Archive for July, 2011

India is not way behind!

When I gave him ₹ 50/- with a usual smile, he smiled back and said rather apologetically, “Sir, it’s ₹ 65/-“. I was a bit surprised but without exhibiting it I said “Sorry” and gave him ₹15/- more. Then, he asked me about my visit to a couple of foreign countries.

I took leave of him and finished certain personal works before going to a wayside teashop. I had a cup of tea and gave the owner ₹ 3/- as usual. “Sir, it’s ₹ 5/-“. Again I was somewhat surprised. Slowly I was getting used to this upward trend as I was returning home after buying several items at rate much higher than I expected. But, a pleasant surprise was awaiting. A couple of English News Papers hitherto unavailable in Ooty were seen in many shops. I bought a reputed News Paper and gave the shop keeper ₹ 5/- and moved off, but to my surprise he called me and gave me ₹ 3.50/-, saying “it is ₹ 1.50/-“

Then as expected the taxi and auto fares are much higher. We had been in Vancouver for about 8 months and on our return journey, we stayed in Netherlands for a month or so. I used to boast to my kith and kin over there that the cost of living in India was much, much lower, “A cup of tea is just ₹3/- or ₹4/- and a cup of coffee is ₹5/- or ₹6/-. What about other items compared to all these expensive items here?”

I did expect some marginal increase in the cost of essential items in India but the steep hike taught me a lesson – Things here in India are not all that cheap… Beware!

I chatter, chatter as I flow…

I was half asleep when I heard some one giving instructions in Kannada and Tamil… may be to his friends or a colleague. My mind was yet to be relieved from the European ambiance and the pleasure I experienced there whenever I came across an Indian or two in some streets. “Oh no!” my confused and sleepy mind corrected itself, “you are back home…”

Yes, we were back home… just arrived in India after a long gap. At that time, we were on the Karnataka – Tamil Nadu border… On our way to Ooty! In 30 minutes or so the road would lead us to the forest area. We had already come across the rural areas which resembled the European countrysides but not as charming.

Meanwhile, we had our breakfast at a decent restaurant before proceeding further.

Soon we were there!… the much-awaited forest area. A couple of peacocks welcomed us. Then came a herd of deers who seemed to discuss the day’s plans!  On both sides of the road there were trees of all sizes and kinds which sheltered those unseen but musical birds. While enjoying these breathtaking scenes, we were also on the lookout for those majestic beings, the elephants.

And we were not disappointed – there were a couple of them; muddy, head to foot. Of course, the long journey from Europe had made use tiresome but these wonderful sights made us fresh and happy. The European countrysides are vast and charming but this small forest has an edge over them!

FAST FOOD PLEASE!

The leader of the main opposition party is on an indefinite fast in protest against the governments’ luke warm approach on some problems. It could be water scarcity, flood, prise rise or power cut. If there is a will, there is a way. If the above said issues are taken care of by the government, other issues would crop up to enable the opposition leader to steel the lime light. Indefinite fast is less tiresome (‘fastfood’ is made available by the smart party workers.) Anyway, the opposition leader has to spend sleepless nights in order to create an impression that the ruling party leaders are incompetent and lethargic.
The ruling party leaders on the other hand, get a taste of what they gave while they were in the opposition. The people have become smarter these days, whoever is in power, they manage to get what they want!

The Next station is…

Whiter than snow and as smooth as monumental alabaster… Now I know that the poet was not exaggerating things. Here in Europe, we see such dames who walk in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies or crisscross the roads on he their cycles. Some of them are friendly with “opposite sex” having opposite colors!

So far I have had a glimpse of Europe, a taste of its cultures, its beauty… all based on my visit to a couple of countries. But, on seeing the rural sides of these countries, I do get an impression that it was not for nothing the poets of yore were never tired of writing about those enchanting hills, meadows and brooks and the songs of those birds.

All those high rise buildings and fast life disappear from my mind when it goes back in time to see a Wordsworth or a Keats or a Shelly, sowing the seeds of those immortal lines!

Yeah, The world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.

Suddenly, I wake up to the announcement,

“The next station is”