Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
The other day, I stepped out from my flat, scampered down the stairs, and it suddenly hit me from I-dunno-where: the imagined aroma of greasy, yellow biryani with oily, fried-to-a-crisp mutton chaap, cooked the way you will find nowhere else except at this seedy little corner shop - named, predictably enough, The Corner Shop - ten paces away from my house. Not Bombay. Calcutta.
So it hit me: I miss home.
Now that that teeny bit of self-realisation is through, I'm making plans for a little sojourn. I'm angling for a two-week break from work, one week in Delhi where I can lie in the lap of luxury at a friend's place and simply stare at beautiful-looking pieces of humanity (albeit Punjabi) strutting around in expensive attire, and another week in Calcutta where I can gorge on a variety of Bong* dishes I spend my nights drooling over these days.
One week for hectic socialising, party-animal style, bike-riding on my favourite Enticer, trips down to Connaught Place and getting lost amidst the pillars, bottoms-up at Blues while my ears get punctured to the tune of hard 80's rock, swaying my body sinfully to the wicked Punjabi-Bhangra remixes at Buzz, gawking at the Red Fort in all its old-world glory, traipsing down the gullies of Chandni Chawk and stopping by at the parantha-walli galli for some kheer-stuffed paranthas that no WAY can Bombay's Only Parathas ever replicate(!!!), holidaying at GK while ogling the sexy people and passing snide comments at their dumb antics, smiling like a saint as the strains of some archaic Haryanvi song comes wafting to my ears in the packed bus that's chug-chugging its way to Gurgaon... trading wild, scandalous, bitchy, naughty gossip! (Delhi)
One week for losing myself in my own bed and my own room, re-acquainting myself with my own computer, sitting to watch TV with my legs spread indolently but who gives a fuck(!), sinking my fangs into kabiraji cutlets** bought from the roadside stall yonder, sinking my fangs again and again into scrumptious rolls that are double the size of the Bombay frankies at half the price, watching the world go by from my vantage point in my favourite coffee shop in Hungerford Street, walking down Park Street surrounded by fancy hotels, fancy cars, fancy pimps, trundling down the spanking clean Metro station and bitching about Bombay trains, getting lost in the wilderness of Tollygunge***, then escaping that to get lost in the jungles of Salt Lake city***, hearing the neighbours go bonkers and my grandmother's eternal whining about them, walking down Freeschool Street flanked by second-hand books, second-hand LPs and hands-on pimps, shutting myself from the world in Globe Theatre and imagining what it must have looked like at the turn of 1900... being a Bong, root by root, leaf by leaf. (Calcutta)
Of course, my sentimental little sojourn depends on whether my boss lets me take leave. It depends even more on whether I can scrounge up the money to finance my trip. And here I was hoping that some hotshot publisher would pay me a HUGE advance for a novel and I'd be rich, rich, RICH! Damn.
But, shit - I'm going home, anyhow.
*what Bengalis are normally referred to in slang - how backward are you???
**a Bong street food - chicken/mutton/ fish cutlets batter-fried and fried with egg - delish!
***both are suburbs of Calcutta, Salt Lake is to the north, while Tolly is down south.
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