For this blog entry, I would like to introduce to you the stalwart companion of mine. She’s as old as my maturity, maybe even more. We met when I was in primary school and today I indebted to her for ferrying me back and forth between home and school.
Ain’t she a beauty?
Aww... my Proton Iswara Aeroback.
Okay, technically, it isn’t mine; it’s my mom’s. And all this lovey-gooey ooziness over a mechanical vehicle that’s worth its weight in petrol and maintenance bills may sound overdone.
But I drive this car. It’s mine. It takes me places.
This is one of the earliest (and least publicized) Iswara Aeroback produced by the company. In family, the extended family, it’s the only Proton Iswara so everybody identifies it as the Iswara. In my nuclear family, it’s dubbed ‘TheProton’.
“Ayah must have taken it out to go to the mamak corner again.”
“Okay then. I’ll call him to feed the car as well.”
“There’s a car outside the gate. Can somebody move it so I can park inside?”
“It’s TheProton car. Your sister must have forgotten to lock in the handbrake again.”
“Luckily it didn’t roll into the neighbour’s Volvo like the last time.”
“I can’t accelerate TheProton too fast or it’ll jerk.”
“She’s an old lady. Be careful.”
“I know all about being careful around old people. I got two of the still paying the mechanic’s bills.”
TheProton had been in three road accidents, each belongs to every family member who had just got their driver’s license. She had been clamped in Kelana Jaya and fined in Uptown Damasara. Captured on police camera in various highways. Broke down in the back roads between Kuantan and Kuala Terrengganu. Radiator overheated just before the Rawang exit. Up and down the Genting Highlands roads until her brakes got too old to carry her weight, our fat luggage and our fat-asses.
She’s been to waaay more places than a Toyota Avanza TV commercial, more durable than a Mercedes M-Class attacked by a dinosaur and more versatile than a Japanese cellphone. And a favourite bird-poop target every time she parks in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail.
Her most exciting incident was when a convoy of military trucks was passing her from the left, somewhere on the road going out of KL, sometime in the 1990s. The front most truck driver (in his big dark green truck) was probably wearing his stylish movie-inspired sunglasses to complement his full soldier boy uniform.
Didn’t see TheProton.
A couple of bangs and a shaking as high as 7.3 on the Richer scale.
A full 180 degree turn.
Four sets of tire tracks decorated the road with black ribbons.
A mother, her best friend and two kids in the back seat with no seat belts on. Scary, huh?
It’s a good thing old Yayi had taught his daughter how to be a good driver. Mak barely managed to stop the car from turning over (which, however dangerous, would have been really interesting). Me and my little brother, young and stupid as we were (we weren’t even wearing seatbelts!), thought it was the coolest non-roller coaster car ride surprise ever.
The trucking soldier boys did their civic duty (and to stop Mak from logging a police report) by escorting us to the nearest mechanic shop to asses and pay for the damage (all 3 military trucks by the way).
It was the first and only time I got into a damn real military truck, with real soldier boys and their pretty pin-badges on their mud-green uniforms. And I tell ya, the government needs to give these guys some proper suspension and better seat cushions in those moving metal boxes.
Happy for TheProton, she survived to crash into various other non-military, albeit more expansive, vehicles for the next so-and-so years.
So Ayah decided that the old girl deserves a paint job and some expensive repair work.
Whatcha looking at?
Galactic gray, all the easier to hide any unwanted bird-poop splatter.
Oh, and my own contribution.
This old lady’s still kicks ass...