We must get beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths… and tell the world the glories of our journey. -John Hope Franklin
An auto rickshaw or tuk tuk (auto, rick, autorick or rickshaw in popular parlance) is a motor vehicle that is one of the chief modes of transport across many parts of South and East Asia, especially as a vehicle for hire. It is a motorized version of the traditional rickshaw or velotaxi, a small three-wheeled cart driven by a person, and is related to the cabin cycle. Auto rickshaws are particularly popular where traffic congestion is a problem and is most preferred by the cost-conscious developing economies. They are common in many Asian cities like Bangkok, Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad , and Bangalore, and some can be seen on the streets of China Town in London. Auto rickshaws are often portrayed in Indian films (Auto Shankar, Basha, Aye Auto, Oram Po) as well as some Hollywood and foreign productions such as the James Bond film Octopussy and the Canada-India film Amal. Auto rickshaws are also prominent in the fuel-poor London of 2027 A.D. depicted in Children of Men. A memorable tuk-tuk chase features in the Thai film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, climaxing with many of them driving off the edge of an unfinished elevated expressway. James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) rides in a tuk-tuk in a Visa Card commercial seen here! And why am I talking about autorickshaws today? Because I just discovered a new land-route to Lavasa via our humble autorickshaw(see photos).I chased the autorickshaw for almost a Km and realized that it was ascending the ghats with a 8-pax load effortlessly. Eureka – another way to reach the Land of Zeus! If you reach Pirangut at the foothills of the Sahyadri(which is amply connected to Pune), you could take an autorickshaw to Lavasa:)))
A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air. -Eric Sloane
The colors of Lavasa change every month. The township is growing day &; night. There are over 12,000 workers giving it all they have 7 x 24! The predominant color now is rust, which goes very well with the red earth color of the terrain. The Warasgaon lake is shrinking at a rapid pace throwing up swathes of red earth giving dramatic pictures.The shrubbery is dry &; literally crackles under your feet. The very much remembered Eric Sloanes lines as above with every step I took. The lake is like a picture post-card now, with migratory birds in droves sitting on the branches of an inaccessible part of the outer boundaries of the Dasave lake. The multicolored flowers complement the rusty dried bush all around. It is as if a life cycle of Nature is in active motion all around… new life blooming and old life getting recycled into the red earth.”Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” — A phrase from the English burial service, used sometimes to denote total finality. It is based on scriptural texts such as ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return’ (Genesis 3:19), and ‘I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee’ (Ezekiel 27:18). Physically, we are made of chemicals – a carbon based life-form, so we come from the earth and when we die, we re-enter the carbon cycle. For our lifetimes we have a consciousness and many would say a spirit/soul as well as the use of atoms from planet earth – on death, our mortal remains naturally return our chemicals to the earth/system. The Bible and the burial service both reflect the transient state of human life in those words….I think the same goes for the Nature around us.. ditto for the flowers & the shrubs &; the trees of Lavasa…. Let me now tell you about the first love of my life – the seas…..
“Many’s the night I spent with Minnie the Mermaid, Down at the bottom of the sea. There among the corals, That’s where I lost my morals, Gee but she was good to me, oh, oh, oh, Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, Two twin beds and only one of them mussed … It goes on from there for a bit. -Anonymous
At Lavasa, it is the huge expanses of sweet-water that are the love-of-my-life. And then I glided on the waters of both the lakes – The Dasave Lake on a Pontoon Boat &; the Warasgaon Lake on an Inflatable search-and-rescue dingy with a fast Mercury outboard motor! We darted over the waves at around 60 kms/hour, skimmed the water in chilling curves and zoomed into the rising sun at 6:30am! They have the water “scooters”, the sea “Vespas”. No licence is required and it is so easy to ride them that not even a course is necessary. In case of fall, nothing to fear: a device turns off the engine and the vehicle remains standing in order to enable its passenger to climb up and start again.Cedwyn &; his team have started the marina activities only on December 01, 2008 &; have already kicked up the expectations sky-high! For the more athletic ones you can try water skiing; those who do not have a weak heart can experience the thrill of paraflying, that is flying with a paraglider following a motorboat; those who only want to have fun in groups can try the pontoon boats or the crazy-squirty-bumper-boats. A pontoon is a flat-bottomed boat simply constructed from closed cylinders such as pipes or barrels creating a raft (See video). Pontoon boats generally are low cost and less expensive to insure than a normal boat, even when equipped with engines of over 200hp. They are also almost foolproof to operate and cannot be sunk. Their shallow draft also reduces damage from submerge collisions and being run aground. Pontoon boats are also used as small vehicle ferries to cross rivers and lakes in many parts of the world, especially in Africa. Pontoon ferries may be motorised, such as the Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi River, or powered by another boat, or pulled by cables. A type of ferry known as the cable ferry (called ‘punts’ in Australia and New Zealand) pull themselves across a river using a motor or human power applied to the cable, which also guides the pontoon. In the rural town of Richmond, MN, a farmer called Ambrose Weeres had an idea that if you put a wooden deck on top of two columns of steel barrels welded together end to end, you would have a sturdy deck that would be more stable on a lake than a conventional boat. This proved to be right. Being in the land of 10,000 lakes, Ambrose thought this idea might have some potential to be marketed. He started out building a few boats and sold them with the help of select dealers. He needed a name for his first pontoon and he couldn’t think of a better name than “The Empress”, because of what it started. He never knew how popular these boats would be. Some time later, Ambrose was labeled “Mr. Pontoon” for his invention of the pontoon boat and was elected to the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame for his accomplishments.India has imported its first Pontoon Boat for the Dasave Lake Family Cruises. You can hardly hear the silent petrol engine that takes the Pontoons effortlessly across the lake. You could have cocktail dinners on the Pontoons & would not spill a drop from a full glass of your favorite cocktail. Cheers!!!!
We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. ~Hilaire Belloc