Which is a random roundup of the peregrinations including weddings, campuses, fundamental problems, poultry farms, Satyajit Ray, and how we were almost duffilled
It is a very bad thing to have 200+ blogs in your feed reader, and to go away for 10 days. Had to wade through industrial quantities of posts to clear up the queue somewhat, and the whole "science" category is still waiting...
While we're at it, random facts about the trip. Circuit was Hyderabad-Vizag-Madras-Bangalore-Hyderabad.
In Vizag, went to one wedding and one wedding reception. The wedding was huge. Groom was a hostel mate, and bride happened to be daughter of a Member of Parliament. The entire playground of a Zilla Parishad high school had been commandeered, partitioned in two, and what looked like the whole constituency was invited to the party.
There was a live band ("the Young Stars from downtown Amadalavalasa, Srikakulam Dt."), CCTV cameras monitoring the hordes, fireworks (some exploding dangerously close to the car park), and screens showing videos of the engagement ceremony. Somehow made way through the throng, blessed happy couple, gorged, and scooted out.
The reception was altogether more low key, walking distance from home, and relatively more peaceful and quieter. Alas, had to scoot out early thanks to being self-assigned driver to 2 of the spunkiest little girls in existence. The bride claims that she has no memory of our blessings! Cheating...
5k run on the bestestestest stretch of runnable road in the world (i.e. the esplanade at Vizag), 2 cricket matches, and we were off to Madras on the Guwahati-Bangalore Exp. The train was crawling with people from the northeast. Almost felt apologetic about having to disturb the community atmosphere on board. Nevertheless, bravely soldiered onto upper berth, and got some work done (i.e. played Tetris until the battery ran out on the laptop).
Rajahmundhry happened in the evening, and we stood at the open compartment door, ogling at the splendiferous Godavari, feeling very superior to the northeasties, seeing as it is the longest rail bridge in India and all. Then remembered that where these folks come from, they have a river that is so wide that it's probably impossible to build a bridge across it. At this point, Ludwig saw the approach of Kovvuru and discreetly fell silent.
Madras was a blur of meetings and greetings, including some quality time in ye olde campus. Hung out at the swank Coffee Day that has sprung up next to the old library, and was scandalized by a couple of students coochie-cooing in the middle of the afternoon. Since when? My God, this is the campus where our class of 360 had 20 girls (and that was a record high), where the general algorithm was "boy treats, boy treats, boy treats, boy retreats". What's with the PDA?!! Bah.
The Bangalore train trip was supremely interesting, because we were set upon by one gentleman, who happens to be the head priest at the Andal temple in Srivilliputhur. Said gentleman cornered us as we stood near the door per usual, and launched into a long diatribe against various ills in the world. Much of it was in Kameswaran (of Michael Madana Kama Rajan fame) lingo, and somewhat unparseable.
From Bangalore, scooted by bus to Puvidham where Gaseous Beyondus teaches nowadays. Fundastic place, photos follow. Did some walking, birding, astronomy 101, eating, and lazing about. Some fundamental problems were discussed, including:
* How to teach a child about why negative multiplied by negative is a positive? A related question was why the hell do we need negative numbers? No satisfactory answers.
* What is the fundamental difference between conventional (allopathic) medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (homeo, siddha etc.)? Does it matter?
* Will olives grow in Dharmapuri?
* What are the key differences between amphibians and reptiles?
And so on... As you can see, we were very jobless.
Drove back to Bangalore, met the pink person for an altogether too brief coffee and discussion on chicken and egg problems, and municipal porcine management, borrowed and watched "Snatch" and "Farewell, My Concubine", celebrated the sibling's 30th b'day by having a suitable sombre wake, watched "Aranyer Din Ratri" the next day, and caught the Kacheguda Express back home.
The side upper berth effectively prevented all sleep, so in the middle of the night when the train stopped in some forsaken town, we got off and were stretching our legs. Thanks to iPod booming in ear canal, didn't hear the train whistle, didn't hear the rattle of couplings being jolted out of stasis, and the next thing we knew, the bloody thing was on its way. A very small sprint and nimble, gazelle-ish leap later, we were thankfully back in the confines of S1. Reminded very forcefully of Paul Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar" where a certain sad old individual named Duffill is stranded on some obscure Italian railway platform as the Orient Express buggers off, thereby leading to the word duffilled entering the vocabulary.
Back in Hyderabad at a ghoulish 5:30 a.m., and promptly fell back into our cheapskate ways by taking the MMTS from Kacheguda to Begumpet and walking home, instead of taking an auto. What to do, public transport ki jai!
Rebooted home. Defrosted fridge. Got the whole dosai batter thing going. And here we are...
“A beginning is a time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct”
- Bene Gesserit coda, "Dune", Frank Herber