Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nothing but the Best!

A time capsule is defined as 'historic cache of goods or information, often intended as a method of communication with future people.' This would help the future anthropologists and historians. Emperor Asoka's pillar inscriptions of Sarnath is one example. Even though not even as close to being significant or historic like the Asokan pillars, the time capsule at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany is useful for the common man to understand the shaping up of one of the world's largest economy. Yes, the museum devoted to exhibiting the development of the brand Mercedes, just like any other museum begins from the origin. But what is exciting comes after the origin. The way the company has taken shape and the way the entire country has developed as the automobile developed is explained quite brilliantly and that is the best thing about the museum.

The journey begins with the display of a superb model of a sports car. Probably that is the indication about the grandeur of what is about to come further. An elevator to the top floor from which the journey of the automobile starts is not just any ordinary elevator. It is the time capsule. As it goes to higher floors, there is a fast recap of videos visible on the wall opposite, thus taking us back in time along with it. At the entry, there is a statue of a horse as if to thank the animal for serving mankind so well before the automobile revolution. It could as well mean that the service of the animal stopped just at the entrance of the automobile. Either way, the horse is happy. It can have a life of its own.

Whether a coincidence or competition, it is a wonder that both Mr. Daimler and Mr. Benz had developed their own automobile in the year 1886. If Daimler modified a horse wagon, Benz made a carrier of his own. They both ran on gasoline. Thus started the journey. It goes on to show how the ambitious men that they both were conquered every part of the transport and logistics sector. The breweries in Germany were more than happy with the arrival of the automobile and were among the first customers. Later, an Austrian businessman, who wanted to win the annual vehicle race in France got a customised car made for the very same purpose and named the car after his daughter, Mercedes. After Benz and Daimler came together, they retained the name. Interestingly, it is only around the late 18th century that Germany as it is now has grown in popularity under the iron chancellor, Otto von Bismark. If this is a coincidence, then the crucial role played by the automobile companies during both the world wars is no coincidence. 

Once the war ended, west Germany, especially Bavaria grew in the automobile sector. Now, every fourth car on the road is a German car. Due to the destruction left by the war, nation building, like the breweries earlier required good transport and logistics facilities and Mercedes was in the forefront in grabbing that opportunity. So much did the car and their speeds develop that the group had to focus exclusively on safety at a point of time. Thus came the 'airbag.' No, the seat belt was invented by Volvo. Towards the end, there is a proud exhibition of the Formula One race cars, the suits worn by different drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Juan Manuel Fangio. Surprisingly, Micheal Schumacher does not feature anywhere. There are also exhibits of the original cars used by celebrities like Pope John Paul II (someone) - basically the papal car, the car used by Lady Diana, the truck that carried athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic games, the car used in Jurassic Park etc. There is also a souvenir shop and a car showroom, into which people generally go to sit in the car and click photographs.

Any normal human being whose heart beats at 72 cycles per minute wishes to travel at least twice in that time capsule. This museum is a perfect reflection of the motto Mercedes-Benz: Best or nothing. It is nothing but the best!