Four US diplomats dump cars, buy auto-rickshaws  

Her personalized black autorickshaw has a Bluetooth device and a curtain printed with the image of a tiger…reports Asian Lite News

Four US woman diplomats in Delhi have dumped their cars and drive around in their “personalized auto-rickshaws” in their “out-of-the-box” diplomacy style.

Ann L Mason, Ruth Holmberg, Shareen J Kitterman and Jennifer Bywaters love to go with their Black and Pink three-wheelers, driving themselves for all their work including ‘official trips’.

The diplomats shared their experience of learning this distinct mode of transport and how diplomats driving the auto-rickshaws is a rare exception!

From Detroit to my auto rickshaw, I’ve had a lifelong love of vehicles and so everywhere I’ve been there’s been something special about a vehicle but really none more special in my opinion than an autorickshaw. When I was in Pakistan, before coming to India, I was in armoured vehicles and they were big, beautiful vehicles. But I would always look out on the street and I would see the autorickshaws going by and I always wanted to be in the autorickshaw. So when I got to India and had the opportunity to buy one, I took it immediately,” said Ann L Mason to ANI.

“For me it was terrifying. Yes, learning to drive the autorickshaw was completely new for me. I had never driven any vehicle with a clutch, never driven a motorcycle, only automatic cars, my whole life,” she said when asked about how hard it was to learn, maintain an auto and get a license.

On being asked about her inspiration behind the idea, Ann said that her mother is her inspiration who inspired her to take chances and experiment in life.

“My inspiration is my mother, my mother always took chances. She travelled around the world, she was in the Vietnam War and she did so much with her life… My daughter also drives the autorickshaw and so learning from them every day, the interesting things that how they see the world,” she added.

Her personalized black autorickshaw has a Bluetooth device and a curtain printed with the image of a tiger. She has taken special care to personalize her autorickshaw, nicknamed KITT, in homage to the 1980s’ show “Knight Rider”.

Shareen J Kitterman, born in the south Indian state of Karnataka and holding US citizenship flaunts her pink autorickshaws with flower magnets, said that she was inspired by the Mexican Ambassador who too had an auto with a driver.

Mexican Ambassador Melba Pria was the one who started the trend when she made a white-coloured rick her official vehicle.

On being asked about the celebration of 75 years of relationship between both countries and she sees herself bridging the gap, Shareen said that she understands the Indian and the American way of functioning and that the embassies show respect for each other’s culture.

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