Author’s Note: This is work of fiction. It has no connection or relation any person living or dead, any relevance is purely a coincidence. Everything mentioned about the place, people and language is just for entertainment and I had no intention to hurt anyone. Mysore is a beautiful please to visit and live. The people of Mysore are very nice and helpful.
In picture: Very famous picture of a girl from Mysore called ‘Mysore Beauty’ and ‘Mysore Mallige’. The famous Mysore flower.
It’s been one crazy wacky weekend.
It was a crisp Saturday afternoon, with the sun shining brightly, hurting my eyes. Probably because I had just had just woke up. I am not a morning or even day person, so I shielded my eyes, picked up the towel and rushed towards the toilet. After finishing with the 4 S’s (Shit, Shave, Shower, and Shampoo) I got dressed, took out my travel bag, and shoved into it some clothes and other necessary things. I made a mental list of things that were necessary for me to pack and ticked them off one by one:
Charger – Check
Toothbrush – Check
Perfume – Check
Towel – Check (I have a spare one, in case you were wondering whether I packed the one I had just used)
Levi’s Jocks – Check (Very important)
Favorite Shirt – Check
A pair of Levi’s – Check
Books – Check (Can you imagine me without my books)
Good! So everything was packed and ready. I checked the time. It was 2:10 PM; I still had 50 minutes. That should be enough I thought. I checked myself in the mirror for one last time. Oh! I looked good! I picked up the bag, locked the room and was out of the house. As soon as the door slammed shut behind me, I realized, DAMN! I’d forgot to brush my teeth… again. Not today grrrr… I rushed back in and undid the packing, took out the toothbrush and brushed my teeth in supersonic style. Finally, it was 2:25 PM, by the time I left home. Damn! The bus was scheduled to leave at 3PM sharp. Took an auto and thankfully reached the bus stop just in time. There was a huge weekend rush but luckily I got one seat in the Volvo. The bus started on the dot at 3 for Mysore.
I relaxed and lay back in my semi-comfortable seat, looked outside for a while and then took out the book I was carrying for the journey, ‘Spanking Shakespeare’. I had intended to complete the last few pages in the bus. I had just flipped the book open to the page I’d wanted when a loud noise from the speaker right above my head nearly shook me out of my seat. They had started playing a regional language movie. I tried concentrating on the book but failed to do so because of the constant yapping from the overhead speaker. So I gave in and watched the movie instead. Surprisingly, it was quite interesting and I understood almost 40% of it, having been in Karnataka for the last 6 months and having picked up a little bit of the language.
Here is what I understood of the movie:
Now I said I understood the language a bit but can’t read it so I cannot tell you the name of the movie.
The movie started with the entry of the hero with a song and some jazzy South-Indian and western culture mix dance. It would have been quite difficult to guess the protagonist in the movie had it not been for the camera, following one person around, because everyone looked the same!
They were all dark skinned
They all had a thick mustache and a half trimmed-half grown beard
They all shared their love for shabby hair
They all wore bright orange or striking yellow T-shirts or outrageous or obnoxious clothes.
I realized that our hero’s name was Balu in the movie because every time he heard that word, he seemed to respond.
Balu is this rich kid driving a big car. He sees a beautiful girl in a shopping mall and can’t take his eyes off her (I couldn’t as well, which is probably why I continued watching the entire movie). Probably love at first sight.
Anyway, our hero discovers that this girl is his mother’s friend’s daughter, but is already promised in marriage to someone else (as following the very original recipe for most Indian movies). Brokenhearted, our hero leaves but turns back towards the girl’s place when she calls him and says a whole lot of things which I, unfortunately (or fortunately?) could not comprehend. And on the way, he found a sweet little bunny (Rabbit) at the side of the street! He saw… he came… he adopted!
What follows is the typical wooing the girl with song and dance and ready-to-use (but how-they-got-there-is-a-mystery) props. And quite predictably, Balu has to give up the girl for honor, which leaves him with a stinging slap on the cheek and a zillion pieces of his broken heart.
The movie somehow makes it to the last scene wherein the girl is getting wed to the guy chosen by her parents and she seems reconciled to her fate, while Balu holds a really long, teary one-on-one conversation with his rabbit who he suddenly discovers, is dead. (The reason for this tragedy is not revealed, but I know…it was the excruciatingly long story in Kannada that the bunny had to endure…but could not!) So, the movie has a ‘grave’ conclusion!!!
A T. Rama Rao Babu presentation.
So the moral of the story is:
When you don’t get the girl, then the bunny dies.
Oh my God! How could one make a movie like that? And why the hell was I watching it?
