‘It was like I grew up in the Maruti’

Men’s wear designer Rohit Kamra learnt to drive on the Willys Jeep, whereas Maruti helped him further his love life

February 12, 2019 04:28 pm | Updated 04:28 pm IST

I was just 13 when I started driving. That is not the right driving age and I don’t encourage other people to do that. I have not encouraged my son to drive till he is 18.

My father owned a Willys Jeep and I learnt driving on the Second World War Jeep. I also have fond memories of Maruti, the first car which my grandfather had bought. It was the small car launched in the 80s and it was a pleasure to drive it. It was our first air-conditioned car and I still remember the leather upholstery and the AC which was unheard of in those times. Its chocolate-brown colour was also different.



It was like I grew up in that car and would fight with my grandfather to let me drive it, but he would allow me to drive only for a short duration. Usually, my grandfather would accompany me in the car. We would not go out in it for more than an hour. It was fun to drive a Maruti as not many people had that car in those times. People then generally owned a Fiat or an Ambassador.

That car was also special as I took my first girlfriend out in it. I remember my first drive with her. With music playing and fragrance, I felt like a king who had a car and a girlfriend by his side. We would play 80s music and listen to songs by George Michael, Madonna and Michael Jackson. I remember playing George Michael’s ‘Last Christmas’.

The car stayed in the family for a good period of eight years. We don’t have that car any more. My grandfather is no more but he was very fond of cars and he used to change old cars. Once when he bought a Toyota Corolla, I went with him to buy that. We changed a couple of cars after that.

I have inherited his love for cars. Now, I own a Renault Duster and Hyundai Creta. I love to drive, but I have a driver to take me out. I live in Jaipur and it is annoying to drive in the traffic. I tell my driver to take care of the car. I grew up in Abohar in Punjab, and it was fun to drive as there was hardly any traffic in those days.

(As told to Neeraja Murthy)

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