13, they say, is unlucky for some, but not for us.
Well, fingers crossed for the next year anyway… A dozen years, plus one, have literally flown by. Time files when you’re having fun, they say (whoever ‘they’ are, again!). But they’re right because much fun is had in the making of autoX in all its avatars. We can only hope that consuming our content provides a similar amount of thrill and excitement.
‘They’ also say that print is dead! And if you look at people’s blank expression when mesmerized by the glow of their smartphone, you may begin to believe them. But, fortunately, all the latest readership surveys say that print is actually growing in India. And that’s good news, not only because the pretty pictures we work so hard to produce make far more of an impact on the printed page than they do on an 8-inch screen, but also because if we start believing everything we see on our ‘smart’ phones we’re in for trouble. If we lose our ability to distinguish between ‘fake news’ and actual reporting, then we’re just pawns in a world of disinformation – or curated misinformation, depending on which news source you choose to follow.
That being said, our digital push at autoX, over the past few years, has been aggressive and deliberate. And we’re better off as a result – mostly because it enables us to interact with you folks directly and much more frequently. On YouTube, where we’re fast approaching 10 million views, and Facebook, where we’re just short of 300,000 likes, we get a lot of constructive feedback. People are quick to point out shortcomings, which is good, and thus far at least the vitriol has been kept to a minimum – which is encouraging, especially considering the nature of social media. We do come across a lot of Tata fanboys, but that’s good as well because there’s clearly an element of national pride there – as long as it doesn’t turn rabid.
What is rabid is our defence of the sheer joy of piloting a car or a bike. Sure, autonomous pods are on the horizon – although they’re a lot further off than futurists will have you believe – but there will always be those of us who appreciate these machines for the freedom they provide and the visceral, elemental rush they offer. Of course, we attempt to provide sensible consumer advice, but in doing so we try and find a happy balance between the subjective and objective factors that define the appeal of a car or a bike.
It’s this balance that we strive so hard to achieve in our annual ‘Best of’ mega-test, where we select the ten best machines of the year. Let us know what you think of our selection. But remember, no vitriol, please...