This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sidhartha Kumar Mohanty. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why I Think The New Season Of ‘Top Gear’ Just Sucks

More from Sidhartha Kumar Mohanty

By Sidhartha Kumar Mohanty:

An ice-cream is a complex composition. It’s an emulsion of ice crystals, fat, sweeteners, some other solids and air; solidified at a sub-zero temperature and often served in an edible cone. It’s a calorie dense, fat-rich food with a unique semi-solid texture, sweet taste and low satiation factor and nutritional value. But is that how you describe ice-cream to someone who, due to a gross misfortune conspired by a malignant fate, never had the opportunity to taste it for himself? There’s nothing wrong with the definition per say, but somehow you’ve taken one of the most ingenious palatable recipe of ecstasy devised by man and killed its character. That is what is wrong with Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans’ season of ‘Top Gear aired a couple of nights earlier.

Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in Top Gear.
Clarkson and Hammond. Shared on Facebook.

‘Top Gear’, which reached its 23rd season this year, has been the most revered auto-show to be aired (until now). The new season, however, seems to have lost two of the most fundamental appeals of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s seasons.

One, the unexpected unusualness of reviews which combined testing a perfectly good vehicle under extremely unusual circumstances. Where other auto shows would come up with some conventional tests to challenge the mettle of a well-crafted automobile, ‘Top Gear’ would go further. Like the one review which stands as testimony to the strength of a Toyota Hilux where they proved that it was indestructible by crashing it into a tree, sinking it in the sea, putting it atop a building being demolished and setting it on fire.

The other was the heartfelt, awe-inspiring choice of words the hosts used to describe automotive marvels – cars. They built characters in cars. Like when the Lexus LFA was on the show, sure Clarkson could have raved about the intricate details of engineering feats that Lexus managed to achieve with the LFA or the volume of air-fuel mixture firing the pistons of its 4.8 litre V10. But you would get that anywhere! What made them unique was the way he built the image of the car, lent character to it and described the experience in the cockpit, behind the wheels of a more than half million a dollars’ automotive craftsmanship, which is what made the narrative so gripping. It was the closest you could get to experience something exotic without having the good fortune to actually experience it.

And sometimes they taught you to admire a car in a manner you would otherwise not have. The LFA was not just an oriental super-car. It was, as Clarkson described, “a tech fest. A howling, thrusting, tyre-squealing arrowhead of industrial-grade showing off. It belongs in a collector’s climate-controlled garage, as an example of the moment. It is emphatically not a car you are actually going to buy and use. Because, for just a few quid, you could buy a picture to hang over your mantelpiece. It might even be quite nice. But that doesn’t stop you dreaming about owning Turner’s priceless Rain, Steam and Speed.”

Or when they picked the Alfa Romeo Touring Disco Volante, a 450 horsepower, rear-wheeled coupé that could do 0 to 100 km/h in a little over four seconds and could reach a top speed of 290 km/h. They put it on a pedestal where you would admire its beauty, try to appreciate the melody in its exhaust note and behold this masterpiece that’s a product of four thousand hours of the handiwork of Italian craftsmen. And once you have heard Clarkson describe the Disco Volante, it was no longer just a red car. “A Maserati heart, an Alfa Romeo badge, exhausts made out of Otis Redding…and a handcrafted body to die for,” this Alfa was ‘Baby Jesus’.

For the old trio, an ice-cream is not just an emulsion of complex composition. It is a combination of flavours placed on your tongue to evoke multiple ecstatic sensations simultaneously. It’s solid, but soft. And the contrast of temperatures that you feel as the cold creamy texture melts in the warmth of your mouth, the sense of effortlessness as it moves in your mouth and slides down your throat ever so slowly just to give you enough time to savour its taste. The old trio weren’t petrolheads pouring out information about cars. They appeared to fall in love with cars and describe their feelings as they did, in a manner that made you empathetic.

Featured image shared by ‘Top Gear’ On Facebook.

You must be to comment.

More from Sidhartha Kumar Mohanty

Similar Posts

By Charkha Features

By Raghavendra

By Samadrita Chowdhuri

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below