Parsis love their cars and worship them; we are certain that if there was a school to teach the art of maintaining a car, it would have surely been run by a Parsi.The community is highly regarded for their unrestrained love and affection towards their cars. "They (cars) at least last longer than marriages," jokes Minoo Pastakia*, resident of Dadar Parsi Colony.
When Downtown resident Perseus Bandrawalla talks of 'babies' and 'pre-natal care',he does not mean babies in the literal sense of the word! He is referring to his fleet of classic cars. "My friends say that I am crazy about my cars and that is so true," laughs the 30-year-old as he talks of his unabashed love for automobiles.
Anyone looking for evidence of Parsis' great love for their automobiles, can rest their case once they stumble upon Bandrawalla's rulebook: Do not let anyone lean against the car as denims can scratch the surface;clean tiny gaps in an automobile with an ear-bud; and use the best quality muslin cloth to apply tyre polish. "Diagnosis can be difficult, parts need to be original and fitted as per specification only," he continues. Armed with literature and a manual in hand, Bandrawalla personally supervises the maintenance of his cars just to ensure that a bolt is not turned four times instead of three-and-a-half times, as mentioned in the manual.?
Weekends are not meant for whiling away time at the mall or visiting friends for Bandrawalla, who spends weekend afternoons tinkering under the bonnet with a car manual in hand. "Cars need to be cared for! I am no nouveau-riche, who has staff to care for his cars!" he points out.
People are usually wary of second hand cars, but when it comes to 'Parsi-owned' second-hand cars, there is an extraordinary demand. Browse through the classifieds; these ads are often accompanied with the line 'Parsi-owned second-hand cars'— research states that these cars fetch a premium over other cars of the same model, make and age, thanks to their immaculate condition and Parsi ownership.
A fleet of Fiat 1100s and three Italian Fiats are some of Dadar Parsi Colony-resident Rony Vesuna's prized possessions. Ask this car fanatic if he is crazy about cars and you might end up offending him. "Crazy is an understatement. Fanatic is the right word," he says. Father to a 23-year-old son, Vesuna says, "From detailing to polishing and cleaning, I do not know how times flies when I am with my cars.
Extremely particular about his prized collection, Vesuna never allows anyone to drive his car and only trained people are allowed to clean the automobile. Member of the Fiat Classic Car Club, Vesuna says, "The vintage cars are rolled out only on special occasions, when there is less traffic." All of his cars are washed and cleaned everyday and protected from UV rays with a cloth cover and a plastic cover. Considering how much time Vesuna spends with his cars, it is not surprising that he has chosen to give them affectionate nicknames – he calls his BMW, 'Jerry' and a vintage Fiat is called 'Rani'.
Fresh out of college, Pheroze N is passionate about maintaining cars, something he inherited from his grandfather and father.In fact he hopes to make a career out of his love for car maintenance. "No one can maintain a car better than a Parsi, so why not monetise it?" he quips. This might be a trend that is not too rough on the pocket, but will eventually make life easier for car owners!
*Name changed on request.