Journey of a Lifetime

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Paddy Garrow-Fisher

(Mashay Number One)

Paddy was born and grew up in the town of Wexford, about 150 Kms south of Dublin, where his father was the local customs officer. They moved to Dublin when he was about 10. He joined the RAF on or just before the outbreak of the second world war and served mostly in Asia and the Middle East. It was during those days that he became fascinated by the local cultures and the history of those regions, especially India, and became conversant in Hindi, Farsi etc. After the war he made his way backwards and forwards to India on his motorbike as a travelling salesman, dealing mostly in engine parts. As his business grew he soon realised that it would improve dramatically if only he had a vehicle large enough to carry samples and actual merchandise  instead of just catalogues of his wares. He first tried towing a caravan but soon hit on the idea of using a bus fitted out as a moving warehouse cum display area. This turned out to be a very efficient solution but it wasn't long before he decided he would be better off converting it back to a bus and actually charging all the hitch-hikers he was picking up en route!

Overland bike (Paddy is unfortunately cut off to one side)

And so the Indiaman was born. In 1957 he drove the first busload of fare-paying passengers to Calcutta and back. Many of the Australian and New Zealand passengers terminated their journey once they got to Calcutta but he found that most were soon replaced by new Antipodian travellers heading West to London. According to Paddy, "That was when the penny dropped; a new era of people wanting to travel to and from India was developing to match the great days of the British Raj". The realisation that there was a ready-made and growing supply of passengers soon saw him change tack to what became the standard Indiaman seasonal rotation of East-bound journeys in Autumn and West-bound journeys in Spring.



















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