Distance in space !

Moving about is an inherent need of most human beings. Lets keep the rest of the folks out. For the present. And lets just consider the folks that indeed desire mobility. Now, who doesn’t want mobility.

Even the Gods do. The modern day self proclaimed Gods have streams of Roll Royces and BMWs perched in their courtyard, that would perhaps use the GDP of Norway on fuel ! Perhaps all of Scandinavia.

And still be left with some surplus change to pick up the islands in the pacific ! But that’s a different story.

Where were we…yes. The Gods. Moving on to the ‘Common Man’, the common man’s urge and need to travel is often times expressed in the most uncommon of ways. This blog has had several posts in the past. Often, showing how informatively local trains and buses have been used.

The urge to travel is universal ! Modern day man has it woven into daily life ! Mankind has been known to use anything that moves. For travel. From donkeys to Camels. And now, we are even talking bacteria led biological http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/gastrointestinal/ warfare !! Phew !

The point is if it moves, it will be used. Presence of a specifically designed seat / place for travel is rather immaterial ! Here is evidence.

That perhaps leaves us with the smaller families. Four member. Three member. Five member.

Well mention of a five member family is not something that will cause a flutter in your eye. But say, all of the five members travel on two wheels at the same time. On a busy highway. Without helmets. Without understanding of road rules. And without a lot else too.

And also. Not as a part of a circus trick. Or a politician’s austerity drive. Or a photo op. Or an advertisement promoting shock absorbers, engine power, fuel efficiency. etc etc. And the like.

The question of how much space is there between two wheels of a bike is yet to be answered.

Indian roads keep presenting a picture of space that can take as many people as required. A space that houses a seat that has no end.

A space which screams ‘no distance is too far’ !

Swept clean

This one was spotted in Daman. Right inside the fort. At first, it looked like an Extra Terrestrial vehicle, with tentacles and such else. And a red siren on its head, a striking yellow made it look the part completely. Then the eye rested on ISO 9001 certified.

Now, the ETs wouldnt go for something like an ISO certification. Or so i thought. I always thought of them to work out of strange tentacles and purple coloured brains. So.

And then the other sticker : Daman Municipal Corporation. Hmm. A vehicle to sweep the streets free of dust.

A couple of months ago, a similar vehicle in Bangalore. But that was pristine white, with strange pipes and seeming tentacles all over.

Some swank equipment these. They sure must have been tested. And tried. And perhaps used too. And the some municipal corporations budget must have been swept clean !

I wonder to what end. Especially…

When a swank Toyota’s driver lowers the powered window and spits his much chewed gutka, right in the middle of a highway.

When much http://healthsavy.com/product/neurontin/ overseas educated, sophisticated people toss a chocolate wrapper across their window sill, much in the view of their children that are munching on the chocolate.

When the poor man without water or drainage in home, washes his utensils in the middle of the road. And when the drainage pipes of an educated community gets clogged, with sanitary pads, old shoes and diapers.

So, lets buy more such machines. And i can think of these additional uses too to gain additional revenue.

a. Lets parade them on Republic day parades.
b. Show them to visiting dignitaries.
c. Lend to hindi movies ( esp the Sci-Fi ones)
d. let children take joy rides
e. Charge premium at rich weddings and station them as a status symbol

And perhaps out of these options make some money and spread some awareness, on cleanliness. And sensitivity to the other man. Sharing the road. The apartment. The city. And its drainage pipes.

With respect and sensitivity to the other, the world would be a much better place. Now, thats whats called a sweeping statement.


There we are returning from Daman. And somewhere close to Daman, we see a sea of safron walking. On a pilgrimage. There are boys. Young men. And some sprinkling of women.

There are autorickshaws. Tempos. Cars. Bikes. Et el. Most sport saffron. We drive fast. And the sea of orange whizzes by. Or rather we whizz by. The orange seems to be an unending sea.

Curiosity gets the better of us. We stop at a bridge. And enquire, part in sign language and part in Hindi. The pilgrims are only too happy to talk. And they talk about the month of Shravan. And a pilgrimage.

And as we speak, many more just walk by. And i wonder, if walking comes naturally to India! My mind races to the pilgrimage of Sabarimala. Palani. Velankanni. Shirdi. All have thousands of people walking many many kilometers. And most times without footwear.

With all that, i wonder if Keep Walking was a slogan that Johny Walker picked up from India and its scriptures. And at that moment, i decide to keep my grand discovery hush hush. i don’t want some lofty custodian of moral values find one more reason to stage a protest or disrupt parliament ! Sigh !

And just a few hours back, we witness a ceremony. By the 400 year old fort. Someone has passed away. And the 14th day rituals are on. At least, that’s what a local tells us. Its a simple, sombre ceremony.

Where a paraphernalia of flowers, coconuts, garlands and such else are immersed into the river. Just as it meets the sea.

And the fort just looks on. Stoically. Perhaps its seen one too many of such ceremonies. After all 400 years is no small time.

Just a while earlier than that, we spot this banner. Narial Purnima is the coconut festival. Where coconuts are offered to the sea God.

