5 December 2010

India 2010: part 5 - the road to Ahmedabad

At the end of my trip, my uncle booked us a car to take us from Rajkot to Ahmedabad, the state capital. It was a four-hour journey by car on one of the new state highways, and while the road was new, the characters on it were not.


The highway passes through rural areas. Aside from the intrusion of the road, life here seems largely like it has been for hundreds of years previously - manual labour to plant and gather crops (especially cotton). The road itself provides a convenient path for transport even by foot, and we saw quite a few people walking along the highway from one town to the next.






Although the road is improved, the old hazards of Indian roads are omnipresent. Anticlockwise from top-left: Herds of cattle wander where they like - if they block the road, they are to be driven around. You're expected to sound the horn when you pass a truck so that they know you're there (mirrors - who needs 'em anyway?). There also isn't any such thing as unsafely loading a truck :P Not shown - oncoming traffic in the same lane as you, dust clouds and the many, many crashed trucks and buses by the side of the road.

Waiting for a ride.

At frequent intervals along the road there are these collections of shacks that roughly resemble a truck stop. Enormous crowds of travelers stop here to refuel and eat. In the foreground we have two individuals - one making thepla (flat bread, delicious) and the other one making sev (sort of a deep-fried snack made from chickpea flour).

As mentioned before, this is a dealer in paan, a slightly carcinogenic but nevertheless delicious mix of spices and chewy bits wrapped up in betel nut leaves.

Even more frequently seen than the roadside walkers were these three-wheeled tricycle arrangements. They'd have a motorcycle front-end with some sort of tray and axle arrangement at the back, and there didn't seem to be any upper limit on what they could carry.

I think there are sixteen people on this one.



Vibrant colour :)

I'd shoot out of the window of the van as we overtook vehicles; the best moments came when I'd get what can be best termed a 'look' from the occupants when they realised what I was up to.

The bloke in blue, however, didn't mind having his picture taken at all - he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself.

Livestock? Tricycle? Transport? No problem.

As we got towards Ahmedabad we also saw many camels transporting stuff on the road. Note the patterns painted on to its flank and its face.

Massively overloaded rickshaws were also pretty frequently seen. I'm not sure what the lady in the back was frowning at - probably me :P

Open air transport. There were 6-7 people in the tractor cab as well; all together, I think there were about 28-30 people on this arrangement.

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