24 March 2024

Car tech shock: I can run but I cannot ride

Got into the new car in the garage this morning. The idea was to take it to the running trailhead for a long run. (I would run, not the car, of course!). The sheer array of electronics and gadgetry was unnerving. Before even I could shift the car into gear, it started doing all sorts of things. Which was very distracting.

Speaking of distractions, the first problem was I could not find where the gear shift handle was. I am used to a big gear shift handle that you authoritatively put in reverse in full command. The car then faithfully follows as it takes you out on the driveway. After some fiddling around, I realized it is a small little thumb paddle. That did not elicit a lot of confidence from me.

Pulled it back. And the car moved forward!! Whoa! Near incident with the garage wall!!

Apparently, I pull back to go forward and pull forward to go back. I felt like yelling at the car. I did not do it though. I was too afraid that the car might take my yelling as well thought out instructions and start following them.

Eventually, I was on the driveway. Fortunately, the steering wheel is round in shape and there are the two pedals for acceleration and brakes where you would expect them to be. So, it was a bit uneventful after that.

Till I called my brother.

First of all, I said “Hey Siri. Call my brother”. His phone started ringing. But instead of my Airpods, the ringing was coming from the car speakers. Being totally new to this, I tried to switch the phone to my Airpods. Eventually gave up and started using the car phone system.

“Can you hear me properly? Any road noise?” I asked my brother.

“Crystal clear. Are you driving?”

“I am. I am talking thru this new car system. I do not have bluetooth on.” (In India, if you say you do not have bluetooth on, it is assumed you mean you do not have your Airpods/earpods on).

“I have had a 17 year technology gap. So, I am still getting used to it.”

“What are some of the new things?”

“Here is a crazy one. I can not only talk to you thru the car – which works with my phone – I can operate the car from the phone!”


“Well, imagine we are having lunch at South City Mall.” (This is a mall near by brother’s place in Kolkata)


“And the car is getting fried outside in the hot summer sun”


“After lunch, as we pay the bill, I can tell the car thru my phone to get started and get the air conditioning going. We will be back in a few minutes.”

He thought for a while. Then started laughing.

“What happened?” I demanded to know.

“E deshe o gaari cholbe na” (That car won’t work here in this country)

“Why not?”

“We are eating at South City?”


“And you start the car from the restaurant?”

“Yes, I can do that thru my phone and the cloud”

“And the car will start itself?”

“Yes. And turn on the AC too.”

“And there is nobody there in the car?”

“No. we are at the restaurant, remember?”

Hnya. Lokey ‘BHOOT BHOOT’ korey chilliye paalabey. Aar jabar somoy duto dhil merey jaabey.

In summary, my brother is convinced that if my car suddenly started itself out of nowhere, everybody around it would sprint for their dear lives screaming at the top of their lungs that the car has been possessed by a ghost. And for good measure would throw a few brickbats at the ghost in the car too while showing a clean pair of heels.

To be safe, I switched off the remote option after reaching the trailhead.

Posted March 24, 2024 by Rajib Roy in category "Humor

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