Today being 'Teachers Day', some of my colleagues in office wanted to know who are the five teachers who have influenced me the most. Honestly, there have been many who have inspired me and shaped my thoughts and life. Being a very avid reader, I must say my biggest and possibly best teacher have been the thousands of books I have read. Various writers from several different disciplines have nourished my mind and helped increase my knowledge base.
In actual life, my best five teachers have been (in no particular order of priority) -
I went to St. Xavier's High School in Bombay. Fr. Aran, a Spanish Padre, was the vice principal. For some reason we became close and spent quite a lot of time talking after class. He had an old Moto Guzzi motorcycle and used to ride it on Sundays. Once a month he would work on it and on these Sundays he called me to school. I would watch him open and clean the carburetor and he was the one who showed me what a jet and venturi was, and how they worked. He would tighten and lubricate the chain, adjust brakes, etc, and gradually from handing him the tools, I graduated to helping him do the work itself. Father Joe Aran taught me a lot about life and I think he instilled in me the importance of having an open mind that is always willing to learn and absorb.
Is a great car enthusiast and at one time was a well established used and foreign car dealer. He was also into motor racing and a good driver. Though many years my senior, he always treated me as an equal and we did quite a few long drives and overland journeys together. He taught me the finer aspects of driving like cornering lines, smoothness with the steering, accelerator and brakes and how to go fast without killing your machine. Yes, being gentle with cars is something I certainly learnt from him. Of course I also benefited because of his vast knowledge of mechanicals and how to repair cars.
Nazir Hoosein is an organiser par excellence too and I have had the good fortune of assisting him on several events
As many of you may know he is the first Indian to have won an international car rally. Nazir also organized the legendary Himalayan Rally and for many years served as a Formula One Steward. He is a complete car man. A born racer who also tuned and prepared his own cars. Nazir is an organiser par excellence too and I have had the good fortune of assisting him on several events. Every moment I have spent with him has been a huge learning experience.
I have done many cars with Manvendra Singh and have fond memories of the great times spent with him in his workshop in Indore
Is a renowned car restorer, automotive historian and a judge at world famous events like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Again though he is several years my senior, he is a good friend and mentor. I have done many cars with him and have fond memories of the great times spent with him in his workshop in Indore. We have also spent many a evening together and the conversation is normally as stimulating as the scotch. Yes, I have learnt a lot from Manvendra my Chief.
Sen Baba, as Bob calls him, is currently the vice president external relations for FIVA
Is the father of Indian automotive journalism. He started Indian Auto Journal in 1986 and thrust a pen and camera in my hand. Actually 'thrust' is too mild an expression. I should say he is the one that 'forced' me to write and become an auto journalist. Writing is something I never had the aptitude for then. So all credit goes to my Sen Baba for making me a respected auto journalist and author. I have had the good fortune of working with Sen Baba in several magazines, and I must say I am still to come across a better editor. He has huge expertise that he is always willing to share and his understanding of automotive design and history is also masterful. Unlike many present day editors, who are selfish and don't share their knowledge, I have learnt a lot from Sen Baba. Gautam Sen now lives in Paris and is the vice president external relations for FIVA (Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens). He is the only Indian to have such an important position in FIVA, which globally governs the historic car movement.
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