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In the Drivers Seat

Women's Day Heritage Beku Special!


A sunny early morning in late spring going through the city that we love, with the wind in our hair and driving a little piece of history- an automobile that remembers a city and times of long ago. A time that we ourselves may not be able to recall. But ensconced in the comforting seat of history, we see history better. We felt it today, driving these beautiful mechanical metal steeds with their soft purr , and the memory embedded in their leather seats.


Meeting at 8 am

As the diverse group assembled at the gates of the beautiful Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park (courtesy Horticultire Department) , the vintage cars with mainly women drivers, started slowly turning in to the space in. It was amazing to hear the stories, one by one of the cars, the ownership, their quirks , the restoration and even the long trips that these diehard vintage cars have taken, including a recent 1500 mile trip to Baroda.

Check out this Instagram highlight..


The back stories were riveting - whether it was the large American Plymouth, complete with fins and all - so reminiscent of John Travolta in Grease, The Willy's jeep with a blacked out headlights (there's a story there!) a Club tied to the windshield and the interesting World War 2 aspects; the Morris Minor that was a precursor of the first set of ambassadors in India and then even a charming original Maruti 800! We moved on to the Morris Minor and the open air MG - both beautiful green and lovingly shining with so much depth, glowing in the bright sunlight. The MG bottle green convertible with extreme leather seats, and amazing detailing was a gem. The 1954 sparking maroon Volswagen Beetle that was owned by Pankaj was another absolute beauty with a charming history, including a very special little nugget -the iconic Beetle/Volkswagen movie Lovebug was the place that he proposed to his wife. He confesses that he is still not sure whether she accepted him or the car. Well, both are still around- so that's something . The original Vespa scooter complete with its Roman Holiday wicker basket, tied to the scooter at the back was a rugged little memory to those of us who had grown up with this scooter in our porch.


As excited conversation ebbed & flowed, sharing of information, asking questions and just appreciating the line of gorgeous, beloved, mechanical metal, twinkling like indulgent grannies in the sunlight, we realized it was already 9 am , and it was past time to flag off the vintage cars with women in the drivers seat.



The Rally

As the MG started up and slowly moved forward and left, to lead the rally, the other cars followed, moving majestically through Infantry are via the Police commissioner's office, income tax building after moving left to the HAL corporate office with a brief stop to congregate and come together. The beautiful Cubbon road with its lush Boulevard of green trees was a perfect foil to all those in the car looking out. As we passed BRV, and the Parade Grounds, we stayed at the traffic signal for a bit enchanted by yet another burst of yellow tabeuia ! After the signal, the Army Public school and Army selection center , even more of the yellow profusion of Tabebuia distracted us! After a right at Manipal center and another right at Web's garage, we wandered through the first promenade of Bangalore MG Rd. Under the cruel shadow of the ugly Metro bridge, offset by the burst of multi colour bougainvillea and the frangipani in bloom on the left in the Park, we stopped briefly till the signal turned green. 'Lovely sir!' shouted a few motorists on our left, just before the bright brick red of the beautiful Mayo Hall. Flanked a little further , by Unity buildings at left and the RSI on the right., we chugged on . Right and left people waved at us at the pictures the cars . We didn't realise we made so many people smile just by the gentle majesty of these beautiful cars.

On MG Rd, going towards Kasturba Road we had passed the grey remnants of Shrungar Center, India Coffee House, and later the traitorous Empire Theater but then again , there was a pristine Higginbotham's. The LIC insurance Building stood dignified, tall and stony, while Bible Society similarly stood a steadfast guard on our left. As we stopped at the signal we could see through the dark green of the trees, the magnificent cream dome of St. Mark's Cathedral, home to so many prayers of a colonial city.

Somehow, eerything felt and looked different from the comforting embrace of a wise old vintage car !


And there was the green oasis of Cubbon park showing up on our right with the charming old police station a little ahead. The road with its wide avenues, many trees, and combination of old and new buildings including the magnificent Venkatappa art gallery was a privilege to drive-through. As we moved into Vittal Mallya Road past ITC Gardenia into Richmond Road, we could see our final destination of Hotel Woodlands on our right.


As we took the tough U-turn with so many people, waving at us, a huge BTS bus that was beating down directly in our way, stopped short, and the bus driver extended his hand gallantly in a perle-aap,,asking us to proceed first - it was such a moment of rate acknowledgment where vintage, mobility and respect really came together. Touched.


