Saturday, September 18, 2010

Machoism on Manual Transmisson mode!

The other day I was having this discussion with my friends on my plans to buy a car. Naturally the discussion touched upon various aspects of it ranging from the car make, car type(hatch, sedan, SUV, luxury et al) to the obvious topic of budget(which was discussed in detailed to say the least) but not mentioning the other mundane stuff like the accessories, etc. But what warranted me to come out of my hibernation(of writing posts) and pen this post was the topic of car transmission.

For those who are unaware of what this means, let me lay it out for you. It is the mechanism used by the gearbox to shift gears which is ultimately used to control speed of the vehicle. For more details refer Wiki. Coming back to the topic, every vehicle has one of the two transmission types - Manual Transmission(MT) or Auto transmission(AT). I assume you might have guessed from the sounds of it that in the former type the driver controls the gear shift while in the later type it is taken care by the vehicle.

I have had a go at driving both MT & AT vehicles(though for a very brief amount of time). Given the fact that I'm more comfortable with the AT variants, I'm a staunch believer in the benefits of AT(for obvious reasons ;). Given this background, my discussion with my friend(s) obviously veered to the choice of transmission type while selecting a vehicle.

Now here are this broad sect of people who feel driving an AT vehicle is very girly kinds(if not upright lame)! Their school of thought being, driving a MT is a reflection of their machoism and there is no two ways about it. Where they lose me is the fact that these guys don't sound logical since their approach is anything but that. Let alone talking about comfort and things like that they confuse riding a vehicle to that being a show of their machoism!! In fact one of my friend went on to sight an example how he knew of an AT vehicle owner who used it since he was physically challenged!!! Ho ho ho...now wait a minute. Isn't this pushing the ideology too far(so-to-speak)? And the discussion gets interesting as another friend went on to add on the fun factor. According to him there is no fun in riding AT vehicles since he can't change gears (technically speaking the use of gearbox in AT is next to minimal) and his left leg(usually used to control clutch) is wasted. Add to this their unmindful need for high powered engines - the kinds which are really unessential in the urban/city commute. Let me explain myself a bit here. I say this since(most car drivers will agree here with me) most of the time you are caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic and by the time the signal goes green and you switch your gear away from neutral gear planning to hit 30 KMPH one the following hurdle crop up - a silly traffic unmindful pedestrian or an equally challenged traffic driver or a new speed bump(thanks to the new infrastructural surge happening around most cosmopolitan cities)! On top of this sample yourself having to navigate the mindless potholes ingrained on the city roads, couple that with the steady stream of smart a** bikers showcasing their driving skills by snaking around the car corners and barely sparing scratching your car. All this leaves you as an MT driver to constantly work on the clutch & gearbox, as if the other irritants weren't enough to get your pulse racing for nothing short of a heart-attack. We all know how stressful it is these days driving in city traffic.

So as an AT vehicle user isn't comfort the apt term to be used in this context or am I drifting away from the topic? But then I'm also reminded(by the I-know-the pulse-of-manhood "Studs of India") to look at the number of MT options v/s the AT ones available in India. Fair point made and point taken in this context, but again I've this to say to them. How come that in all the developed countries usage of AT vehicles are a norm? Aren't we missing something big here? Or is it that the Indian drivers' are smarter than their western counterpart? Answer to the later question is a debate in itself and will warrant an separate post altogether. Here is a something to chew on for the "Studs of India": What do you think of all the luxury cars being offered with AT as the norm? Take that for a change :)

This discussion was and till date continues to be the one gyan that I fail to understand. Hope I get the drift soon else I might be "branded" for my choice...of transmission ;)

Amen!