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Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020

Now, a grooming school for drivers

Institute offers makeovers, etiquette classes to turn your rowdy roadrunner into a chauffeur.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2011 11:52 IST
Megha Mahindru
Megha Mahindru
Hindustan Times

If navigating through the city’s chaotic roads and spotting an empty parking spot for your SUVs wasn’t challenging enough, here’s another obstacle that Mumbai’s elite drivers are up against — that of turning into chauffeurs, yes, those crisp uniform-clad, cap-toting kinds.

Brainchild of investment banker, Amin Merchant, Bandra’s Institute of Chauffeur Services offers a 10-session module to luxury car drivers with classes on everything from self-confidence, car maintenance, personal hygiene and mannerisms. Started in November last year, Merchant and his team of six instructors have trained over 800 drivers. And after the success of their Mumbai and Ahmedabad outlets, they now plan to open centres in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

“The luxury cars market in India has seen a rise. We have moved on from the Marutis and Fiats. Now Audis, BMWs and Mercs are quite commonplace,” says Merchant, adding, “But the Munnnas and Pappus haven’t changed with the car. So it’s now a place with expensive cars, but no chauffeurs to handle them.”

Merchant’s duty is to give the unkempt roadrunners a makeover of sorts. “Besides training them in car care, we also conduct classes on personal hygiene. They are instructed to shave, bathe daily and even use hand sanitiser.” However, all this will cost you Rs 5,000 for a basic course and over Rs 12,000 for a well-rounded programme.

While Merchant’s enterprise, on first look, may be dismissed as a niche service for class snobbery, he points out that the course helps these professional drivers demand a higher salary. “We give you a driver, who doesn’t stink of onions during the day and knows not to stare at women’s plunging necklines,” he says. With this scheme of things, we won’t be surprised to see a MasterChef-certified cook at home next time.

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