bad for a vehicle that will get about 32 miles to the gallon!

It was a very auspicious day...and as is customary.....we had to remove our shoes and socks and stand in the street next to INDY while the blessing was being performed.....I taped the entire thing...and tried to attach the file on the blog...but I think the file is too large....I can send it via email to any of you who are interested.

The Puja was performed at the Rama Mandir Temple which was a small temple.....Ramesh asked for 100 rupees and ran down the street to go and purchase the fruit, flowers and the coconut....necessary as offerings...the coconut was cracked on the ground and the milk was sprinkled on INDY.....at the end of the ceremony, a lemon from the offering is placed just in front of each tire and the priest, after he is paid for his services, instructs the driver and passenger (me) to get into the car and pull forward until the lemons are smashed...I wanted to get a picture but I was rushed into the car!

Although Ramesh speaks English very well, I did not try and explain that in the US we refer to cars with chronic mechanical and quality issues as LEMONS......isn't it interesting that they were used in such a fashion for the ceremony!

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