Seven desi things we do to make our cars more Indian


An unsaid but understood agreement between manufacturers and the average Indian consumer has listed down many things which add up to make a car successful in India. But for the most of us, even a factory fresh, tailor-made car is still a blank canvas that needs our final touches to make it feel like it’s now a part of the family. It’s like your sister who just got married to a White guy, but your father’s still unable to see his son-in-law in that man until he wears a kurta pyjama. So what are these things we do to our cars which make them truly Indian? Things that only we do. And no, we’re not even talking about chrome.

Lime and Chillies


This is our tangy, spicy idea to ward off evil and jealousy filled, prying eyes from our prized possessions. You’d often see these edible items hanging from the front or rear bumpers of most cars. During peak summer, there are times when I feel like a lemonade and this tempting sight makes me want to pluck one of these things and squeeze it in a chilled bottle of water to beat the heat. For some, this is still not enough. So you might also notice an odd looking black doll or some miniature footwear accompanying these kitchen items.

Disco Lights and the Almighty


Elsewhere in the World, it is a common sight to see devotional insignia hanging from the IRVM or maybe a little something of religious significance placed on the dashboard. But what we do is next level. For being a fellow traveller and for looking after us, we repay for God’s company by ensuring the space we reserve for the almighty is surrounded by colour changing, flashy lights. My parents still insist on playing devotional music at the beginning of every journey. Although, for the number of road related incidents our country witnesses every year, all of it seems justified.

Replacing brand logos


Some carry their aspirations in the form of a picture in the wallet, maybe stick a poster on the wall, or sometimes you can detect that quality from their behaviour or that latest iPhone. For some, their cars swap the original manufacturer’s logo with something more premium. This practice is more prevalent in the case of SUVs, where maybe their owners feel like it adds some more weight to a 2-tonne+ vehicle.


These days, it is common to come across aftermarket taillights for entry level sedans and SUVS, which are made to glow in a pattern which resembles that of a BMW or a Mercedes or something similar.

Protecting the bumper with another bumper


Manufacturers these days pay a lot of attention to the way a bumper is designed. There are these various lines and curves and shapes which go a long way in accentuating a car’s overall appearance. Made of retractable plastic, they are mostly hung in there by a clip mechanism which makes it easy for you to hang it back in place or kick it back into shape if it comes off after a little kiss. But we don’t like those scratches on the paint and for the love of playing real-life dashing cars, we go out and buy these ugly looking bull guards. Then there are these chrome finished patches which can be affixed to each corner and another guard for the rear bumper which sprouts out from underneath. The latter looks particularly hideous on a pretty looking sedan. If you ever travel to Dhaka though, you’d know where we got the idea from.

Incense Sticks


There are many amazing car fresheners and perfumes available in the market. But since we have disco lights already, all we need is a little fragrant smoke to make our car the holiest piece of metal on the road. They even sell these wooden boxes with perforations so that the ash doesn’t bother you much.

Our family on the rear windshield


I’ve got kids and they must know that Daddy loves them. Whoever’s following me on the road must also know what their names are and appreciate my brilliance when it comes to thinking about names. So Pappu, Pinki, Chinky and Rinky must find themselves a corner each on the rear windscreen. Some who don’t really love kids all that much slap obvious sounding, horsepower enhancing stickers which read ‘Speed’, ‘Power’ etc. etc. Or their own name with a little introduction to their personality

Stuffed Animals


Although it beats me why they do that, I know grown men who like keeping stuffed animals on the rear parcel tray. I once had to borrow a friend’s car who had these two little Tiger’s placed in symmetry. Before starting the journey, I hid them inside the boot for obvious reasons, only for those furry little things to be torn apart at a police check post, because the cops thought I was transporting narcotics. After returning the car and explaining the situation to my friend, he bought two new tigers and a couple pillows to keep them cosy, the very next day. There are many others like him who replace the Tiger with ‘Taddy Beers’.

These are just some of things we could think of. Things only we can pull off with our cars. If you are aware of any such behaviour which makes a car as Desi as it can be, leave a comment and do share it with us and everyone else.

Fortuner and Zen image courtesy: team-bhp

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