Nissan 370Z on the Yamuna Expressway

It’s there right in front of your nose whenever you go shopping, but I bet you’ve never noticed the box of Jackson Maruti Tissues. It’s got a picture of a girl sitting in the driver’s seat in one of the first Maruti 800s, talking to a guy leaning by the car outside.

The clothes, the hair, and of course, the car, places the picture somewhere in the mid- to late 1980s. It seems to have been shot on a relaxed afternoon outside the gates of some south Bombay apartment block. Those were simpler times. Traffic snarls were rare, landline phone connections required waiting, women in television serials were more likely getting ready to go to work than for another bout of karva chauth or a battle with the mom- or sis-in-law for keys to the locker.

And there was hope. The Narsimha Rao-led opening up of the economy was just around the corner, and we were all sure we’d be one cool nation by the  millennium. There was hope that roads like this Yamuna Expressway would be criss-crossing all over our triangular patch of land protruding out of the south of Asia. And more homes would have cars like the Nissan 370Z.