Sunday, October 16, 2011

Of lungis, mustaches, coconut trees and more

So am back from my li'l Kerala vacation and it feels good to be home. Obviously, I am not the traveling-type at all and all you need to do to make me happy is give me a bed and my laptop.

Some highlights:

* One good outcome from the trip is that now my score is 3/3. I have gotten badly tanned.. and I was always Tall and Handsome. *evil smirk*

* In Kerala, there are coconut trees all around you - in fact, the food also reflects the abundance of coconuts in the region. However, what startled me was that in spite of coconuts falling off trees at every second step, nariyal paani was more expensive that Calcutta. I mean, seriously! Calcutta rocks!

* 90% of the men had thick mustaches (remember that old adage - Mooch nahi to kuchh nahi!). I think those who didn't must face some kind of social stigma. Actually, I am dead sure. Like made to do household chores and a being top-notch concern for parents (iski shaadi kaise hogi!)

* We were blessed with a driver who understood neither Hindi nor English. This is after specifically putting in a request for a Hindi-speaking driver with the Travel Operator. But we went along as the guy seemed genuinely nice and decent. As it turned out, it wasn't the best of things to do. He wouldn't understand a word of what I said. He would understand perfectly what my uncle said though (in his broken English mixed with Hindi and Marwari words). We would all look at them in awe as they conversed with each other. I think, in the process, we got a glimpse of how mankind first started using verbal language.

* Another thing that would amaze you from the word go is how lungis are the common man's attire. And these are not the North-Indian ones that are stitched at ends. These split right in the front ensuring maximum exposure of dark legs when the men walk. For the newbies, learn the difference here.

* As should happen with most interesting trips, our car met with an accident on the way to Kanyakumari. Though it was clearly the other car's fault, we were surrounded by a dozen localites - most of them vengeful and drunk. Luckily they didn't jump on us and started fighting only with the driver in the local dialect. When matters reached a head, they all raised their lungis above their knees (some sort of primeval stunt to threaten the opponent I guess). Though they ultimately settled that it was no one's fault, one of the locals who could speak Hindi had come to us, introduced himself as an ex-naval officer and after making few basic inquiries, prompted "I think you should resolve the issue... you have women and kids with you and this would go on for whole night".. when we refused to intervene between the driver and the localites (it was none of our business!), he suddenly started threatening that Keralites hate Bongs and that they would break the car and throw the luggage off. Obviously, looking at our stern faces, he didn't try any stunt. We guessed they were only trying to make some quick money. Phew!

So, now I am expert at planning for vacations. Rest, all izz well.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

This time for Calcutta

A shy bride,
a forgotten princess,
a fairy with its ethereal charm,

With hint of glory, old,
A city will regain life,
Faces mirthful, hearts warm,

Streets will light up,
And stars'll shine the brightest,
With people, alleys aswarm,

For the Goddess is here,
And joy is here,
Blessed will be homes, blessed will be farms.

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