Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I miss....

"Sir , We need an address proof to open the account . Do you have a passport?"

She called me sir and then gave me a nice cute smile at the end of the question .I wanted to flirt with her but decided not to because I recently changed my flirting policy after a lecture from my mother ..but temptations... you know...Christ. Save me.

"Yes I have . here is it "- She browses through the last page.

"Sir , this wont do .The address is of Delhi. Do you have a driving license?"

"Yes I have that too. here is it "- She looks at it and frowns.

"Sir , this wont do the address is of Chennai. Do you have a voters ID card?"

"Yupz "- She looks at what is written suspiciously.

"Sir , Is this Malayalam?. The address is of Ernakulam."

I stare at her sheepishly and nods my head.

"Sir , you have anything else ? Ration Card , Electricity Bill,Telephone Bill ..". She again gave me a nice smile.

"Nothing , Recently I moved to Mumbai " I didnt reciprocate the smile. All these smiles in fact implies that I am a potential client that will help her to achieve her sales targets.{I am glad that I never had those things since I would have lost some time with her and some cute smiles}

"Sir , In that case you will be having a rental agreement?"

"No , I have attached myself with my friends. My name is not in the agreement"

Oze(Freerider ) , I was too lazy to explore for new apartments in Mumbai and attached to one of my friends.

"Sir , In that case come with the bank statement of your salary account after one month. I will take special care about opening an account for you in this branch and here is my number in case you need any help."She sounded too aplogetic.

"Ok Thanks but I don't need the number , I will come after one month." (There was too much tempation to take the number but blame it on the new flirting policy)

Again one more cute smile . I decided that I should mark visiting the bank ( meeting with her) in my PDA . Some policies remain only policies, especially a flirting policy I have conceptualised and created!

It has been a wild , exciting , noisy , confused and tumultuous pan Indian journey for me and my bike for the last five years . A journey that started from lush green paddy fields in the outskirts of Kochi taking both of us through Chennai , Kozhikode and Delhi and me through Pune , Ahmedabad , Calcutta , Indore , Bangalore and now Mumbai.

I miss Kochi

The traffic blocks in the north and south overbridges , the international stadium where I used to go for walks , the ships and breezy rides through marine drive , the long queaues infront of St:Antony's church in Kochi making me wonder what makes people pray so much and what were they praying for.I miss the cool ,fresh , youthful and warm atmosphere in the queen of Arabian Sea.

I miss Chennai

I miss the bike rides over Gemini flyover , the crowds in Chennai Central and Tidel Park . Adayar , IIT and the gajendra Corner. I miss the tasty shakes and ice creams in Shakes & Creams , the special masaladosas in Saravanabhavan , the visits to Spencer Plaza and Isphanani center and the choir in the St:Teresa of Avila church on each Sunday.

I miss Kozhikode

The Mithaitheruvu (Road of Sweets) , the beach,the Biriyani in Bombay hotel , the food in the famous Sagar hotel, the most decent and helpful autowallahs in India , those mosques , churches and girls who covered their faces with purdah.

I miss Calcutta

The tram , the yellow taxis , the metro , the horse carriages , the British buildings , the communist inscriptions which made me feel at home evoking memories about Kerala and I miss the debates with bong Intelleigensia on why communism did not spread in India.

I miss Bangalore

The exasperating traffick blocks near that 'always being constructed' flyover , people who were extremely proud about being stuck in traffick block and who debated with me on whether it is a sign on India's progress or booming middle class in the 'IT' city , the mallu restaurants in Madiwala and IIM Bangalore campus.

I miss Delhi

William Darlymple wrote in The White Moghuls "In modern Delhi an increasingly wealthy Punjabi middle class now live in an inspirational bubble of rising shopping malls, espresso bars and multiplexes. On every side, rings of new suburbs springing up, full of call centres, software companies and fancy apartment blocks, all rapidly rising on land that only years ago was billowing winter wheat. These new neighbourhoods, most of them still half built and ringed with scaffolding, are invariably given unrealistically enticing names- Beverly Hills, Windsor Court, West End Heights- an indication, perhaps of where their owners would prefer to be, and where, in time, they may eventually migrate."

The Funjabi (Food+Punjabi) Culture , CP , Delhi Metro , Karol Bagh , ISBT , Kamla Nagar , DU North Campus , the malls and the girls .

I just started to enjoy Mumbai

Hustle and bustle of the most energetic city in India , always abuzz with activity.Misty Musty Premier Padmini taxis which give a feeling that it may fall aparat anytime during the ride.Cafe Mondegar and leopold Cafe in Colaba , the street merchants in footpaths , the crowded streets , the choice in dining options , the theatres and plays . But I have the unusual luxury of 15 minute distance between the home and office in my bike and is not using the famous local trains .

There were few things that were true in all these cities .

I could find Mallus , Chinese food & cockroaches in each city

There was a hospital , bar and a church close to my place.Every Weekend I drank at bar and went to church on Sunday and sometimes got treated by Mallu nurses in the hospital.

There was at least an Andhra Mess / Ududpi Restaurant or Mallu food joint close to my place.

I used a KL registration vehicle in all the cities where I stayed more than one month and my motorcycle holds the credit for being the first Mallu motorcycle to roam India . It has been to three metros in India along with me.

I had my own chances to go to US and Gulf but was never motivated to go outside India may be I never viewed it as a parameter of success . I want to and may eventually go back to Kochi but I think I will explore India till then.

