Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Ode to the ‘King of Indian Roads’

The Ambassador truly has a special meaning in our lives, I remember having grown up with one at home, its regal looks inspired by the Morris Oxford are truly unmatched!  Infact, I still fondly remember my the Morris I owned  between 1982 & 1985.....

The story of the Ambassador is sure no less than a revolution of sorts, such a magnanimous legacy and association for every Indian, launched in 1958 by Hindustan Motor Limited and has been in production since...., probably the first big car of independent India and it remained so until the early 80’s.

I think, its the only automobile to be Indian roads for more than five decades now, and is even today revered across generations! Fondly known as the ‘Amby’, I remember, being picked up from school in dad’s good old Ambassador... feeling almost like a king myself in its spacious interiors.   

My first driving lessons were on this car I remember; we’ve had many memorable family holidays in the Amby too!
Today, as I look back in time it was this car that was the foundation of the tourism industry’s transport system and even today the government and heads of state of India use it extensively.  Over the years there have  been  many development  and upgrade  with better engines  and the comfort of an air conditioner even though I remember the in the olden days  the car would slow  down  and overheat as we drove up the hills. Though now with its all new Isuzu engines the Amby is the all powerful road ranger!

The “King of Indian Roads” would soon be back... Wondering what I am talking about? Come January 2011; experience the joy of travelling through the Indian landscape in a ‘Retro Ambassador’ with Le Passage to India. We’ll bring back the age old charm of the classic Amby, its graceful curves and elegance adding a zing to your Incredible India sojourns.

Truly, a whole new Indian experience to savour the delightful landscape and terrain on a self drive tour in the ‘King of Roads- the Ambassador’ at your own pace with a road book and GPS to guide you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

 Jama Masjid, in old Delhi is one place that always reflects the happy spirit and colourful culture of our country. 
That expression on the face of super excited visitors, when amidst the charm of the Grand Jama Masjid is a thrill in itself.  I noticed that, even though the area is always crowded with lots of people and the shops abuzz with customers, the busyness only adds to the real Indian experience.  I would say a visit to Delhi is incomplete without experiencing Old Delhi.
I was deeply saddened by the recent opportunistic incidents of shooting on our Taiwanese guests outside the Jama Masjid. I am sure this unfortunate incident will not dampen the spirit of India, infact we learn to be stronger and more resilient to fight against odds like this one.  Just a clear indicator is that tourist thronged to visit the monument the next day after the attack and there has truly been no looking back… for anyone. 
 Terrorism is a negative force that cannot be allowed to succeed; by remaining strong and carrying on with our daily lives, we clearly send out a message.
 In times like these regular folks are the true unsung heroes, I can very proudly say the extreme presence of mind by our coach driver, the bus helper and our team; we could rush the Taiwanese guests to hospital and save their lives…  Perhaps, but I think the extremists had underestimated the resilience and spirit of the people of India. 
I firmly believe, in India we are one big happy family that will continue to stand together welcoming visitors to our Incredible land!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beautiful Sojourns !!

Flying across continents is quite an overwhelming feeling, especially if one is on a day flight with a cloudless sky!  On my recent travel to Istanbul it was really interesting to watch the world pass beneath me as we flew across continents, as if I was running my fingers over a topographical map with green, blue and brown markings, it brought back fond memories of geography lessons in high school, though sometimes an air travel journey can steeped in history too … with an interesting person on the next seat!

Reminds me of one magical trip with the wife to the Ranthambore National Park… the connect comes to my mind as yet another beautiful sojourn … staying in the wilderness luxury camp on the fringes of the park against the backdrop of the Aravalli hills added to the experience. 

The park looks like a huge savannah dotted with water bodies, the old hunting lodges are a testimony of the carnage of yester year’s royalty. The entire experience of being there was exhilarating… coming up close to deers, gazelles and leopards, being in the vicinity of the chirping sounds felt serene. On one walk with the naturalist, we sighted a stunning scene; a swamp of pintails diving quite literally “bottoms up” for fish. The park is truly a delight with many unique experiences to relish and cherish….

