Pune, January 8, 2023: If you are driving around Pune today, you may encounter a unique sight: a pure white auto-rickshaw displaying cubist art reminiscent of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.
Meet Tuktukasso (a combination of Tuk-Tuk and Picasso), a one-of-a-kind rickshaw driven by Javier and Muberra, an estranged couple traveling across the country with nothing more than a car and a desire for adventure.
They are part of a much larger Rickshaw Run organized by adventure tourism company The Adventurists, along with 65 other teams from North to South. Muberra and Javier departed Jaisalmer on January 2 and hope to arrive in Kochi on January 15.
Muberra Karavelioğlu (30) is of Turkish descent but was born in France, while Javier Rincón (39) is from Guatemalan. They met while working in Spain last year and bonded because of their shared interest in travel and adventure. They got engaged four months later and were ready to explore India together.
Their multicultural heritage and love of the arts are proudly displayed on their precious rickshaw featuring the flags of Guatemala, Spain, France, Turkey and India, as well as Picasso-like art and religious symbols, all proudly designed by Muberra.
For the two of them, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that helps them get to know each other as individuals and develop their relationships. “I think it affects the relationship positively, as you get to know the person in front of you in situations that you have never met in daily life,” says Muberra. You have to work through and through moments of tension.
Traveling around the country while dealing with language barriers, cultural differences, unconventional roads and the car problem made them appreciate the country and its people. “Smiles can speak a language, too,” says Javier, describing an incident in which they were invited to a small rural school by laughing children, although no one spoke English. Both describe Pune as impressive, with lots of educated people and lots of places to see. The couple plans to travel to the coast of India in the future.
“I think India with a box of surprises every day will continue to surprise us. I will be very upset when I will not use Tuk-Tuk here. I’m pretty attached to Tuktukasso now,” says Javier.