Monday, 31 August 2009

Of people and travel

I take the Metro every morning to college and back home after college and I love observing people.

People do very interesting things when they are alone. Some look at women like they've never done before. Some head bang and go into Air Guitaring and Air Drumming at the drop of a hat. And yet, there are others who observe the others (yours truly including).

Then there's this quintessential Kaboor fellow who gets a call and the whole train looks at him, for his phone has the loudest ringtone and he doesn't know how to answer the call. Then there is this Punjabi guy, along with a couple of his cronies, who plays the 'best' of Bhangra mixed with hip-hop for the benefit of the whole train. There's this odd Tamil mama who's voice actually overshadows the voice of the PA system.

And yet, by default, I switch off my player soon as I enter the metro train and start listening and observing people. The other day there was this French couple who were standing right next to me and jabbering in jet speed in French. I managed to catch hold of a certain word, and with my ultimately filtered knowledge of French, recognized that word a full 20 seconds later. I asked them if they were French, in French btw, and made them smile like crazy for some reason. After 2 sentences from me, they switched to English out of compulsion and passion for their language.

I am madly waiting for a cricket match to happen and India to lose. Honest to God, the electric train in Chennai is the best place to be after a cricket match. The discussions and the analysis they make are out of this world. The mamas and the mamis, both in all their wisdom, discuss the match with such fervor and elaborately describe Sachin's cover drive to that one pitiable person who missed the match due to a power cut.

I am loving college so far and I really hope this initial sheen carries on.

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Highs and Wows of Delhi

Yes, atleast for the next few posts it'll be all about Delhi, that is until I get bored of it.

Delhi so far has been pretty interesting. The people, the city and the food have been over-whelming to say the least. The sights need a different mention on its own. Every morning, I take the Metro from my place to Chandni Chowk and then take a rickshaw from outside the station to my college. Right outside a Gurudwara over there (its apparently a pretty popular one!), there's this long (read, very long) line of beggars and not so well off people squatting on the side of the road forming a line of atleast one hundred strong. They are there, dependent on a Sardar and his family to feed them.

I kid you not. A Sardar family comprising of an old man, an old woman, a young girl and another young boy come there every morning (I've been taking that route for the past 3 weeks, so it really is a regular event) in a tempo truck loaded with Chappathis and Sabji and actually feed these people. Imagine the amount of patience, money and respect they have. They feed close to a hundred people, EVERY morning! The simple thought that a hundred people are dependent on you for their breakfast (probably the one proper meal they eat everyday) can stump anybody. Its probably a religious sentiment for the Sardars or something, but this act of unbelievable kindness can wake up anybody and make them feel sorry for living in this world.

And this sight actually makes me feel sad. Sometimes, I'm just unable to look at that long line of people waiting for their food and I look away, pretending to ignore the sight, but my heart aches and it is indeed a pity that I have to watch that every single morning. But then again, just to prove that there is indeed a concept of Balance in this Universe, soon as the Rickshaw passes by these people and takes a right turn at the signal, The Majestic Red Fort welcomes me with all its Pride and Glory.

If there's one thing I am thankful for, it is this sight every morning. The Red Fort is a stupendous sight early in the morning with the sun shining brightly right above it. The sheer history behind it, the volume of importance it holds for us Indians (if you didn't know, Shah Jahan built the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid and developed the city of Indraprastha around it, which later gave birth to Delhi as we know it now) boggles my mind. I can only say that I am blessed to watch this majestic building every morning.

Delhi so far has been a contrast of sorts for me. My class consists of people from varied backgrounds and a simple one on one conversation can tell you that. That is one of the things I like about my class, the variation and the opportunity to learn about different cultures and lands humbles me. There's this omni-present group of Bongs (Who have ears sharper than Cats!) ready to pounce and mutilate anyone who even as much as mention Calcutta in a bad light, this group of Delhites, this guy/girl who somehow seems to mingle with everybody and this quiet guy/girl, who chooses to sit back and enjoy the view. Good Times.

Monday, 3 August 2009

The Feel of Delhi..

Out of 34 people in my class, there are 5 boys!

That sums up my experience in Delhi so far. It's been a complete turn around for me from what I've gone through in Chennai on almost every count. The women are friendlier (yay! :D), the food is, much to my surprise, pretty awesome, the weather is decent and best of all, the Metro Rocks!!

But what's taken a serious beating is my name as Vetti. I no longer stay up late and watch movies and things, mainly because I don't have net in my room. I barely get any time during the day as college takes up most of it. My college works from 9 30 to 4 and since it's a bit far away from where I leave, I have to leave at around 815 to make it in time. It doesn't really end at 4, that's just eye wash, it usually goes on till around 5 and since I get so many assignments which require some research from the net, I stay back till around 7 or so to exploit the free wi-fi and meet my room mate in our regular dhaba near my room for dinner around 8.

I live in this area called Model Town, which is far away from where the students of Delhi usually live, but I find it to be a good place. Cross the road from my room and I get everything, from a Beer Shop (which works for my roomie's advantage) to Mc D's to road side Dhabas to a UCB showroom to a multitude of ATMs.

College, for a change, is awesome to say the least. My Classmates are all equally smart and everybody, again very unusually, has a penchant for the course!There's the whole of India here, with representations ranging from Kashmir to Manipur to Rajasthan to Bihar and TN (yours truly) and obviously the standard Mallu and the usual Punjabi.

The room I live in is awesome. I am staying with one of my college mates, fellow back bencher and partner in bunking, Mr. Beer Belly, so the whole trusting the room mate with your undies and deo isn't an issue. We've got a toilet and a kitchen (which we use to store our suitcases and our footwear) and a small terrace to ourselves.

So far, it's awesome out here. That's the only word I can think of. People back home warned me about bias against southies and all that but so far, I've experienced nothing of that sort. People in my college are educated and they know better. I get off with my crappy hindi at the Dhaba and with Rickshaw dudes.

I only hope I can say the same things about Delhi at the end of my stay here.