This is a super crazy incident which happened, not with me, but with my super awesome and dazzling bright mom. To me even the smallest incident that she narrates to me is blog post-perfect. Back in "her time", stuff was so simple that today, it complicates us-- people who are so terribly tangled in webs of lies and problems; always in a state of pandemonium-- and we find it hard to believe the simplicity of the solution to problems that would have driven us mad. That is what is so amazing about the generation which is just one step behind us, but ahead of us in every field; let it be stamina, sharpness of mind or the ability to make a joke out of everything. They are the perfect old-school generation.
So. My mother was going to Vaishno Devi, probably the best place for all the devotees, and a dream-place for many as well. She was accompanied by her all time bestie-brother. The journey to this sanctified place is best enjoyed in the services of the Indian Railways. There is something so jovial and bouncy about the trains of India. My mother encountered the "awesomeness" of the technical beauty of the train.
She was supposed to sleep in the upper berth. "Do I have to?", she groaned, as she climbed up the three step ladder on the side. "Just do it. You won't remember any of it once we reach our destination"
She sat up with a start right after the moment she had laid down.
"Bhai, there is a CFL which gives out white and bright fluorescent light hovering right above my face! What am I going to do??" she complained.
"Break it", he said
After a thought, she said, "You do it. I don't know how to do it" Just the perfect reply coming from a person with 100% common sense. He was to sleep in the adjacent upper berth. He simply stretched out his arm, with a phone in his hand and slammed hard.
My mom collected the shards and threw them away. "Their fault," he explained the next day
"Who puts a light bulb right above your head?" "Yeah", agreed my mom as she sipped her morning tea.
I think that this way of thinking is not ridiculous but indeed remarkable. They do what is to be done. They don't calculate what will happen later on. They aren't worried about the next ten events that will take place.
Do the right thing, live the best life!
What you are about to read happened just fifteen minutes ago. What you are about to read has probably changed an aspect of me from dark to white; I am now finally awake.
I am very blind and impractical indeed. If you hear what I had on my mind, you would probably burst out laughing and go around, tell your friends and make a good joke out of it. Fine, I wanted to go from Hyderabad to Pune...-- don't question what was the joke, be patient-- right, so, I wanted to go from Hyderabad to Pune on a bicycle. Yeah, you got it, laugh, by all means.
It just suddenly struck me one day while I was doing my home work (You are not supposed to laugh ALL the time!). The idea was so big, so thrilling that it totally engulfed me and I forgot all about it and started thinking about the fresh air that my lungs would savour upon, the green fields I would zip by, the blue sky, the everything. I never really thought about the center of the whole thing; the road.
I explained the whole thing to my mum; dancing around creating sound effects, everything. Mothers are amazing; she heard the whole thing without uttering a single word. I will not talk about whatever she questioned me about. She only challenged me to go on a 4 kilometer ride, buy a cake and come back home. I was most confident at that time and bravely and happily accepted. Only one line of her made my confidence waver " Take your phone along. You know, just in case you break a bone or two." Encouraging, indeed.
I had not cycled for the past two years, and thence practiced cycling for a week in my society and then I was ready. Mum said she would follow me later.
Then I started off. I got out of my society safe and sound. I wavered a bit when I had to get to the other side of the road. It was real great for a few hundred meters. I was looking at the things around in a way that I had never looked for the past six years; the only difference was that I was in a car. The same coconut seller, the same roadside veggie vendor-- WHAM!! My thoughts were interrupted by a blue car who had supposed me to be invisible and had rammed the car into my side. I instantly lost my balance and fell with a thud. I then realized that I would not have lost control if the chain of my stupid cycle had not come off. A couple of men rushed to help me and told me the latter. A juice vendor explained me the whole scenario and that I had escaped a massive accident. The people around me tried their best to fix the damned chain by getting their hands greased in black. I snapped out of my daze and called up Mum and told her what had happened in a surprisingly normal voice. The car which was the main reason of my then present situation halted a few meters away and the owner, a lady who lives in my society, hurried towards me. She was the first person I've ever met on road who admitted her mistake. But I was overflowing with guilt and horror of what had happened. I simply refused to accept that it was her fault, albeit there was a voice yelling at me to yell at her. After a few more minutes of vain efforts and more greasy hands, Mum's car pulled up in front of me; and I really don't remember when was the last time I was so relieved to see her. When she stepped out, everyone cleared off, thinking their part of sympathy was completed and went ahead with business. All, except the juice vendor. A Hindi-speaking person. "Be thankful to Allah, little girl, that it was just the chain and no fault of yours. Let me get this." And with that, he went on to try fixing the chain. My mum was standing beside him, giving me a look that broke everything inside me. It wasn't a look of disgust or anger. All it said was " Welcome back to Earth, princess". A few more minutes passed away and I had noticed his children, a boy and a girl in school uniform and twinkling eyes calling out encouragements to their father. They were later joined by the juice vendor's wife who was on her knees, trying to help her husband. "Do you see the warmth and kindness that courses through this family? I really don't remember encountering someone that human before. What do you say, little one?" It was Mum telling out loud what I had felt inside.
Finally, the juice vendor gave up. I was bursting with gratitude. I was speechless; for I had finally met someone who cared and showed it. Mum couldn't help but give some money to the juice vendor, who refused. " It was my duty and I have done it." This was all he said; and that was all that was required to teach me a lesson. I walked home with a loose chained cycle and a shaken, but empowered self.
