Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Random notes from trip

Nationalities that friendly Moroccans attributed to moi and MR: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, America, South America, Cambodia, England, France, Spain, Morocco. To be fair, it was MR who confused the hell out of them. I get India, Sri Lanka and sometimes Ethiopia if its someone totally clueless but that's about it. MR, on the other hand, could be at home anywhere between Brazil and Delhi, so no wonder the Moroccans got totally confused seeing us together. Most times, if I weren't around, people would just start talking to her in Arabic. I tried conning a few people that we were really sisters but no one was conned. Anyway, MR's masterplan now is to learn Spanish properly, enrol in the secret service and become Mata Hari.

Language issues: My high school French did not work mostly because I remembered only utterly useless words like pont and quatre-vingt. I think I now know more Arabic than French, thanks to the 23 Urdu words I still remember. For the most part, we had to make do with sign language and MR's Spanish. We survived.

Three most common words shouted at us: (Atleast 222 times a day)
1. Ind(j)ian!
2. Namaste!
3. Shah Rukh Khan!

Closely followed by: Zindagi, Mohabat, Amitabh Bachan.

Three most common songs sung when we were in the vicinity:
1. Ye mera India, I love you India
2. Tujhe dekha tho ye jana sanam
3. Dil to pagal hai, dil deewana

I never thought this day would come but well, I think I am starting to look at Bollywood in a completely different light now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back in wet, wet London

Last day was spent in Volubilis which for some reason has the same exact weather. These Romans!

So anyway, the coast was pretty, the mountains spectacular, and the desert out of the world. Cities were okay. Details whenever I get around to it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

In Marrakech

Flight lands after crazy turbulence. Red city alright. And what is that plane there? Wiener Philarmonic? They have their own jet with all pictures of instruments and stuff? Obviously I was a little slow after all that turbulence and plus give me a break okay? I have never seen an Austrian Air jet. Interesting. I pointed the jet out to fellow passenger.

"Did you see that?"


"The Vienna Philarmonic? They have their own jet"


"Maybe they are performing"

"Possible. You know what? The biggest night club in Africa is in Marrakech. So it is possible, you know"

I looked around. No, no Falstaff type creatures around. Good. I do not have to be a witness for the prosecution.

PS: I did it! All Arabic keyboard. This is good!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Off to practice my French

No, not in Camus land. The one next to it, across from the Rock (which is also a Pillar) that may tumble as its only made of clay. Yes, I am going to climb the Giant who does not shrug. (He cannot afford to.) And spend time in the desert. So cool, no? Full excitement happening.

Au revoir! Abientot!

PS: Must mention that this also happens to be the most unplanned trip I have ever taken in my entire life. So if you read about the two women who disappeared in the desert never to be seen again, please think of moi. And send Bill a Congratulations message.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jonathan Livingston Penguin!

Here. All that journey only to suffer discrimination. I demand affirmative action - jobless people please start a petition.

PS: Bill, Anoop, no jokes about Linus. Please.

PPS: Do you think it really wants to go hike up Machu Picchu?

Monday, May 07, 2007


Once in a while, Bill redeems himself. Maybe I should make more posts like this one. Maybe it's the rain. First day of rain in London after the dry spell which went on for weeks. (Hey Shoefy, are you back? Are you the one causing all this rain now?) Anyway, the point is there's nothing like coming back home cold and wet after a jog in the park to find the bestest Parsi omelette ever made (outside Bombay, ofcourse) waiting for you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Chotu and Motu go to Kenilworth

Chronologically, Chotu and Motu climbing the wrong mountain should come before this but I am too lazy to type that up right now.

Way back from Snowdonia to London. Crossing Birmingham.

C: You don't want to stop at Birmingham, do you?

M: Why would I want to stop at Birmingham?

C: I don't know. Its a city.

M: Thank you. I would never have known otherwise.

C: No, no, I meant its a historical city and all.

M: Its historical?

C: You know East India Company type history.

M: Oh, that way. So you want to see the city now?

C: Well, it sort of reminds of Pittsburgh

M: With good reason. So you are now Pitt-sick?

C: No, of course not. Yeah okay, a little. Its a not a bad town.

M: It is okay to like it, you know. You spent a good part of five years there.

C: True. But how do you admit to people that you like Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh, for God's sake!

M: Well, its not that bad. I mean, its not like you were in love with the downtown or anything. Yes, you like Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. Most people who have been there would see the point. Those are beautiful neighborhoods.

C: That's true. Especially Squirrel Hill.

M: Of course

C: What ofcourse?

M: Nothing

C: You think there's a Squirrel Hill type locality in Birmingham?

M: I doubt it.

C: How do we find out?

