Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Indian summer - 3: Sights and sounds

A weeks since I arrived here. So I thought I would give a few tidbits about the daily routine here.

Transportation: Scooters (the Vespa kind, not the razor kind) and motorcycles are probably the most popular means of transportation here. The traffic situation is not nearly as bad as it is in bigger metropolises, but it is certainly much worse than when I used to live here. It is a problem of limited space, mostly. The roads are narrow and with construction booming, it is becoming difficult to fit all the vehicles on the road. There certainly are more cars than before. Believe it or not, Chevy is one of the more popular brands, alongside Honda, Nissan and Suzuki. Motorists, scooterists (judging by the red squiggly line underneath, this doesn't seem like a word - oh well) and motorcyclists have to share the road with the obvious - pedestrians and bicyclists - and the not-so-obvious - stray dogs. Still, it was quite a pleasure riding out on my friend's motorcycle. Nothing beats the feeling of semi-hot wind hitting you in the face. (I am serious, BTW - it is pretty enjoyable)

The auto-rickshaw (a three wheeled version of a taxicab) remains an overwhelmingly popular choice of  conveyance. Here's a picture of one:

Tricked out ride []

Cricket: India is a place of many different languages, customs, traditions and cultures. Despite the dizzying array of differences, cricket (I did two posts explaining the basics here and here) remains the one big, glorious unifying passion. One of the few vestiges of the British colonial rule adopted enthusiastically by the country, the sport has lately been touted as a symbol of the nation's growing economic might. I will let the politicos and economicos worry about the symbolism and deeper meanings and whatnot. For me cricket symbolizes simplicity and harkens back to childhood. Find any clear space around your neighborhood, grab a bat (or two) and a ball and off you go. Even as I am writing this, I can hear kids playing with a plastic ball outside.
So it was with great pleasure that I fished out my old bat from the innards of my old room and played for a solid two hours with my friends a couple days ago. Now my friends may tell you that I suck at this great game, but I think I have gotten better with time. Besides, if sucking were ever to be a crime, the entire post-Lebron Cavaliers lineup would be in jail by now.

Entertainment: I have been spending an unhealthy amount of time playing "Uno" lately. You see, since we used to do the same years and years ago, it made complete sense to us to resume the noble practice. Each round is accompanied by an inordinate number of jeers, insults and hoots and heckles. Skips and draw fours bring out the worst in us, I guess.
Our ancient television set at home has, after many years of faithful service, decided to start phoning it in. The color scheme changes randomly on the screen, and depending on the time of the day, everything either turns red or blue. Doesn't take away from the actual scene on the screen, though, so I am OK with that. Most TV programs can be divided into the following categories: Indian soap operas, 24/7 cable news (English and Hindi), music videos and movies, cricket, and more cricket. Lately they've started airing a bunch of American shows (like Modern Family, White Collar, Family guy etc.) on a few channels. Strangely, there seems to be a lot of  "Las Vegas" on air on these channels. Here's your chance to see pre-Transformers and pre-Fergie Josh Duhamel, folks.

I think that's enough for now. More in the next installment.

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