Earlier this month, I went overlanding for the first time. What’s that? It’s defined like this: “Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal.”
Seven of us got on a modified truck (called Bonnie, a beautiful orange BharatBenz), while her twin (Clyde, of course!) followed us (tricked out with loos, showers, hot water on one side and a kitchen on the other) and went from Jaipur to Gurgaon (where we were stopped by curious cops at every intersection, it seemed), on to Rishikesh, where we stayed in a room by the Ganges, then further up the mountains, following the Alaknanda river past Rudraprayag and Devprayag to Chopta, Uttarakhand. Here we stopped for two nights and camped amidst rhododendron trees, (more…)
That’s me. I’m proud to have voted. I’m pleased to be able to exercise my rights and do my civic duty. This time was MUCH easier than the last time in 2009. I’m still the wrong age, have the wrong name, and am listed in the wrong gender, but they overlooked all that. I only drew attention to the spelling and the ‘purush’ part but both the list booth and the polling agent brushed it off as a typo. And after 3 minutes of being in line, I had verified my identity, pushed my selection, and I was out. I didn’t even get to crack open Kiran Manral’s The Reluctant Detective that I’d thought to bring along with me based on the long wait last time! 🙂
P.S. I’m very disillusioned by my friends who haven’t voted. What do you do with your friends whose ideologies and basic values don’t match yours? Demotion? Deletion?
Here we go! I finally feel like a citizen and an adult. All the years I lived abroad and paid state and federal tax, I never got a say in the process. Now, finally, I feel like I actually belong. I had to fight for it ;D But I did vote!
So, you read about how I was sure they’d ripped up my application after I’d left when I went to register. I checked online but my name wasn’t on the list. My parents got their voter ID cards, I didn’t. But, with fingers crossed, I went to check the updated list at the polling station, anyway. And of course, they couldn’t find my name, so I had to go find the ‘building list’. After visiting seven local volunteer tables with their building lists, and a good darshan of the entire area, we located the list and my name wasn’t on it.
Enter my Knight on a Steel Horse – a volunteer went off on a motorcycle after making a few calls to actually get the ‘supplementary list’ of new registrants that all the booths were sharing. Twenty minutes later, he roared up to tell me I’d been registered as purush (male) but … I had a temporary voter ID! I could have hugged him!
I hightailed it to the polling station where the volunteers seemed genuinely happy I’d returned and could vote! Since I could prove with my presence and my state ID that I’m really not male, two hours, much sweat, lots of repetitive questions and only a few lines later, I had cast my first vote ever*. And it was such a high! I was psyched for hours after! If you haven’t voted before, I highly recommend it 😉
*I left India when I was 18. This is the first election since I’ve returned! Of course, the year I finally get to vote, they switch to inking the middle finger. I could have put in an obscene gesture but … eh, I’m more mature than that. 😉
This beauty caught my eye in Colaba. At first glance, of course, I figured it was cosmetics, hair clips, the usual fare. But someone out there is more confused than I am 🙂 Signs like these aren’t rare. But since I have really nothing more to add … I’ll let the picture tell the rest of the story.
I came out of lunch at the Phoenix mills mall area a little while ago, and this dude was outside the gate accosting people with his wares. And his smile was blinding enough that people might have been depleting his reserves to protect themselves from it 😉
Two takes later, his smile had sort of faded on me, but the bravado hadn’t. I just adored his attitude. He was totally cool with my taking tourist-style photos of his, erm, 13, pairs of sunglasses.
It’s Janmashtmi today. And if you don’t know what that is, look it up. I had to 😀 I mean, I know it’s Krishna’s birthday but having been away from Mumbai for the last 16 Janmashtmis, I had lost sight of both scale, and, urm, commercialization. So, I was educated today (and I confess I called the cops on some enthusiastic dhol beaters at 1am.) By 8 a.m., the loud disco bhajans and cheering crowd told me something was up. Across the house and also behind it, we had what are called Dahi Matkas. To mimic Krishna’s penchant for stealing ghee, they hang this clay pot pretty high and then acrobatic men make a human pyramid to claim it. Then I saw in the papers that the Andheri matka was worth the most money (Rs. 25,000!) I reached Worli and passed several youth in trucks, wearing team shirts, going from locality to locality to win the pot of ‘ghee’ ($$?) The cab driver told me the matkas near my house are “small and not worthwhile.” And then when I got near Banyan Tree, I spotted a team in action.
I later heard that the “small” matka near my house was eventually lowered a bit because all the teams that tried failed to reach it. I don’t know who won but they’re still making a racket!
India, shining, rising and ever colourful. The travel guides gush about the vivid colors everywhere (hmm, actually, so does every book on India ever, no?)
Of course, it’s true. We do colourful very well here. We sometimes leave vivid way, way behind and move into the territory of garish and outlandish with some dexterity.
Anyway, this is the inside of a teensy tailoring shop that is owned by a lower middle class sharp-talking, tobacco-chewing lady who employs three ‘masterjis’ to do the actual tailoring. At the outer edge of this tumble of color and texture you can see one hunched over an old-timey sewing machine.
This is a Delhi photo – of course! I was nearly home when I looked to my left and to my right and found myself eye-to-eye with not one, but two Barbies. Most rickshaws have posters up of Bollywood stars. This was a first for me. In Mumbai though, last Thursday I was in a cab that the driver (also the owner) had furnished with a plush red and black, umm, carpet. It was on the seats, the ceiling, the flooring, and the dashboard. Then I noticed it was even on the inside panels of the doors. On further inspection and inquiry, I found out it really was the same furry fabric, only he’d had it laminated! How ingenious, no?