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Jugni Rehndi Sector Char or How NOT to Party in Chandigarh

12 Mar

The Husband and I finally figured out that we’re a far cry from ever being invited to the cool parties in Sectors 9 & 10, where you will find the oh so de rigueur Mercedes (pronounced Marsadee!) or Audi or Beamer parked ass to elbow in every drive way. So we decided to make our own partaaay tracks in the Chandigarh party circuit by becoming frequent patrons of the hottest hot spot, wait for it, S-Lounge.

Haha. And I say haha first of all because S-lounge is actually an offshoot of Swagath South Indian Restaurants of Defence Colony fame. The second reason I say haha is because when you actually get to SL you find it populated with the likes of Bliss Chadha and Bunny Bhullar. Bunny’s real name is of course Gurnimram or Nimpreet or your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine-Deep/Preet/Jeet. Bliss unfortunately, is just Bliss. As are Lovely, Great and Baby.

The third reason I say haha is because both Bunny (who is a girl in this case) and Bliss (who is not a girl in this case) are effing drop dead gorgeous! You look at these people and you feel like you’re lacking a vital chromosome.  The men and women that I have noticed in Chandigarh are by far the most prime specimens of the Indian race that I have ever seen.

The Husband’s explanation for this is that Chandigarh is the locus for all the best looking North Indian strains in Punjab to congregate and proliferate. So, in short, you have the cream of the crop, Mughal Invasion Residual Genetic Legacy Heir-Apparents, generally hanging around doing their thing.

Being a piddly little Parsi from Vidarbha, where most people look like dried up licorice sticks, I thought that the Husband in all his Punjabidom, his Peshawari Potency,  his Rawalpindi Raw Sex Appeal, his Mirpur Khas Machismo,was the cat’s pajamas. Not anymore. The Husband is but a drop in the vast ocean that is 3rd Generation Post Independence Punjabis.

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Travel Guide: The Hills are Alive With the Sound of Bhangra

23 Feb

Twilight in Kasauli

On weekends, the good folks of Chandigarh might pack up a picnic lunch and go careening up the hills to spend a day or two in quasi-high-altitude bliss.  We decided to follow suit, and after getting out of  Panchkula our rattletrap  Indica shuddered its way up through Pinjore, Kalka, took a left turn at Dharampur and voila, Kasauli.

See you soon you big baboon

Kasauli is about 60 km from Chandigarh and you can  probably travel up there in about an hour and a half if you don’t mind taking on those hair-raisingly blind hairpin turns at suicidal speeds. Never mind all those cautionary spectacles of the Mercedes  pichkaoed into a Santro, or the Maruti that looks like it’s being force-fed a boulder, or all the trucks that go OK TATA BYE BYE over the hillside.

Kasauli isn’t too far off but otherwise I’ve noticed that when you travel up to these places you kind of fall into a pleasant pentameter of hill, town, hill, town, hill, hill, town, town. Traffic usually bottlenecks when you get to a town and you have to crawl along its narrow streets lined with  dusty denizens selling patent leather handbags, ‘best’ furniture, furry caterpillar mufflers, home made fruit wine and pictures of gods, among other useful items.

Our driver Boviji got a little too carried away and drove us straight to Monkey Point, alternate spellings- Manky Point and Manki Point. Much Punjabi blusterings from the husband and Sardar grumblings from Boviji followed,  after which we had to backtrack about 5 k.m. through Garkhal to get to our resort. However, I wasn’t disappointed because there were many mankies at the resort also. Nice little mankies, who would scurry up the Chir-Pines at the slightest approach, not like the big Langur pricks we have in Maharashtra who just sit there and leer at you.

Outside the Firang Club Cafe

Kasauli is pretty much like any other hill town,  with magnificent vistas,  majestic Himalayan oaks, blah blah, yada, yada, yada. Frankly, I was much  more interested in making googly-eyes at the husband than playing the intrepid journalist,  so think of this post as more of a camera obscura sketch rather than an actual tourist guide report or a source of  tourist information. No breathtaking panoramas  in this post, sorry.

