Saturday, December 17, 2011

Confederate Hellcat: Motorcycle Inspired by The Mahabharata

Image Courtesy Wall Street Journal
It is rare that one comes across someone saying that they have been inspired by the Hindu Epic Mahabharata. Specially in the day when ridiculing everything that is connected to Hinduism, Hindu spirituality or Hindu Epics is a fashion. This morning I read an article in Wall Street Journal about a master motorcycle designer Ed Jacobs and was heartened to note that he derives his inspiration from "Arjuna the silver-bright and unconquerable charioteer (should have been warrior) in the Mahabharata" among others.

Ed Jacobs is the chief designer at Confederate Motorcycles a boutique that manufactures custom, aesthetically designed, two wheeled beauties. I read the entire article and was awe struck by the attention to detail that makes this motorcycle the beauty that it is. Confederate's X132 Hellcat is their latest offering which is priced at $45,000 is one beauty on two wheels that will make every bike lover go weak in their knees.

According to the article Ed Jacobs got his inspiration to design motorcycles after he visited India and rode the Enfield Bullet to the Himalayas. He decided to work and build beautiful motorcycles that are aesthetic, functional and unique. I am glad that at least this individual has acknowledged that he derived inspiration from the Hindu Epic Mahabharata.

I wonder how many Indian designers of any kind - be it motorcycle or software or car would even think of the Mahabharata as a source of inspiration and even if they did how many would acknowledge the fact. Because if they did, there is every likelihood that the Indian media would brand them "right wing Hindutva fascists."

In my next blog post on the same topic I will discuss how motorcycles made in India could get a more intimate feel by simply renaming the models. It goes around to make a statement that we are aware of our heritage and are rooted in our culture, which unfortunately I think India is fast loosing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Exploring Rural America - 2: Bonham State Park

Green Spaces for Public Good

America is responsible for a whole lot of pollution including and not limited to consuming over 40% of the world's gasoline, emitting over 30% of the world's greenhouse gases, etc. I would add a positive statistic to this country i.e. this is one country where local environment is preserved very well. Most of the natural creeks, rivers, and culverts have been preserved, even though these come alive only during the rains. Then there are vast open spaces that have been designated as National and State Parks, Wildlife refuges, and other types of protected areas that are basically green spaces open to public and that also help enhance the environment.

I have been exploring America since the time I landed here, not just the glitz and glamor of cities and popular tourist destinations, but the interior lesser known rural and local attractions. My reaction to this is mostly that of surprise and admiration to the sustainable planning and development of communities. Recently I visited one of the state parks of Texas - Bonham State Park. Located close to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro area this is a vast green space with a 261 acre lake. The park is full of trees and the lake adds a beauty to the entire setting. Rustic old-style buildings house the administrative offices in the park that provides facilities for walking, hiking, mountain biking, swimming and aqua sports such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, etc.

During summer months this park is usually full of visitors but now being winter and biting cold I was the only visitor in the park. Here are some pictures of the park for your viewing pleasure.

The Main entrance to Bonham State Park

Water Fowl enjoying their day at the lake without any visitors disturbance...

The deserted swimming area of the park - summer brings crowds of families to the park

The fishing pier which can also be a scenic look out...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exploring Rural America: Bonham, TX - 1

When I was in India visiting America means going to the most popular sights i.e., the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Museum, the Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, etc. Reading about these globally renowned destinations I was under the impression that America doesn't have much to explore, it is just a commercial paradise. Now that I am living here I am slowly becoming aware of the vastness of the country and the richness in terms of natural heritage and also man-made creations of the land. Each state, and county has its own historical museums, nature parks, and recreation spaces for local citizens as well as travelers. Most visitors are locals but there are some people from far off/ different states and rarely from other countries.
Yesterday I visited one such place in North Texas area. It is a small city known as Bonham with a population of a little over 10,000. The city is very small and it is mostly a village, except for the fact that there are all the modern amenities such as super markets, ATM, a prison, large post office, court, etc. It is indeed amazing that for a population of 10,000 the government has invested in all these amenities. I wish other nations also followed suit so there would be no necessity for crowding the big cities.
Bonham's major attraction is the Bonham State Park and the Lake Bonham Recreation Area. Then there are couple of museums and that is pretty much it. Here are some pictures of Bonham City. I will be posting more information about the other attractions soon....

Sam Rayburn Library and Museum - I will write more about this shortly...

Mr. Bonham, the person after whom the city has been named. His statue occupies the main square of the city

The county Prison... of course the maintenance is pathetic with the economic down turn...
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