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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Some digression with a Point....Somewhere.

Current Status: Helplessly watching my friends triumphantly flash their ‘I-told-you-so’ look at me (and this, I must add, they do quite effortlessly) while they witness me undergo my silent eat-my-words syndrome.

Frankly speaking, I never ever thought it would come to this.

Well, I’ve gotta give it you. You guys were right. I still have a lot to see. And I’m sure glad that (some of) you were a part of my awakening.

Sideline: The above few lines may precariously insinuate that I’ve suddenly attained some TOTALLY out-of-this-world realization of some sort …. Like the concept of Moksha..or Something like roaches being capable of producing almost 3000000 more roaches every year….or Prathibha Patel becoming the President of our Country. (Kidding….I always knew that roaches reproduce like crazy)

What I’ve always known and ALWAYS realized, is that I suck BIG TIME at practicals, vivas and interviews (in any order). 4 years of engineering and a lot of my supportive friends from college are more than just testimony for that.

But (trying to strike a contrast here) what I’ve always known but NEVER EVER realized is that how big and heterogeneous a country I’m a part of. (No, I’m serious and truly not up to any wise-cracks here).

There are some things that are easily a part of an everyday conversation or discussion but never really dawn on you with their exact meaning and significance unless you sit to think about it.
Something like the fact that…the universe is infinite.
Yes, you ‘know’ that and I ‘know’ that… but it would typically take you a while to actually ‘feel’ the gravity of that statement …for the fact to actually sink into you. And when it does, boy, it would leave you marveled and amazed; despite the number of times you’ve thrown that statement here ‘n there in public.

This is something like the point I'm trying (quite earnestly) to drive at.
Terms like ‘multi-cultural’, ‘harmonious integration’, unity-in-diversity’ never really meant anything more than just salient features of a distinctly complicated country, until I got out of my ‘shell’ (READ: Chennai, which is moreorless the only place I’ve known well. Yes, I know I’m ignorant.) and traveled ta Bombay for the first time.

I went..I saw..'n I was conquered. It overwhelms me to think of how a single country can house SO many different states which are SO incredibly different from each other. Its has been a week..and I’m still amazed.

And still haven’t gotten over it.

The more I think about it, the more I’m falling in love with this country….and I promise this has nothing to do with the fact that Aug 15 is round the corner. (skeptical folks, hmph! :D)
I’ve already chartered a virtual plan in my head listing out all the places I’d like to visit in the near future and I’m already soopah excited about it. My ideal travel plan would certainly NOT include those enormously popular planned-tours with horribly boring Volvos which house at least 3 kids wailing their hearts out, or at least 2 people wanting to stop for a pee every 30 minutes. (the chances that your VOLVO will have at least 3 potential cry-babies when your on a holiday, are unfortunately rather high)
Thanks, but no thanks.


My heart is fervently hoping for my next venture to the North…. Something I could handle myself without anyone’s assent/consent. A wild trip with me and just me, my digi-cam, a crazy hat, a jute bag worn diagonally across me, a rainbow-walla chaathi (my unfulfilled dream to own one…*sob!*), and absolutely NO luggage. ;)

I can imagine catching an train to some arbit sub-urb/village, holding on to the pole at the bogee ‘s gate, with the wind hitting against my face while I find it difficult to hold on to my flying chunee. (Ok, I’m imagining a bit too much, but I told you I was really excited) :D


Before I stop…(yes, miracles do happen)

Things I loved about Bombay.

  1. The Local trains

How people board the 'Bomaby' local trains and survive to tell the tale of it still remains an enigma to me. I was warned by my friends the moment I landed in Bombay, of the peak-hour traffic within the general compartmnet and that I shouln't go about heralding the fact that I *love* the local trains after one measly trip on a Sunday.

So....in order to prove a point, I travel by the local trains, on a Monday morning, where I imagine half the Bombay-population in plonked into that very same bogee I'm situated in. After the painful ordeal of finding a seat (which is a luxury far from reach for most travellers) I find myself squished between two pan-chewing uncles on either side of me, with their news-papers sprawled across their laps. (sort 'v missed the Hindu here) . Getting out of that mess would easily surpass signing a peace treaty with Bin Laden in terms of impossibility.

