Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My city –my life

This is not the city I was born in , neither I studied here and hence no extra ordinary emotions attached to the place so it was very natural for me to observe the city , Indore , in a dim light . (also many of  my husband's relatives stay here)

My early observation of the place was an extremely noisy city with equally unruly traffic ,poor roads , congestions on every major road. Of course the subsequent experiences made me see the brighter side too like people seem to have extra ordinary accommodation for all kind of unpredictable movement on roads . They may not be very courteous to people walking on roads but have super cool attitude towards animals walking /sitting on roads . Some of them ,I have actually seen with my own eyes ,while driving balance a mobile in one hand and virtually touch the forehead of cow in obeisance by another hand. Indorians instinctively know how to maneuver their way between potholes, cows, cyclists of maverick nature. It is one of those cities whose resident can most rightfully claim that –if you have been driving/riding a vehicle in Indore , you can very well drive anywhere in India.

Cows   parked  in the
 middle of the road

 caravan of camels  on
the far left side

Early learning treats

            ( You can see a young Indori getting trained in riding on roads which is  shared by animals)

Drivers world over consider honking rude but here ,in Indore , honking is an extremely polite way of informing people all around to just take a notice of your arrival. Its as benign as ringing a doorbell to inform the house owners of your arrival .Afterall vehicles can suddenly appear out of nowhere before you anytime , anywhere . Just yesterday a not so young man overtook my car from my left side.the guy had been honking to plead that I should give him a way to go ahead . Ofcourse , between the potholes on my right side and a hand cart slightly ahead of me I could not manage to allow him a go ahead , and out of sheer desperation he took his car on my left on the muddy lack of footpath side and managed to give me a furious look for some micro seconds .
Now , how many of us can manage to overtake a vehicle from left from a narrow space and simultaneously communicate the feeling of anger in those precise micro seconds of eye contact ? You have to be in regular practice of this kind of multitasking to be effective. Anyway , no hard feelings for the guy in question because men this expressive are hard to come by.

People here have very conspicuous penchant for huge cars of International brand . on the narrow roads you can be sure of having traffic jams every now and then with these elephantine vehicles cluttering the roads . But these Car owners of affluent background have to be appreciated for their wishful thinking that all the fellowmen sharing the same road have helicopters as their vehicle ( Vahan ) and in line with this wish they honk incessantly even during traffic jams and traffic signals showing stop sign. The vehicle right in front of you can move only if it had been a helicopter .

I have been inviting the rage of Indori drivers quite regularly eversince I have taken up driving here. the Tata- magic metador is a common public transport here and , Once a magician hooted me for my slow driving by asking me sarcastically “ are you promenading in a garden?” . On peak rush hour only these magicians have the required skill to drive fast and exhibit “ reverse Al Sita devi effect” i.e. break the ground and erupt all of a sudden on the road .

If you anytime have a chance to travel by these metadors you are sure to be touched by their magic touch which has only one prerequisite to board “ leave all your self respect at home” . they ask you to shift to fit in the fourth passenger of any size , they will definitely ask you to shift on a front seat next to driver to fit in a ladies ‘ Sawari’ if you happen to be a guy. They ask for exact change in advance otherwise suggest you not to board . If you are lucky to receive a change from them , say a fiver , rest assured it is one of the dirtiest one bandaged with cello tape .I even noticed a young man who was first moved from back to front and later in order to fit in 2 inseparable sisters ,was asked to leave .The conductor , a teenaged boy ,returned the money to this man who had travelled some distance already.What struck me most was –the guy did not even as much as protest . these magic vehicles can have such calming effect on even the brash youngsters . Their signature slogan is poor service@ Low cost .

 white& green decorated  thing is
 the magical vehicle-
 and NO! its not a boat

Guys , this is a city absurdly indulgent in food and the all time favourite here is “ pohe jalebi” which is available on every roadside shop , and mind it every second shop on roadside is an eatery . They even have 56 Dukan where all 56 shops are eateries which serve very sinfully delicious snacks making sure to lace your arteries with cholesterol and shooting your sugar level up by several notches with the exception of quite non oily yet delicious poha .and NO!, guilt of eating wrong is unheard of among Indorians .the sugary , tangy poha , decorated with boondi and sev is to be eaten to be believed .its kind of divine intervention by God that the youngsters of this city patronize the traditional “ poha jalebi “ as much as Dominos and Mac. The convenience of parking anywhere to get a plate of poha is uncomparable to the spotting a parking place in front of Dominos or mac . Parking is a non existent concept in Indore . You can park your huge vehicles anywhere and except vehicle pilfers nobody is gonna notice it , least being the traffic guys or cops of the city. The  Cops in the city are very innocent and  very indulgently ask the
citizens " do you think , your vehicle can get stolen? " . Guys! you dont believe me , right ? You think  devil in me has taken better of me ........Oh yeah !!! then look at this

Noticed the question mark?????

