Anand Mishra is not the kind of guide we often meet at the historical sites of our country. Conversant in English, knowledgeable about his job, punctual, and eager to learn from whatever sources, Anand perhaps reflects the spirit of the much-talked about new, small-town India. To top it all, he has a fellowship from NASA. More than what you expect in a sleepy, dusty, village-town of Lonar in central Maharashtra.
But then Lonar is not just a historical place. Far removed from the typical tourist circuits and itineraries, Lonar is a place where history, geology, astronomy, ecology, and mythology meet to give a unique experience for travel lovers.
Anand, a college-educated boy, takes travel lovers in and around the crater telling stories that are part history and part mythology with the same ease as he explains the science behind the crater, its coloured rocks, and the pH value of the water.
Apart from having local knowledge, Anand’s comfort with English has helped him land a post of being a local assistant to researchers from many international universities and institutions including NASA, who camp in Lonar every winter. And there lies his NASA connection as well. He certainly is proud about his connections and enjoying his job well.