KSRTC buses are always ‘ana vandi’ (elephant vehicle) for Keralites, perhaps because of the elephant symbol painted on the buses or since they are large. When Tata's Iris became ubiquitous on the roads, we chose to call the white Iris as vellimoonga (barn owl) and the black ones as black beetle.
Though we are quick to provide nick names to vehicles, it would be surprising to know that what we actually call them as their real name has no relation to the company or model. Here is a list of such vehicles:
Of late, we have been calling all heavy-duty tipper lorries as Taurus. Any heavy-duty truck from Bharat Benz, Tata, Mahindra and Ashok Leyland is Taurus for us. In reality, Taurus is the name of the first multi-axle truck launched by Ashok Leyland in India; it has no similarity with any of the heavy-duty trucks that are seen on the roads today. Taurus is more like a national permit lorry with 10 or more tyres and are used for carrying goods. However, the name Taurus has become a fixation for Malayali, perhaps due to the similarity of heavy-duty tippers that have a capacity of 40 tonnes and above with the character in Greek mythology. Taurus is identified with Zeus, who assumed the form of a magnificent white bull to abduct Europa, a legendary Phoenician princess.
This is a blooper that is quite old. All excavators are JCBs for us. Be it Escorts, Tata, Mahindra or Caterpillar, if the excavators run on four tyres, we prefer to call it a JCB. Actually, JCB is just a brand name. It is the acronym of Joseph Cyril Bamford, founder of JCB Inc that makes construction and excavation equipment. It was Banford who introduced the backhoe, the elephant trunk-like arm that is used to dig or lift sand and other materials and load onto trucks. JCB is among the top names in the manufacturing of heavy-duty construction equipment in the world.
Just as we call excavators on wheels as JCBs, we all call the excavators running on chains as Hitachi. Actually, they are crawler excavators; Hitachi is just one of the companies making crawler excavators. What we see commonly in India today are the crawler excavators built by Tata using Hitachi technology. They are transported on lorries so that roads are not damaged by the iron chain. Chains help them to negotiate terrains where there are no roads, and have much more stability due to their wider track gauge.
Even though Bajaj Tempo Ltd changed its name to Force Motors more than 10 years ago, we still book a 'Tempo Traveller' for marriages and other functions. The company broke its association with German firm Tempo in 2001 and changed its name in 2005. Though Force Motors brings out popular models such as Traveller, Trax and Cruiser, we still call them Tempo Traveller.