The Telegraph
Monday , November 12 , 2012
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Festive pick of heavy metal A car for everyone to gawk or buy

Megha Binani was getting late for the puja at home but her husband and son were too busy checking out the exquisitely crafted pieces of metal on display to be bothered about looking at the watch.

Megha might have been the more interested one had the choice of metal to bring home this Dhanteras been between a diamond-studded pair of earrings and a gold filigree necklace. But this year’s big festival purchase was going to be for the garage rather than the locker.

“We are buying the (Maruti Suzuki) Swift,” husband R.P. Binani declared moments later, standing in the Kund area of Salt Lake City Centre that hosted The Telegraph Auto Weekend Carnival 2012, presented by State Bank of India and powered by Yamaha.

Son Nitish, who had also considered the Ford Classic, nodded. The chartered accountancy student’s mother smiled indulgently.

“We wanted to buy a car for our son, so we thought we might as well make it our Dhanteras buy,” said R.P. Binani, a corporate honcho who drives a Fiat Linea himself.

The Binanis weren’t the only family out shopping for cars over the festive weekend. Salt Lake City Centre, where the auto carnival is being held for the second successive year, witnessed outright purchases and bookings over the past two days that ranged from the planned to the plain impulsive.

The Basus from Chiriamore — a merry holiday gang of 15 aunts, uncles, cousins and nephews — emerged from a Chinese restaurant after a birthday lunch and made a beeline for the Kund area, little knowing that one couple among them would end up booking a car!

Jaba Basu and husband Arindam wrote a cheque for Rs 2,000 to book the Alto 800, cheered by the rest of the extended family. “Yes, we were looking for a four-wheeler and keen on the Alto but I had no idea we would buy one today,” Jaba said, laughing.

Arindam, who works with the Institute of Engineers, said “it seemed just right” to make the booking after a look at the midnight-blue Alto 800 gleaming like a beacon.

Pradeep Beria from Salt Lake had dropped by on the last day of the fair with his two daughters for a dekko at the options available. His requirement? A large family car to give his two hatchbacks company.

“I am looking for a six-seater,” said the businessman, who has a Santro and a Spark in his garage. “Carnivals like these are a big help because you don’t have to hop from dealer to dealer to check out the cars. I don’t have time to do that. So I came here,” said Beria, who collected brochures of the Ertiga.

“I will book it in the next two days,” he said.

The Maruti stall reported three spot bookings: an Estilo, the Basu family’s Alto 800 and the Binanis’ Swift.

The presence of an SBI auto loan stall at the venue helped those looking for finance make their decisions on the spot. “The paperwork is getting done smoothly,” said a customer.

A Honda Brio, a Hyosung ST7 bike and a Mahindra Quanto were also booked during the fair. There were some “hot queries” for the new Chevy Sail U-VA, the Nissan Sunny, the Volkswagen Vento, the new Ford Figo and the Hyundai Elantra, the stall managers said.

For many, a visit to the fair is an annual ritual. “I attend the carnival every year,” said Subrata Das from Rajarhat.

A group of friends — Aveek, Atish and Debarun from Behala — tracking the carnival since its Camac Street days said they were disappointed not to see more models. “We love to keep track of new technology,” Atish said.

Maybe someday the trio will troop to the fair to make a Dhanteras buy.

Do you think buying a car at a fair on Dhanteras makes it extra special? Tell