Its been nearly 10 years since I’ve bid adieu to the Army life. And I still can’t get over it
Last week, I saw an army staff car on the road and my heart ached with longing. For the uninformed, this is what an army staff car looks like :-
Look at that beauty!! That gloss!! Only one word comes to mind – REGAL. Army ambassadors come in three colours – black, dull olive-green and off-white. But its the black one which is by far the BEST!!
Yes, that is what the ambassador (or the lovingly called Amby) car is all about.
We spent a major chunk of our childhood travelling by the Amby. I’m yet to experience the same comfort in any other car .
The Amby had a roomy interior, a high enough ceiling and plush velvet seats which sank comfortably beneath our weight. Three people could sit in the front as well as the back with ample elbow space between them, without the worry of bulky seat-belt buckles digging into their posterior!! One could sit back and rest their head and have a wonderful snooze while the amby cruised smoothly along . The sturdy vehicle never allowed any pot-holes to disturb its occupants’ sleep .
The height of luxury was when the car had an interior fan of its own. A Small tiny contraption which would blow hot air into the face of the people sitting at the back. Rotating fans were super-luxury. You really had to be a high up in the army to deserve them!!
Whenever we travelled from Dehra Dun to Delhi, we’d take the Amby, because no other vehicle on earth could compare with the comfort that the amby provides!! Dad’s driver, Surinder bhaiya used to treat the Amby like his baby. He would lovingly wipe down every speck of dust from the hood, vacuum the car twice a week, wash it everyday and essentially, give it more attention than his wife! Even when he retired , he found it difficult to part from his baby and so Dad appointed him as the driving instructor for the new drivers in his office. This way, Surinder bhaiya could spend some time with the Amby everyday
The other vehicle of which I have fond memories, is the Maruti Gypsy. A really convenient vehicle, I must say. No fancy parts, just simple utility. You could load the entire family into it , plus 10 bags and there would still be space for more . Once in a while, if parents were not travelling with us, we could convince the driver to pull down the hood . Bliss!!
Sigh. Its been so long!!
I now hear that many senior officers are now demanding the new fleet of high-end cars for official purposes. The poor things. They have no idea what they are giving up on!! The ambys now also come with air-conditioning. So what’s their grouse?!!
But we have no say now. Dad’s retired and we no longer have access to these wonderful mode of transport. Sad
The only part that irritates me is the use of ambys for politicians!! What a disgrace to such a wonderful vehicle. How they degrade its standing . Some politicians are now demanding SUVs. Well, let them! They don’t deserve the royalty and presence of an Amby anyway!
The BF does not understand my obsession with the “Elephant” as he likes to name the Amby. He’s just ignorant. Because he’s never had the first-hand experience of it. He may jest as much as he wants, but he can’t hide the fact the main reason he makes those quips is because he covets these vehicles himself. He will deny it till the end of time, but I’ve caught him looking lovingly at army jeeps more than once!! Specially the open-doors one -
Is it some wonder then, that when he took driving classes, he chose to drive an old used army jeep?!! Naah…
Those days are gone……with not a single member of the family in Army anymore, there is no likelihood of any of us ever getting a chance to sit in those vehicles again. So I can just cling on to my memories and be glad that we did have a chance once. And a million thanks to Dad for giving us a lifestyle which actually makes my life feel complete .
* All images sourced from google images.
“What would I do without thee, O Google?!!”