I was travelling to Hauptwache, Germany from Frankfurt by the German Metro. Germany is a very abstemious and peaceful place and one can witness all its photogenic scenes while travelling by metros. The beautiful layer of frost on fields and tall trees can make time slow and suave.
After few minutes that the metro had started, a pretty lady came hurrying in and took the seat opposite to me. She had straight, deep brown hair. Her hazel green eyes had a sense of satisfaction and happiness. Suddenly she frantically started searching for something in her handbag. When an attendant passed by, she asked for a bottle of water and was told to wait for a few minutes.
An hour passed by, and the lady kept glancing at the cabin door, waiting for her bottle of water. I felt pity for her. I just couldn't bear the restlessness in her lovely eyes. "Please ma'am, have some water from my water bottle", I said and handed her my water bottle. "Thank you. My name is Amanda Allen, and you?" "My name is Parishka" Her accent supplied me information regarding her roots."Are you an expatriate from America?", I questioned. I got my answer in the affirmative. That polished accent of hers had easily given in. Amanda had settled here and was a teacher at the International School of Frankfurt. We had a brief talk about our own countries. She was in love with teaching and was 'School Mom' for her class and hated taking off from work.
It was nearly lunch time. Our conversation went deeper into India and the bounty of its culture. I also narrated a handful of stories of Lord Krishna.
My mother had packed some savoury vegetable rice and curd. I always eat my mum's food as I believe it keeps me anchored to my roots, India. During our discussion, I noticed, Amanda had developed an interest in India and its savouries. I asked her to taste a bit of my rice and believe me, on tasting it, her eyes shone with reverence for me and delight."It is the best rice I've ever tried. Can I have some more of it?", and I readily gave her more of my it. I was amazed to see her gorge down my lunch at such speed.
"Today, I have quite a remarkable image of Indians. Thanks to you.", she said before leaving the cabin.
It was such an affable experience with that lady. Somewhere inside, I had this proud feeling that I had lived to the standards and name of India and its citizens.
It was a very humid evening when we were walking in The Walking Street of Pattaya. The blinding lights of the billboards and music blaring in their ears had awakened our hunger levels to 100%. My sister was wailing like an ambulance looking for food. Dad was hurriedly moving around pushing past the people and getting on and off the footpath. He was leading an awe-struck and clumsy me who was bumping into people and muttering "Sorry". She just could not tear her eyes off the mini-helicopter hovering in the air (Although she knew that it would never work back home). Very much aware of the kind of people around him, as if programmed to do so, Dad kept muttering under her breath, "Your mom is half-blind in this tropical city! One moment of carelessness and your sister is GONE."
Here was the final situation: an exasperated and starving family. My vote, "Let's get back to the hotel."; which was resembling others' vote. We all agreed to this and went on to get a tuk-tuk. I had sacrificed all my free time for reading the next book in the Percy Jackson series in pouring all the information about Thailand from Lonely Planet into my head. There was a point that kept getting my eye every time I opened the book.
It stated,"The people in Thailand are very genial and adjusting in nature" Till now, whenever I came across an aspect of Thailand that resembled the facts in the book, my points of argument with my mom for buying Lonely Planet books kept increasing. But after that day, I never uttered a word in favour of guides; for the incident which took place that day had washed my mouth with soap.
The tuk-tuk driver asked for 100 baht which is equal to Rs. 200. Any rickshaw driver would have to sell his rickshaw if he ever asked for such a price. My mother was in no mood of bargaining (Fancy that! Mom did not bargain) and we started our journey back to our hotel.
While the tuk-tuk made its way through the traffic, we were searching for a place to stop and dine. We then spotted 'Chotiwala', a favoured and delightful restaurant. Oh my God! An authentic Indian restaurant amongst the 'Crabby' and 'Fishy' restaurants. It was so enthralling to see an Indian restraunt here. So we desparately pushed the STOP button.
Now, If a person plans a trip of 100 baht and stops half-way he will pay 50 baht only. But wait, Lonely Planet ditched me when it came to following basic rules like this! The young man who was driving our hired tuk-tuk asked for 100 baht.
At first my mom was patient and spoke to him with the expression as if she was dealing with a dim-witted child. She was like, "Why 100? 50 only. No Sandalaya hotel. Sandalaya, 100. Half-way, only 50, Ok?" But the driver was persistent and went babbling "NO, no, no! 100 baat only!!" The same order of events repeated at least five times before my parents lost their temper. I was secretely enjoying the tension and anger building up in the atmosphere. My sis was somewhat scared and started backing away as though the colliding winds might start a storm. She was darting her eyes from mum to the driver uncomprehendingly. Hunger and exasperation had started to prevail and my mum finally gave up the 50 baht in his hand, trying to hurry away from this mess.
Next, something totally opposite happened for which I will never forgive lonely planet. The driver threw the money on the road. Such a sophisticated act was enough to drive my dad up the wall. "Enough!! Is that the way you treat your customers? That's it. I am calling the cops. They will set you JUST right." Cursing under his breath, Dad strode over tho the traffic signal and called for the cops standing on the other side of the road. "Stop! Stop! Give me da maaney." At a cautious distance, Mum handed him the bill. Just as we expected, the driver snatched the money, cursed in Thai out loud and drove away leaving a an angry trail of smoke.
We then simply walked in the restaurant satisfied with glee.
Hi! Just as I explained before these are my crazy experiences. Read on!
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