Pondicherry • Ahmadabad • Pune • Jammu • Bhopal • Patna • Allahabad • Lucknow • Kanpur • Varanasi
06.12.2015 • International/Tour • Issue: 335/78/2015
— Shabab Khan
“. . . Golden Triangle —Delhi, Jaipur and Agra was the places I decided to go with family…”
On our way to Bangkok, Java Island, Koala we were in Delhi, and when we got reservation in Flights, Hotel we have been told that it would be after 3 days.
So gladly, I decided to show these Dillies pride to wife and specially, Grazie— my daughter. It was one of my some two or three hundredth visit to the capital while Shy was to have first hand experience. And Graze kinda “Why… What… How… What if… if not then what… but Dad why not?” must feel some first hand experience like to wondering, “why this huge fort had been painted red, this could be much better in Marble like off white color.” I was wondering how smart this girl is, a white fort. Well, let me tell you that the Grazie’s question shocked a foreigner couple Mark and girl friend Sarah from Venice, Italy. We talked a bit and Grazie’s super logical questions made this couple to be with us for rest of our tour in India.
And, because I am Grazie’s baap I thought differently and, so started taking everything from foreigner point of view, and immediately every small thing became important. It was overwhelming. It was as simple and as strict as that one does not know a shit about Zero and he was being expected to simplify the mystery of Black holes by using a mathematical formula of life, death and salvation.
I had decided to make all of them familiar with this jammed, cramped, fuming, hustling, bustling, abusing, cacophonous, and city of remarkable per-capita-car. Yup, everybody, in Delhi seems to have a Land Rover, Renault, Jaguar, Honda… Yet, everybody needs bus services too, which makes the Delhi roads as if India is now mobilized.
I was used to these movements of war rigs taking war boys to the front, a slightest aggression may lead to catastrophic event which has been given a fancy name, the Road Rage. A minor touch of your car to another will makes you hear, “abé andha hai kya.” Any resistance from your side can make your head holed by a slug. So, I keep my handgun on deck while driving, not to make holes in head but to save my head. On roads move an insane mob, nobody wants to be challenged else whole frustration will be thrown out all over a body of flesh and bones.
One thing Delhi did provide, however, was a chance to witness co-Indians in their church, worshipping their Gods. You know how important it is, we just can not do a thing without kissing some god's ass. But here, the religion I am talking about is the game of cricket. Without exaggeration, the slightest mention of cricket would animate the most disinterested man to the point of eruption as he exploded with love for Sachin, Dhoni or the new superman Virat Kohli, this was happened to us as it was IPL season, our driver showed us the picture of him with one of the worlds cricketers that we were supposed to be excited about after his two appearances for South Africa a few years ago. I could understand the madness, but Mark and Sarah couldn’t cope with this viral explosion of Cricketiest euphoria, their moles ridden faces ware in confusion, not able to decide whether they should be accompanied by us, which they did.
I told them that, “No matter the situation, cricket was always an ice-breaker that led to getting a better deal from any one of several vendors who are looking to rip off most foreign and domestic tourists, which meant we still got ripped off, but not for as much.“ Mark was thankful.
I told him that even Aids can be healed in this playgrounds, just ensure the doze of cricket to patient …he will not die until the match is on.
Our zeal for cricket is renowned worldwide, but having witnessed it first hand I can honestly say that I have never seen such burning passion for anything in our business trips across the globe so far – it is over-bearing and almost cult like. In a strange way, the game of cricket has in some way helped avoid greater turbulence and trouble in a country of such differing wealth and religion. As we know the history of India’s Hindu’s, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians, and what surprised us most is that they all seem to have lived far more harmoniously throughout history than you would expect a nation of such diversity to have lived together. I would dare say that things have got heated in the past, and just as the were at there most incendiary and ready to enflame, someone hit a six and distracted them all from the potential kerfuffle.
