One day, a few weeks ago, we were taking the kids and heading out in the old car one evening, when we found we had a puncture. We ditched the car, hailed an auto, and struggled with changing the tyre a few days later. Then the punctured tyre lay in the car awaiting repairs for another ten-odd days. By the time we got around to getting it fixed, the car hadn’t been started for over two weeks. It refused to start, something it has almost never done in all eight years of its existence. We thought the battery had died, but it turned out the petrol had dried up. Overall, it was a bloody nuisance.
A couple of weeks later, we had another puncture. Amit decided to take advantage of this opportunity to give me a live demo of changing a tyre, while the girls watched and helped. The lesson came to a quick end when one of the girls picked up a tool and drew a couple of artistic scratches on the sparkling clean new car’s paint.
This time, we didn’t waste any time getting it fixed. Despite my hectic work schedule, I fled to the puncture repair shop almost the very next day.
Then, last Friday, after a delicious dinner of pau-bhaji at S&P’s place, we all headed out for ice cream. Since they are three and we are four, we thought we’d take two cars (though, with three under three, we could have squeezed into one). When the four of us got to our car, what do we see? You guessed it – another flat. Well, in our collective determination to get our ice cream, we all piled into one car, and the next day we were faced with yet another change-the-tyre-and-get-the-puncture-fixed outing.
Meanwhile, the new car, just over six months old, had also suffered its first puncture. Tubeless tyres are not supposed to get punctures, but this one had. Strangely enough, it was the front right tyre in both cars that seemed to be particularly susceptible to punctures. When Amit took that one to get it repaired, he was told that tubeless tyres cannot really be repaired. He came home and spent a perfectly foul Saturday afternoon waiting for the company mechanic to come and take a look. The mechanic came, saw, and pronounced: intentional damage, with a sharp instrument. We could have the tyre tubed, have it repaired, or throw it away and buy a new one.
What? After six months of use?
So, on this long weekend, it looked as if neither car was at all reliable, with an un-repaired puncture apiece. We had decided that the old car probably needed new wheels (or at least, new tyres) but had been trying to put off the purchase till the next financial year. Now, with the new financial year three whole days away, it looked altogether impossible. On Saturday, after spending a couple of hours surfing the Net and speaking to dealers on the phone, Amit went out to procure a set of tyres. The first shop he went to quickly removed the current wheels, then told him that, since there was no electricity, they couldn’t actually put the new tyres on the car. “But electricity will be back in 5 minutes, we’ve checked with KEB,” they said glibly. After 45 minutes, Amit got them to put the old tyres back on and drove to another shop. In an hour or so, he was done.
So, I got me some new wheels. Not, sadly, a whole new car, but an old car dressed up with new wheels. Meanwhile, the new car is still sitting with its old, torn tyre in the boot. Amit has been too – deflated? – to get that replaced, but we’ll have to do it sometime soon.