The evening there, have an air of silence with faraway sounds of the wilderness settling in for the night… the communal fireplace at the camp is abuzz with intense discussion on personal sightings… as I reminiscent, I too was apart of one such animated discussion with an elderly english couple, sharing their experiences of playing joyfully with some wild cats as a languor silently watched atop a tree! 

Some experiences do certainly leave indelible marks… this surely is one of them!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pitter Patter on my window !!

The pitter patter on my window-sill, was rhythmic music to my ears …… there’s something about the monsoons brings a smile on my face , maybe its the freshly soaked earthy smell , glistening green leaves and a hot cup of Masala Chai or just the thought of holding my 19 month daughter Amaraah as she joyfully walks and giggles with the sound of rains!

The monsoon is also a hair bringer of the colorful and vibrant Indian festive season… giving everyone a reason to celebrate…. with happiness all around, its time to feast as Iftaar parties all through Ramadan… then comes a trail of festivals - Ganesh Chaturthi & Eid in September , Durga Puja & Diwali in October & November followed by Christmas and New Year…. Pure indulgence I say! Guess…few inches on my waistline are on there way….

But of course the flavour and fervor of each festival is unique to a region just like how I believe the inheritance flavour of a travel sojourn is in wandering into quaint alleys and taking in the landscape’s natural beauty…

On my recent visit to Chennai it was fascinating to see a tapestry of languages in this city steeped in history, its ravishing colors of life, timelessness, the kaleidoscope of culture only reaffirmed my belief that in India a thousand lifestyles breathe as one nation …
So varied is the experience that it may take a lifetime to imbibe its true essence!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Travelling is something that has always given me a new high!

As a child it was always fun to travel to new places, meet new people, taste unique delicacies and new languages were exciting too. I think I can call myself an avid traveler … my passion takes me all over the world. I relish in finding new things, more so in places I think, I know like the back of my hand. Being a Sagittarian I guess it’s in my nature to travel than to just arrive!

For me a great part of traveling is about sights that strike as unusual, experiential, or just straight up bizarre. Travel experiences no matter how good or bad, remind me that the world around us is a magical place to explore.

My travels are a perfect vehicle to quench my thirst to see great works of art. I feel transformed and mesmerized in the presence of a great work. I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw the amazing red piece of art with Gandhiji on a recliner and with headphones during one of my journeys. I didn't do much research beforehand and the surprise of art was pure joy.

Travel carries the excitement of the unknown. The unknown carries a certain amount of built-in stress, but richly rewards you when you overcome it and make it familiar. I like to plan my trips loosely. I like to leave some air in the itinerary because I may want to change my mind or circumstances may change my mind for me. Would I have enjoyed finding those Gandhis as much if I had anticipated them? On the other hand, I like to make sure I don't miss anything major. Yet I've learned to never get attached to any particular item on the itinerary because deep disappointment can alter the tone of a trip. Flexibility is friend when you travel.

I see travel as a string of serendipitous moments. One minute I may taste a brand new ice cream flavor, like the black sesame seed and Guinness gelatos I had in New York, and the next minute I may stumble upon the perfect artwork to hang in my dining room, like the prints of an artist’s inspirational travels I bought recently. I gather many opportunities to take in the beauty all around, witness people's way of life. If I'm lucky, I'll see things from their point of view, even for just a glimpse; it may be the key to a deeper understanding of their culture.

Travel sharpens the senses and has a way of crystallizing moments, I'll never forget how I wandered on a beach of Goa with my wife after dinner on one of our trips there, hearing only the sound of the waves and voices, when suddenly a romantic violin music filled our ears and we grabbed each other’s hand to dance a few twirls. When I recalled this moment with my wife recently, she remembered it just as vividly as I did.

I know I can't plan my special memories, but if I keep my eyes, ears, and heart open, I’ll collect many. In my next post I will introduce our Incredible India, through my eyes… till then have fun and travel as much as you can.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Welcome to my Blog!

It’s the space between you and me to share the magic of travel …. be it indelible experiences or those awkward moments that spring surprises like none other!

You’ll her from me soon… if you want to write back email @ arjunsharmalpti@gmail.com

Bon Passage

Arjun Sharma