Oh Ms. Wormwood. Could there have been a more apt name for you?
He is a genius in more ways than one.
Some people complain about babies in the airplane. I think they should start charging extra for getting babies on board. The extra money would be used to buy ice cream or something for all the other harried passengers. Or maybe you could just throw them out of the window with a parachute attached to their bums. Just before the plane lands, when they get super annoying.
Or maybe they should consider a separate enclosure just for babies.
Like they have for dogs and luggage.
Babies on a plane are bad enough. Not as bad as babies on a train (at least you can walk up and down the bogey and peep at the other people peeping back at you).
But God saves the really special occasions just for me.
Imagine a school trip. From a school.
Imagine a couple of hundred kids from the Punjab Public School, Patiala.
Imagine being in a compartment with five of the most brilliant examples of PPS students ever. The kind who begin, end and punctuate every sentence with “oye” and “kithe” and “changa”
Imagine “working” the previous night because you knew you would get a full nights rest in the train.
Imagine all of that and you can imagine a day when the bastard up above serves me the days “special”. Just for me.
These kids were completely shameless. There I am, calmly trying to read a book, when Chotta Sardar pops his MP-3 player in my face. Asks me whether I can fix it. Apparently he tried charging it on the train’s socket and it just went kaput. I told him that I am not an expert. He asks me to take a look anyway. So I do. And hand it over to him.
In the meanwhile Puppy Singh decides to tell me (for the nth time) how they are going to spend an entire day in Essel World and whether I have been to Essel World and are there any water rides in Essel World and how long ago had I visited Essel World and whether it is raining in Bombay and where can he see all the film stars in Bombay and where are the studios.
So I told him that Essel World is awesome but be careful of the snakes on the floor and make sure you shit properly before reaching there coz there aint no bathrooms and then I told him that you can catch all the stars at Chowpatty at seven in the evening every Saturday.
Next Pappe Laale wanted to take a photo of me (and every other random stranger he met) and hence nearly blinded me with his flash photography skills. Then Lalle wanted to know whether I had been to Essel World and how is Essel World and he would be spending an entire day in Essel World…
Not only did the tiny runts steal my upper berth seat but they kept dropping stuff from their stolen seats. Hence my forehead made contact with strips of tissue paper, playing cards, maggi masala ka packet, shoes, chappals and the occasional smelly sock.
And all I wanted was my eighteen hours of beauty sleep.
But it was okay cause just as we left the station, one of the teachers went bonkers. Apparently they were trying to have a headcount and the kids kept running away and changing their places so that they could be with their chaddi buddies.
So, after a harried hour or so, the teacher bursts into the compartment, looks at the smelly socks lying on the floor, sniffs and then shouts out “I am going to kill you before this trip is over”.
When she leaves, the boy starts grinning.
I know that grin.
Fuck do I know that grin.
Visiting a city as tourist and actually living in it are such completely different experiences. As a tourist, whenever you encounter the shiitier side of life, you calm down and tell yourself “Its okay, you gonna be home soon” which you can’t really afford to then if you live there.
If you ever find yourself in Hauz Khas village and plan to have a bite at “Elma’s Bakery” then please don’t. Over priced crap. Which is a bit of a tragedy since the place is quite nice and I suppose one could enjoy a nice, lazy chat. But the food (freshly cooked cookies, scones, croissants) are pretty mediocre at best and total crap at the worst.
I would advise you to skip, hump (not a typo) and run across to a tiny (slightly claustrophobic) joint called “Lah” which serves this delicious malay curry and an equally snappy indonesian pan fried thingy.
It is quite good and I had no idea that coconut-based gravy could gel so well with nice, cute, little pieces of mutton.
Their kung po chicken is pretty good as well and, at 250-300 bucks a main, the entire experience is fairly kind on the pocket as well.
Which cannot be said for the korean joint called Gung the palace or something like that. Fuckin expensive stuff but bloody worth it.
Gently cooked slices of beef served right up in front of you and delicately glazed ribs of oink oink and tiny little bowls of kim chi and this chi and that chi and crunchy, spicy veggies and a seafood soup with REAL sea food and octopus and shrimp and all that yummy, yummy warm stuff. And metal chopsticks and cinnamon tea and enough soju to make even a group of undertakers seem like the merry men of sherwood.
Wait a minute.
There is something very wrong there.