Fast and Phast

 I think it was the '2Fast 2 Furious' sticker on a Maruti Suzuki Wagon R Duo LPG with aerodynamic kit that walloped me. If that's not being ambitious, I don't know what is. What next? A NOS sticker on a bullock cart? Well, at least nitrous oxide serves as laughing gas, so the sight can be funny all right. And combined with the methane from the bullocks, I am sure performance could be pretty lethal.

Here's where I bring in the difference between Fast and Phast. Fast are those genuine guys who tune their cars to give it better performance. Sometimes they are sleepers, so they do it for genuinely getting better performance rather than show off to pedestrians, autorickshaw drivers and housemaids. Phast are those guys who are just the opposite, like that Wagon R Duo guy, who make their car look fast without actually allowing it to go fast. Loading it with useless and unscientifically designed aerodynamic kits is one way, bright paintwork and tinted glasses with lots of stickers is another.

And Phast are also those guys who don't know anything about their car, even if it's fitted with a NOS kit. For instance I saw a superbly slammed blue first-gen Honda City with all the right bits and it sounded good. I knocked on the dark window to compliment on the way the car was moving. One duh character wearing fancy clothes and trendy sunglasses was behind the wheel. I asked him how much is it making. He said 'Paanch lakh.' Must have been a second-hand purchase then. Still undefeated, I asked him, 'Kitna power hai?' He replied, 'Chaar cylinder.' I was suitably impressed to leave him in the wake of my long-term Mahindra Renault Logan diesel.

We are surrounded by Phast guys: people who look the part in terms of hair styling and fashion, but once they open their mouths, you know exactly where their 'fast' appearance ends. But at the same time, during some good, rare days, you get the genuine stuff.

Undeterred by my previous experiences with Phast guys, I knocked on the window of a simple looking but brilliantly sounding Mitsubishi Lancer with fatter tyres. This dude wearing a simple t-shirt and baseball cap rolls the window down. I asked, 'Nice car, how much is it making?' He replied, 'I haven't tested it on the dyno, but 120 bhp is more like it. I have done the usual stuff on it... filters, free-flow exhausts, but not much.' But before he could complete, the traffic light changed to green and he left me in a happy state, surrounded by the exhaust notes of a simple sleeper.

So what are you: Fast or Phast?