• India loves SUVs and there are a handful of them that impressed enthusiasts and critics alike. But how many of our SUVs have managed to inspire a cult following? Perhaps, only Duster did. A terrific combination of styling, ruggedness, performance and pricing has won Duster a legion of dedicated fans within one year of its launch.

    In an attempt to maintain a special connection with the Duster owners, Renault recently launched the Gang of Dusters initiative. As part of the initiative, Duster owners get a chance to go on adventurous long drives with family, meet other Duster owners, talk to experts, take part in impromptu rallies, attend interactive service sessions and indulge in many fun activities.

    The first of many such drives to come, the West Coast Expedition saw 15 Duster-owning families set out to break free from the mundane and drive from Mumbai to Goa and back across five days.

    Mumbai to Goa

    After months of meticulous planning and a lot of hard work, the Gang of Dusters convoy

    Read More »from Two days with the ‘Gang of Dusters’
  • Around the same time last year, we drove the Honda Brio from Goa to Bangalore as part of Honda’s Drive to Discover 3 and appreciated the many facets of the small car while enjoying the beauty and majesty of the Western Ghats. Drive to Discover is back again and this time, with the stunning Honda Amaze i-DTEC. 

    We’ve already reviewed the Honda Amaze i-DTEC, but living with the car for three days across 1000 kilometres will certainly expose many unnoticed virtues and shortcomings of the car. More exciting is the fact that our route is part of the Golden Quadrilateral along the scenic East Coast from Visakhapatnam to Kolkata. 

    Sure, this drive is going to be full of action and I’ll be bringing you live updates, photos and short videos from across the East Coast. Meanwhile let’s make this event more interactive by discussing your thoughts on the Honda Amaze and clarifying the questions you may have about the car.


  • Bharat – Ek Khoj?

    15th August. To anyone in the News business (what else do I call it?), it’s a day of pithy editorials and strong reports, all flavoured with the appropriate degree of patriotism. If it’s a heart wrenching story of a rape survivor, pack in something about how ineffectual the laws are in this country. If it’s a heart-warming rags to riches story, talk about India Shining. Photos of innocent children holding the tricolour or old people showcasing toothless, benevolent grins could come in handy. And of course, there are the celebrations – from the prime minister’s speech – to flags hoisted in every state. Keeping in mind the eternally argumentative Indian, introduce debates around popular keywords such as Anna Hazare, Telengana, Bodoland, human rights and attacks by Pakistan along the LoC.

    I wanted to be wise this time. I wanted to write something more solemn, of historical importance. I had a posse of photos from my travels. Forts, sadhus, hills, temples, mosques, sea beaches strung

    Read More »from Bharat – Ek Khoj?
  • 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

    Read More »from Buddha Blues
  • 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.


    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


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