But...I still loved it. Every single, sweaty, tormenting second of it.

2. The chaos and the crowd

This was a riot. Want to be scowled and scorned at for fun in Bombay?

Walk fast in some arbit public spot. Stop walking and stand still for 3 seconds. You'll hear (at least) seven people asking you to move your ass off their way. They are busy people... and do not have time to watch a static piece of mass on their way...for 3 whole seconds. (And I always wondered why Bombay was too 'fast' for some people. )

3. The Bombay Rains

Ah...my favourite. I could go on and on 'bout this one.

You havent seen rains till you've experienced Mumbai rains. They pour 5 cats and 6 dogs. (bad joke..but I use it all the time :D). Lord Varuna's in for a party when the Monsoons hit Mumbai. The thing about Mumbai rains is that, they just're amazingly dynamic. I mean, one moment you see them..'n the next second you don't. I remember fidgeting with Tosh's purple umbrella trying to open it and save my head, and by the time I'd gotten it open, the rain had stopped. (I had that 'well-I'll-be-damned look ever since)

4. Pani Puri

Whats so special about the PP (Rathi's way of putting it) in Bombay?

I really REALLY don't know. But all I know is that its absolutely divine. I mean, I'm a sucker for the normal Chennai-canteen walla PP itelsef...so when I had a taste of the PP in Churchgate, I went gaga over it. I would 've ordered indefintely, but I reminded my self of public norms of decency (whatever that means :P)

5. Marine Drive

It was undoubtedly love at first sight. For all you non-Mumbaikars, Marine Drive is just a road with the sea adjacent to it. Like any normal beach actually. But there's something about taking that walk along that stretch of land. While Sahil and Parimal were playing Mr.Tourist-Guide by explaining the worth of property at the other side of the lane, I was busy being mesmerised by the view from the kerb. At one point, it looked pretty much like New York.

6. The rocks at Nariman Points

Trying to walk across those rocks on a rainy evening isn't exaclty the wisest thing to do. But thats exactly what we did. And man, it rocked! (pun unintended)

Actually, It got so complicated as I hopped from one slippery rock to another, that at one point of time, I had to squat on one of the rocks to print a mental strategy on what rocks I had to travese by next, to reach the point were Parimal was standing. And then, it would start to rain. And I'd be squatting on that slippery rock; plonk in the middle of no-where, till the rains subsided. This still makes me laugh.

7. The guilt-less arriving home late during weekends (and every other day presumably)

Lets just say that my mom doesnt know that I had dinner at a restaurant in Mumbai with friends at around 01:00 hours on a Sunday. For me it felt sooper-cool to be doing something I (still) am not allowed to do, but for folks there....it was another normal weekend.

8. People I more than just know ;)

Tosh Raman Sahil Takloo Chacha Rathi Poorva Chirag Nikhil Vishal Prithvi. Your more than just a reason for me to get my ass back down there. Need I say more.






Things I didn’t like about Bombay:


That it wasn’t Chennai.

3 Confounded-souls had something to say:

Sriganesh Murthi said...

Ah, an infinite universe and a lifetime to visit a mighty few places. Right now, you are amazed by the diversity in India. That is only because of the concept of countries. If you shun your fake patriotism :-) and consider the whole world as a single entity, then you'll be amazed even more by the diversity. After all, as Joseph Heller said, countries are but mere boundaries.

bharani said...

i absolutely agree with you about the pani puri thing...well, i have hated pani puri all my life...truth is my dad is really hygeine conscious and so am i, i remember my dad telling me when i was a kid pointing at apani puri shop "look how ho dips that thing in water with his hands..."

so i have almost not eaten it in chennai and whatever i ate wasn't good...so i used to wonder when i heard that north indians eat it like hell... "what the hell"...until recently when i was in mumbai with my friends, near churchgate... they insisted me to eat it, i did it reluctantly at first then i couldn't have enough o it... was choking on the streets with my mouth full of the fuckin stuff...it was good...

Mayth!! said...

:SriGanesh: Yeah...I'm dazed...more like a kid in a candy shop ;) Have a lot to do in this one lifetime...I'm afraid its not enough.

@Bee: Real PP, I hear, is when you sink that puri into the water and plonk it into your mouth. Nothing tastes like that. Really. :)