Premise: Our friends – Sarah and Lisa are visiting us for 10 days and we are planning a tour of North India with them.
Disclaimer: I am donning a ‘Cynical hat’
Date: 25th Dec, 2007
1:30AM, Hyderabad Airport: There is nothing like waiting for someone or for your flight in an Indian airport. You have a lot of people as usual, in addition to that everyone in the town and their mom would be there. And added to that everyone would be standing. Yes, I do sound very cynical but believe me when I say, that I face these things with utmost patience.
So me and Sang were waiting for our friends to come out. It took about 2 1/2 hours for them to get out. In the mean time to pass our time we played a game of who is the most beautiful and who is the most ugly person. There was one moment where I mistook a Airhostess to be our friends but it didn’t take much time to recognize them once they were out! Finally Sarah and Lisa arrive. Yay.
9:30AM, Our home: I woke up to the giggles and laughs of our friends who were trying to use our bathrooms. Sangita was giving them ad-hoc classes as to how to do a “bucket bath”. I had to rush to Trinetra market to get some good old ‘toilet paper’.
11:00AM, Charminar: It was fun to go to Charminar as our first ‘tourist visit’. Both Lisa and Sarah were surprised to see the sea of people. We stood like good Samaritans in the line to get the tickets. Someone saw that some white people are standing in a colored line and got us ahead and front of the line. This did not go well with the lady who was next in the line and she kinda yelled at me for cutting the line using ‘white people’ as pretext. For a moment I felt bad (remember I am a good samaritan too) for the lady but then when I realized that our friends were charged Rs.100 and we(people of color) were charged Rs.5 I felt no pity towards anyone who is standing in line. Call it my ‘secret justification of the world’ process.
So we climbed the steps and got on top of Charminar. It has a very good view of the city around. I was trying to be careful with Sarah’s left shoulder (as she has a history of dislocating it after her ‘daily Karate class’ and ‘regular ass kicking of Josh’ practice) and also stop a whole lot of guys from just falling on top of white people. I think it’s tough life for people who are both white and girls – to be visiting India. Every Indian Romeo (or Ranjha) wants to touch them or fall in love with them. Desi Babu, Angrezi Baby!
Once we were on top of Charminar, both Sarah and Lisa were asked by random guys to have their pictures taken with them. Being the good Samaritans they are, they politely refused. But this didn’t deter some people and they just simply took pictures of our friends. It’s a weird feeling to see a Hyderabadi hero (A typical teenager with long hair and fancy pants) scramble and pull out his phone camera to take a picture of our friends before they walk away.
So, now we all realized how the rest of the India trip is going to be. It would all be stares and random flashes (the camera ones) all the way. We would get ‘Hullo’ once a while but we knew that it was meant for the whities not us.
We did a little bit of shopping. Sarah bought some bangles, Sang and Lisa bought some ‘Attar’ (scent). Again, looking at our friends the prices would automatically go up. It’s just not the Indian government who has jacked up all the ticket prices for foreigners – it also includes all the stores. Good thing we had the ‘Ninja Price Negotiater’ (hereon to be referred as NPN) – Sang who basically cut so close to the bones of the sellers that it hurts watching her haggle.
1:30PM, Our home: We got back from our Charminar trip and our friends (who are amazingly adventurous and very sporty) donned the ‘Standard Indian Aunty’ (TM) look – by wearing Indian nighties. My grand mother, mom and sisters were pretty amused to see them in that attire. They thought that both Lisa and Sarah looked like live dolls in the Indian nighties.
Then we sat down to have our scrumptious dinner. My mom is a genius. She knew before hand that some white people are coming to visit us. She knew that she couldn’t talk to them. So, she used one of her best weapons from her arsenal – food. They say, the best way to reach a (Wo)man’s heart by the stomach route. If that is true then, my mom friggin owns the route, the canal next to it, the whole neighborhood! She meticulously planned the lunch to be the best one. So, we all enjoyed our ‘Coconut gravy based fresh shrimp’. That was awesome. Period.
3:30PM, our home: As I suck totally at haggling (there are many, but this one shows up very often), the girls have decided to take my sister – Asha along with them for further shopping. Asha is also a ‘NPN’ and equals Sangita at haggling.
3:45PM, our home: Since we decided to take Asha (and Bannu comes with her by default) with us and now we were 5 in number it was tricky to get all of us in the car. Me and Sang sat in the front and I had to straddle around the gear stick. This is the beginning of the trip long harassment I would undergo with the car, auto, rickshaw drivers. The groping ended after 45 minutes as we reached our destination. Man those were some ‘jerky’ switching of gears.
4:30PM, Sultan Bazaar: Both Lisa and Sarah got some pretty bags and clothes. Asha and Sang made sure that the price was low. And the crowds kept staring at us.
6:30PM, Auto: This was the first ride in an auto for our friends. As usual we were more in number to fit in an auto, so I snuggled next to the smelly driver. At first I was kinda surprised to see that guy being so jovial and friendly and later I realized that he was drunk. Phew. So, I had to keep him sober by talking to him about random things till we got to our destination. Oh man, the things we discussed for the next 30 minutes.
7:30PM, Birla Mandir: I think that we Indians have it in our genes that we always go to places at the same time. It was so friggin crowded at Birla Mandir. I think that we ar programmed in such a way that if one Indian just thinks to visit a place – the rest of the India wants to visit the same place to. It’s magical how 50,000 other people can read your thoughts.
We stood in a line and finally had a Darshan of God. It was fun so sit and relax after the darshan. We had a good time.
As the jet lag settled on our friends, we reached home with dreams of yummy coconut curry.
Read Day # 2