Friday, May 13, 2005

Dilli door ast....

For some strange reason, memories of the Delhi trip I made in 1996 with A hit me suddenly this afternoon.
It started out on a sunny Saturday evening at Bombay Central. A & I (esp. A) are generally never late for a train (my best Bollywood imitation was to follow a month later, when I just about managed to get my feet onto the Dadar-Chennai Express as it pulled out of VT), but we just made it to the compartment in time.
I wish all trains in India were like the Rajdhani/Shatabdi, but then again, traveling 2nd sleeper has its own charm (which I shall blog about, unless someone beats me to it!). As usual A attacked the eatables with a vengeance, while I was content to listen to "Achtung Baby" blast on my Walkman and watch the sunset. [One of the most amazing sunsets I had witnessed was over the Dahisar/Vasai Creek while on the August Kranti Rajdhani a year before enroute to Baroda to spend an awesome weekend with K-Mama and gang. Only a few weekends can match up to that awesome weekend in Baroda]. The song "Ultraviolet (light my way)" for me, is always associated with the sunsets over the Vasai/Dahisar creek. Back then (and even now), the route the Rajdhani takes enroute to Delhi evokes something inexplicable - maybe it's just that Sawai Madhopur brings back memories of History lessons!
Delhi was fun, especially since we were staying with BM and SV. SV is one indefatigable person when it comes to shopping. She dragged A (and me, coz I had nothing better to do) all over the place, and at the end of the day still had the energy for more! Palika Bazaar, Connaught Place, and a few other places were turned upside down by the 2 ladies! It's a different question that they turn shops upside down wherever they go.
One morning A and I decided to take a day-trip around Delhi, for a grand sum of Rs. 100/-. So BM dropped us off somewhere near Connaught Place and we got into this nice AC bus filled with the usual tourists - the proverbial American, Australian, Britisher and a few Japs! We had a bozo of a tour-guide who looked like he came straight out of "Treasure Island". All the same, he sure showed us a lot of Delhi in addition to some god-forsaken weird places. He said Talkatora was an amazing restaurant, and it turned out be an indoor stadium/swimming pool with a lousy attached restaurant (according to the firangs who went in, while A & I sat on the lawn and ate some awesome sandwiches SV had packed for us). Needless to say the guy probably got a cut for bringing people there. A and I still laugh when the name "Talkatora" comes up!
A keeps kidding me about the fact that I saw the White House before I saw Rashtrapati Bhawan, and how I ought to be ashamed of it. One of the more bizzare things we saw that day were what remained of Rajiv Gandhi's clothes after the assassination - it's displayed at 1 Sadarjung Road, along with the infamous Lotto shoes. It still seems really eerie - the (now) brownish blood on white clothes.
Delhi's full of museums/memorials for dead PMs, starting with Mr. Nehru. Teenmurti Bhawan came back into public consciousness in 1991, when the remains of Rajiv Gandhi lay in state there before the cremation. Both 1 Safdarjung Road and Teenmurti Bhawan have been done up really well, although it's the latter which stuck in my memory - maybe because Nehru was/is/always will be a mini-hero in my books. [Ok agreed, he majorly messed up with all his Non-aligned rubbish and let the country go to the "bloody dawgs" (as the inimitable Nash Karanjia would say)].
Visited R-mama and V-Ammayi at their farmhouse, half of which was underground - and that amused me no end. Both RK-Ammaman and I-Valliamma were favorites with us (especially since they are linked to us on both sides), and it was sad to see her bedridden (she passed away a month later). Both A & I feel really happy we could see her at R-Mama's place. I still have the books she sent me thru Appammaman a long long time ago, and the inscription she wrote for me. For better/worse both R and I have belted her grandchildren too much, but then thats what happens when some cousins try showing stud-baazi. So now, any gal with a relatively unconventional old-fashioned name's called OLIVIA by R and me!
I had this urge that I had to see Humayun's tomb, having heard so much about it, especially since historians say that it was the model for the Taj Mahal. We saw it in the early evening, brownish glow in the yellow glow of the setting sun - an unforgettable sight.
The other exciting thing we did was the Agra-Fatehpur Sikri-Sikandra trip. Will blog on that tomorrow I guess!

So that's that...

What's buzzing...
Havent been in the lab the last 2 days..been out gallivanting with K and his folks. Rented a Chevy Aveo, which in my humble opinion is the probably one of the worst cars around, but probably one of the easier ones to maneuver (more on that over the weekend...after the Fatehpur Sikri post..).

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