TODAY -

Need a Pickup ?

Tarun Nongthombam *

An Old green pickup from 1950s
An Old green pickup from 1950s



I have not owned a four wheeler, never had the interest of learning to drive one. Our family good old Bajaj Vespa-150 was enough in Imphal to wander around. We had to kick many times to get the ignition started but our 150 never let us down since my KG days. I could see people looking with amusement when riding around Imphal, wearing the 1970s helmet which looked like we had secretly acquired from German SS squad.

But with age, the desire of having a little comfortable life creeps in and I asked myself "All my friends have four wheelers. Why shouldn't I have one?" Next thing I see was my own house which I have to fix, the tin sheets that flies away with every monsoon wind. With so many things crumbling around me and many to mend, strangely, the craving of owning a car gets even stronger. But one thing was clear; I don't like to get down from my car and get my old humber cycle with six sanabuls hanging, looking for the tap where water is still flowing!

Next question I asked myself was, 'why don't I go for a jeep or gypsy?' My old mate was the first to chop it off the list. He only had to say "Have you ever tried sitting at the rear seat of a gypsy?" Another flock called SUVs has never generated enough interest as I see them as jeeps which can be used only as cars. I needed a vehicle which could take my family and friends for an outing, giving the comfort of a car but I should be able to carry those rice sacks or cement bags for construction once in a while. I then realized what I needed was a pick up!

Pick-up started as a vehicle targeting farm and construction workers for rough use but now with the dual cab and interior improvement, pick up has evolved into all use vehicle. The sad part is, this segment has really not taken off in India despite manufacturers aggressively trying to market them. Only pickups which we see are those manufactured by Tata and Mahindra.

Few possible reasons of this segment not doing well in India could be the pricing which is above the reach of many rural farmers, fuel efficiency with shabby interiors and body design by Indian manufacturers resulting in failing to attract many urban Indians, which could use them as lifestyle vehicle. Strangely, big players like Toyota, Nissan or Chevrolet have not tried to come in with their battery of pickups which they already have for decades!

Pickup despite its setbacks in India is loved by many in the world. The popularity of pickup is such that it is has entered the folklore of Arab world and there is a saying "Arabs love two things and can't live without them. One is their camel and other is their pickups" .In certain regions of Africa, people have converted it into armored vehicle because of its reliability and toughness. You can even see heavy machineguns and rocket launchers mounted on these pickups by small militias.

I couldn't see why pickups would not be loved by us if reasonably priced and its looks improved.

Imagine taking your pickup with sintex towards Imphal or Iril turel and bringing water when all the leikei pukhri dries up. The envy eyes of your neighbors, you could feel as if you have just returned after winning the kargil war!

Our brothers in hills need not worry about the steep climb in Sugnu-chandel road or the slurry muddy road during monsoon when they drive on Mahadev-Tolloi road in Ukhurl. Pickups are four wheel drives and can carry 1 ton load and even toe 2 tons trailer!

If you lead a rugged lifestyle and crave for owning a car, give a second thought on these pickups. It might be the pal you need that can give you the comfort of a car but still capable of working like a mule on our 18th century road and civic infrastructure!


* Tarun Nongthombam contributes regularly to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at nong_tarun(at)rediffmail(dot)com
This article was posted on April 22, 2012.



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