• The GRAND i10 is still in the testing stage but I recently got my hands on one of the pre-production cars and initial impressions are simply amazing.

    Design and Features

    Although it’s called GRAND i10, the car is built on a completely new platform and there is nothing ‘i10-ish’ about it. The car resembles more of an i20, both in terms of size and features. Since the cars are still in the testing stage, they are heavily camouflaged and I’m unable to comment on the design in detail. However, it’s evident from the teaser photographs that the GRAND i10 follows Hyundai’s ‘fluidic’ design language and looks as stunning as any other Hyundai cars.  All new tail light design and dual-tone alloy wheels are unique to the new model.

    Interiors were slightly camouflaged, too, but it was evident from whatever I saw that the cabin quality of the GRAND i10 shames more expensive models. Plastics look premium and feel premium, too. The driving position is spot-on, the seats are comfy and the steering wheel

    Read More »from First drive review: Hyundai GRAND i10
  • Call it the height of sycophancy or passionate following of their beloved leader. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have written a letter to Lord Indra, the God of heavens, urging him to give Narendra Modi a place in heaven!

    The BJP leaders, reportedly are worried that Modi's chances of getting a place in heaven will be thwarted by rival political leaders, some of whom recently wrote to the United States of America (USA) president Barack Obama, pleading him to not to give a visa to the Gujarat chief minister.

    The letter, reportedly signed by 12 party leaders, was a knee-jerk reaction to zealous activities by the anti-Modi camps. "Modi's detractors can go to any extent to make his life hell on earth and even after death. Hence, we are taking every measure to ensure Narendrabhai's path to glory and bliss is not ruined by anyone," said one of the leaders who signed the letter on condition of anonymity.

    The letter, later leaked in the media, read,"Dear Lord, We are writing to request you

    Read More »from BJP leaders write to Lord Indra, request a place for Modi in heaven
  • My friend, the Young Mountain

    Akanksha Joshi, an award winning documentary film maker based in New Delhi writes a poetic rumble, one that puts an ear to the heart of the Himalaya. And hears the ultrasound of man’s doings and undoing. A fresh take on a long relationship the mountains have with rivers and people with nature.

    The story is old, very old. About 90 million years ago. India began a journey. Not the nation, but the land mass. It split from what used to be a huge continent - Africa, South America, Australia, Arabia, Antarctica. Somehow, this land seemed to be in a hurry. Travelling fast. Northwards. About 18 cm per year. Simultaneously rotating, creating oceans, and finally, colliding with Asia.

    A part of the land went down, another part came up. Some folded, some twisted. Bits of the ocean's crust, Tibetan earth and bits of the Indian earth, all mish-mashed to emerge as the world youngest mountains. Yes, the Himalaya. Since some 10 million years, growing. And showing no signs of stopping.

    To a mountain,

    Read More »from My friend, the Young Mountain
  • Bridge over the Ganga in Uttarakhand. Credit: Sandeep Somasekharan/ The Green OgreBridge over the Ganga in Uttarakhand. Credit: Sandeep Somasekharan/ The Green Ogre

    New Delhi based entrepreneur Sunny Narang’s public Facebook post on Thursday raised and debated issues concerned with the pilgrimages in the Uttarakhand Himalayas. Sometimes the solutions that even well-meaning people propose battle one another, becoming part of the problem and complicating it.

    In this case, the barrage of opinions comes fast and furious, just like the floods, with insights, suggestions and a richness of human conversation that flows back and forth through time, experience, hope, cynicism and each from its line of vision. This is a wisdom that belongs to the people, but it is a vision that has rarely been realised on the ground. Tune in. Those in power who continue bickering over ‘natural’ and ‘man made’ could pay heed too, and not only when nature comes calling.

     
    Annotated excerpts:
    Sunny: [The solution is] managed pilgrimages and tourism in all ecologically sensitive zones. Once allowed, no second visit till slots are available – a bit like Bhutan and Arunachal Read More »from Pilgrim’s progress: Insights from a public FB post
  • Notes on a Himalayan flood

    A distant mountain lover struggles to piece together what’s going on exactly in Uttarakhand

    If the extraordinary swell of the Ganges had not mowed down everything that came in its path, be it temple, road, building or bridge, then for Uttarakhand too, this would have been a day of celebration. For Tuesday is Ganga Dussehra, a day when Ganga is said to descend to the earth from her hidden abode. Some say to purge. Not many doubted it with scenes like these washing over Uttarkashi and other places.

    And Uttarkashi is the district take-off point for Gangotri, from where the Ganga descends.
    Less than a week ago the Chief minister of Uttarakhand was in Delhi asking for a review of a recent notification declaring vast stretches between Gaumukh to Uttarkashi in the state as an eco-sensitive zone.

