The Ambassador of the future – A bulldozer?

I bulldozed my way through last week, hoping to rest this week. But laurels are Hardy to come by when it comes to humour, and even more so when it comes to subtle humour. One that you have to search for to find if your sense of humour has decayed over the last 8 years.

I often humour myself with the thought that I can make people laugh, or least render a ghostly smile. You know what that is – visible only to those who see ghosts. It’s different from a ghastly smile which you might get when you watch some TV channels.

Sometimes I myself, find it difficult to comprehend my written humour, because I read it from the POV of the unfunny, and find myself tempering it to suit this serious audience that I also cater to. You know how caterers have to balance the Tamarind and Salt to suit the whole, and not just the few at a wedding feast? But, if you have got this far into my weekly column, then you are not one of them, unless curiosity got the better of the cat – which it does sometimes, and when it does, it doesn’t kill it, only others. Sometimes I have to subtly tickle my funny bone, so that I can tickle yours!

But, if one can’t find the energy to smile, even a ghastly one, it may require a Chintan Shivir to discover it. And there was one last week. Not sure if you joined it to re-discover your sense of humour or at least read about it to amuse yourself and give you hope for the future. For hope against hope is what the contemplation camp was all about!

It offered the hope that the Ambassador Car once a symbol of Power and Prestige – only bureaucrats, politicians, and rich businessmen could afford one; the first two categories at the collective expense of those who could not afford to buy one individually, and the latter, also at the expense of those who bought their substandard cartelized products because there were few others – could reinvent itself and present itself in a new avatar in this 21st century for the benefit of the people of course.

Interestingly, if you were old enough, you would know the utility of an Ambassador Car; it could pack upto 10 inside and another 3 in the boot of all shapes, sizes and persuasions  – I’ve been there, done that;  it truly promoted integration rather than division which can’t be matched by any of today’s fancy cars with their 60 40 seating and air-conditioning; no doubt they are wired, move with stealth, quickly and look, oh so good! So much so, you love taking selfies with them. Repair costs were low, parts were swappable and available, and so were experienced mechanics. Now-a-days it is use and throw, though majorly the parts are still swappable for the right price.

It was for some time the national car – a true Ambassador of power and wealth; there was no other except a cute little fiat Padmini, flat bottomed, unlike the Ambassador and one had to bribe to get it on a last come first serve basis! Nothing has changed in that respect. Everything else has, except the shape of the wheel!

But before I digress further, back to the question, can you reinvent a wheel? how many other shapes a wheel can take, besides round? The logical answer is nil. You could try making it airless, tubeless, etc. It still rolls down a hill very quickly but never up a hill unless pushed with a stick – like we used to in the good ol’ days – or an engine! You can add a spoke to make it turn faster, remove a spoke to even out its roll, or put a spoke in the wheel to break its speed – that is quite common. Either way you still need a good spokesman – that’s a sign of the times.

There were 400 people at the Shivir I understand, and there was a lot of food for thought. literally; as they tried to figure out how the Ambassador Car can be revived, not, if it can be revived; and how – may be change the front grille a bit, increase the girth and circumference of the tyres, lower the ground clearance, so it is closer to the ground, and put an Android and IOS social media information system inside. An important innovation.

But the driver has to be same old guy. Only he knows how to shift the gears; because the engine and the transmission, the two most important parts of a vehicle have had to remain the same – there is no modern alternative available to the original manufacturers that will suit the shape and size of the Ambassador.

Can’t import it from outside, can’t modify it from inside. Even a mild hybrid engine, expected in the new Brezza from Suzuki is difficult, because the whole tooling system will have to be overhauled, and they can’t afford to do that, presumably because sales have been poor over the years, due to the intense competition and a poor product – in comparison. Doing a Bajaj needs thinking beyond the wheel, or more so thinking at the wheel and as I said before, a good spokesman!

What they could not contemplate at the contemplation camp, because it was beyond their contemplation, was that while there was no reinventing the wheel, the symbols of power have changed – from a vehicle without wheels –  the horse with a sword in hand – to one with wheels and one with bigger wheels; the Ambassador with a  red light on top, to a bull dozer, more often than not, a JCB without a red light on top! It does not need one. It’s got the same wheels, only bigger, stronger arms, and a fearless driver!  It has become the Ambassador of power, replacing even the sword! Though that still gets brandished about, in advance of the arrival of the JCB.

But like the horse, the sword, and the Ambassador, it is a symbol. A symbol of power that everyone is scrambling to appropriate which led me to do some research on symbolism. Carl Gustav Jung,  a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst wrote a book called the Man and His Symbols. Jung distinguishes between Signs and SymbolsSigns merely denote the objects to which they are attached; trademarks and names of patent medicines are good examples of them.

Symbols, however, are much more complex, vague, and unknown; they are terms, names, or pictures (of a JCB perhaps) which, even though sometimes familiar from daily life, possess “specific connotations in addition to its conventional and obvious meaning.”  Dreams communicate with us in terms of symbols.

Jung proposed that the collective unconscious is a layer of our unconscious mind we come into this world containing, that connects each one of to the history of thoughts and behaviours of all of mankind. The idea crystallised for Jung after a dream that the was in a house, with the first floor well decorated and organised (conscious personality), then the ground floor more medieval and darker (personal unconscious), and finally a basement with signs of primitive culture and with ancient skulls in it (collective unconscious). But today it is ancient culture with modern skulls!

Incidentally, while the bulldozer is an American invention, understandably, the JCB, the most common form found in India, is an English Machine. The JCB was founded by Joseph Cyril Bamford (JCB) in October 1945 in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England.  The British Prime Minister even hopped on to one during his recent visit to India – Another symbol of our collective unconscious?

So, has General Dwyer mutated like the Corona Virus? maybe he will never go away as the East India Company returns with a free trade agreement that harks back to an era 300 years ago! Then it was compulsory, now it will be voluntary! And, why not, when our collective unconscious is giving us, symbols buried deep in our past to explore via our dreams for the future?

In the days to come, keep your hand on the wheel, and dream about the future, a future where the sum of the past is greater than the discoveries of the present or the promise of a future free of the past, where what’s under is more important than what’s above! That’s why we ask the question – Under-stand?

Until next week, stay amused.


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by richbclark

Published by

Brian Fernandes

Brian is VO artist, Content Writer, Ad Copy Writer, a very productive author with a wide and varied output, an EQ and Leadership Trainer, a life skills Coach, a manager and a leader, with a visible track record. Brian is currently a Director of the Spearhead Media Pvt. Ltd, a Media Company that owns and runs media brands www.newskarnataka.com, www.newskannada.com, Karnataka Today, NK+ and NKTv a web based video channel, Verdevice - a Branding powerhouse and Spearhead Academy - a digital platform that offers short term learning solutions for personal growth Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 35 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. He is NET Certified for lectureship and has recently qualified as MEPSC Level 5 Trainer. Journalism , poetry, and Fiction and Feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. Its all in a day’s work for him. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangalore and Bangalore. He is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of the Toastamasters.org and is a designated Distinguished Toast Master. He is also the Internal Quality council member of his Alma Mater Roshni Nilaya and a member of the Board of Studies of the English Department, St. Agnes College for PG studies, Mangalore.

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