Guest Posts

The Three Wheeled Gallery On The Roads of Bhubaneswar

While I was walking down one of the streets in the centre of our city, I saw an auto stopping by, and I rushed near it, as if I was in a great hurry to catch a flight, which was apparently not the scene.

While I was walking down one of the streets in the centre of our city, I saw an auto stopping by, and I rushed near it, as if I was in a great hurry to catch a flight, which was apparently not the scene.

In point of fact the unique interiors of the auto had caught all my attentions, and I turned into the interfering bum (driven by my unapologetic curiosity) that I am.

I know you are curious too. Wait, until you go through the story, eye on the pictures.

Well, there are masses of autos running in Bhubaneswar. Then, there is this one particular auto.

What is so darn special?

No, it is not a winged chariot, but a wheeled gallery. It has a curator too, and it is who drives the auto, the gentle middle-aged man, Amit Saha. Not only does he drives it willingly, but decorates it passionately. If you are imagining it with posters of glam dolls, boomy FM radio, or ads of convent schools, beauty parlours, newly opened restaurants, or secret sex clinics, however, you are wrong. Starting with the front of the auto, which is the main point of attraction, is the dashboard of the vehicle or a mini gift shop – you have to see it to ensure it.

IMG_1047

Amit Saha – Owner of Manamandira

The middle-sized idols of Gods and Goddesses (330 millions of Hindu deities literally and figuratively), many a little-little dolls, small sport cars, plastic plants, and scores of craft pieces are placed on the dashboard with supreme care and passion. Amid this beautiful crowd, which is templated as ‘Welcome to Man Mandir’, it too has a miniature of our Indian national tricolour flag waft in utmost pride. The walls of the auto bear the stories of the man behind it, which all have been featured in the local newspapers.

The sills of the auto are beautifully decked up with hanging decors crafted out of glitzy balls, colourful thermocols, wood beads, which adds a royal palanquin-like look to it. The stacks of cushions in the auto are well furnished and give a major luxury vibe in comparison to other autos in and around the city. When asked about it, the man smiles affably, and speaks on how he came up with the idea of customizing his source of roti, kapda and makan, for own pleasure, and to lure passengers.

Over the yoke of years, he has been happily designing it, adding on to the collection, and gaining recognition, and the effort, happiness, and success of the man shows off clearly, as many other commuters get gathered already.

Do take time to ride the auto if you spot it around the town!

I instinctively put my hands together before the tiny idols of Gods and Goddesses, firstly, as they remind me of my grandma’s cubicle of worship wherein she placed dozens of idols and articles.

Secondly, Bhubaneswar is the city of temples, and this human of Bhubaneswar proves it with his running temple.

I adore the man’s adoring endeavours, and wish him best of tidings. This encounter brought some very good-feelings to a person like me, fed on art and literature. And I repeat…

“Creating Beauty is Attaining Salvation.”

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