Hyderabad: Philanthropists Alan, 73, and Pat Braithwaite from Britain started a 40-day journey on February 1 in a three-wheel, open-top two-seater Morgan, with the intention of covering 5,600 km from Mumbai to Kolkata, taking in Rajahmundry, Varanasi, Agra, New Delhi, and Ajmer along the way. The couple took a break in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Their aim is to raise £200,000 for Goonj, an award-winning, India-based voluntary organisation which turns urban surplus into a powerful resource that rewards self-development of rural communities. The money will also fund academic research into the benefits of a ‘circular economy’ to communities in India and beyond.
M Braithwaite paid the Indian driver an unexpected compliment when he said that they are more skilful than those in Britain or in the West. “Simple rule to be followed: You don't hit me,” he said, acknowledging that traffic is very dense. “Indian drivers are so patient and polite, if there is a hit or wrong turn they simply smile and move ahead, unlike in the UK where they show so much aggression.”
They are both appreciative of the hospitality of the rural Indian, the broad smiles that greet them everywhere and the tasty cuisine.
Mr Braithwaite has ties to India; his mother was born in Belgaum and his grandfather was an officer in the erstwhile British government. After Independence, they moved back to Britain. His grandparents loved India and always missed it, he said. Ms Pat Braithwaite talked about her discovery of the rural women, and the hardships they face. She said people here are wonderful and the journey is very exciting....