Friday, November 19, 2004

A Visit to the Capital.

Hi all, I have just returned from a short visit to the capital. I left Hyderabad on Wednesday evening. The flight got delayed so I was lounging about the airport looking at people. I tried to read Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", but she really wore me down. She was exactly whom I shall call uninteresting. She talks about the lady's finery and the stupidity of the protagonist’s mother in the most mind-numbing detail. Can't believe people read this stuff. And can't believe that I had actually bought this book. After trying to read this thing, I finally decided to call it off. Enough is enough. I went over to a bookstore and soon I found myself drowned in the familiar ocean of literature. I could not help myself from buying Richard Bach's "The Bridge across forever". When I was asking that guy the price, I told myself "You are spending too much on books, Call it off, Call it off ". The idealist in me won and I was soon sitting in one of the chairs and was lost in the words. The flight finally arrived and the air-hostess gave me their run-out-of-assembly-line smiles artificially. I decided that I should enjoy my flight and put the book away. I didn't really care about the food. After all everybody knows that flight food sucks. Soon Hyderabad was a dazzling ocean of uncountable fireflies. It was breath-taking. You soon feel almost like God overlooking his creation. You also realize how fundamentally petite all humanity is. It was a cloudy night and we were above the clouds. The clouds were so near to us that you feel you could almost reach them by your hand. I felt like traveling in a strange vehicle hovering just above the cold sand dunes of an endless desert of the intangible. Delhi was misty and we landed at about 2 hours after take-off. As I was leaving the airport, my practical self came out, as I was greeted by some 200 waving placards. I was searching for my name to be in one of them. The trouble is that since my name has 5 words, I should be extremely wary. Any one word in my name in the placard say 'Henry' and It could be mine. I couldn't find my name at all. I decided to call my hotel who was supposed to send the cab to receive me in the airport. They have apparently been ditched by their software. I took my own cab and arrived at the dazzling hotel. It was filthy luxurious. I told myself that I did not deserve this. In fact, nor did anyone. I checked-in and I collapsed in my bed after been bombarded with pleasantries. "Sorry Sir". "Bear with us Sire". "Pardon-me Sir". "I hope this is comfortable." "How do you find this place"? "Good Night Sir." All executed to their stereotyped perfection. I slept soundly and I woke up at 9.30 in the morning. I had a breakfast straight out of the French boulangerie. Croisant, Gallant etc. After the breakfast, I immediately went to interview mode. You know the way your mind works when you are confronted with an interview. All the world is a distraction. The only thing that rings in your mind is your interview. I reached the American embassy and was ushered in. The interview went for some 3 minutes and I guess I got through. I came out triumphantly out of the consulate and began searching for my cab. I still had some 3 hours to spare before my flight takes off to Hyderabad. I decided I should see the city. The driver was a friendly Sardarji. He could not, for some funny reason of his, believe that there are actually Indians who don’t know Hindi. I was tempted to ask him if he knew Tamil (the Chennai dialect). For the sake of my own self, I didn’t. We first went to the Parliament House, the Rastrapati Bhavan and other places of constitutional significance. Then we went to The India Gate. It was all that I expected. Then we went to a place called ‘The Humayun Tomb’. This will turn out to be good. It was basically a tomb where they buried the who’s who of the Moghul Empire. This earned it the name ‘The dormitory of the Mughals’. As I approached the building, I was taken aback by the enormity of the structure. The monument was studded with some peculiar star-shaped symbol resembling the David’s star. This monument was one of the first pieces of Indian Architecture to be influenced directly by the Persian architecture, I learned. The walled-garden was very beautiful. As I sat in one of the benches in the park, I felt happier than the King who built the monument. The poet in me wanted to spend the rest of his lifetime sitting on that bench along with the many noisy squirrels, looking at the enormous monument before me and sing lamentations of the human fallibility. Reality beckoned me and I left for the Hotel to have my lunch. I had a good lunch and had my first bath in a Jacuzzi and began packing. As I began to check out of the hotel, I braced myself for some more mechanical pleasantries. I left the Delhi airport in one booming upward thrust.

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