Destination Woodlands & Tarun Tahiliani

As we entered the long entrance of Woodlands , the guard at the entrance wished us welcome cheerily with a 'God bless you and welcome, Come, please come ' as the cars got parked one by one in front of the breakfast hall . Then we could chat for a little bit before the aromas of breakfast could call us. Not before a few photos and some delighted chats about the lovely drive.. And not before little Indie Chutney, who was driving the Morris Minor with her dad Ishaan managed to get a little time off from her duties as navigator to play on the Merry go round and the swings. She completely stole all hearts sitting in the car like a Lady to the Manor Born! She wouldn't take her eyes off her father for even a moment.


While we chatted and waded it through a delicious breakfast of steaming idlis, vadas, dosas chowchow bath and lemon juice followed by frothy hot coffee, conversations, laughter, and bonhomie with the combined and diverse groups of KVCCC , HeritageBeku & BCIC , felt so warm and enjoyable .


As the last cup of coffee drunk, we moved onto the The chic Tarun Tahiliani store where we were impressed by the beautiful restoration of this heritage building into a luxury store, the attention to detail and high-quality focus on preservation - another twinkling gem indeed.

The Tarun Tahiliani Store..


The event ended a little past 11 with most people, going home with full hearts, full bellies, and a mind full of smiling windblown memories of a mobile, magical, sparkling morning.,


Oh, to live like this ...

 

Event Press Note:

The women’s vintage car rally is a maiden attempt for KVCCC partnering with #HeritageBeku to encourage & involve more women drivers for vintage and classic cars. It has always been largely a male oriented space, and KVCC iin partnership with #HeritageBeku was keen on breaking that stereotype and being more inclusive In its wonderful vintage at historic vehicles focus.

The first rally to celebrate Women’s day was held on 11 March at 8 AM. We’re over eight cars and vehicles gathered at Indira Gandhi musical fountain on Sankey Road High Grounds. After a quick discussion including on the vintage locomotive rail engine inside the park , the small convoy moved thereafter to Infantry, Cubbon Rd, MG Road, Kasturba and then reaching the final destination at Woodlands.


Mr. Raghunandan, secretary of the KVCCCassociation, and a passionate vintage enthusiast has been categoric in his commitment to include more women drivers and is delighted to have made a start with this event “in the driver seat” .It was wonderful to see the interest, conversation and expertise around the vehicles, as well as sharing snippets, it’s history, as well as some of its quirks. As the cars trundled down the central route with its women drivers through the city, one minor stereotype may have been broken, but it is a start to many more step ups and involvement in new areas for modern women. The drive concluded at Woodlands with a traditional buffet breakfast, and a walk-through, the Woodland Heritage building which has been beautifully re-purposed into the eponymous Luxe store, run by Tarun Tahiliani . So in some ways, vintage, met vintage!


This event has been organized by KVCCC and Heritage Beku and partnered with BCIC , supported by Karnataka Horticulture, as well as Karnataka Tourism . We hope to have a few follow-up events, including an outstation drive to Mysore in the year ahead to respond to the tremendous interest and and enthusiasm about vintage vehicles. Watch this space .


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Maiden Event: ‘In the Driving Seat’ classic vehicle parade, organised by KVCCC and HeritageBeku, to commemorate International Womens’ Day.

Date 11 March, 2023

Place of flag off - Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park, next to the Nehru Planetarium.

Time of assembly of classic vehicles - 8 AM

Photos ops, viewing by general public and HeritageBeku members, 8 AM to 9 AM.

Flag off of vehicles - 9 AM

Parade Route. - Left towards Infantry road, Right and then left to Cubbon road, right at Manipal Centre, right at Webb’s petrol bunk onto MG road, MG road to Kasturba Road, left towards Mallya hospital at Coffee day, U turn at Richmond circle, left into Woodlands Hotel.

Distance 6 kms, Time; ½ hour.

Breakfast at Woodlands hotel organised by KVCCC & HeritageBeku. Visit to Tarun Tahiliani’s store - a magnificent example of repurposed restored heritage building.

The vintage & classic vehicles include

(1) 1950 Morris Minor (Raghu). Driver: Ms. Jayati Sanan, passenger, Ishaan Raghunandan

(2) 1951 Morris Tiger 1000. CAC-3737 Driver Mrs Anupama Sundeep., passenger Subramony, and 2 more

3)1942 Jeep (Murali Ram), Driver: Ms Kanya M, accompanied by Murali Ram

4) 1946 MG TC - Raghunandan chauffeuring Dr. Aditi Raja

5) 1985 Maruti SS 80 - (Arun Vasudevan) driven by his sister Asha Narasimhan (1 seat available)

6) 1962 - Vespa - Kedarnath Swamy with Daughter Riya

7) 1956 Plymouth Belvedere - provided by Christopher Rodricks


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