Why I decided against buying a car for myself

Why I decided against buying a car for myself

I have been driving since 2006. Yes, it’s been 10 years now. I started driving without a Driving License like everyone, no points for guessing. My first drive was my sister’s Maruti Zen in Hyderabad and the passion for driving escalated within no time. I’ve driven cars from the humble Maruti Zen to Mercedes Benz/Audi and oh yeah, Ferarri included on the list for a few minutes if that counts. I have driven up to a maximum speed of over 180km/hr and pretty proud of it; life threatening as it may but one doesn’t think too much in such situations. I’m a responsible driver now.

Coming to the real question as to why I decided against buying a car is for the fact that I don’t travel much. Here’s some refined reasons that would most likely change your mind:

A humble car today cost about Rs 5,00,000 and after about 5 years, you can sell it off for about Rs 2,00,000. So you actually spend Rs 3,00,000 on your brand new car. Estimating that, you spend Rs 164 per day for 5 years. Go read the next paragraph unless you are interested in the details. The yearly insurance for your car is roughly around Rs. 50,000 for 5 years put together which means you are paying Rs 27 each day. For a daily commute of roughly 30 km in a city with a mileage of 15 kmpl, the daily fuel costs (petrol/diesel or CNG) you spend around Rs 100 and of course, Rs 0 on days you don't drive. Looking at the quality of our Indian roads, one is forced to change the tyres and the battery at least once in 5 years. So, that will cost you around Rs 15,000. Hence you spend Rs. 8 per day. Car owners in India know the fact that automobile dealers give a false fact of "Zero Maintenance Cost" for 3 years or 50,000 km first and one ends up paying about Rs 3000-5000 per year. This is roughly Rs 10 per day. Never buy a car by taking a loan, it is a very expensive affair but if you are a salaried person, how else would you be able to afford a car? The interest for car loans at 9.70% on Rs 5,00,000 is Rs 132 per day. You can perhaps get a better deal but I'm taking this as the current market rate for SBI and calculating it based upon it.

So in total, you are spending a minimum of Rs (164 + 27 + 100 + 8 + 10) = Rs 309 when you are driving. If you aren't driving and have your car park outside, you are still paying Rs 209 per day!

If you take a loan, you are adding an extra Rs 132 and hence you are spending Rs (309 + 132) = 441 on week days and on days when you don't drive, you still pay Rs 341 each day.

PS: I’m considering that you don’t get into any type of accident or get into trouble with traffic laws.

Is taking Ola or Uber a viable option then?

I get them within minutes and they are pretty cheap as compared to other private means of transport. Sure, there’s auto/bus and metro but with these guys, I can travel wherever and whenever I want. Yes, there are frustrating times dealing with the drivers but driving your own car and negotiating with the other drivers on the road is a LOT more frustrating experience.

An American friend once said, “You have to be drunk to drive in India” and I laughed but over the years, I realized how serious and truthful he was. It is a nightmare to drive in India when you compare to driving elsewhere.

Also, parking is a lot of problem in metro cities. One could end up negotiating with your neighbour’s car everyday. As frustrating as dealing with cab drivers!

If you book a cab for a 30 km ride on Uber Go or Ola Micro/Mini, you spend about Rs 350. It gets a bit cheaper if you opt for Uber Pool or Ola Share. Yes, it doesn’t make much difference if you take a cab everyday on these apps as compared to having a private car but personally, I don’t commute as much. I spend just about Rs 500 per week or less since my office is at a walking distance and most times, I work from home.

However, if my office is located 15km away and I have to commute 30km everyday, I would prefer changing my job or move closer to the office than drive in a congested traffic filled roads. Driving is a pleasure when one is driving a luxury car but even then, not so much when it becomes a daily chore.

What about quick weekend getaways or long drives?

In such situations which happen rarely, I like to rent a car from places like Zoomcar or Volar. One can easily book a decent car for Rs 2500/day or a luxury car that cost over Rs 30 lakhs for just about Rs 5000/day. It’s simple and straight forward assuming you don’t get into accidents.

Let me end with this:

If you drive more than 30km per day for whatever reasons or have a family, it makes sense to get your own car. I can’t argue with that. Buying a second hand car also makes a lot of sense in my opinion if you really want a car. You could check out Spinny for certified used cars.

However, with Delhi NCR traffic problems, I wish the government could do more with regards to road conditions and public transports. Pollution is another factor we have to keep in mind. Having said that, there’s so much a government can do unless we do our bit.

If you think owning a car is a social status, you better own a Ferarri.

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Making a wooden cradle for my nephew in JNU, Delhi

Making a wooden cradle for my nephew in JNU, Delhi

I’ve been blessed with a third nephew, Joey and pretty much like his uncle, the naughty blood runs through his veins. He loves to crawl and my sister was a little worried that he might get hurt and thus wanted a cradle. Put him behind bars if that doesn’t sound politically incorrect. A well built cradle made of wood cost nothing less than Rs 20,000 INR and somehow I felt I could get it done myself. I’ve made several almirahs and other carpentry wood work at home in Imphal before.

