CARS and KERALA : “Vandi എങ്ങനെയുണ്ട്?”

“Cars and Kerala” – is a set of notes – originally a part of a larger Blog that could eat up pages. I myself do not like reading long blogs and I am pretty confident that my writing skills are not that blissful to keep the reader engaged for long.

There are a lot of things that we see in Kerala (from the way I perceive) about its people including me and their connection with Cars (Automobiles in general). This write up is intended to showcase my understanding and my findings and is not targeted at any person or people. 

Starting with the way we look at someone else’s car.

With what I know, it is very difficult to convince an existing car user in Kerala on his favorite cars or his choice of the car. This is predominantly due to our resistance to new opinion or to defend our thoughts and decisions (I can easily exclude T-BHPians here) It is typical, and I have a few examples to quote.  

  • If you drive in your new car to a social gathering you should be prepared to answer “Vandi Enganundu?” (How is the car?)

    കാർ എങ്ങനെയുണ്ട്

The question is always with the aim of confirming the questioners opinion on the same car. And it has nothing to do with his curiosity, most of the time. The question can also be a conversation starter, but for the guy with the car, its more of a personal dilemma of how to pull up a diplomatic answer, or if he really wants to show off, this can turn the way around. And on the question : According to me, that would probably be the most stupidest question you can come across as what he is asking is a one sentence review of the car; which again is very subjective and is always descriptive. That should explain why we have car reviews on magazines or TV. 

Added to that, we have our own one word opinion on these – “That’s German!”,  “Has good mileage!”, “Looks awesome!” etc etc etc. For instance in the Malayalam Movie Vellimoonga (2014), which is set in a typical village backdrop in Kerala, for the same question there is a response from a not that automobile educated village guy saying “This is Duster, has got real good mileage” for an opinion.

ഡസ്റ്റർ , നല്ല മൈലേജ്

  • About 2 years back I had put up a pic on our new car on Facebook. Among the most curious was a friend of mine who did not hesitate commenting without even “Like”-ing my picture – “How is the car?”. My comment to that was “Good”. He neither liked my comment nor say anything.

Going back to where we started, did that help him? Only thing he would have got is, more social media impressions for looking stupid amongst the crowd. Most of us do not respect the fact that just like your house or anything that you like, the way you like or evaluate your car can be different. If your car has better ‘Mileage’ does that mean that my car is bad. It simply means I have some other stuff of value than just mileage. And if you are buying over a personal decision, it has to be good. Does anyone buy a car and then see how it is. Next time someone asks you this tell them “I’m loving it!” end the conversation.

  • Again, talk to anyone in his 50s or above they would keep on talking about HM-Ambassador.
    Hindustan Motors – Ambassador

    You can never beat them in an argument to convince that there are cars better than those now. [No offence meant to Ambassador users or Hindustan Motors: one of the most loved cars we ever had on Indian Roads.] 

    Compared to the rest of the states we have been different in terms of the cars being sold, way we drive, way we look at cars and of course the media car reviews. 
    Typical example would be Suzuki offering its Onam Edition Alto K10 exclusively for Kerala.
    We have even had auto magazine asking the readers to buy the Toyota Fortuner just because – “It is the only Japanese SUV in India in the 25 Lakh bracket“. I still did not get the concept from the writer, and I am still not sure whats there with Japanese and SUV’s.
    We have even had showroom sales guys giving car reviews in local channels, and they still call them ‘Reviews‘, I call them Sponsored Advertisements. 

That’s where we live in and petrolheads have a very interesting neighbourhood here.


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