There was a man sitting in front me who seemed to have a very loosely attached head, which kept moving at a frequency of every 20 seconds. He also had this uncanny knack of moving it right in front of me to block my view. No matter which way I moved, left, right, extreme left, extreme right, he always managed to block it every 20 seconds. I didn’t know whether I should have killed him for that, or profusely thanked him for trying to prevent me from the sheer torture that Mr. T. Rama Rao presented!
I finally reached Mysore. It was hate at first sight. It was everything that my expectations were not. It was dusty and dirty. All the people around me didn’t seem to speak any other language other than some South Indian dialect. Finally, I figured my way to an auto stand and asked one of the auto guys to take me to a particular address. For some reason he kept staring at me blankly while I was speaking and then kept saying:
“Tamil teri maa?”
He kept saying that whenever I ask him something. So our short and sweet conversation went something like this:
“Can you speak Hindi?”
“Tamil teri maa?”
“Can you speak English?”
“Tamil teri maa?”
“Can you just take me to this address?”
“Tamil teri maa?”
“Abey Tamil hogi teri maa, Hindi hai meri maa!!”
I went to another auto guy and thank God, he could speak some English. I requested him to take me to the hotel where I was booked, thanks to a kind acquaintance who carried out that task for me. When I reached there, I discovered to my dismay that rather than a hotel, it was some kind of a dingy lodge. I chose to retreat but then decided to take a look inside. Who knew…maybe they had made the exterior look cheap in order to save tax. I stepped inside what seemed to be a huge hall, dimly lit, with a dog lying in one corner and a few very inappropriate women sitting in one corner of the room, chatting in some remote language. One of them was even breastfeeding her baby openly. There was an elevated round platform with pillars and a dome kind of roof on top of it. An old, thin, dark-skinned man wearing a piece of cloth around his waist (Thank God) was fast asleep there.
What a beautiful reception!! There was light emerging from a small room attached to that hall or reception, whatever it was. I gathered some courage and slowly went towards that room and peeked inside. It was a very shabby small room, dimly lit with a 40-watt bulb. There was a huge antique double bed in the middle of the room with an uncovered mattress. If I had to take a wild guess, I would say that the mattress was as old as the antique bed itself; probably came free with that bed. On the other side of the room, there was a square area surrounded by a small 1 ft. cemented wall, guarding a steel bucket and a tap.
I didn’t want to see more so I slowly backed out of the lodge. I left the place asked the same auto guy to take me to a ‘decent hotel’. He said he knew lots of decent hotels and took me on a tour of different similar places, each worse than the other. At one place I was shown the room, which was so small that it finished even before it started! There was a cot with an ancient mattress lying on it, somewhat similar to what I had seen earlier that day, (they probably got it wholesale for all the hotels in Mysore, perhaps a million years ago), one table at the corner with an age-old TV on it. I was itching to slap the auto guy who brought me here, but then I controlled myself. He was all set to take me to yet another hotel when I stopped him and told him, “Listen I want to go to a hotel which is big, where you guys are not allowed to go, do you understand?”
He then took me to Hotel Palace Plaza, which was opposite the Mysore Palace. Finally a decent place, I thought to myself. I went to the lobby. There were plenty of foreigners there, so I assumed it couldn’t be that bad. It also looked quite posh. I was lucky to get the last room even though it was a double bed royal plaza suite for a ridiculous 3400 Rs. It was already 6PM and I had no energy left, so I took the room. It took the hotel staff 1 hour to get the room ready which was agonizingly painful.
While waiting for the room I noticed a pleasantly plump (can’t call her fat), visibly irate Irish lady. Lazy curiosity made me keep looking to see what was happening there. It was quite amusing to watch her struggle, talking to these people, who could barely speak a language other than their mother tongue (By the way, why do they call it mother tongue? Is it because fathers don’t get to speak much?), and she in her typical Irish dialect peppered with British slang (Did you know Irish people use slangs more than any other people in the world. Even more than drunk Jats and UP waale bhaiyas). She was holding a book in her hand, and I tilted my head a little to read the title of the book. It read, “Learn Hindi in 30 days”. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
She shot me an angry look asked, “Waadya laafin at?”
Still laughing, I said, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help noticing the book you’re holding.”
“Waat rya, a twit (idiot)? Waat’s wrong wid it?” She asked.
“Well, nothing actually…it’s good you want to learn Hindi, but it’s completely useless here.”
“First of all, no one speaks Hindi in South India and secondly, if you want to learn the local language here, you need to pick up a book called ‘Speak broken, twisted, raped English!”
She smiled at that. Then, she turned to the guy at the reception and asked, “How long?”
Fiddling with the keyboard, he replied in a monotone, “Just two minutes, maam.”
“Oh sod it, (fuck it) I’ve been waitin’ here for an hour, everything is bloody sixes and sevens here (messed up). Shite (Shit) Man!!”
Then looking at me she said “This place is indeed a shamble (mess)! I neva had to waite for so long for a bloody room”.
