Kolkata sleeps early. So when by chance I met a certain gentleman (whom the local newspaper later reported was a Mr. Poddar) at around 9.00 pm somewhere on the street, we were intrigued by his car.
“It’s a custom made car….” He said. The vehicle was a twin seater with huge wheels resembling a Go-karting sportster. We were amazed at the unusual vehicle. What we didn’t know that he was probably just returning from an exhibition of these jet setting beauties at a prominent mall.
Fast forward to Chetla market. Nestled at the backside of the outrageously priced Alipore Road is this humble settlement on both sides of the road. Gracious local shopkeepers invited me to view their merchandise.
“No, I’m not interested in the fishing nets, but can I stand here and wait for my cab?” They seemed surprisingly courteous.
The road was lined with buses. Tomorrow is Election Day. Cars are moving at snail’s pace. Its takes us 45 minutes to cross a 2 km stretch. Somewhere in a building nearby, a supervisor seems to be giving instructions to party workers in Bengali. A hand cart vendor tries to negotiate the road. A pedestrian tries his luck as well in an attempt to board his bus. Among this chaos, a premium styled Jaguar is also stuck with the same fate. With traffic, it equalizes the rich and the poor. No one furthers faster.
Saturday morning is generally quite lazy. After a few kilometers walk and a cup of beverage, it is more so. Rather than walking back, I decide to take a cab. Saturday morning at 8.00 am is in no way a good time to find a cab easily on Nariman point. Overpriced Merus and Cool cabs line against the street, waiting for an unassuming tourist to step out from Trident. I am in no mood to pay price of a Starbucks coffee for the short commute, so do what comes naturally to many Bombayites; hail a kaali peeli.
Kaali-Peeli , translated : Yellow-Black cab; comes in many versions. Gone are the days of the oversized Ambassador, the linear Fiat; now we see stout Korean brands, most newly bought; zipping past and stopping only if they like where you are going. (!)
So, when I spotted a kaali peeli, I got a bit disheartened.
“The old Fiat!” I sighed and waved to the driver.
He caught my eye and soon trudged down the road with his 1990’s engine roaring while I waited impatiently.
I almost shut my eyes while I mumbled out the destination.
It was just a moment, …then…Blink! Blink!
My seat was a canvas of colour. Bollywood colours and dialogues made me a captive audience.
Then I asked him about the interiors.
( to be continued tomorrow)
Who knew that a visit to the corner bakery would be an event in itself. On display today nearby was a fleet of cars lit by overhead lights. With my bakery package in one hand and the camera in another, I managed to get some pictures just before the show was wrapped up. There were a dozen of them. A 1947 Singer Roadster, all shining and gleaming. A 1951 Jaguar which looked as if it was born to rule the road. A 1969 Alpha Romeo. A 1967 Pontiac Firebird. And many more.It was a 1960’s-1970’s nostalgia journey. Event? A Classic Racing Auto Display. Thank God for good coincidences like this, I got much more than cream buns back tonight.
Amongst a lot of movement of the last few years, there have been a lot of computer crashes and data loss at my end. So I was surprised to see that my previous idea entry in BMW contest was still intact on the featured home page. I tried clicking on it, but the link was now gone. This was a great concept story I wrote a couple of years back for them which they had featured. It was about a parking concept for urban mobility. Wish I could recover my data back and put the rest of it online. but till then this is one reminder.
2010: The BMW Group Idea Contest
“Tomorrow’s Urban Mobility Services” sought new ideas for mobility services in tomorrow‘s urban areas .Ideas in this category describe services regarding parking and cover topics such as the efficient and innovative use of parking space in urban areas, locating parking areas, payment services or additional services directly or indirectly connected to parking. Parking concept by Bhawna Vij Katyal was featured on the BMW contest website.
In this concept, parking is taken to new “heights” and cars are parked at the top of a pillar which is actually a vertical garden on the outside.