Indian tractor to the rescue!

Years ago, I learned how to drive a tractor. We had one of the few tractors in Pallavur then. The first to come was a greenish coloured Russian tractor, followed by a spanking new red ‘International’ machine. The village was slowly weaning away from bullock powered tilling and had started to entrust the work to roving Tamilian tractor owners. My uncle taught me the basics of driving the machine, operating the levers, the plough and all that, and we used to spend holidays tilling the fields. I still remember, the tough part was the individual brake system.. What power! The tractor could climb from one field to the other, traverse steep slopes, go through deep slush with no problem whatsoever…So in the mornings my cousin Suresh and I would set out with the tractor. In the initial forays, the car/tractor driver, Mani supervised us. Once it was clear that we could manage without destroying the vehicle or other’s property, we were allowed to venture out short distances on our own. As the work in our own fields got completed, the tractor was rented out, and we would drive & help Mani out in nearby villages for the going hourly rate … Thinking back, those were quite enjoyable days

Initially people would look at the two of us on the tractor with much trepidation, but after a while, they agreed that we could manage. Well two or three vacations went by, I was a cocksure driver by then and one day while returning to park the tractor in the shed, I overshot the point of no return and crashed into the garage wall (I still blame the individual brakes!). A big crack developed on the wall, the panicked me stamped the brakes in time and the tractor shuddered to a screeching halt. That incident and a bad accident that followed when my uncle was driving the machine put an end to our tractoring aspirations

This was many years ago, time flew by, whenever I went to Pallavur for holidays with my wife and kids, I would show them the infamous cracked wall…and recount the story. Now the whole family knows how to avoid me when I venture towards the garage. Pallavur has changed little. The tractor has been sold; actually it was not a very good investment, and the returns marginal! Nowadays, huge harvesters come from Tamilnad and get the work done in a jiffy.

While I was living in the US, I would see bright green John Deere’s or yellow CAT machines ruling the roost as I drove past many a countryside. The venerable International tractor was forgotten. Till hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the US Gulf coast…rescue efforts got underway after awhile and a year later this Business week
report followed. An extract below…

Like other rural residents of southern Mississippi, Jamie Lucenberg, 35, faced a huge cleanup job last fall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He needed a tractor fast to clear debris and trees from his 17-acre family farm, just 16 miles north of devastated Biloxi. "We literally had to cut our way up and down the blacktop roads," recalls Lucenberg. But rather than buy an American-made John Deere or New Holland, brands he grew up with, Lucenberg chose a shiny red Mahindra 5500 made by India's Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. "I have been around equipment all my life," says Lucenberg, who also used the tractor to earn extra money clearing destroyed homes along the Gulf Coast. But for $27,000, complete with a front loader, the 54-hp Mahindra "is by far the best for the money. It has more power and heavier steel," Lucenberg says. "When you lock it into four-wheel drive, you can move 3,000 pounds like nothing. That thing's an animal." The local dealership in nearby Saucier, Miss. (population 1,300), figures it has sold 300 Mahindras in the past four months.

Time everybody realised, it is not just brainpower and outsourced hours that we export to the US, but also machines of steel, competing with US home brands!!! And ‘kicking ass’ as they say out there!!!

Did you know that Anand Mahindra, a Harvard university MBA actually studied to be a filmmaker and even did a short movie on the Kumbh Mela?? Anand’s undergraduate major was film making and his hobby is photographing his knockout wife Anuradha(editor -Verve)!! And that the M&M was originally Mahindra and Mohammed? The Mohammed relocated post Independence to Pakistan and was Ghulam Mohammed, Pakistan’s first finance minister. Go ahead read that
on line chat with Mahindra, it is worth it. BTW one more titbit, Anand was Bill (Clinton’s) classmate.


Reshmi said…
Heyy..That was a treat to read..! We certainly have it in us to set a standard to the whole world. Our human resources and natural resources have that potential:)

A very wonderfully written post, that traverses diff time spans. And every bit of it was new information to me.

Saved that chat for reading later.
Keep such posts coming..!
maddy said…
thanks Reshmi,i enjoyed writing it as well...
hari said…

Beautifully written. waiting for more.

maddy said…
Thank u hari - welcome to the blogworld..