Shot in the dark – Part 2

June 27, 2009


I have started one more blog, where I am putting few of the pics that were clicked using my ‘not so old‘ digicam. If at all this newly picked interest (or khujli to be more precise) survives for few more months and the recession doesn’t eat up my job, I might try to graduate into the league of digital SLRs. But that’s going to take couple of years at least and I expect this bug to die down by that time. Till then, enjoy the pics from a garib camera of a garib owner. The link is here.


And justice for all

April 13, 2009

Ever wondered, the age old adage in Hindi – “Laalach buri bala hai“? Time and again, it makes me realize that these adages were drafted by more smarter individuals in the past and lesser mortals of today should start following them almost blindly. Else, the results could lead to situations that people call ’embarassing’. Not sure what I would call that.

On my way back from a recent trip to Rajasthan, I had to board my flight at Ahmedabad. The flight was Kingfisher Red and the scheduled departure of the flight was at 6 o’clock in the morning. (I am emphasizing on the word RED to clear all the misconceptions, because I still can’t afford to fly the Mallaya’s original Kingfisher. I am one of those souls who, if offered discount on air travel, would be happy to travel standing throughout the journey, even along side the aircraft’s toilet. The great Indian railway has made me immune to all the possible smells that one could possibly bear)

I reached Ahmedabad at four in the morning in a half sleepy, sandwiched state in one of those awefully uncomfortable night buses that are termed as “deluxe”, “luxury”, “superfast”, “night special”, with just enough leg space to accomodate a 5 year old kid, but definitely not an adult. The icing in the cake was provided by few gujju bhai with their mobile phones that played non stop music whole night, paying rich tributes to the legends of 80’s music (the Jitendra, Jaya Prada era where lyrics like “tohfa tohfa” caused a mass hysteria and Mithun da ruled the silver screen with his “jimmy jimmy” act)

It was a hopping flight with a stoppage at Mumbai. I wasn’t aware that they would serve breakfast, for they never did so when it was Deccan. Soon, the Lady in Red came up and handed me the packed breakfast that contained some stuff like doughnut, fruit juice, salads, ketchup and a cheese spread . Well, I am one of those good hygiene conscious guys who are averse to eating anything without doing their morning rituals of “you know what” ;-). Though I was craving to have a bite, I reluctantly decided to keep my resolution till I reached Bangalore and didn’t eat anything. Everyone around was happily munching and burping and I cursed the Marwari bhai, sitting on the aisle seat who ate his daughter’s doughnut as well. I decided, when nobody would be watching, I would silently slip all the breakfast stuff inside the polybag that I was carrying as the hand baggage and eat it afterwards.

Not aware of the reason, but we were asked to board a different aircraft at Mumbai. In the midst of the chaos that prevails while people get down from the aircraft, I took advantage of the confusion and quickly moved all the stuff inside the polybag. I felt happy for this accomplished mission, greeted the Lady in Red and moved out like a king, as if I had achieved something Indian Soccer team had never dreamt of. I got inside the bus that took us to board the new aircraft. Excited with my great achievement, I hurriedly peeked inside the polybag, but missed the correct angle and the whole of cheese spread fell on to my blue jacket. Gosh!! I was dumbstuck. I prayed to God to end this world at that moment, but nothing happened. Drop by drop, it spoilt my jacket completely. I took my jacket off, folded it like a gunny bag and imperiously stuffed it inside the polybag. But along with this ‘white lining’, came a silver lining as well, when I realized that it was the last seat of the bus and luckily for me, nobody had noticed 😉

In the new aircraft, another Lady in Red came and asked – “Sir, what would you like to have for breakfast?”. I thought of answering – “Rin Supreme”.

Back to basics..

November 18, 2006

Gone are the days when traveling by flight was so expensive that people never removed those airline tags from their luggage, just to show off and to make an statement of their high status. But, after the inception of the low cost airlines, even people like me have started traveling by flight. Yes, people like me, who have almost always obliged the great Indian Railways, burying those status thoughts either in the 3 tier sleeper or in the general bogie, traveling in the scorching heat of North India, (without reservation of course) sitting so close to an ultra clean toilet of Link Express that even the manufacturers of those exotic French perfumes would love to imitate that early morning fragrance that I’ve witnessed several times 😉

But eventually, or more precisely – not by choice, the flight tickets were beyond my budget this time (Yes, Diwali comes once a year and there are smarter guys who book their tickets early) and after almost 2 years, I was back to where I originally belonged. Boarding Karnataka Express, where I had always been an avid traveler in my college days, going home to Dehradun, peeping into the reservation charts and praying to God – not to give me those fatally uncomfortable side berths where a 5 feet 11 inches guy like me, struggles to fit in and gets enough motivation to sue the Indian Railways for this heinous act of theirs.

Luckily, my human rights were not violated. I was allotted the middle berth this time and Vikrant and Nishant slipped into the lower and upper berths respectively. After initial rituals of unnecessary altercation with our fellow travelers for placing their luggage in our undisputed territory, things were settled at ease by a good Samaritan, who acted as a mediator and soon swept us all in a wave of National integration. We finally locked our bags with those bulky chains and desi locks, as if we were carrying kilos of gold there in.

I enjoyed this long train journey, a conglomeration of varied cultures, covering seven different states, where we munched vada pau, enjoyed the famous Biryani at Daund, aalu poori, chana chat, flavored “Sanchi” milk at Khandwa and lots of other stuff. (Boy!! Who needs metrogyl or dipendal when we have such great digestion) Then there were various “artists” and singers and the inevitable eunuchs, who made few comments on Nishant when he was pretending to doze of. Yeah, it was quite an experience, be it the daunting looks I gave to a poor constipated soul for taking too much time inside loo or the 100-meter dash at one of the stations, which could’ve definitely fetched us a medal at the mohalla level.

I got down at Mathura and headed for Vrindavan to see my grannies. Just outside the railway station, the sight of getting into a local three-wheeled “tempo” petrified me (Yeah, it has an infinite seating capacity 😉 and there is an assurance of one getting sandwiched in the 30-minute journey) and I boarded a local bus instead. Nothing has changed in years; the argument with the conductor for charging an extra rupee, the cycle rickshaw that moves like a slithering cobra in those crowded serpentine streets of Vrindavan, the mouth watering “Khurchan” and “peda” outside the Baankey Bihari temple and not even the roadside garbage where a swine lies, enjoying the tantalizing sunshine.
I ask myself, do I miss something?