Wheels can take us around and our experiences, surely they are telling us a lot too; about their journeys, roads they have been to. Remember the poem, the “wheels of the bus go round and round…”
Well, here are some of those things that they are carrying, taking actions, experiences from one region to another across India.
Food Trucks have just arrived here last year. India is finally catching up with world phenomenon of ‘food on the go’. Though there were always the food stalls and cheap food like Pav, Pani puri etc. available at the cycle vendors as street food but this is an experience which is in between the regular indoor restaurants and those stalls. Now, this food trend is also getting very popular with the new trend of startup India.
Read more about this trend at these links:
The next big thing in food trends: Food truck fever sweeping Delhi
Books are moving in trucks too, here is an example of walking bookfair.
‘Walking Bookfairs’ is liberating books from the confines of a bookstore and reaching out to small cities, villages and helping India read more. They are traveling on wheels from Kolkata to Chandigarh to Pune to Mumbai spreading the habit of reading for people. They have already toured 12 states, and they plan to travel to 20 states in the country.
Read more about them here:
Blood donations camps and medical checkup are done in the van or a bus. In India, most medical facilities tend to be concentrated in urban regions, and this is one way to extend good medical and health outreaches to rural India. The mobile healthcare vans visit doctorless underserved villages to provide medical examinations and care for new-born babies. Om Gagangiri Hospital and Occupational Health Services, Mumbai have Digital Medical Check-up Bus (DMCB), a mobile health screening unit with inbuilt on board facilities for comprehensive medical testing.
It is just about taking health screening and care out of the building and as close as possible to people’s homes.
Read more here:
ATM on wheels
SBI and ICICI are bringing modern banking to rural India by having their ATMs go mobile. The interesting part is some of these are air-conditioned vehicle runs on solar energy. In fact Banking on wheels has been quite popular in the west, arriving in India just in the last couple of years.
Read more here:
What else can??
Art and expressions
What if art which was created in Bengal and it traveled to Mumbai with all those scenes in between. In Italy and many other European countries, while one road had some art depicting a story and another one had some more, Imagine picking it up from streets onto wheels. It can have a significant impact on the communities, especially kids.
One of the recent projects that is carrying art on wheels is the Mumbai Taxi Fabric project (http://www.taxifabric.org). Just imagine what happens, when they go off their city into other places and spreading love, friendship, and humanity.
Read more about this project here:
As Aradhana Seth says in her interview, “After all, shouldn’t the function of art sometimes be to roam free and to bring a smile to people’s faces?” See more of her work at Link
Imagine meeting a group of kids on the roadside and spending time together for a story, listening one and telling one. Imagine carrying it on and meeting another group at another location. There is a chance to reinvent the street style theater storytelling act for the whole community.
Look at what Stories on Wheels is doing in. Tales are brought to life by a high-energy comic performer himself. In India, we have lost those places of gathering, of storytelling, of intimacies, socializing.
Another thing that I stumbled upon is Moving Stories report which is an initiative about documenting stories from people migrating from one place to another who move in the context of environmental change. Moving Stories highlights those compelling, inspiring and often traumatic stories.
Here is one from our neighborhood, Muhammad Ayub from Pakistan has been running his own free school for street children in a park in Islamabad for 20 years.
Great story at DW- Made for Minds (link)
That beautiful sound of the guitar or a beat of a drum from a distance which can create such a lovely surprise for you, how most of us crave for. Rather than the typical noise and the horns of the Indian roads. Wonder if we will ever reach to that calm of mind on the roads, that we can hear those beautiful melodies.
Music performances and busking on the streets is quite a scene anywhere in Europe or U.S. or other places. But where are those community spaces here in India? Not much is left. Where are our artists and why don’t we meet them by chance on different streets?
Let’s think of all that we can have on wheels – carrying experiences from one place to another. You are welcome to write in the comments section.