January 23, 2007

Orissa - 1......traintales

I was in Orissa last December ( duh, last month, the English language makes things sound so pompous and faraway at times) to attend the 3rd International Odissi Festival organised by a group of culture lovers from voila ! - Washington DC. But jokes apart, it is interesting to see how the overseas Indian coterie keeps classical art forms alive with their overt soft corner from it that may come from staying in another culture for so many years....after all, it is only absence that has the power to make the heart grow fonder.

Anyway, every moment I spent in Orissa was fun! Also, every moment of the 1932 km train journey by the "Okate Sunna Okate Tommidi Mumbai-Bubaneshwaraaa Kaunark Expressa", as they say it in Andhra Pradesh was fun. One of the most funny train lines I ever heard was at Warangal station, where instead of saying ' .....thode hi samay me platform ek se ravaana hogi', the announcer said '........thode hi samay me platform ek se raavana hogi'. Whether she meant to imply that the train had been hijacked by the ubiquitous Ravana of Ramayana fame and that it was now going to Lanka, or whether she was just hoping that there would be some bigshot bureaucrat on the train who would make arrangements for better Hindi teachers in A.P. is another issue altogether.

On the way there, I did not feel like trusting the food on the train and constantly resorted to all the dry stuff I had carried. At Vishakapatnam, when I had run through all the ghar ka chapatis, I ordered dinner on the train and was subjected to a paste they termed as 'rice', dal in which I could have manually picked out the 'dal', potato curry where the curry bore an uncanny resemblance to orange paint in water, pickle in a sachet that needed three humans and a knife and a pair of scissors to open, and yes, the crowning glory, chapatis, in a thin definitely below 20 micron plastic bag, two in number, bundled into an incomprehensible roll of dry atta and burnt patches with not a spot of oil, forget ghee, not even oil on them. And tearing them apart would have put Bhima's strength to the test.

More later, right now, I haven't missed college to blog, but to sleep and recuperate and get a hold on projects!

Some pics from my Orissa trip...

The Mahanadi river in Cuttack.....so cool for people who have rivers behind their house !
A cute cat who happens to be a tomcat frightened of everything ! This one was taken just after a more rowdy neighbourhood cat mauled him.

Puri, with the Jagannath Temple hidden behind the profusion of chaddi-banian ads in all its scaffolded glory.

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