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Showing posts from May, 2012

Brush With Delhi Touts

I am back from Delhi and obviously, there will always be one or more tales around frayed nerves and flaring tempers. This time I got royally duped, almost. I couldn’t believe three years of staying abroad has made me naive again and blind to the guile of Delhi touts.
With Kingfisher Airlines building a hole in its coffers while at the same time monopolising the Delhi- Dharamshala route, we decided not to take a chance of being stranded last minute. So we went to the train station to book tickets to go to Dharamshala. But mind you, going to the moon would be easier than getting a train ticket reservation in India. What fascinates and boggles the mind about Indian railways is that even two months ahead of schedule, you will never find a confirmed seat. The ‘it’s a billion population’ theory does not quite do the job, because those with contacts still get them.
Well, we did manage to get our return tickets from Pathankot to Delhi but we did not get a confirmed onward ticket. ‘Summer hol…

Mumbai or Slumbai?

Some time back, I had read an article on Mumbai in Brunch, the Sunday magazine of The Hindustan Times. It was written by a young author who had grown up in the city, left it and then come back to resettle. The title of the article read something like ‘Mumbai has lost its soul’, cannot recall the exact words. The jist of the article was about someone returning back to his hometown and finding everything had changed – people didn’t speak the same language anymore, houses no longer looked the same, owners had changed hands and lives were crammed – almost like an idealism shattered. 

I did not grow up in Mumbai, and thank God. But I was visiting the city after about a decade and except for Juhu Tara Road, Fashion Street and the warm clime, there was not much in memory. My trip to Mumbai this time was coerced by Lolo’s curiosity about India’s financial capital, the documentaries on Dharavi and local trains that he had watched on TV and the fact that he often gets a ‘Oh, you have not been …