Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Homecoming

 I am still coming to terms with being back in India. I wonder how this short stint of 2 years has made me become so unaccustomed with the things around here. Sometimes to the point of embarrassment, when I tell people it’s very hot in here. Sounds too NRIsh. Anyways, since the airlines in Europe allow only 20kg luggage per person, I had to leave back a lot of stuff in Denmark. The first thing I did after landing in India was to go and buy myself slippers the next day. I headed to Paharganj. Took a rickshaw to ‘Cheh Tooti Chowk’ which cost 10 rupees. Indian economy is booming and the rickshaw-walas are also entitled to their fair share.

After the purchase of the slippers I couldn’t resist from visiting my fav jalebi shop which is at ‘Cheh Tooti Chowk’. For all you people, who love those thick succulent heavy jalebis with the sugar syrup dripping down and like to have them hot out of the wok, this is the place for you. So I head over to the two jalebi shops side by side and ask for 250 gms of jalebis. I note that the rate is Rs 50/- per kg from Rs 40/- last year. People keeping abreast with the growing economy - I smile to myself. Those two shops have been there since forever. They don’t have names but ask anyone and he will guide you to these shops. I remember the face of the cashier who also weighs the sweets n hands them out to the customers, but the rest of the people have changed. And even though it may be new faces, the person behind the wok will again be wearing the trademark baniyan.
Img: http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/10209/cat/500/ppuser/627
As I dig my teeth into the first jalebi I see a Chinese/Korean/Japanese tourist stop and take pictures of the jalebiwalas with an expensive looking SLR. The batter being poured in perfect shape as the imartis are being made. It’s an art, the way the batter filled cloth is squeezed, the pattern emerges in the oil. Like the hands of some artist, the jalebiwalas hands move in constant, precise and calculated manner. He doesn’t have time to pose for pics. His job doesn’t offer him the luxury of making mistakes as not many people will be eager to eat a deformed imarti. People will buy a deformed piece of art more readily though.

Moving on from the Oriental tourist, I scan the area and see many more tourists. Paharganj is a fav amongst backpackers. You will find loads of them here at all times. Though all guidebooks recommend traveling to India from Oct – March, these people are here in the peak summer months and that too in Delhi. The temperature doesn’t offer them any respite. I hoped to see some Danish guys around, but there weren’t any. Don’t get me wrong, Danes are very fond of vacations and 3 weeks of vacation in summer and later in winter is a norm in the offices. But India doesn’t seem to be a fav destination as I came across very few people in Denmark who had visited India.

A young Caucasian lady is buying bangles at a shop, those big lac bangles. Another Caucasian couple is being led by a travel guide who tells them that he’s a student and does this as a part time job. An oriental couple with a map, trying to locate the New Delhi Railway Station perhaps. As I capture all these things happening in my surroundings I feel connected to these people in a strange way. Not long ago I was also in a similar position traveling in some country, where I was only for a small time. I had also roamed on the streets with a map in my hand. I was also buying souvenirs and sometimes cursing the weather.

The market offers these people what they want - Cheap accommodation, economical meals, travel agents, transport, communication, mineral water, toilet paper and a good amount of Indian culture.

Too much for my first day in India. I head home with my new slippers.


Sakshi said...

yeh na insaafi hai!
First you go home for an indefinite period and then you start posting abt home ,...
mommy, I wanna go home.
Ps. parcel karwane ko kitna rona padega hamein?

pps - Arpz, is ladke ko ek tapli mein maro. He was not supposed to make me so morose :)

Tux said...

Nice reading ur post and makes me feel so anxious...especially when i m visiting home next week (in ghaziabad) after 3 long yrs....i think and as many people say that everything is changed now...lets see

Marlee said...

oh mr NRI, hopefully things are going good...i liked the write up...and the description of the jalebis was great! :-p

hoping u have a great time back home! n watch the waist line! ;)

Chitrangada said...

Welcome back Doofus :)

Mona said...

Its mouth watering! Just cant help but to buy some for myself.
Its always nice to read ur blog.
U have got rare quality of narrating experiences in very interesting manner.

~ | | OM | | ~ said...

Bahut badiya cheete !!!

Dilli ghoom.. and do write about it from a different perspective !!!

enjoyed reading this post !!!

Prashant Varma said...

Even we Indians are categorized as 'Caucasians'. I am sure you meant 'whites'.

Delphic said...

I know Paharganj. I stayed there when I was in Delhi last year.

SID said...

Hey...nice post..I have been to paharganj only for my books. There used to be some kind of street book thing on sunday. Or am I getting the place wrong?

Anyways, I liked the wanderlust widget you have on your blog...any idea where I can get that?

Lalit Singh said...

Ab to India ke baare mein hi post karengey na..Parcel karwa dengey aapke liye 100 gram jalebi.

3 years... long time man. Hope u have a great time at home. Things have really changed a lot.

Things are good. Do try to have the jalebis the next time u go to Paharganj.

Thx 

Thx for the kind words.


thx bhai... i will write more about things as n when I gain new experiences.

@Prashant Verma
Caucasians are the whites dude. Indians are typically categorized as Asian or East Indian.

I guess you would have also observed the tourists at those places.

The Sunday street book thing happens at Daryaganj.
You can get the widget at http://www.travbuddy.com

Mona said...

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you just ran out of words and you go......... s i l e n t ....

Gaurav said...

oye kitni ladkiya dekhi ? aur un experiences ko bhi blog pe daal dena..for me