Sunday, October 29, 2006


I got to know what life in the fast lane is once I became another local in the locals of Mumbai. 7:44am- time to run to Thane station for the 7:46am fast. Wow!! What a great crowd, I say to myself not when they wait like thirsty dogs, but when the public touches the fast moving metal box with respect. My 40 minutes of mixed human-jam processing starts. The rush in and the flush out are so meticulously executed that I learned the value of seconds in my watch. People get so evenly distributed that, once if a count is taken, it will be exact in every compartment. Now the concentration shifts to getting a space to stand. Once you know to board the second class, the net sessions are over and you are deemed fit to be a local train passenger. Here I was enlightened on why a square feet of space is so dear and costly in Mumbai. Balancing life on one foot and one hand and sometimes just on a finger of my toe made me dearer to my dear life. In the mad pursuit to acquire a seat the word civic sense remains out of question, yet even the ruthless who never lent a helping hand are forced to help the co-passengers by placing and handing over their bag from the rack. Anyone and everyone are packed airtight as the locals turn a rare locale where no discrimination based on class and creed is entertained. Now I read the amusing advertisements announcing the cure for AIDS with a new drug, and I wonder why they didn’t earn a Nobel.
These days I have even stopped pressing my shirts, as am sure that it's going to be. And who knows!! Years later some folklore will fascinate the world with a tale that the Mumbai locals propelled the invention of wrinkle free dress. The sandwiching crowd that eats away my breakfast calories replaced my morning drills. And if you are like me, not too tall with a frameless specs, then there is nothing much to do than to stand like a buffalo, holding its head out of the water while swimming. Mostly the dancing lobes in the trains are not required for me to hold on. Occasionally as sweat and dirt mouths an awful smell, the ceiling fans and tubes too join the game of hide and seek. But all in between flows the chimes of the hymns and my peace of mind, as ‘Ganpati Bappa’ lends the air a charm inexplicable.100 different poses on how to sleep, 100 different ways of reading a newspaper- these are not books published, but my Mumbai local views. Different languages, different cultures and what not other a mini India is my daily train. Surprises never stop here, as I watch with disheveled hair on my forehead, all the classes merge on arrival, busy as usual, to carry out their individual responsibilities. A remarkable wonder is this mode of travel which gives the proud feeling of victory, on a journey accomplished. I know I had tamed the local, some thing which can never be done in my god’s own country.

Gods Own Country Kerala

Gods Own Country Kerala

Gifts galore in the glitter green,
Oceans open ornated.
Dances divine dress dazzling.
Smells so spicy splendid soars,

Or onam odour oozes out.

'Welcome' woven wildlife wave the,
Niches natures, nicely nutured.

Climate,cocos,cashews cozy cool,
Over oneself or others.
Unveils underwater wealth unlimited,
Network naval,natures
Tales treasure temples tranquil,
Rains racy roam roaring.
Yearn yogis to yonder.

Keeps kerala kalari keys,
Earns education esteem equal.
Rivers random, 'race'refreshing,
Agri active alluvium.
Lure the lovely,lively lakes lagoons,
And ayurveda ancient alive.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My S-experiences in GOa

First day

Waking to the sunrays of goa was exciting. Reclining in the Volvo and watching the splendor of goa brought back memories of Kerala. As I stepped down at panjim to take a nonstop Mazda to vasco-da-gama, the aroma of fishes and spice lent my nose the forgotten nostalgia. Dropping anchor at my friends home was prime now, and maybe I missed out a little of the beauty in thought. The route to Vasco was a treat, and the road lining the backwaters like the bordered sketch with a pencil. As it neared the quietness of that little hamlet, I forgot the shrilled cacophony in Mumbai, a deep breath, disguising itself as the sigh of relief thanks to zero urban populace, yet lively in makeup, that was goa in my platter.
Plans on where and when to go started scratching my hair, and I decided-enjoy every moment in goa in the goan way. After the cool shower we embarked on our tour mission titled - GOa. My first beach-MIRAMAR- sensuous warm and curvy like the woman who was skimpily clad for the sunbath, Virgin like the village belle, but not amongst the notorious nude beaches that once existed as a black mark on the forehead of Goa. And we in swimsuits enjoyed the dusky evening amidst the waves, diving for the catch practice. After the cruise at twilight laced with music and dance, night started showing up its dark tentacles in the hazy sky and we decided to leave for the special goan dinner.
The special preparation of fish deep-fried in rava touched my palate; indeed a novel way to let the spices remain indolent in the fish itself and Goan delicacies of chicken rechãdo and xãcuti took away any other lingering tastes from my taste buds. Then someone came up with the idea of local brews- cashew and coconut "feni," strongly aromatic, but as overheard not for a silly stomach, so I had my share of tender coco and a glass of sweet-salty lemon juice.