M: Look for signs which say "The highest SAT (or whatever the equivalent is) scores in the county"?

C: Very funny

M: I am serious

C: The English don't put up signs which say stuff like that

M: But it isn't really the English you are looking for, are you? So we will look for kosher stores, shall we, Mr Eli Feynman? Or why don't you look for men reading the Torah walking around?

C: Oh, come on

M: Hey, did you see that?

C: Ofcourse I did. I am the navigator, I see all signs.

M: And?

C: You think we should go see the castle?

M: Yes. But you know what this reminds me of?

C: Yes.


Circa 2003. One of Chotu's first trips to Chicagoland. Motu had just moved to Chicago and in true American tradition, bought a car. Chotu, Motu get up in the morning and decide to go see the Mississippi. Galena, IL. That's the place to go apparently. Some Lincoln and Ulysses (Grant, not The Ulysses) connection too. So they are whizzing through rural Illinois when suddenly:

C: Did you see that sign?

M: Yes, I did.

C: But its in NY, right?

M: That's what I always thought. NY or in New England. Woodstock in rural IL? C'mon.

C: Dude, this map here says there's a RR museum there.

M: You aren't serious?

C: It says so here.

M: You think we were wrong? Anyway, it can't be better than the museum in Cleveland.

C: That's not the point.

M: I know

C: Should we take a detour?

Motu takes the next exit. Seventeen miles later, they find themselves in Woodstock, IL. A large square where there's some sort of market happening. Chotu Motu park and get out. All eyes on them. All-white town. Uh-huh. After going around the square a couple of times and seeing no museum or signs, Chotu Motu decide to ask somebody.

"The museum? That building, right there. You came all the way to see this museum?"

"We were passing by and saw signs for the Rock & Roll museum and figured might as well see it"

The guy nearly dies laughing.

"I reckon you are atleast a 1000 miles off your museum. This is a RailRoad museum. The Chicago Union - Galena railroad, the first major railway in the States that connects to the Mississippi"


[End Flashback]

Yeah yeah, Chotu and Motu swore that they would tell no one, yes, no one about this ever, but you know, in my old age, I am allowed to change my mind.

M: But this is England

C: Yes, here they don't reuse names of places

M: Are you sure?

C: I think so

M: How far?

C: Just 20 miles. Not too bad really.

M: Hmm...we should do it you think?

C: You decide

M: This is some deja vu man.

C: Yeah

So anyway, twenty or so miles later, Chotu Motu found themselves in Sir Scott's Kenilworth Castle. Possibly the most imposing of all (ruined) sandstone castles I have ever seen but as expected, too many people around. Some junta in funny costumes playing Earl of Leicester and Queen Elizabeth. The idea apparently is to teach kids history. Seemed to work from what I could see, so I won't complain too much. Some random pictures before you go:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Scenes from a Marriage: Early morning tiff

"Hey stay-at-home"


"Where is my lunch?"

"Your lunch? In the fridge, I suppose"

"You suppose? It should be in my bag, all packed"

"Since we do not have a house-elf, I believe you should be packing lunch and putting it in your bag"

"Well, my mom always packs lunch for my dad"

"So you are going to pack lunch for me from next week? Cool"

"Ha ha, very funny. That's what stay-at-homes do. If you stay at home, you pack my lunch. Period"


"Not really. Ideally, you are supposed to wake up at 6 and make idlis and sambar for breakfast in addition to lunch."

"Ah, I see"

"And what do you do instead? Sleep until 10 every morning"

"You are just jealous"

"Besides the point. You have to be a little useful atleast. Run along and pack lunch now"

"Your fault. You married all academic fellow. Unless you want a divorce now, you are stuck"

"So I should get a divorce?"

"Not if you get used to the idea that I am never going to make any money, or do anything you consider useful"

"You will make money one day, I know. You are just a long term investment. You will become all professor and we will live in a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean"

"We will what? If you want to delude yourself, go ahead. In our reality biased world though, professors do not live overlooking the ocean"

"Ofcourse they do. Here, look at these pictures"

"He just shot some random pictures from somewhere"

"I don't think so"

"Then he is not a real professor. What kind of professor lives in a place like that?"

"The real kind"

"There has to be an explanation"

"Yeah, next you will be telling me he works for the Hong Kong mafia"

"Don't be silly. Bongs don't do mafia. Too much work that"


"Wait, I know! That's what it is!"


"He has a partner with a real job..err..a job that pays"

"Yeah right"

"Of course. How else can you explain this? It all makes sense now. We Bongs know who to marry"


"We are good, I say. When are you getting a flat by the Thames again?"

PS: TR, don't mean to pick on you or anything, but seriously, there is no one else I can blame for this.