The 'Musu musu hasi...' chocolate-boy is not really a car-person, as he tells Rituroy Chakraborty, but his ready smile shows his love for his new Swing!

Mobile Phone batteries have a weird tendency of running out at the most critical of times. It happened as I was on my way to meet popular singer Shaan between his heavy recording schedule. But what are the odds that his phone's battery would run out too, leaving us stranded with no means of communication!? Well, it did, so tough.

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Understandably, it was a huge relief when he found me standing outside Mithibai College (Mumbai), giving the youngsters something to smile and talk about at home that evening.

"Like most other people, my first car was a Maruti 800, and I simply loved it. It had this terrible habit of its fuel-meter conking off, leaving me stranded on the road. I was just started getting noticed then, so it was quite embarrassing when people recognised you pushing your car to the pump. But I still have a good laugh over it."

"When I got married, my father-in-law gifted us an Alto, and that was nice since I thought we could use the 'alto'-ration! It was just two months ago that I decided to go in for another car but the more I looked, the more confusing it got. I even turned adventurous and started considering bigger cars like the Sonata and Octavia. Then someone suggested the Accord, another the Mondeo, and one even recommended the C-Class. But the fear of the tax-man and extortionist made me drop all plans to buy a posh car."

"Anyway, I was passing an Opel showroom and as I quite liked the red Swing that my wife's gynaec drives, decided to check out the car myself. I tried it out, loved it, paid the money for the silver one that was available off the shelf, drove it home and dropped the keys in my wife's hands. She was surprised!"

But why only the Swing? "Well, first of all, I'm going to be a daddy by July and thought it would be a good idea to have a second car for my wife and the baby, now that my father-in-law drives the 800.

"The Swing looks good, drives well, and has a lot of space inside without being too big on the outside. It's a very...tight car, a 'big' car that can be driven easily through narrow gallis without taking some pedestrians along with me! The power-steering helps, of course. I just love the rails on top, I think they look very nice. Also, I feel it's a very safe car since it has the gauge to avoid being totally squashed in the event of an accident.

"Do you know that even as a child, I loved the Premier Padmini estates used by Air India. I guess the Swing was just what I was looking for. It's me, absolutely bindaas!"

It's a good car no doubt, but is it perfect? "Well, no! The biggest problem is that the glove compartment is too small. And if a tall person is sitting in the passenger seat, his/her knees obstruct it, not allowing it to open properly. And the engine is also a bit noisy for a modern petrol."

What kind of music does the music-man like in his car?

"Well, most of my collection of music is CDs and my car doesn't have a CD player. Also, I rarely get to hear my own songs since the mixing always happens much later. So I generally buy tapes of my own songs, listen to them in my car, and then give the tapes away to friends or fans. I also love to listen to FM while in the car."

For a person who travels around the world, any memorable drives?

"We were in Warsaw, Poland, recently and were driven around in this latest BMW which had screens, satellite navigation, and all sorts of hi-tech stuff (probably the new 7-series)! It was really, really interesting. The owner couldn't stop talking about it too!"

It's time for Shaan to go, but not before telling us, money no bar, which car would he buy?

"You know, as I said, I'm really not a car person. I still think the best car for Mumbai is a Maruti 800, or even for that matter, your Honda Activa that you let me ride just now (Honda, thank you!). The Activa seemed power-packed, easy to ride and generally a good thing to have around. You see, I'm not a flashy person, and I don't get an adrenaline rush from a hot car or a solid bike. I get enough of that when I'm on stage and there are 10,000 guys 'n gals screaming their lungs out. That's more fun!".