Second day

As Saturday dawned for a fun-fuelled start, we decided to do better, go on a drive and be efficient. Clato was waiting in his white Hyundai, and forgot to introduce Clato, my driver, but by the end of the day was promoted as my guide. Imam was another guide, my official helper and watch keeper, and alongside were my friends Ashok and Sujith. The engine puffed off by 9 am, driving the misty road, swathed on sides in green-blanketed shrubs. The scent of air engaged me in contemplation, and to a daydream that slipped me to a catnap. The brakes woke my eyes to the colorful line of boats at Dona Paula, the place which set the tale of a heartbreaking love story, a small paradise gifted with the expensive yet adventurous ride of the fastest scooter boat available. 30 minutes of stay at this piece of heaven whispered to my heart to view more of the stupendous present than being nostalgic of the past. The shops lined in the rainbow hues hooked me to get a souvenir hat for my yet to be discovered girlfriend. And the drive proceeded to the Aguda fortress; where the memory of Dil Chahta Hai movie and being compared to Saif for the character was all revived!! The walk around was a prose in non-abstract. And then came a juicy lady in black trousers and white tee’s and I had to hold on to my poise. And a sigh is all what remained in me as we were destined only to drive, next to fuel my stomach. The ‘Ghar Ka Khana’ term by Clato was true to the core in essence, as the red hot KINGFISHER painted home offered us the simplest and perfect Goan lunch of fish curry-rice pepped with the rava pomfret fry. My palette didn’t finish, as I had lots more to color at the series of beaches at Calanghute, Vagator, Baga and Anjuna. At Candolim-sinquirim was an experience of a lifetime with the dolphins and my paragliding journey, but on the horizon laid Sinquirim’s sorrow M.V River princess stranded in the sand the past 6 years unable to budge, eating away the coastal line. But carefree were the honeymoon couples romancing the only few sweet days of marriage. Never to forget the young girls who rush towards the waves to embrace and get drenched. As she stands a shadow dripping water on sand, lends their soul a charm and for me an enigmatic fascination, sprouting a burning desire, while locals gawk at the sunbathers. As memoirs remain etched, I reach droopy eyed after a siesta to Baga and Anjuna where the red cliffs embrace the white sand. Secluded in the white sands are the recliners under the inviting umbrella, but I had to leave for a little shopping, an embellished blue scarf was the find of the day. And how would it look on my Cinderella!!!!!! I pondered. Driving back was sad because I knew it’s again a haunting memory for me. Still my weary eyes reached the ambience of ANANDASHRAM, a brilliantly lit inn. Started with a chicken manchow soup and chicken pakoda starter, then mackerel fry and prawns filled my table and with it squid masala filled my stomach. Next was the turn of Tissreo and Xinnanneo to appease my appetite. Topping the whole menu was my favorite butterscotch scoop and I slept as if I hadn’t for a year.

Third and fourth day

As another day raised its hood in the calendar, I had an idea of visiting the nearby Sawanthwadi, a two hour drive from vasco. We regrouped at my friend’s house for the best vegetarian lunch in a long time. Started with sweets to chapatti, plantain dish with coconut grating, salad, Biriyani laced with lots of cashews and kismis, plain rice and buttermilk and a very special dish known locally as PURAN POLI and kheer. Thanks to Ashish’s mom. WOW!!!!!!! is all what I could say.
The last day opened its tender eyes in my itinerary- A short drive to the church of St Xaviers, St Catherine and St Assisi. Adorned with tiled roof, the chapel of St Xaviers is embellished with a peculiar style of architecture and where the mortal remains of the 450 year old St Xavier lies in a beautiful casket, and St Catherine caresses a tower on either side of the edifice not to forget the St Assisi with murals portraying the life of St Francis of Assisi and golden floral designs inspiring awe. Nearby is the grand galleria-the museum housing an eclectic collection of 60 portraits of the Portuguese viceroys and governors of Goa.
As time slipped in my TITAN I had to return to my own Mumbai, nonstop, except for a place where there was real looting in the name of food.
And you all maybe still wondering why the title S-experiences in Goa!!!! Right? Those of you who noted clear know that it’s not sex-perience and it’s Superb-Experience what I meant. Sorry for making u all read my rubbish which would have been longer except b’cos I am sleepy to type more………..