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January 2002

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Letter from INDIA

 

A Caring Guide for Passengers to India

 

of humans and vegetables and whether Uranium and not fertilizers, be used for growing vegetables !

 

By J.V.Ravichandran


J.V.Ravichandran

 

The itinerary of the day-tripper rarely, if never, includes a trip to the moon but if the day-tripper really knew what it is like to walk the streets of Delhi, he may just change the deathbed vow made to his dear grandma.

 

Walk a few yards, trying to enjoy the sun or the moon and soon, a conglomerate of irate, hideous sounds will greet your ears. Turning, you will find it is only a vague vegetable, bursting with unbridled enthusiasm at the opportunity provided by providence to talk to you. Taking the elevator of sadness, one can usually travel quite a distance in life, but not so on the Delhi roads. If a vegetable wishes to speak to you, you have no option but to let it speak and it usually speaks without a by your leave, of course.

 

Grilled beef may land you in jail for being a fundamentalist, as India is a pious country, is what many foreign tourists are advised, before they embark on a journey to the land of mystics or so I am informed.

 

But, my advice to the foreigners, from the bottom of my heart, is - Mind the vegetable ! It may land you in such trouble that you will go homeward bound - if you escape - with a conviction that god awful Cuba or Israel would have been a better proposition and your travel agent is a nut, to think otherwise ! Because, once caught in the net of the vegetable's questions, one cannot do anything but stand around looking like a cross between a stiff in an Egyptian mummy and a wax-figure of a famous artiste...I forget which.

 

Smuggling patience from the trigger-happy terrorists in Kashmir has struck my mind often, but I quickly dismiss such thoughts as fancies too brave and settle to fielding the questions with a saucy tongue and, if opportunity gave me chance, with legs and fists.

 

"What is the time, uncle ?" is usually the opener. I remember, once, stunned at such gross whatever of calling me "Uncle" in my own country, I retorted, kindly though, "Don't you have a watch ?". But, the reply, which went on for nearly half-an-hour, "What is the matter with you, uncle ? Have you fought at home or trying to pick one with me ? All I asked was the time. What is wrong in asking time, brother (this to another vegetable)? I don't know why such men have to spoil other people's moods. What do you think of yourself, Hein ?", and the situation, nearing some kind of a climax with a few bruises at random places for me seemed a definite proposition, I beat a hasty retreat but it has, nevertheless, made me a wiser man for, I stop not now to answer or to listen to the vegetables but simply throw a fist or two, in the direction of the guttural sounds or nonchalantly walk away, leaving the vegetable fuming to fermentation.

 

Most humans make frequent, nocturnal trips down the streets of nowhere, in elation, at having achieved something or in joy, at a job well done. But not so the many living in Delhi. Not for them, the "Road taken by successful men" and having not taken the road themselves, spew spit and betel juice at those who do take "the road taken...".

 

Trying to catch such misbegotten skunks by their skunky throats only rewards you with more nonsense and low grunts of disapproval. "We are trying to secretly admire you, sir, by spitting on you so that nobody else gets jealous at your success and spits on you !". I don't spit and I pride myself for possessing such exemplary qualities but I, too, have been thinking lately of digressing on such occasions.

 

Once, when my inside, which includes my heart too, were jumping around for joy - the occasion being reviewing of my poems by the International library or congress of poetry and their publication at poetry.com, I was waylaid by a petty tea-stall owner who was waving some kind of a pamphlet at me and rudely beckoning me to come near him. The elation, inside me, vanished like the air out of a punctured balloon and cold rage gripped my insides in a vice-like grip.

 

Time for suspense-filled dialogues, I thought to myself. The man, uneducated and uncouth, thrust the pamphlet at my face and said, "You think you are an angrez (Englishman)? Why don't you read this and tell me what it says if you are such an angrez ? !" At which point, the nut's better half joined in and soon my mind visioned khaki-clothed men escorting me to dark dungeons, and spiders crept up my back. I was rescued, of course, by my penchant for not letting suspense pervade over good humour but, my good humour had already been rudely snatched away, at least, for the day.

 

So, think beyond the odd murder with a hatchet or an axe, at some lodge in Pahar Ganj, before making a trip to Delhi. Life is not all hatchets and axes, you know, it is also full of vegetables, resembling humans, who are more dangerous than the land mines in terrified Afghanistan. Pack a punch or two and stuff a few kicks in your travel kit, and some Uranium, too, for good measure (you never know bin Laden may have written "A quick guide to making instant nuclear bombs !" and you will feel like a duck in a swimming pool with no water, if you find the book but not the necessary ingredients), if you are really keen in having a good time in India.

 

Rest, of course, depends on whether you are asked the time or not ! And don't miss out on the new Kamal Hassan film, "Abhay". It may turn out to be your video guide on how to handle loony nuts !

 

J.V.Ravichandran introduces himself: I am 35 years of age and live in New Delhi, India. I am a software developer, dramatist, poet, artistic director (I have directed 4 English plays). I have developed 4 computer games, GREYcells Ludo, GREYcells Bricks, GREYcells Tic-Tac-Toe and GREYcells Brainvita plus some business softwares namely,  plus GREYcells Accounts for manufacturing units, GREYcells instograf, GREYcells Speedsheet and GREYcells Independence.

I have dramatised Catch-22, the famous novel by Joseph Heller, which is available on my homepage. I have also written a book on C and C++ called "C+C++=EC" that too is available on my homepage. I have written a few poems too which are available on my homepage. I also write articles on C# (Pronounced C-sharp) at www.csharphelp.com and www.pune-csharp.com.

 

More details about me and my career can be found on my homepage at
http://www.geocities.com/jvravichandran

 

My E-Mail ID - jvravichandran@yahoo.com.