The Church

The highlight of our trip was probably the yummy leg of Raan we had for dinner, and this quaint, very Edgar Allan Poe-ish church near the bus stand. It had interesting gothic arches, a solid granite structure, a very laconic caretaker and Jai Yesu type music playing inside. The pews and the rafters also seemed to be of a very respectable solid oak and the few stained glass windows were unshattered and kept quite clean. Plus, the spotless alter cloth and dozens of candles were witness to the fact that people actually prayed there. I don’t know why but I found that surprising.

Another thing I loved were all these furry dogs running around like such mawalis, growling and bullying small children and these  miniature cows with a Napoleon Complex who look very placid but I’ve heard can be quite vicious.

Church Caretaker

Something or someone has definitely given the Up North Experience a face lift from what it was in the nineties. I remember going to Manali when I was thirteen and being disappointed at all the deforestation, the choked roads and the junglis roaming around in their gypsies – whose idea of summer fun was raping women. My family and I were with another couple,  who were a bit younger.  One evening, the reasonably sexy young wife decided to go for a walk  alone down one of Manali’s main streets, where she was accosted by a group of ominous men in an Omni, and was told to get in. But then she screamed and some stoned hippies came to her rescue. True story. I guess I have globalization to thank, because now those same junglis probably go to London and Switzerlaaand, making the north a relatively safer place for us day tripping yuppies.

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Alea Jacta Est

17 Feb

There is one signal in Chandigarh which runs for 120 seconds and plays “i’m blue abidiabada” in the background while some nice punjabi lady lilts out traffic rules. In office, if you take off your sweater someone is bound to say “tumne to summer declare kar diya hai”, not a bad idea for meteorologists who anyway don’t have a clue, just keep putting sweaters on and pulling them off, open up an umbrella, wear a banyan, and just stand there.

One the train from Delhi I was hit on by a real life rocket singh, who was nice enough to clear away my tray when he thought i was sleeping and help me with my suitcase which was filled with old pictures of the wadia family. One of the best things about living in Chandigarh is the Kalka Shatabdi to and from Delhi. If you dont actually meet anyone, you always get to overhear interesting stories. Like twin sisters who got married on the same day at the same time, or rocket singh, or a gentleman who used to design cars.

Another fun thing about Chandigarh is driving to places nearby like Amritsar to see the golden temple, and attend PTC Miss Punjabi, judged by Harbhajan Mann and Divya Dutta and treated to the musical samplings of Gippy Grewal  brawling out tracks from his hit album, The Gabru 2.  Yet another fun thing about Chandigarh is going to alliance francais and being taught by feisty little Sardarnis like Mrs. Grewal who can converse equally well in Punjabi or French (and actually uses Punjabi to explain French sometimes), looks like a sparrow but is actually more like a miniature pinscher.

I have to say that i never liked North India very much, being born and brought up in Nagpur, but you can’t hate the Punjab. The Punjab is awesome. Imagine all the anachronisms of the world being stuffed into one tiny little shoebox, and powdered with a lot of manners and money.  Kind of reminds me of my Parsi relatives living in decrepit mansions called The Mount or Daisyville or Sillville. But that’s material for another blog.

Yes I do like the Punjab, the tandoori chicken portions are enough to feed a Maharashtrian family of five, the Sardarjis are very courteous and flirtatious. Not to mention sooooo tall and good looking. One little Marathi Manoos would be lost in the forest of Surds. I mean I used to think that i lucked out marrying a man that’s 6’2 but that apparently is par for the course here in Punjab. The women also, I used to think Delhi had good looking women but you have to see the ones here. True they all look like they came out of a Yash Chopra Mohabattein factory, but still very pretty.

I’ve started to kind of like Delhi too, I think it’s become more interesting and safer for women. Plus a lot of the safety issues are just hoo-haa created by paranoid daddies who dont want their gudiya rani to pop her cherry before marriage. Three words- Hymen Replacement Surgery. Let gudiya get a life and you get one also.

But there is a lot to be said about the Punjab and I will be saying it, if I dont wither out and give up first.

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