K B Ganesh Kumar MLA swears by his blue Toyota Qualis. It remains one of Ganesh's prized possessions even though there are fewer number of Toyota Qualis on the Kerala roads these days.
The Pathanapuram MLA and actor Ganesh Kumar talks about the Qualis that has been his companion for the past 20 years.
From the beginning
Ganesh bought this Qualis even before he decided to contest in the Pathanapuram election in 2001.
"I decided to buy this car after seeing the Qualis owned by my close friend and actor Maniyanpilla Raju. More than its exterior looks, the comfort of travelling prompted me to buy the vehicle.
"When I reached Pathanapuram for the election, my rivals spread the word that I was travelling in a Rs 25-lakh vehicle. However, I had shelled out only around Rs 6-7 lakh for the car. During those days, this car could not travel to most places in Pathanapuram. So, it was on my father's jeep that I took part in my first poll campaigning. But today, this car will easily enter any road in Pathanapuram,” Ganesh quipped.
Synonymous with the MLA
People of Pathanapuram easily will recognise the MLA’s car, even if it does not have the official MLA board.
"Just like me, this car is also familiar among the residents of Pathanapuram. People can see me and easily talk to me even when I am seated in this car.
"Once when a cooperative bank election was under way, I went to a house in the neighbourhood. The car did not have the official board of the MLA. The rival camp sought the MLA's car to be removed from the area. They also filed a police complaint that people might vote for the panel I favoured after noticing the MLA's car in the locality,” Ganesh recounted.
Companion for four elections
All through my campaigning for the past four elections at Pathanapuram, this blue Qualis was also with me.
"This vehicle has been with me in both happiness and sadness, And I would never sell this no matter what price is offered,” the MLA asserted.
The secret of longevity
Ganesh Kumar said that he takes good care of the vehicle.
"I treat and care for my car as a fellow living being. I never drive rashly. It is regularly sent for servicing and hence there has been no need for any major repair works. No fresh coat of paint had to be applied either,” he explained.
86,000km and still counting…
Ganesh further pointed out that he had been able to use the same tyres despite travelling for 86,000km. “It shows how well I have been taking care of the car. Maybe this is a first in the country. Even the company that made the tyre would find it hard to believe. These can still run for another 4,000km,” he added.
The actor-turned-politician, however, voiced his displeasure for how some people recklessly use their cars.
“Even when you spend crores on a vehicle, it would get damaged very fast if not used properly. I was once saddened to see a vehicle owned by a Malayalam actor. Some people ride their scooter at full throttle. It appears as if it would burst any moment,” Ganesh added.
‘Mohanlal will buy the vehicle that Antony points out’
Ganesh pointed out that Mammootty is the biggest automotive-enthusiast among Mollywood actors. “His driver is the most fortunate worker. His main tasks are to wash the car and park it. Mammootty has good knowledge about cars and always purchases the best vehicles,” Ganesh explained.
However, Ganesh said that Mohanlal relies on the opinion of his trusted aide Antony Perumbavoor. "Whichever car Antony says is the best, Mohanlal would purchase that. Mohanlal also drives well,” he said.
“Actor Mukesh also takes good care of cars. Maniyanpilla Raju buys the vehicle only after checking all aspects,” Ganesh added.
Among politicians, Ganesh says his father would be the biggest car-enthusiast.
"Year upon year, he would buy Fiats and ambassadors. He only uses a vehicle for a year,” Ganesh said.
“The other politician I know who loves to drive is Thiruvalla MLA Mathew T Thomas. He talks a lot about cars. He drives the car on his own to Thiruvananthapuram from Thiruvalla. He really likes that,” Ganesh added.
Ganesh also talked about how driving has changed over the years. “Earlier, I used to loosen up when I was at the wheel. But that is not the case now. Therefore, I opt to drive during the night,” the MLA said.