I buzzed Krishna to see if we can go out and play basketball or cricket(he's a pro at both :P).He in turn asked me to accompany him to a thing called 'Urban Buffet walk' with Zainab Bawa as the guide of sorts,where we would wander down the lanes around Masjid area and observe the localities during this Ramadan time.All under the pretext of tasting the delicious food of course :) .Half dead by the mess food we have been having for long,I couldn't resist the offer.
It was an amazing coincidence that while I'm reading the book (all details here) with that title,I actually got this kind of an oppurtunity.Now I'm reading it with an added interest.
There couldn't have been a worse time to get a phone called from Mom who briefed me about the bomb attacks in Delhi and told that Mumbai too was on red alert,so not to travel too far.This was at the main gate when we were just supposed to leave.I was too excited not to go.Then while in the auto Krishna too got a call from home and he too was asked to be careful! Moms all round are the same :)
The group of 14 people,5 being fellow IIT'ians,were waiting for us at Byculla station,from where we were supposed to start our journey. Zainab,who was going to be our guide of sorts,told people to ask the food content in case they had an issue with beef.I had only one issue-I don't eat beef,so I missed out on a lot of things others were eating.One place they had this menu which had items listed under 'Tongues','Bheja' and some other really awkward body parts.Krishna wasn't really impressed with that especially with the 'Slurp,Slurp' sound that Rylan and B started to make,to remind him of his choice (tongues of course).You had to choose one body part,better to choose the least awkward.I had something called 'Paya' (trotters as Rylan put it) which was mutton in some very dilute gravy-it was pretty tasteless.Later found out that it was made by the Iraninan method and maybe they like it that way.
Next all places these people were tasting all kinds of 'Kebabs' and 'Tikkas' and I was left to chewing gum-had around 3 in the space of entire journey.We went through a lot of places,one of them was a real eye opener.It was some obscure lane called 'Bacchon ki Waadi',pretty harmless name to begin with.Zainab explained that this was the place where the Mujras happened and the tawayafs lived.She told we could go in,they wouldn't mind.We did go in and it felt like the movies,the ones with all those Kothas where people sit on cushions with harmonium playing while these girls dance in front of them.Some sit outside waiting for prospective customers,dressed up in the greatest superficial make up-face white with powder,lips smeared with lipstick-you'll ever get to see.Needless to say it was highly embarrassing,though quite an experience.And it felt really bad imagining what circumstances could lead to this and what conditions they would be living in now.Krishna and Rylan didn't know what was going on,too less (none would be the better word) of Hindi movies I pointed out.I recommended them to watch 'Pakeezah' to get an idea of the place.To think that all this goes on in a lane you wouldn't know if you didn't know!
We moved through places selling very colourful and embroidered clothes on both sides of the road.A sort of fashion boulevard I thought to myself,only with much,much more involvement and passion as B later pointed out to me.Then there was this Dyer's place where a huge amount of shirts were hanging outside the shop,in 2 storeys of hangers.There were some crumpled red shirts,like the ones B was wearing.So he had found the red shirt paradise,and he took snaps to ensure that other people realised that too.We had a shady sweet on our way,which was later explained to me as being made from a secretion of cow other that milk,something it secretes when it's about to give birth.It tasted like a normal sweet,maybe that's what it was.Das,B and Krishna took 'Attar' from a roadside chap who pestered them pretty persistently.
Right then a very interesting thing happened.One ladyl while talking to Krishna pointed out that the IIT guys had been hanging out together all the time and the others were pretty pissed off at that.All this while when we were being told about the closed community that Muslims have and their sticking togetherness and other facets,it didn't strike to me that we IIT'ians were doing the same.People outside had indifferent opinion about us,and we didn't know and most probably didn't care.I immediately drew an analogy,and went further.I figured out that us IIT'ians were another sort of community,too indulged in ourselves,with our own set of customs and rituals,to interact with others.
It also struck me then that to educate people about us,we should have a guided tour of IIT,I'll be more than happy to be the guide,most probably during Valfi times-where stories of all 4 years of a student's life are dissected upon by merciless friends and hostelmates.The people outside would then come to know of our ignorant set of rituals,our completely different priorities and maybe excuse us for what we have turned out to become.The tour of course would end with a taste of the mess food,which would make them understand why food is so important in our lives.En route we could also show the girls' hostel,people would know then why most IIT'ians have celibacy written on their foreheads,with permanent markers.And the attitude they sometimes show to somehow remove that mark.
Infact the best comment about us came from the same lady,or her friend maybe,who pointed out that we were taking a lot of time eating and justified that by saying-
"I can see by the way that you are eating that you are perfectly starved hostelites"
We smiled sheepishly and said that we couldn't help it.And I bet even she wouldn't if she lived here.See,the tour I proposed would come in handy here too!
Malpua with malai,and Seetafal ice-cream were the two things I ended up the night with.Both of them were amazing,thankfully the best was saved for the last.B and me broke away from the group-B had his GRE on Monday (imagine!!) and I had a prior committment to go someplace else.So with the final goodbye and thanks to all we left,me having learnt a lot about things I didn't know.We should go exploring this city more often.It has much more to offer than what the tourist guide books say.
I met a a senior of mine from school after a long time in the local train.He was not in a condition to talk,it was really amazing how he identified me in the crowd.The conversation,mostly one way,was both insightful and entertaining and not suitable to put here.I watched the NZ-SA ODI before I finally ended the day.Later I found that Krishna,Das and Rylan had roamed around till 7 am in the morning!! Boy!!!!
Today I went to the Suraj water park,courtesy free passes the 2nd prize at the Ent. Quiz in Malhar.I'm sorry Malhar folks for being over critical in my reviews,it was great fun in that park.It was awesome with all those rides and slides doubled by the fact that others around had paid 250 bucks to get in there while the four of us were having fun for free :D .But I'm still angry at the sports quiz folks and I blame them for my 3rd position-so no getting away there :D
Maybe I should do a small post on the Water Park thingie,but if I don't-there,I had a great weekend.