A night as a spectator at an IPL game is no better example of this. We went to watch Delhi Daredevils take on the Kolkata Knight Riders one steamy evening and got an experience that I will never forget.
The game itself was a reasonably meaningless group game early on in the competition but you would never have guessed by the fanatic marching and chanting on the streets as hordes of people rushed to the entrance waving flags, wearing face paint and using the most obscure objects as musical instruments.
Eventually we found our way to our seats in the two-tiered stadium, deciding bravely to sit on the lower tier where the crowd was at its loudest and most vociferous but also sensibly far enough back to watch said crowd rather than be part of it.
The game was yet to start but this didn’t deter the Delhi crowd from cheering for anything and everything. A theme that would continue into the night to the point that it was impossible to tell which team they were cheering for.
Someone hits a boundary and they all stand up and cheer. Next ball he gets clean bowled and again they stand up and cheer to a man. At the end of an over the cheerleaders perform their routine to the latest aberration from Pitbull and the crowd go crazy. A man in the front row orders an ice-cream from the vendor passing by and everyone applauds. Once again this is all without exaggeration, and more bizarrely without alcohol. Instead it seems they are just drunk on cricket – which to even the most avid fan seems absurd.
Quite possibly the highlight of the entire trip, a night at an IPL game in Delhi is an incredible experience, although also hotter than a Tandoori oven. Here we are in Delhi Daredevil T-Shirts seamlessly fitting in with the locals… Below are some videos from the night. The first is the crowd cheering manically before anything has even happened and the second is the Delhi fans going bonkers even though one of their batsman is out!?
Not that you get to watch much cricket. We missed the first two wickets watching Indian crickets version of the Mexican Wave, which is far less organised and greeted with significantly more aggression. Essentially, the blokes in the front couple of rows begin to get overexcited and decide they need to stand up to let the tension out. This obscures the view of the rows behind, who then proceed to make their objections known in the form of verbal abuse, lots of hand waving and a barrage of empty coke bottles and chip packets. Realising that their protests are falling on deaf ears they then also stand up and the whole process begins again with the next bank of rows. This continues until virtually the whole stand is upstanding and shouting at each other until suddenly the front row tires from the excitement and sits back down. The whole stand follows in a wave that culminates in everyone applauding each other for figuring out how to sit down. This lasts for at most a couple of balls until someone hits a six and then everyone stands up again. This endless cycle continues for four hours in a perfect example of Indian inefficiency.
“. . . All of the sudden, the whole crowd shifted its attention from ground to gigantic LED Screens, Sarah lurched towards me and asked me, if Sachin has arrived in stadium …and pointed her finger toward screen I followed her eyes, but before I could utter word, Grazie told Sarah that he is Shah Rukh Khan with ABRam, and he is the owner of Kolkata Knight Rider Team.
The cricket was a perfect end to our stay in Delhi and the next day we headed for the city of Jaipur, known as the Pink City, after the Rajasthan king decided to paint all of the buildings within the city walls pink to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales way back when. While the pink is more of an orange these days, it still makes for a remarkable sight as you drive through the inner city and stop to observe some of the palaces. One of these stops caused particular consternation on my part as for the first, but not last time, in India some f***wit creeps up behind you, throws a bag on the floor and starts playing a tune on his shitty recorder, at which point a great, big, soil yourself, King Cobra rears its terrifying head. Now for most people this may cause a fright, but for a man with a phobia of snakes this is a truly harrowing experience. And the cheeky git then has the audacity to ask for some money for his unwanted services. This Madari approaches defenceless Sarah and before we could surmise what is gonna be happened, she screamed like the poor actress of a Hollywood horror flick. Madari had coiled his cobra around the neck of Sarah. We were laughing but Mark doesn’t want to lose his pretty girl. No, he didn’t remove the snake but grabbed the neck Needless to say he went hungry that morning.
(Author is an Export Entrepryhveneur, Journalist, and Social Activist)