The weekend finally arrived and I drove out to Munirka, South Delhi to buy wood and equipment. Sizes of wood required were already drawn and measured, carpentry equipment was easily available and its actually cheaper than in Imphal. Work began the next morning at my sister’s place in JNU. People gathered around to ask and see what I was upto. The kids in the neighbourhood were even more curious. Jethro, now 5 years old brought his friends along as they discussed about how I’m making a prison for the naughty kids to be kept as punishment. The news spread and many more kids came to see if they could jump out or find a loophole in the system. They discussed about the strength and how it won’t hold against them. Overheard a kid saying, “My dad will come to rescue me and he will beat your uncle”. Tired but a great day to remember as I spent listening to the young stories while at the same time, cutting and cleaning the wood.

The next day, the frames were cut in its measured sizes and by the end of the day, I had it assembled with the help of my brother. By now, my body was aching, my right arm was cramped and I was thoroughly exhausted. However, to see the completed project is a time well spent. Ever felt that awesome feeling when you’ve done something with your life? Well, I did and the spoilt was enjoyed by my nephew as he slept peacefully in the new cradle with toys and balloons hanging.

Day three was suppose to be spent on painting but due to Holi, a colourful festival of the Hindus, all shops were closed for two consecutive days. My nephew couldn’t wait further and therefore has already taken shelter. It is still not being painted. Will have to do it sometime next weekend or the next or the next-next weekend LOL

The total cost estimate was Rs 2,550 which includes all the carpentry equipment, nails, screws, sand-paper, wood and plywood.

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Hunting locations in Imphal, Manipur

Hunting locations in Imphal, Manipur

The plan to go hunting got cancelled as mentioned in the other post, but I really had to shoot the bullets I bought. I needed to drive out and find a place where there’s no houses in a few kilometer radius. My dad had to go meet a few people in a place about 25km from the Imphal city area by the name Kanglatongbi and I thought, “Hey, this could be it”. With due permission from my mum, we headed out. Sadly enough though, there was no place to actually shoot a gun. The entire road and the area was inhabited and I came back disappointed. Although not before taking a few pictures in the River side and a dangerously hand-made bridge, not something to walk by everyday. It is however, the lifeline to many villages in the inner region and they walk by everyday! Kanglatongbi is a beautiful place no doubt. The River beside it is being used to supply sand and stones for house constructions in the city area. The NH 39 passes right through the area and so the road is pretty good. Liangmai, Kuki and the Nepali people live here.

As luck would have it, I couldn’t find a place to shoot. Time was running out and I needed to get back to Delhi. Waiting for a miracle was exhausted with all plans getting cancelled. However, “knock and the door shall be opened unto you” is what the Bible says and I went knocking everywhere. I made several plans with the Liangmai boys and girls but all fell apart. I found a true old friend who is also looking for a little adventure and do something different this winter vacation as well!

Yaruiso, my neighbor whom I grew up together with was pretty eager to shoot that particular gun. The place wasn’t decided but we agreed to go on Saturday. Anywhere! He wanted to drive his new Bolero and so we headed out towards the Ukhrul District where he believes we can shoot and nobody would even notice. As we reach Ukhrul District, the roads went up the hill. There were army patrolling the area with MP5s and M16s. AK47s are used in Manipur by any and every army men! The scene is beyond believe, a beauty. It overlooks the plain city area. We parked the car beside the sloppy road and walked up towards the top of the hill where we plan to make a target and shoot at the trees. No, we couldn’t find animals to actually hunt. After reaching the top of the hill, we realize there were some few young boys and girls who had come for a picnic at the foot hill on the other side. We could see and hear them talk but they couldn’t see us. 

We went ahead with the shooting plan. It was too late to back out after coming that far. The first bullet was a blank meant for celebrations. I took the lead as Yaruiso shot a video of it in my DSLR camera. Honestly, I was a bit nervous. Both of us had not used that 15+ years old gun before and it has not been used for shooting in about 10 years!! The gun as you can see is a customized gun without the butt.  

The first bullet went easy. It was loud but it was awesome at the same time. The excitement in the air. Oh boy. There was not much of recoil too as I had anticipated. I asked Yaruiso if he would like to try the next bullet. A special bullet for hunting and much more expensive at Rs 120/bullet, it has the iron pallets and could easily kill anyone at a close range. He asked me to go ahead again and that he would try the next one. I agreed.

The second bullet was much more powerful but my grip wasn’t as tight courtesy the previous shot being easy. We setup up the parameters and convinced ourselves that the picnickers won’t bother us as they didn’t even budge when the first bullet went off. When I finally pulled the trigger, the gun push back with all its might and hurt my right thumb a little. The reaction was inevitable. The smell of the gun powder in the air felt great for some weird reason. I felt like I had accomplished something in life! Haha! 

I now took the camera to shoot the video and Yaruiso tried his hands on the gun. He pulled the trigger a few times to get comfortable with the gun without the bullet and as he finally got ready for the finale, I could see he was nervous but excited. I gave him a few tips and he finally pulled the trigger. 

We both hit the target.

After taking a few pictures at the hill top, I finally took the wheels and we drove home. Bought pork sausages by the roadside at a place called New Checkon to celebrate our safe return.

PS: To hunt in Manipur, you need to go to the interior forests of the jungle alteast 50km away from the city area. I won’t recommend it unless you are a native of that area since it’s infested by insurgents with automatic rifles who won’t have a second thought to see a stranger with a gun.

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