140 km (87 miles)
13.08.2008 - 13.08.2008 23 °C
Mahad – Facts
Pop 24,275, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
- Mahad Industrial Estate is among the 'Dirty 30' for most polluted places on earth. This is after a survey conducted by the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee found that approximately 1,800 tons of hazardous sludge had accumulated there.
Why is it that all the best cow parties in India are on the roads? What ever happened to normal cow past-times like grazing in fields and chewing the cud in safe enclosed pastures? Trucks are king in India, buses a close second, then cars, rickshaws, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and dogs in that order. The cows are the only objects on the road that seem to be at the top of the highway pecking order. Everyone avoids hitting a cow and the cows know it. We decide to test a theory and set our own challenge today of performing a low speed cow-pat as we swerve passed a family of water buffalo. As expected, they didn’t even flinch!
A further unexpected wildlife encounter today makes us veer sharply off the road (again) when a dangerously large fierce looking hornet decides to investigate our already cramped rickshaw cockpit. Fortunately, the lack of road rules and more importantly the lack of people on the roadside at that given point in time means our erratic driving manoeuvres once again go unnoticed.
It’s important to perfect the art of multi-tasking when driving on Indian roads and indeed driving off Indian roads. We have learnt to simultaneously overtake lorries, take-off at 45 degree angles over potholes, swerve round the suicidal wildlife, avoid oncoming vehicles, change gear and wave to groups of school children, all while smiling and taking photos with a finger on the horn. The road rules are, ‘there are no rules’.
Early arrival in Alibagh allows us an opportunity to ride into town in a Tom Tom, a kind of SUT or Stretch Utility Tuk Tuk. Still really only suitable for 6 reasonably sized passengers, there are already 6 crammed inside when they stop to pick up the 5 of us!