Most of the traffic signals are treated like ‘ Sabji bhaji ‘ i.e. you eat them only if your Mom is watching . Overtaking is a passion of the city more so among the bikers in their early teen ages . Stopping for another vehicle , even if it is negotiating a curved precipice is very unbecoming of any Indori driver worth his salt. They honk their signature obligatory horn and overtake from left or right depending upon their convenience.Indori drivers are 'ambidrivextrous' in their own right. I always wonder what kind of perpetual hurry  all the Indorians have   and who are  the people who linger and hang out for hours in front of all the eateries?
Please notice the young crowd on two wheelers , some of them are riding their vehicles even on footpath  This city hardly has any space onroad for people walking . Here , you  even visit your neighbours on scooter and some desperate  guys and gals even  prefer to go to bathroom   in their house on scooter .walking is too impractical in Indore.
 If my readers have any emotional connection with Indore and are incensed by my post which has pictures speaking louder than words , please wait !!!! I am in the process of collecting some real amazing pics of the city .
This post is just a curtain raiser and my way of dealing with the shock because before coming to Indore I was staying in a place which looked like this......

PS: I will soon post another set of photos if I start getting hate mails otherwise please consider this as my final opinion.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A mail to Ganeshji

Dear Ganapatiji ,

I am writing this mail to you with the faith in you and your understanding of the basic human behaviour and an appreciation for individual difference , I know if you had no understanding of  individualities of the people you wouldnot make all 102 crore Indians think different , look different , have different likings and tastes in life.
Ganapati bappa ,you know it only well that just like a seasonal cold I catch  religious feelings   only as long as you visit us  for 5-6  days in a year .  I dont enjoy the " mechanical " pooja and hence stay away from temples and holy places . I find the entire concept of idol worship with flowers , deep , dhup very non productive ( Little kids playing with dolls makes more sense to me than mature adults  giving you bath , dress and deck you up ). Dont you feel like a "  super sweet bahu of hindi serials bedecked with heavy chunk of jwellery?" . I have no objection to their belief in you eating 21 modaks everyday which I make  for you and then eat a few of them myself without guilt.I am sure you are aware that  I may not be a  very strongly religious person but I  have never denied your existence . You have only made me partially and seasonally religious so I guess , you cannot complain about it much .
I have a very valid logic to not to do any religious rituals all 365 days in a year  is that , you are Omnipresent and wherever I  keep my head or poke my nose , your holy feet perpetually  touch them .
I dont beckon you every now  and then but am thankful that you have responded to my prayers always.
you remember , the last time I summoned you was when I had been to a mall , some 3 km from home and suddenly panicked if I had switched off the gas under the cooker or no  and then I asked you to switch off the gas and you obliged .
just yesterday when we were taking you for visarjana (immersion) , I forgot to take the prasad with us which is also to be  immersed  along with you as your provisions for journey . I know you would not mind it much considering the fact that  wet curd rice anyway would  not taste any good but I was extremely scared of  kaka(Uncle) who would not have taken it very kindly  for my floundering the tradition but you helpfully had him also forget it .
Ganapati bappa , lateral thinking is your signature style .Didn't you teach the world that Revolution around world(pradakshina) is meaningless what matters is having your parents at the centre of your life and have your life revolve around them . I just hope that you remind this simple fact to all those careless sons and daughters who leave their parents in  lurch . I feel these people don't take you seriously and ignore your teachings because you have no nusance value . I have never heard anywhere that you got angry and punished someone . why don't you take a clue from your father who keeps his third eye as a deterrant. Everyone takes him so seriously.why do you have to behave like a traffic police who serves  only the decorative purpose of the cross roads and traffic signals?
You know Godji , times have changed . when I  was in school I was taught " cleanliness is next to Godliness " but now its the vice versa . have you observed that wherever the building owners stick your colourful pictures on the stairs , those stairs are clean and nobody spits paan there .
Ganeshji , last week we had so many pandals in my city  keeping your idols and arranging different dance competetions  and events on your name . Everywhere I observed that hardly anyone was keping company to you , it was only the DJs and  dance shows which attracted the crowd . I hope you did not have any identity crisis on this issue.
Godji , times  are changing , so is everyone . I hope you will be able to keep the pace with fast changing Indian attitudes towards our  value system .
meanwhile , may I please ask you to keep all my countrymen safe and happy and honest .Noone in my country should sleep on an empty stomach .
Yeah I know , this comes under the purview of our Government  but whats the point in asking them .
I have faith in you ! so I ask you!