But this is the city folk celebrating.

Mehendi is at 10.00 am. And then something called ‘Mass Drawing’ at 11.30 am. And ofcourse, there seems to be an interesting event called ‘mummy’s dance’ ! (with an apostrophe). And because theres nothing else mentioned there, the Mummy’s dance perhaps goes on till 6.00 PM.

Hmm. Seems to be an interesting festival. I am sure there must be something that i am unable to get here. We try talking to the local fishermen. We discover the importance and profoundness of the festival for them. They speak of coconuts, puja and the sea God.

I prod them some more, about ‘Mehendi’, ‘Mass Drawing’ and ‘Mummy’s dance’. All i receive is a stoic silence.

And since then, i have rued the fact,that i didn’t get to see the ‘Mehendi’, ‘Mass Drawing’ and ‘Mummy’s dance’. Yes, the same ones that were sponsored by the tourism department.

Of hotels and offers : Random rambling !

While on travel, my mind wanders. Not that, it stays at one place, otherwise. But the travel, accentuates the wandering. This travel was no different. Sample this.

On the way to and from Daman, there are very many hotels. Its a busy highway, with a zillion trucks (and slightly less than a zillion demented drivers. But thats another post).

The names of the hotels on the road, keeps me intrigued quite a bit.

Obviously, a Simla Inn transports the mind to Shimla.

And a Nilgiris takes the mind to Ooty !

Wonder why they have named these hotels here in the Western Ghats after scenic hill stations in the North and the South. Perhaps there are other meanings to the name that i am clueless about.

And then, there is Vegas hotel. I mean, what was that ? When the moral brigade runs out of ideas like Valentines Day, they will get here. And organise a protest against foreign names to Indian hotels. Culture. Heritage and such else will be recalled. I don’t want to go further and sound like a regular newspaper or TV channel. Out to depress people.


Why on earth would they call a hotel in the Western Ghats Niligiris. Or Simla. Or Vegas for that matter.

Thomas Friedman told us that ‘The World is Flat’ . I am sure my geography teacher must have been glad that the book wasnt around when i was a student. She would have had a hard time teaching me that the world is round.

Especially when this Friedman chap, made a mountain of money, proclaiming that the world is flat. ! But still Vegas in the Western Ghats is out of place enough to occupy my thoughts for sometime.

Suddenly, i want to become an IAS offcer with a fancy designation. Like “Commissioner of Appropriate Names”. Or something of that kind. An IAS officer with an Ambassador car and the read beacon light on top, passing orders.

Hmm. Like this : Moutains in the ghats of India, will respect local sentiment and choose names that will have ryhming consonants from the local dialect !‘ Or something like that.

And, then i see this.

Mansoon special offer. And the thought bandwagon jumps.

How do you do that ?

I mean, making of a man.
And that too, soon ?
And that too, under a special offer!
For all of Rs.350/- !

Whats on earth can be on the curriculum ?

Hmm. My mind wonders.

Ideas anyone ?

Crazy in Daman !

The entrance to the fort

We got to Daman.

Planned as a weekend night away, we drove into Daman. And got to Moti Daman fort. And asked a chap who vends ice cream, what Daman was famous for. We have always stopped to ask such questions to ordinary folk, and the answers are usually very incisive. And far apart from what tourist guides tell you.

And so we ask this gentleman again. He looks up from what he was doing, and says without a flicker of his eye, ‘Booze. What else. The low taxes means booze is dirt cheap. There is NOTHING else here. NOTHING else”. He thunders. With special Spielberg sound effects on on ‘Nothing’ !

I smile. I am genuinely amused.

There we are. Standing within the precincts of the Moti Daman fort. A fort built by the Portugese, some 400 odd years ago. Yes, 400 odd years ago. Almost the time when Columbus was discovering America. And here it was, still standing. In its majestic splendour.

A view of the fort, the river, the sea and the old lighthouse

A gateway that leads to the boat jetty

Lighthouse. Arches. Columns. Doors. Chapels. Pews. Prisons. Municipal office. And the precincts of the fort. Standing, as it seems, almost in fierce defiance of the Arabian sea and whatever that lies beyond. The fort itself houses this church built in 1603 AD ! And its such a fabulous sight. The camera cant quite tell the complete picture.

The Church of Bom Jesus

Imagination wanders on how life would have been here. 400 years ago. What it must have taken to build a fort, with relatively sparse technology in a foreign land. Kissing sea, river and land.

And to do all this, after sailing the high seas from Europe. There sure must have been something that coursed the veins of those people.

I have my hands on my hips and and smile at this chap. Who tells me that there is nothing but booze here. Standing right here in this fort. And silently mutter ‘you must be crazy’ !

Back in Mumbai. I talk to friends. About the the Moti Daman fort. They listen. As my excitement reaches a crescendo, one of them waves me to stop. And says, “you went all the way to Daman. To look at some fort. And not touch the booze”.

And as i look at him. He smiles. And says. “You must be friggin crazy !”

The yesteryear lighthouse atop the fort