Saturday, February 24, 2007

The story of the sacred ash

It was exactly 7 days ago that I was forcibly pulled out of my slumber at 11 in the morning by a mobile call. The caller said I had to start to the US the same night. All the airliners thought otherwise and I started two days later. What ensued were yawns. A lot of them – throughout the 30 hour journey: two long 10-hour flights with 4 hours of waiting time between them, and a flight for 3 hours, and then a taxi for an hour. To say that I was a dead-meat was an understatement. Infact, that was the word the non-stop chatter Pakistani cab driver used to describe my state. His other words of wisdom I recollect were “never listen to Indian/Pakistani parents”, “Punjabi and South Indian girls are beautiful” etc.

I’m positive I heard that right.

It was a little disturbing thought that I myself had to book the hotel room, find cabs at airport, check-in and find something to eat day-in and day-out etc in a country that I’m visiting the first time, but knowing the language (in and out) was a real morale booster.

The United States is exactly what I see in the movies. But what no one told me (or what I didn’t inquire properly) was that if you are all alone, there is absolutely nothing you can do without a car. Irrespective of where you stay, the next restaurant, or the pizzeria, or the burger king, the Wal-mart, the Pakistani owned Indian store, or the office, is miles away. With establishments spread across a very wide area, there is nothing public transport can accomplish. Taxis are not a daily option, since you have to pay a BOMB. I did try walking, but I quickly realized I was the only one on the roads and the only other people who walk are African Americans. Some rogues in a passing car also shouted "Immigrant" something at me. In short, if you are in the US, you need a car. Nothing else would come close. If anyone who’s reading this is expecting a trip to the US, get yourself an International Drivers Permit. Or be prepared to get screwed. You don't really have to know driving coz all the cars are Automatic Transmission. Driving here is a joke for Indians.

As for me, I didn’t have an International Drivers Permit. But thanks to our British cousins who invaded our country, my Indian driving license was in English and that worked in the state I visited. I rented a brand new (ok, its done 7000 miles) Automatic Chevy Cobalt. I’ve promised myself a new brand of car or SUV every fortnight. This is dream country. There are fast cars. There are big, wide roads. Fuel is cheaper than in India. They give you all sorts of cars for rental. And places are REALLY far apart. Beat the combination!

It’s time I tell the story of the sacred ash. Those who would’ve read my previous post would know my level of belief in a supreme deity. But thanks to my pious background, I have small paper packs of sacred ash in my entire luggage – including the laptop. And when I opened my laptop at a security gate in my office this fine morning, one little pack fell off. A camera stocked in some corner recorded it. A guy sitting behind a monitor got something to tell his boss after - I don’t know - may-be years. When the security guy came and told me something ‘suspicious’ fell off my laptop and it needs a little explanation, I thought it was straight from the movies. But I did go and see the pack containing God’s sacred ash and explained about India, Indians, temples, South-Indian temples, and sacred ashes.

And all of us had a good laugh.

14 Comments:

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 5:20:00 PM, Blogger Arunkumar said...

hey, endha oorla irukke? i am in cleveland, ohio
how long is ur trip?

mail me (findarun@gmail.com) ur number da. we can talk/catch up if u r around this place :)

 
At Sunday, February 25, 2007 7:26:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

Not so far yet not so close. :) I'm in CT...

 
At Sunday, February 25, 2007 9:08:00 PM, Blogger Jam said...

Dei Govar,

This is how I find out that you are in the US of A. Where exactly are you and how long are you going to be there?

If you can keep a secret, mail me at jairam.mohan@bankofamerica.com and I ll tell you.

Cheers........Jam

 
At Monday, February 26, 2007 9:26:00 AM, Anonymous Ajith said...

vanakkam govar,
nice to hear that you are in CT. have fun...drop in a mail sometime..i was in CT and could guide you to a few places....cheers

 
At Monday, February 26, 2007 4:30:00 PM, Blogger Shishir said...

...and I thought I'd call you sometime soon and share a "news"! So how long is your trip? Do update your blog now and then, was fun reading this post! Njoy the trip dude...

Drop in a line sometime at heyshishir@gmail.com!

 
At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 5:45:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Ajith and Shishir... check your mails. :)

 
At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:11:00 AM, Blogger Jammy said...

Hey Govar, don't feel about your journey. I had a longer flight with about 10 hours of break in 2 transits (both inclusive). You are atleast in a better place. From what i hear CT brims with desi populace.

 
At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:33:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Aaah. Satisfcation. Someone has suffered more than me. :-P

Thats what even I hear. :) I find a lot of Indian restaurants et al, but not many desis per se... or this maybe coz I'm in a very small corner of the state.

 
At Thursday, March 01, 2007 12:36:00 PM, Anonymous spark said...

enjoy your stay.

 
At Friday, March 02, 2007 3:35:00 PM, Anonymous Mahesh said...

Machi, a bit late reading this update of urs. have fun da. And, remember this? http://pixelfury.blogspot.com
It's time to update it :-)

 
At Saturday, March 03, 2007 4:50:00 AM, Blogger Vimal said...

Cool! I get to know two things - u are in US and Jam is in Bank of America :)

Anyways,have a good time there.

 
At Saturday, March 03, 2007 5:28:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Danks Arun Mahesh and Vimal. :)

 
At Sunday, March 04, 2007 11:43:00 PM, Blogger Divya said...

I am surprised you got away just with explanation of the sacred ash..good for you! Expected a sample being sent to some lab to get it tested...
Anyway, have a nice trip.

 
At Monday, March 05, 2007 12:03:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Am an employee there... so they just wanted to clarify what it was. If it was that bad, I would've ate that to prove there's nothiing wrrong. :-P

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home