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Exploring Gujarat with Chetan Bhagat: Ford India - National Geographic Episode Round-Up


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Chetan Bhagat’s writings always have a strong human angle to them - after all, his books are all about people. To be able to do that, you need to meet different people and understand all that you can about their lives. And so it was for Chetan - he embarked on a quest in Gujarat, calling upon the state’s inhabitants, to know them better.

We travelled together shooting for the MyEndeavour alterrain series being produced by Ford India and the National Geographic channel; Chetan was hoping to find the setting of a new book. Besides others, he certainly wanted to visit homes in rural areas; according to the author, the real India lives in villages while he writes in English. And he wanted to know more about two communities in particular - the Siddhis and the Maldharis, both to be found in and around the Gir National Park.

Driving a Ford Endeavour alterrain edition (, we sure met a diverse set of people - all with their own unique societies, cultures and lifestyles. Did you see it all on the National Geographic channel in India on July 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.? Whether you did or not, join me on the journey from another vantage point - through images.

I am not telling you what you will get to view on the show. But here is a curtain-raiser; watch this space for more. You can also view more images at Watch the trailer on YouTube at

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Exploring Gujarat with Chetan Bhagat: Ford India - National Geographic Episode Round-Up

  1. 1. Around Gujarat with Chetan Bhagat THE EPISODE ROUND-UP The show was telecast on July 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., India Standard Time All photographs and text by Ajay Jain / Monday 8 July 13
  2. 2. Chetan Bhagat warmed up for the journey ahead by testing the Ford Endeavour alterrain in some empty fields near Ahmedabad Monday 8 July 13
  3. 3. Always wanting to meet new people and understand their lives, Chetan went calling on some families in a village near Ahmedabad Monday 8 July 13
  4. 4. The family was very hospitable and welcoming of Chetan - offering him tea for starters Monday 8 July 13
  5. 5. Chetan waiting to head out to the next destination Monday 8 July 13
  6. 6. The driver of the Chakkra, an improvised motorized cycle rickshaw seen commonly in Gujarat, cannot seem to help eyeing the Endeavour Monday 8 July 13
  7. 7. Community radio is an important agent of social change in Gujarat - and Chetan decided to drop in at the studios of Community Rudi no Radio Station (CRS) in Manipur near Ahmedabad. Run by the NGO, SEWA, it is broadcast on 90.4 Frequency and reaches 40 villages within 10 kms radius. The programme is broadcast from 9 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm daily. Monday 8 July 13
  8. 8. Chetan Bhagat live on community radio in Gujarat Monday 8 July 13
  9. 9. Such things also happen: Chetan met Udaybhai Jadav who operates an auto rickshaw - but asks his passengers to pay-what-their-heart tells them to in an envelope. Beat that! Monday 8 July 13
  10. 10. The Endeavour went calling to a work of art called the Amdavad ni Gufa (cave), an underground art gallery in Ahmedabad Monday 8 July 13
  11. 11. Inside the Amdavad ni Gufa Monday 8 July 13
  12. 12. Chetan dropped by to meet Manshuk Lal Raghavjibhai Prajapati, inventor of a clay refrigerator that supposedly keeps its contents cool and runs without electricity. Want to know more and order one? Visit Monday 8 July 13
  13. 13. Another MittiCool product - pressure cookers made of clay Monday 8 July 13
  14. 14. Driving into Wankaner, the home of MittiCool Monday 8 July 13
  15. 15. It was hot when we were travelling - Chetan chose to cool off with a Chuski (a ball of crushed ice topped with colourful flavours of one’s choice) Monday 8 July 13
  16. 16. We all stopped for dinner at a langar (community free kitchen) in a temple along the way Monday 8 July 13
  17. 17. The landscape changed as we approached the Gir National Park, home to the last of the Asiatic Lions on this planet Monday 8 July 13
  18. 18. Chetan dropped by to meet members of the Maldhari tribe, who have traditionally lived in the forests - peacefully with the animals. Of course, over time, many have been resettled by the Government in villages around the reserve Monday 8 July 13
  19. 19. We sure were lucky to have spotted the big cats inside the forest Monday 8 July 13
  20. 20. This dancing peacock was a delight to watch Monday 8 July 13
  21. 21. What is Chetan doing with all these kids? They are all watching a performance of traditional dances and music by the Siddhis, a tribe with origins in Africa Monday 8 July 13
  22. 22. The Siddhis painting their faces for the dances Monday 8 July 13
  23. 23. That’s a lot of energy and passion going into the Siddhi dances Monday 8 July 13
  24. 24. Atop a hill in Gir Monday 8 July 13
  25. 25. A panoramic view of Gir on the last evening of the shoot Monday 8 July 13