Inspired from this post


Alex said...

Angane...mumbail etthi.

enjoy when you are there. :)

You will miss it once you leave from there.

Flyaway Mind said...

interesting observation..so u have covered most of indian metros and underlined the fact that mallus can survive anywhere:)so where is destination-next of all india journey?

Anonymous said...

Now me curious to know whether u miss the miss at the bank :)

Neihal said...

I agree with Alex.
BTW the sole Bhelpuri wala nextlane to the Intercontinental, Marine Drive gives the best Bhelpuri EVAR. :P
He used to last year :(

Neihal said...

And Oh....I hate this address proof business. Same is my case.
Whts the new policy BTW;-P

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

I miss Kozhikode
girls who covered their faces with purdah.

Now Calicut has changed a lot man..I can giv u more locations there to see 'non-purdah' gals :D

silverine said...

Lovely post! It was like walking down memory lane, except that you can retrace those steps. Every city has a character of its own I am now discovering with some hectic travel schedule.

Seema said...

Deshadanamm do they call this...
International aakaaan thanne theermanichu le odukkam...passport office at worli ! so the date is on for next month huhh...good going with the sheepish smiles !

Cafe Mondegar and leopold Cafe in Colaba are good...if you like sea food you also have Mahesh at Fountain and Trishna at Kalaghoda are awesome and even Konkan Cafe at President n lots more actually! yummmmyyyy food !

Enjoi the present..only to miss it tomorrow !

chitra said...

address proof with a phto id : so tedious.
It was intresting to read your post. may you gain more opportunities to explore the wilderness of our country.

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

@ alex: Well , think leaving Mumbai seems to be a distant possibility now. Letz see and most probably I may miss it If I leave.:)

@flyawaymind:Who knows? My parents often accuse me that my constant state of motion is putting them under constant state of pressure and tension . So need to give them some peace :P.:D

@mangatholi:What a sweet name?I miss that miss and a lot of misses . Blame it on the new policy :D

@neihal: Thanks , Will surely check on the bhelpuri wala . Policies remain only policies , the new policy is inspired from the old Ladder theory :).

@ajith : Yupz , U mean SM Street and REC . I know :)

@Silverine: Not only every city even each person has a character of their own. Is it?. ATB for your travels.

@Seema: Hi , The problem with the present and future is that we never learn from the mistakes in the past.Thanks for the suggestion on those nice yummy joints :).Think you should read Shantaram to get an amazing perspective of the places you have mentioned. It is supposed to be Mira nair's next film. :)

@chitra: Thanks and ofcourse a chnace to visit you in Sahiabad in UP as well :).

Surya said...

Ahem! Credits for the idea pls.. :)

chitra said...

:) most welcome.

mathew said...

Man u are travelling a hell lot!! :-)

You must have met really interesting people in your sojourns..loved the characterisation of cities..

btw it got me thinking which place I would to work!! :-)

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

@ Surya : At the end of the post there is credit in the smallest font possible :D

@ Chitra : Thanks . Was in UP for the last 6 months . You could have told me this then . Anyway never mind :)

@ Mathew: But not to Dutch land :). Aap tho foreign travels ke bare menin likhna :D. Ya in fact the weekends in most of teh metros are filled with theatres , plays and non mainstream movies :).

Anonymous said...

well! nice nostalgic one.
thru the cities.
congratulations !!! to ur KL regn bike which should be entered in the limca book , at the very leats ;)

Attribution said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priya said...

A good hop indeed NC:))

Anonymous said...

IN the Gulf u wont feel Left out.. Cuz its like another Kochi and u wont disagree with me..
But there's always the option of
Kerala-phonia in the United States!
Nice post!

Raghav said...

wat line of work u into ?
u certainly travel a lot !

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

@Amoomma: I see , hmm a place in LIMCA book of records seems to be a good honor.

@Amoomma: What? Think I need some rest now :D

@priya :Hopefully lady :D

@anjaan: Hmm, You wont miss mallus , cockroaches or Chinese food anywhere , be it in Gulf or US.

@raghav: Ya I do , Hopefully will stay here for some more time :)

Anonymous said...

Don't eat Kerala food from "Kairali restaurant' at Kammanahalli. I had breakfast from there once. I was unable to take food for the next three days. (The outlet at Madiwala with the same name is different.That is good).

crocodile said...

Hi Nariyal,
while you are in mumbai, take a look at the second hand book shops at Flora fountain, the chaps selling the books there are walking catalogues !!
Nowhere but in Mumbai do you get beggars wiping the windshields with rags before extending the hand - I miss the sheer energy of that place.

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

@ crocodile : I have so many books with me that it will be difficult to finish reading all of them and I was a regular at those shops in flora fountain . Think even I am amzed by the energy of Mumbai , contemplating apost on that :).

Visakh said...

this is ur best post till date...great...

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

Hi Hi , Did you go through all my posts :D? . I never thought anyone had so much patience :P

scorpiogenius said...

Here am I, another patient guy who went through your older posts...

Its always a warm feeling going through anything which awakens your nostalgia! This post has given me that..Thanx NC.:))

Now tell me which one has been closer to your heart??? Cochin, I'd bet. I too have roamed many a big cities, India & abroad, but my sweet little Trivandrum has always provided me with the greatest feeling of comfort!