While other birds flee from a storm, eagles are different. They fly into the storm and face the turbulence. The eagle uses raging winds to soar higher and faster. The fearless likewise face life’s storms to soar higher, even during this pandemic storm wrecking lives and livelihoods.

Pursuing quality work serves as refuge and reward during every challenging time.

Quality effort has continued during wars, pandemics and peace. So did many iconic names across centuries, countries, cultures. So did Rolls-Royce Motor Cars that launches the new ‘Ghost’ worldwide on 1 September. It joins the Rolls-Royce ‘Phantom’, ‘Wraith, ‘Dawn’ and 2009 Ghost born from the spirit of quality.

This is a Ghost story told through an entity I call the ‘Phantom of Quality’. He pushes quality work into the Pantheon of Excellence, to serve and inspire across time.

This Ghost story began in Berkeley Square, London, where Charles Rolls was born on 27 August 1877. He and Henry Royce (18631933) made automobile and aviation history before Rolls died in 1910 aged 32.

“The New Ghost is a journey of more than six years,” emailed Hal Serudin from the Rolls-Royce AsiaPacific office in Singapore. “A team of luxury intelligence specialists, designers, engineers and craftspeople assembled to begin development.”

Quality journeys go beyond luxury even in the world of machines. They become masterpieces of engineering art – like the supersonic Concorde and the 1963 Porsche 911.

Those able to experience, enjoy, appreciate such wonders are those whom the Phantom of Quality has rewarded.

Successful people have ultradisciplined work ethics, make great efforts, conquer laziness and cross pain barriers. The Law of Cause and Effect gives deserving fruit.

The world’s “1 per cent” of the ultra-wealthy also comprises those paying more taxes and giving more to philanthropy each year than 99 per cent of us do in a lifetime.

Spenders of honestly-earned wealth are more than self-indulgent, ultra-luxury consumers. Soccer maestro Cristiano Ronaldo owning a Rolls-Royce Cullinan and a Bugatti La Voiture Noire (Rs 75 crore) also becomes a sponsor of high-quality technology.

Get inspired by mighty efforts for quality work. But never envy the wealthy. They suffer enough, if they become attached to their wealth. Possessions soon possess the owner.

That is why the wise renounce wealth and power, like the crown prince Gotama who became the Buddha. That is why the wise among the Phantom of Quality beneficiaries share their wealth. Cristiano Ronaldo was named the most charitable sports star in 2015 for his philanthropic donations, including for cancer treatment and life-saving surgeries.

The wisely shared wealth has a trickle-down effect, as do technologies. The first air-conditioned car was the luxury Packard model in 1940. Now taxis have air-conditioning.

Air travel was a luxury once upon a century. The Pan Am Boeing 314 ‘Yankee Clipper’ flight in 1939 from New York to Southampton cost about $12,000 (Rs 9 lakhs) in today’s money. Stranded daily wage earners flew back to their hometowns this lockdown summer.

The “Formula of Serenity”, “Engineering Purity” technologies in the new Ghost too will evolve and expand: more efficient motors, engines, quieter supersonic aircraft, trucks, air-conditioners, mixergrinders.

Quality work and brave achievements inspire across fields of human endeavour. Innovative entrepreneurs in India will create globally-known quality brands in what is destined to be India’s millennium.

Sometimes quality brands blend to continue the story of excellence. BMW took over Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 1998. A separate entity, Rolls-Royce plc, designs, manufactures engines for aircraft, ships, nuclear submarines and energy providers.

Both entities originated from Charles Rolls and Henry Royce who were pioneers of cars and planes 110 years ago.

Rolls died young on 12 July 1910 during an experimental flight in Bournemouth, the first air crash victim in England. The new Ghost continues his legacy.

The Ghost of 2020 has innovative offerings to the Phantom of Quality: special aluminium spaceframe architecture, innovations to the 6.75-litre V12 engine, roof, boot, floor, seat, windows and tyres with acoustic insulation – ingredients in the “Formula for Serenity” producing the near-noiseless car.

The Phantom of Quality demands attention to minute detail. Significant technology developments and “fastidious attention to detail” produced the super-silent Ghost, said Rolls-Royce Acoustic Engineering head Tom Davis-Reason. India increasingly features in this realm of quality. The Londonbased Knight Frank Research says

India will have 73 per cent growth of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals (investable assets of minimum $30 million) in the next five years.

“Rolls-Royce Motor Cars owes much to India,” Rolls-Royce’s media team said. “The sub-continent was the ultimate destination of many early iconic models, including the Silver Ghost and Phantom.” In 1911, Rolls-Royce established depots in Bombay and Calcutta.

Rolls-Royce owners included Ranjitsinhji, the Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar better known as the batting genius ‘Ranji’.

Threads of history connect. ‘Ranji’ had made 204 runs in his last match in 1903 captaining Sussex the county that is home to RollsRoyce’s Goodwood headquarters which created the new Ghost.

The new Ghost in India is another sign of the new 21st century: the new India emerging from a ‘Third World’ tag, and overtaking colonial looter Britain in becoming the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2019.

The cycle of history brings back golden eras. I see quality work and prosperity returning to an ancient civilization called Jambudvipa or Bharat or India.

The writer is a senior, Mumbai-based journalist.