Gone But Not Forgotten – Our 1976 Toyota Corolla (RIP)

A car isn’t just a transportation vehicle system but it’s a big box of stories, memories, rants, happy shouts, anger bouts, repairs, long drives, sleep ins, built in cafe, dating spot and what not

It’s not just any vehicle, it’s a buddy!

My family never really possessed a fancy hi tech car, instead our very first one was straight out of a vintage collection, the 1976 model of Toyota Corolla, a mustard colored, left-driven, old, cranky looking car, something out of an old cowboy classic, but tougher than most and resilient as ever since it took my dads super rough driving pretty smoothly for so many years despite being so aged. Although it’s hinges and joints (chassis) had pretty much given up and started to collapse every now and then near it’s death age but it still worked with us for well over a decade and a half till it begged for a mercy kill.

We called it Musty Balila (dunno why) – with a number plate J8829

Nonetheless, it’s Amber color stood out among the rest, finding our car in a large parking lot was never difficult, also the noise it made on ignition was loud enough to wake up the dead, hence killing the idea of sneaking out at night if one really wanted to.

We took our first ever road trip outside Karachi to a farmhouse near Hyderabad in our Musty, while I was 9/10 yrs old and faced a dangerously huge car breakdown on our way back, right in the middle of the highway. One of the wheels had magically and suddenly decided to detach itself from the lot and take a lone tour! I mean why would it do that? In the middle of the road of THE most notoriously busy highways in Karachi, known for its number of accidents and casualties. The car felt a sudden bump coz the wheel had gone off the rim JUST LIKE THAT, a loud screech jammed our ears and added drama to the whole situation coz now the car’s body was dragging against the road. Luckily, not much traffic entailed us that night else we would have easily been hit from behind and due to the less traffic, dad was driving at a normal speed unlike the usual one that is supposed to be maintained on highways. Had it been speedier, with the wheel abandoning us like that, the car could have toppled over too. But guess fate was on our side and we were completely unharmed except for a mental shock of what had just happened. Since no nearby mechanic could be found open at that spot and our usual one was reluctant to come right away from the city, we had no option but to wait out in the car in its tilted state which we had pulled in a corner with some local help and a lot of difficulty. The wheel apparently couldn’t be fixed back so easily since there was a breakage in the chassis and could only be repaired by a skilled mechanic.

Fortunately we had leftover food and water with us from our farmhouse trip and we munched on it for some time till I fell asleep. Mom was in great shock, rather she was petrified of the car and didn’t want to travel back in it but obviously there was no other choice.

Anyway it all got fixed in some tiring long hours when some biker helped us grab a mechanic from a distance who got his boys and another heavy vehicle to drag the car to his shop for fixing. Once done we were on the road back home and it was nearly the next day.

you must be thinking what’s there to remember about such a trouble box.. Well at my age then, all of this was more of an adventure than a problem

Despite all the small and big troubles Musty gave us during its lifetime, I still regard it as my special car because I took my first driving lesson in it. I was around 12-13 yrs old. Dad would take me to the nearby Hockey Stadium and make me drive it in circles to begin with. From circles he took me out on the lanes of the stadium and around it and then finally onto the main roads. It would stop multiple times with a jerk and give me a heart attack (like it usually happens with a newbie driver) but I would win the struggle with Musty and take over it. And finally I was an expert.

If I could drive THAT car I could drive anything 😀

To recall more, I remember singing out Boyzone & Back Street Boys songs out loud to my parents while we drove to places or listening to them on my Walkman; the stares following us when we’d take our classically loud vehicle to a posh venue; Taking short naps in the back seat while we drove back home; keeping a cushion to sit on it to make myself look taller. Even remember passing smiles and silent gestures to other kids of my age passing by (LOL). Writing names and making shapes on the dusty windows with a finger; eating in the backseat and spilling a drink all over the covers inviting a scold from dad… Sighs..  So much just so much is there to recollect.

It didn’t live long enough to see me get my drivers license but it did stay long enough to see me grow from a child to an adult making all the possible memories..taking me to places,  people and limitless experiences.

Here’s to Musty! *Cheers*



I was inspired to write this article to submit my #CarKahani (story) for a campaign by Total Parco Pakistan where you submit stories of cherished memories with your car and win a chance to get your story filmed and meet Atif Aslam, brand ambassador for the campaign, for a hangout  🙂

To submit story, click 👇