Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bengalooru and beyond........on vacation!!

Disclaimer: This is a rather boring account of a week long break! you read beyond this point at your own risk and peril :)

Went off on a vacation for a week which would explain the break from cribbing in this space! To tell you the truth, I just ran away from work and landed up in my brother’s place in Bangalore (Bengalooru as its being renamed!) late on 13th evening. The vacation began with my brother, sister-in-law and me going to Forum on Sunday afternoon for a movie titled “Darna zaroori hai”! As the title suggests, one presumed that it was a horror movie but unfortunately it is anything but that. At best it can be described as a pathetic attempt at humour. Those of you who have not watched this movie can take the hint and avoid going anywhere near the theatres in which it is playing and as for those who have had the misfortune of watching it, my sympathies are with you. Met up with two of my friends in Bangalore Central in the evening and chatted up with them and window-shopped a lot! Monday was also spent oor suthing (roaming around!) Bangalore and generally picking up lot of fights with the auto fellows!

A little about the autos in Bangalore now… while I have always believed that the auto guys in Madras are the worst, these guys aren’t far behind. To begin with they are very choosy about the places that they will go to and from around 7.30pm onwards, they start demanding for one and a half times normal fare. Most fellows don’t even stop to answer you if they are not interested in the place you want to go to!! So you just stand in the pavement and keep shouting the name of the place at the top of your voice like a hawker and hope that one of these guys would stop! Nevertheless, these fellows have to learn a lot more tricks to catch up with their Madras counterparts :)

As for the city of Bangalore itself (which they choose to call “Garden city”), I would rather refer to it as a city with a few gardens! It appears that somewhere in the process of development, they were faced with the choice of having either a city or a garden and seem to have opted for the city, at the cost of the garden! But it does have a lot more greenery than Madras. As for the traffic, the less said the better. In Madras I usually go from Thiruvanmiyur to Anna Nagar and back and then go to Courts in Parrys Corner or Nungambakkam and in between go to my office at Mylapore as well, all on the same day!! But nothing of this sort is possible in Bangalore, as a major part of your day is spent in the traffic jam. I actually saw an ambulance wailing in the midst of traffic one evening but making no progress. While the other motorists on the road did try to give way, they couldn’t do much thanks to the traffic jam. I just said a silent prayer for the person battling for life in the ambulance.

One other thing which one noticed is that the buses in Bangalore don’t carry any signboards in English and its quite an ordeal finding the bus which you need to take. The consolation for me was that my friend Wooster, who is a bangalorean, also doesn’t read kannada and so, has the same drawback as me in reading these sign-boards :) I had always thought that tamils were the worst language chauvinists but I have now revised my opinion! In fact I even saw a bus stop with everything written in Kannada except the words “Bangalore Forward” in English!! If that is the way forward why write that alone in English? Reminded me of some signboards I’ve seen in Madras with the inscription “Long live classical Tamil” written in English!!

Moved on to Mysore on Tuesday and generally roamed about and landed up at the Jungle Lodge resort at K-Gudi – B.R Hills Wildlife Sanctuary the following morning!! What followed was one and a half days of absolute bliss. Living in a tented cottage with just the sounds of nature and a lot of insects for company was quite an awesome experience! The fact that there is electricity only for about 4 hours in the evening adds to the thrill. And of all persons, I meet another lawyer from Bangalore with her two kids in the resort! As she put it, we lawyers don’t even leave the jungle alone :) And as if to prove it, none of the predators ventured out in the open while we went on a safari!! Only the elephants were brave enough and made an appearance :) Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time and have memories, which I’ll cherish for long!

And here's a video clip of a herd of elephants

The return trip from K-Gudi to Mysore proved a lot more eventful than I had bargained for. My cab driver, on a sudden whim, decided to test the strength of the car with that of a stationary lorry and came out second best!! Thankfully, both him and me got out of the car unscathed but it was quite a shock for me! The car got badly damaged though. And much to my dismay, the cab driver was more interested in getting compensation from the lorry fellows than seeing if I was dead or alive! And I was so vetti (jobless!) standing on the road that I actually took a photo of the smashed up car!! Don’t know if I’ll get to wear a diamond crown ever, but on this day it appears that I did resemble a person wearing such a crown and got a lot of odd looks from passers by! The reason, I realized subsequently, was that my head was full of shards of glass!!

Went to a movie on Saturday at Inox alongwith Raaga and Wooster! The movie was Poseidon and I didn’t think it was great. Had lost interest in the movie quite early and so, indulged in my usual pastime of criticizing each and every scene, much to the discomfort of both my friends :) At the end of it, both of them were ready to wring my neck or massage my neck, as they put it :) The evening saw more mall hopping and window-shopping! I haven’t window-shopped as much as I did last week, ever before! The whole of Bangalore seems to descend on these ubiquitous malls during weekends, especially the ones referred to as “pretty young things”! Personally, I would rather leave out the “pretty” part and just refer to them as “young things” :) And as usual, I found myself the odd one out, as far the dressing goes!

Finally and rather reluctantly, I returned to Madras on Sunday. It was a week which I enjoyed thoroughly, a week without any work and totally cut off from the cyber world and most times from the cell phone as well! Wish this could be the routine and not just a vacation. Wishful thinking, I know :) And I do owe a lot of thanks to Raaga and Wooster and of course, my brother and sister-in-law for tolerating me for a whole week :)