My life in India and visits to India are generally confined to its metros and other larger cities so like any urban metro-wasi my thoughts and concerns also tend to be city centric.I huff and puff about the power failures, the poor infrastructure, poorly set up and managed transportation systems and when the talk veers to progress, usually the sprouting of Malls and the new flyovers and 4 lane highways come up as examples of how India is progressing.

 Well India is progressing without a doubt but India is too large and too many people live outside the relatively charmed circle of the cities for one definition of progress to apply to the whole of it.

Over a series of blog posts I present my ‘view’ of India as seen from the back seat of a car being driven at moderate speed through the vast and endless plains of Uttar Pradesh,right upto and beyond the point where U.P turns into Uttaranchal.We travelled from Gurgaon, through Delhi on to Hapur and many small towns and villages till we reached our destination of Kashipur in Uttaranchal.

Enough is known and written about what is lacking in the towns and cities of india but this first post in the series makes an effort to highlight how india and the average indian copes with that lack and gets on with his /her life.While in Delhi we bemoan the fact that the metro(train) is about 20 years too late, have a look at how the other Indians cope with lack of basically every form of infrastructure but still seem determined on making the effort  required to break through to a more promising and bountiful tomorrow.

You will have to excuse the poor quality of the pictures as they were taken from a moving car and the atmosphere was also very hazy.

1) It was very early in the morning when this picture was taken somewhere between Ghaziabad and Hapur.One has to admire the grit of these students who take this bumpy,impromptu ride everyday to reach their schools,usually long distances away from their homes.In spotless uniforms they set out daily for that prized,’English medium’ education that is unavailable in the ramshackle, government schools in their villages.
 
 
 
 

 

2) Further ahead it was amazing to see how the girls seemed to outnumber the boys in this quest for a good education.Standing in small groups on forlorn roads they wait for the public buses,tempos,rickshaws,tongas…anything that can get them to their gateway to a better future.

3) As the day progressed further and the sun got higher in the sky there were armies of men on cycles pedalling long disatnces to the factories and workshops that dotted the highway we were travelling. With their lunch boxes strapped to the bikes they make their way to work, probably in the hope of sending their children to the kind of educational institutes advertised on the hoarding on the side of the road.
 
 
 
 

 

4)In total defiance of the laws of the land and the laws of gravity trucks like these in thousands criss cross the land carrying goods from one end of the country to another.Instead of the old ‘buri nazar waale tera munh kala’

kind of slogans I found Chak De India painted across most trucks.
 
 
 
 

 

5) This part of U.P is also the sugar belt of the north and we found ourselves stuck now and then behind trucks and carts like these.The abundance of the produce of this fertile land has to be seen to be believed.
 
 
 
 

 

 

6) While the titans of organised retail fret about supply chains and logistics and storage facilties, this is how Bharat goes ahead with its supply mechanism. Early morning is the time when you see incredibly fresh produce making its way from farm to markets, big and small.
 
 
 
 

 

7)I have no idea what the guy below was transporting or if he was just catching a ride with the tractor wala but he certainly was making the most of it,snoozing in the warm winter sun.
 
 
 
 

 

8)Family transport is truly a private enterprise in most of India in the absence of regular bus service on the road networks that lie off the main highways.There seemed to be some village ‘mela’or ‘haat’ (informal and shifting village market) on somewhere in the vicinty as we saw lorry load after lorry load of colorfully dressed women all travelling in the same direction.
 
 
 
 

 

9)The Muslim women in their monochromatic hues were out, too, headed in the same direction.
 
 
 

10) As we moved closer to Kashipur via the road through Thakurdwara the modes of transport mingled into one big jumble that is a hallmark of most Indian roads.The absence of impatience was what was different from the metros.Everyone just waited for their turn to make way ahead.

 

11) Trucks and small motorbikes  seem to form the backbone of most of the transport of India and its goods.
 
 
 
 

 

12)This is the main traffic junction of the town.I loved this all in one transportation of school children,house wife and the cattle.
 
 
 

13) But for sheer sense of humor I must give it to the driver of this small lorry who honked and trailed us for a considerable distance on a narrow stretch of the road.
After all the blowing of his horn and flashing of lights, when he finally overtook us, he left us staring at this únbelievable message.!!!

“Hamein Jaldi Nahin hai”

REALLY !!!! He could have fooled me.

 

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