Today I was watching a re-run of “Kaun Banega Maha Crorepati” and luckily it was the episode where the two brothers won 7 crores. Loved the way they answered questions and their victory proves the adage, “fortune favors the brave”. One of the questions the brothers were asked was about the Ambassador car and which British car was it modelled after. The correct answer was the Morris Oxford.
That question brought back many Ambassador memories. Dad’s uncle lived in Pune when we were in Dehu Road and he was a successful business man. He had two Ambassadors and we have done several trips in them. There are two memories that stand out – once Parthy Anna had come home and parked the car outside in the lane in front of our house and suddenly the car moved on its own. He ofcourse ran and got in behind the wheel and managed to get the car to stop. I don’t know if it didn’t have a hand brake then or it hadn’t engaged :).
The other memory is during a road trip, one of the cars got all heated up and Usha Akka had to clean out her handbag and use it to fetch water. They poured the water into the radiator and we all just sat around till the car had cooled sufficiently. In that same trip, Parthy Anna ran over a chicken and there was a small crowd who didn’t let him go till he paid some money to the owner of the chicken.
Then we went off to Shillong and there were almost no cars there in 1980. My Ambassador watching started after we moved to Dindugul, near Hyderabad. There were some four different models which were differentiated basis their tail lights.
The next Ambassador memory is of dad’s green Ambassador that he drove once in the night to Ongole from Chennai. Neither Krishnan nor I knew how to drive a car and Appa’s eyes were hurting due to the bright lights used by the oncoming traffic. We were a little scared, but nothing untoward happened :). We left Chennai in an Ambassador with our dog Taffy and it was an interesting drive to Hyderabad with huge traffic jams …. Not a pleasant memory that.
We reached Delhi in 1997 and since then there has been an explosion in the car models available in India and the Ambassador was just a politician’s car. Our next Ambassador ride happened under a bee attack in Nalagarh !! We had gone for a couple of days during my birthday in 2010 to Nalagarh and a bee swarm attacked Krishnan and I as we were cycling up the hill… Scary. We dropped our cycles and tried stopping any passing vehicle. A government car (Ambassador) came by and we managed to escape, thanks to the official inside who stopped and gave us a ride till the foothills. We went and checked with a doctor who said these bees were not as poisonous and we needn’t worry. We had nearly two months of red skin patches .. But no other damage.
The most recent Ambassador ride was at Yercaud this year before we moved back to Gurgaon. Nice car, spacious and really felt safe, but maybe not as cool as the other smarter cars we have. Guess very soon, the Amby will be an antique :).