    A PTI report of June 5 says, ‘Citing ongoing protests by locals against the Centre's recent notification declaring the area as eco-sensitive, the Chief Minister said the move will adversely affect the

    Read More »from Notes on a Himalayan flood
  • Buddha Blues

    As a child growing up in the ‘80’s India, I had the privilege to visit the fair ground and make loud demands for small earthen figurines. These were miniscule statues of great people, all dead, and therefore deemed fit to be gods as well as toys. They included Ramakrishna and his wife Ma Sarada, Netaji Subhas Chandra, Mahatma Gandhi, Radha-Krishna, Charlie Chaplin and Buddha.

    I knew who Buddhadev was. He was made of plastic, a delicate blue in color and entirely hollow. I stored coins in him by removing the white cap just below the lotus on which he sat. When I shook him, the coins would jingle pleasantly. I don’t remember who gifted him to me.

    Periodically, I bought illustrated books with the coins. In time, it included ‘Buddha’, ‘Angulimala’, and ‘Jataka Tales’ from the Amar Chitra Katha series. Angulimala, the outcast who killed people and wore a necklace of their chopped fingers, who turned Buddhist, and got stoned to death when he came back to town to beg for alms as a monk – was my

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  • The Ford EcoSport has been an object of infatuation since it broke cover at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2012. It basked in the limelight for a year and a half for three reasons – an unconventionally attractive design, the 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and the sub-Rs 10 lakh price tag. In a sign that the wait is finally over, Ford has recently conducted the pre-launch test drive for media in Goa.

    I know most of you have already seen the EcoSport in-person as part of Ford’s pre-launch campaign and formed an opinion about its design and features. But does the 1-litre EcoBoost engine pack enough punch to take this urban SUV to the top of its game? Read on to find out.

    Design

    In appearance, the EcoSport is unmistakably avant-garde. The front end features a large, ‘gaping fishmouth’ grille flanked by slim headlamps and big fog lamps, reflecting Ford’s global design language. Two bold lines on the bonnet flow onto the roof, highlighting the car’s aerodynamic prowess. I particularly liked the

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Ford EcoSport
  • The Calendar Poet

    Rabindranath Tagore is our National Poet, just like the peacock is our national bird. He wrote our National Anthem, the ‘Jana Gana Mana’, and we sing the first stanza only because it’s too long for anyone else to remember. He also wrote ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’, the Naitonal Anthem for Bangladesh. He opposed the Partition of Bengal. He was the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize. This happened because he translated ‘Gitanjali’ (a really fat volume of poems) so others could read him in English. Basically, the translation (which isn’t very good), got him that prize. The British made him a Knight (so grown-up people could also call him ‘Sir’ and not just his students), but he renounced it to protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by writing a nice but rude letter to the Viceroy. He wrote it at night because he was an insomniac anyway.

    Click here to read Tagore's letter to the Viceroy >>

    In his late teens, Rabindranath fell in love with his sister-in-law (who committed suicide). He had a

    Read More »from The Calendar Poet
  • This one’s for the enthusiasts. If you wonder how on earth a 1.2 litre engine is going to impress an enthusiast, digest this: the new Polo GT is powered by a turbo-charged direct injection TSI petrol engine that develops a mighty 105PS and 174 Nm of torque, offering better performance than the discontinued 1.6 litre Polo. Those who cribbed about the Polo 1.2 being underpowered and the 1.6 being defunct would both find solace in the new Polo TSI.

    Design

    We love the Polo for its classic, sober design and there are not many changes that make the new Polo different from its predecessor. However, on the exterior, the new Polo TSI gets headlamps with black finish, GT badging on the front grille, new alloy wheels and GT TSI badging on the boot lid as well as the C pillar.

    The interior gets a more serious makeover that reflects the car’s sportiness. Seats get a new black and grey fabric combination and are supportive, too. The steering wheel, gearshift knob and the handbrake lever are

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Volkswagen Polo GT 1.2 TSI
  • Narendra Modi making the announcement that shocked the media.Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi dropped a bombshell as he announced his exit from the prime ministerial race leaving both his supporters and opponents stunned. The out of the blue decision of the Gujarat chief minister has left the BJP's political opponents Congress in a tizzy as they now don't know whom to attack in the run-up to the upcoming general elections in 2014.

    Modi, when asked about reasons for his surprising move, said he is just not satisfied by Gujarat's development and he wants the state to become more prosperous than the United States of America and Europe combined, and it will be only then that he will be mentally ready to pursue the bigger role.

    Despite its top performing chief minister quitting the PM race, the BJP heaved a sigh of relief as it feels it can now attack Congress without any fear of any retaliation. A BJP spokesperson said that the party at present can relax and not worry about being accused of being communal. "The BJP can now go all out

    Read More »from Narendra Modi quits PM race, Congress clueless about election strategy!

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