Friday, June 16, 2006

THE CHRONICLES OF CASSINI's - The Delhi and Dhanaulti chapter: 31st May, 2006

May 31st, 2006
Morning. The train is running late by a bit. Ludo is still sleeping. The others are up however. Well actually, it seems like Rahul, Sookie and John couldn’t sleep a wink, so they were technically up the whole night. Rahul is also worried that his guitar might have faced irreparable damage after spending a night under John and Sookie’s hard guitar cases. They debate about that for the next 10 minutes till morning tea is served.
After tea I pass on my METAL HAMMER magazine to Rahul, the pages of which he starts flipping through gleefully. Sookie busies himself by brewing another killer cup of coffee. After a nice breakfast I suddenly experience one of those weird Manipuri mood-swings and start yelling and swearing in Bengali, much to the embarrassment of John.
After an hour or so of my torture we finally reach New Delhi.

Delhi! Whew!! What can I tell you – man, it’s burning HOT in our capital city. And hello??? NO humidity you say? Woh! My 1st 10 minutes here tell me that it’s almost as bad as Kolkata.
Anyway, we all bundle into a cab and head for Patparganj (located on the other side of the Yamuna river) – the residence of Rose and Lena (John’s sister). On the way we ask the cabbie to take us to the nearest booze shop. But the guy can’t seem to stop grinning as he informs us that liquor shops in Delhi DO NOT OPEN BEFORE 1 PM!!!!!
WHAT???? What kinda weird debauched system is this???? We are so stunned (well me and Ludo at least… Rahul keeps on saying “I told you so, I told you so”) that we don’t utter a single word during the journey. I am already starting to miss good ‘ol Kolkata – at least things are a lot more NORMAL back home!
We finally reach our destination – we are tired, and sweaty, and hungry. And our stomachs don’t feel good either (courtesy: last night’s chicken curry dinner). Anyway it’s great to be inside the comfort of a well-furnished apartment. Lena and Rosamma are both at work, but they have left a load of instructions on a piece of paper for us – food in the kitchen, eggs in the fridge, don’t use the 2nd tap on the left, turn on the A/C, yadda yadda yadda.
They both make their appearances after an hour or so – and Lena brings along some beer and wine and a bottle of whiskey for me. God bless her. I am introduced to the 2 ladies as “the fan from Kolkata” – and I don’t know whether I should be proud of that intro, or whether I should behave like a dancing bear and show them some stunts! Anyway!

After some much needed rest we all feel re-energised. Ludo and Sukanti go out to meet a friend of theirs (Mainak). Rahul seems to be in a major artistic mood and he spends the entire evening strumming Rose’s guitar and making notes in his diary. I finally get over my initial shyness and start behaving like the crazy Manipuri that I am, much to the delight of Lena and Rose. John doesn’t know whether he should shut my mouth with scotch tape or run away. The whiskey is definitely not making things any better.

We end the day with some more astounding Delhi facts – courtesy Ludo and Sookie… it seems that cigarette shops in this city all shut-down by 11 PM. But not so the ice-cream wallahs – they roam the streets at night selling their wares to the ice-cream starved citizens of our capital city, and people actually seem to buy these icicles even at the ungodly hour of 1 AM!!!

Boy what a weird city this is.

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