She continued, “Gander (look around) maite, and this piece of Shite costs me a monkey (500 pounds).
The moment she said it, the reception guy from behind the desk got up and said “Oh no no maam, no monkey business here maam, we are making the room ready for you, and as I telling you always, 2 minutes maam, wait 2 minutes.”
She snapped back “Oh put a sock in your mouth (shut up)!”
“Sod off!! (Fuck off)!”
Then she looked at me and said, I’m goin’ out for a fag, are ya comin?”
I replied, “Ok.”
She shot a look at the reception guy and said “Call us when it’s ready.”
With that, we stepped out.
Finally, I was got my room. I had been expecting a royal suite, but when I entered the room it was still like any sub-standard hotel room, except that the room was big, the toilet was better and the bed was soft and huge. The sofa was dirty and the AC did work, but all in all, it was by no stretch worth 3,400 for a night.
I freshened up and called for a cup of tea, which took another 30 minutes to make an appearance! Each time I called to inquire about the tea, I got to hear the very irritating Kannada influenced English voice of the reception lady saying “It’s coming, sir”. I begin to wonder how long this tea’s orgasm lasts…it’s been coming for the last 30 minutes! For a moment, I thought I’d tell her this, but then quickly dismissed the idea as I realized that I’d have to spend the next 30 minutes explaining it to her. Finally, the tea arrived. While adding sugar to the tea I noticed ash marks on the spoon. So much for the Royal Suite! I didn’t react to it, though, probably because I had given up on it by now.
I got out of the place at 7:30 finally, for the work I was there for – to meet a friend. A friend, who stays in Bangalore, I might add. Yes. I went to Mysore to meet a friend who stays in Bangalore. In the same locality as do, as a matter of fact. Let me explain…We have a common friend, let’s call him X. This girl is x-girlfriend of X and on the other hand I am very good friends with X. However this girl and I are still on talking terms and kind of like each other but at the same time are worried about what X might feel about it. The girl usually visits Mysore on weekends with her flatmate. So I thought I’d use this opportunity to catch her up in Mysore. So, it was best to have a date outside Bangalore.
Her friend’s family is quite weird and always wants to go to some temple or the other to do some ‘puja’. She didn’t like it a little bit. After all, if you plan a weekend away to a nice exotic place, you don’t really expect to be dragged to temples for rituals. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why she was very happy that I came to her rescue. So that she could escape the madness of her friend’s parents.
We met at a nice little restaurant, had a nice dinner and later took a walk along the well lit Mysore palace. By 10.30PM, her friend’s family who were, by the way, visiting the nearby exhibition (to which she had been asked to come along) came and picked her up.
I went back to the hotel and as it is it was quite early for me to sleep so I thought I’ll hit the bar. I asked one of the attendants if this hotel had a bar. He replied very confidently “Yes Sir, the best in Mysore”
“Great!! Which way is it? Can you take me?”
“Yes sir, please follow me. It’s called ‘Madhushaala’”
“Wow!! Do you serve drinks in those antique bronze glasses with ornaments? Probably some left over of the Mysore palace.”
“What? No sir, we have glass glasses”
Best bar of Mysore was smaller than the local bars in Bangalore. Anyhow, I asked the bartender to give me a large Glendale on rocks. Bartender looked at me for a while and then said “Sorry sir”
I repeated the order.
“Aaaa…. Aaaaa…” He looked towards head waiter and called him “Aye Mangoo baani, begaa baani siraa.”( Mangoo = Boy, Baani = Come. Begaa = Fast/Hurry Up, Siraa = Sir)
The head waiter approached me and politely asked me “Sir? What you want sir?”
“I want a large peg of Glendale on rocks.”
“What’s that sir?”
“It’s a drink… Scotch!!… Kind of single malt Whiskey!!”
“Oh you want whiskey?”
“No. I want a Scotch.”
“Sorry Sir… we don’t have that sir”
“Ok what do you have, Black Dog?
“Jesus Christ!!” I swear.
I looked at his face for a while in utter disbelief. I didn’t know should be angry for his foolishness or should I pity him for his ignorance.
Finally, I saw a bottle of Vat 69. I ordered 2 large pegs and took it back to my room.
The next day I got up early morning and was in the midst of planning a visit to the Chamunda hills with her when I found out that she would be unable to come because her friend’s family wished her presence at some temple near the Kaveri River to do some puja. Why was I not surprised?
So I came back to my room, changed again, tucked into bed and watched the last day’s play of the cricket test match. Later in the afternoon I had lunch and reached the bus stand. Boarded the bus and returned home. So much for a weekend trip and extra expensive room just to catch up with a girl for 2 hours in a whole new different city who by the way lives close to my place in Bangalore. Wasn’t it romantic? I’d say! Oh, sod it!!