You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
“I have been working for more than 32 years and the whole idea is to give not-so-rich people the joy of driving a convertible or sports car in their budget. And also for differently-able people to ride a vehicle by themselves without anybody’s help,” says Jagjeet Singh owner of Fine Auto Electric Works in Khan Market, Delhi. Though the shop is not that big but one can easily find it out with that big sign-board, even with one closed eye. “These days everybody has the access to internet and they are watching Hollywood flicks on expensive sports car. Every youngster aspires and dreams to drive them one day but everybody is not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Even a used high end car will come around 65 to 70 lakh and this is where I come in the picture! I am trying to give them the experience of the luxury car without burning a hole in their pockets.”
It all started when his father Sangat Singh came to Delhi from Chandigarh and started the workshop in 1959, which is one of the first in the area. Though his other two brothers choose to go for other profession, Jagjeet Singh joined his father in 1982. “Initially we were into regular work of repairing and selling spare parts but that didn’t really excite me! Even my father realizes it and didn’t stop me but gave me a free hand to do anything I want with the workshop when he retired. After that slowly and gradually people start coming to me for redesigning their cars. Today after 15-16 years, more than 170 differently-able people drive cars redesigned by me and by god’s grace there is no mishap happened or complains to my work. Its gives me immense satisfaction to see a differently-able driving a car and that smile on their face is all worth it. You won’t believe it; people bring in new cars straight from showroom room for modification. That’s show how much confidence they have in me,” says the proud 52 years old technician.
There comes in the helper with the piece of metal asking him the details to which he gave exact specification of measurement without any confusion or second thought. Indeed he himself has done engineering in 1978 and today helps out student in engineering colleges like Indian Institute of Technology and Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology. “These days’ youngsters want everything instantly. First thing when they come to me for training or internship is to design a Ferrari though they might not have any idea of designing a bicycle. But at least it is good to see that zeal in them. Saddest part is when after having done engineering many of them lands up in totally different job, like banking. Changes has to come, we really need to bring that practicality in our education system.” Coming back to his interest, that is car, “I really love to interact with the youngster for the designs aspect as it is totally different in comparison to what it was like in our time,” laughs Jagjeet Singh as he turns off the air conditioner which was rattling like an old fan for a while.
Jagjeet Singh latest innovation is convertible car which he modified out of used old Maruti 800. From no angle does it look like one, so we had to ask for photos before the work was done on it but unfortunately he didn’t click one. “Usually I take around two to three months to modify a car but for this one I took three years.” Looking at the car it is worth taking that much time. This red and black two-seater mean machine is no less than any other high end convertible. Above that it doesn’t just have to look but also work like real one. It is remote lock and makes thumping like a real sports car. Those rims and leather padded seats can give any car run for its money. Initially there was some doubt but it got a nod from his father as well as his wife who had to stay awake many nights waiting for him to come home.
“The advantage of owning a workshop is that you get to ride all kinds of car. I think there is no car that I have not. I have no desire to ride a specific car or have something like dream car. Till now all my works are not major or breathe-taking design but they were according to the requirement of my clients, like farmer and differently-able. Now, all I want to do is make something of my own which can compete with the international brand. Now I am trying to make this car hybrid so that one can easily cover 100 – 125 Km in very less cost,” says Jagjeet Singh with child like enthusiasm in his eye.
So how will one enjoy his designed car or any other car in these congested roads of our country? “I have seen more Bentleys and Jaguars in Delhi then London but there is no space to enjoy these wonderful machines. Government needs to do something about the inflow of new cars on the road or take out the old ones.” He himself rides Mercedes and thinks that his kids are also showing interest in the cars. “It will be all up to them, I won’t force them to take up anything. A farmer’s son doesn’t not become a farmer until and unless he toils the soil and grows a plant.” After that long conversation on his favorite topic – cars, when asked about other things he says, “When I am not working or designing cars, I am dreaming of cars. According to me if you want to be a successful in something, concentrate on that only one thing. If you are diverting your attention to everything than it’s not possible.” For now it is all car in his life!
(Published in Society June ’13, Page No. 90)