White elephant

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Dec 28 2014

Tags: ,

Category: Asia, India


Focal Length:28.2mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Sometimes you meet after many years an old acquaintance who greets you with the exclamation “You haven’t changed a single bit!” The same applies to the Indian Ambassador car. Since its birth in 1957 as a clone of Morris Oxford its looks have hardly changed during all those years that it has been in production. But the “sick old lady of the Indian roads” has finally given up the ghost and the year 2014 will go down in history as the end of the Ambassador era.
In 10 years time I will still remember this image of a rare white elephant, lost in a bare forest.

Photo of the week: Ambassador, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, India 2009

2 comments on “White elephant”

  1. This image reminded me of my Dad’s official Ambassador similarly white and often lost in the mining areas of Dhanbad. I have a very spl feeling for Ambassador car (I wouldn’t prefer to call it by the modern nickname of Amby, for more out of respect and as kids this name didn’t exist in our lexicon). I still can’t forget the pride I felt when this car was sent to be part of Rajiv Gandhi’s entourage during his visit to Ranchi in ’87. On its tough bench seats (there was nothing like bucket seats those days) squeezing against Khalil bhai I learnt driving in Cl VIII-IX hidden away from the stern gaze of Baba. Khalil bhai will always be Ustad (master) though he was my Dad’s driver but I was his Teniya (Bihari slang for Trainee) so there were no spl favours. I had to soil my hand and T shirt in grease and mud and learn to change flat tyres, clear the carburetor, clean up spark plugs and the air filter (oh my god! how I shudder at the memory of the raw Bihari bollicking I got, when I forgot to mark the sequence of distributor wires and again when I brushed against the wall while reversing). With both Baba and Khalil bhai gone and now the Ambassador becoming obsolete a part of my childhood is wiped away. Dear old Ambassador will never be the “sick old lady of the Indian roads” but always be my ” lovely princess of the Dhanbad roads”. You’ll always be in my happiest memories.
    Thanx Louk for this photograph . A beautiful pic can evoke so many hidden emotions and you are really great at it.


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