Monday, 21 December 2009

Mumbai calling, yet again

This is the 6th time I am going to Mumbai, and except for one trip to meet a good friend of mine, all others have been transit stops - coming to Mumbai to start another journey.

This particular trip is different and special in many ways. Firstly, I am going to Mumbai by train - my longest journey by train after the 2 and half days trip to Delhi which I made 6 yrs back when I went for the Himalayan trek.
Secondly I am going on my own - covering 1000 kms in Rs. 360 seems amazing!
Thirdly, the reason I am travelling to Mumbai - to join a 18-day journey throughout India as part of

The first image of Mumbai I have is of our plane landing straight into a huge slum. After it landed safely on the runway, I realized it was probably parallax error.
During one of my other transit stops, I was 'forced' to stay in hotel Leela for a day as our flight was overbooked. I took this opportunity to explore Mumbai on my own - cudn't do it the last time around as my good friends ensured that I was not alone and was looked after. Not that I am complaining, they were all very sweet. So, I went to Colaba in the local train when I had the opportunity to go by taxi. From there, I made a quick visit to Elephanta caves - supposed to be a heritage site but has lot of scope for improvement in terms of maintenance, especially cleanliness. One funny thing I remember about this trip is that I went into the first class compartment by mistake thinking it was second class and thought the local trains had become a lot better from my previous trip where I had travelled second class :)
Compare that to a similar but opposite scenario in Switzerland where I thought I had mistakenly entered the first class compartment when I had a ticket for second class :))

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Never has a car lacked so much - the REVA nxr

5th Dec. 2009

It was the launch of REVA’s next car - the NXR - at the REVAlok day in Bangalore.
People came in their little REVAs to be greeted by enthusiastic members of the REVA family. I hadn't felt so much warmth in a long time even at real family gatherings. Everyone smiled at each other, silently acknowledging and appreciating the choice made for a better environment.
There was no press, no hype, no glitz, no skimpily dressed models at the car launch.. the car would speak for itself. Well, the NXR actually 'talks' back to you through telematics that helps keep u in touch with your car.
All the speeches were short and came straight from the heart.. I liked the part about how Brigadier Harish followed Chetan Maini (founder and CTO of REVA) for 2 kilometeres in Koramangala to get feedback on the REVA without realizing that he was going to ask for feedback from the founder himself :)
The interaction session brought some interesting points.. one of them being the current owners being brand ambassadors for REVA as there have been many instances where we have been stopped and asked questions. The most touching interaction was when one of the owners said how he was able to use the REVA to move around and be independent inspite of having only one functional leg - a lot better alternative to a wheelchair car which costs more than 10 lakhs. He only wanted some slight modifications in the REVA which the board was eager to take up.
I was happy to personally thank Chetan Maini for "giving me a guilt free ride in the city."

I loved the NXR promos as much as the NXR itself. Stuff like 'Evolution is getting rid of things that you dont need - No sparks, no noise, no clutch, no gears, no tailpipe, no emissions, no petrol' or 'Never has a car lacked so much' to name a few.

The 4 seater NXR is born green and comes with a host of features like
- turning radius of 3.9 meters
- intelligent instrument display that provides info on range available, speed and driving efficiency
- top speed of 104 kmph - more than sufficient for cities
- range of 160 km which is covers 97% of all journeys one makes
- normal and fast charge options (fast charge available only in Lithium-Ion variants)
- 'Regen' braking that extends the range by putting energy back into the batteries everytime u slow down
- fully crash tested, highway safe car - M1 category
- optional solar roof charging provides a trickle charge
- REply - a suite of telematics solutions that alerts you with key info such as range available, time to full charge, provides reminders on service and insurance renewals, lets u remotely pre-heat, pre-cool, provides a report on your driving habits and tips on how to improve, etc.
- REVive - remote emergency charge if you run low or out of charge
- and last but not the least, forthe price of a couple of tanks of petrol, one can commute all year long

The price for the NXR hasn’t been fixed yet for India – according to me, a price between 5 to 6 lakhs rupees would be a competitive one.

The cars themselves will be produced in REVA's new low carbon assembly plant in Bangalore which is being built to IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) guidelines which includes rain water harvesting, natural light and ventilation, and employs solar energy for electricity and heating - hence the term 'Born Green'.

REVA, named after Chetan’s mother, also means ‘a new beginning’ in Sanskrit – and a new beginning it definitely is. If I heard it right, REVA is the first company producing commercial electric vehicles and has the largest deployed fleet of electric cars with customers in 24 countries. Bangalore has 1200 proud REVA owners and there are about 3000 cars worldwide.

If I had to sum up the evening's proceedings in one sentence, it would be something like this.. I felt how it was to have realized a dream - a dream of designing and producing responsible auto in a responsible way and still being so genuine.
Each guest was given an indoor plant as a token of thanks.

PS: Please pardon the low resolution pix.. I felt like kicking myself for forgetting my SLR.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

2 small decisions I am happy to have made

Last month was anniversary critical mass and we were getting Tshirts done to mark the occasion.. here's where I got an opportunity to make 2 small but important decisions which I will cherish for a long time.

The tees were supposed to be ready by Wednesday morning and when I went to check out some samples in the evening around 5 pm on Tuesday, I saw some women were still working and they would have had to work till late to complete the remaining stuff.. I told the guy in charge that it is ok to delay the delivery by a day but the women have to go home on time.

The second one was really easy.. they normally pack each tee in a separate plastic bag and I obviously said no to it. So, that explains why the tees are so crumpled and messy.