Monday, February 16, 2009

Looking for dead people in snowy Paris (Paris Part 2)

Morning in Paris. Chotu steps out of shower all set to conquer whatever it is that he wants to conquer. Motu is playing with remote.

"Its going to snow today"

"It doesn't snow in Paris"

"You said that of London the day before it snowed"

"How do you know its going to snow today?"

"There's thing called TV. A chap inside it tells you about weather forecast"

"You are watching TV nowadays?"

"Yeah, I am beginning to get the hang of it"

"Yeah? Do they have English channels?"

"BBC World but its all boring. I also got sick of the French channels after a while. So not I am watching DW TV"

"DW TV told you it will snow in Paris today?"


"In German?"

"What language do they speak in DW TV?"

"Whatever. Lets go"

"You think I got it wrong?"

"I did not say anything of the sort"

"You think I can't understand German?"

"I know you can't"

"Well, how about this? Right now, they have this programme called Quadriga which is like this debate. They are debating the Vatican and the holocaust denier priest controversy"

"You are making that up"

"You watch it while I get ready and tell me if I am wrong. Make sure you use all that two semesters of German you supposedly learnt"

"Why are trying to pick a fight early in the morning?"

"Me picking a fight? Yeah, my fault trying to keep you informed about the weather. Won't do that anymore"

Chotu Motu were walking up and down back streets of Montmartre (after visiting three Boulangeries) when the flurries started coming down. Chotu ignored the little white thingies and kept walking.

"Hey, look, windmill"

"Moulin, yes"

"Are you now trying to prove that you know as much French as I do German?"

"Do you have an umbrella?"

"I am a Londoner. What did you expect?"

So we put up the umbrella and walked for another half hour in the snow (while not talking about it) until we found another cosy bakery to ride out the snow in. We bought another load of exotic French things and polished them off while watching the (unspeakable) snow fall all around us.

"What a lovely Parisian afternoon!"

Chotu choked on his coffee.

"Chill. Just for effect"

"What next? Oh, what a romantic city!"

"Ask me same time next week and I will say it and mean it" [1]

"Of course. Dude, there's some big cemetery five minutes from here. You think we should go?"

"Who is there?"

"Its Paris na? Bunch of people must be there"

"Like who?"

"I don't know. Sartre. Proust. Degas. Picasso. Camus. Truffaut. Godard"

"I don't think he is dead"

"Oh ok. But they must be all buried here only"

"Hey, isn't Wilde buried in Paris?"

"Along with certain other rock stars, yes"

"Lets go then. We can go and randomly find graves in the snow. What fun!"

"Maybe they will be totally covered by the snow and we have to dig them out. Cool"

"I know. Can you think of anything more interesting to do on a snowy Parisian afternoon?"

"Strange as it may see, no"

So thats the story of how Chotu Motu found themselves at the Cimetière de Montmartre on the one day of the year it snows in Paris. They were the only ones in the cemetery as obviously, Parisians seemed to have other interesting things to do. The guard at the gate looked strangely at Chotu and Motu before giving them a tattered map.

"Dude, wrong graveyard"


"Apparently most people are buried in this other cemetery"

"That Pantheon thingy? That I thought was meant for men of the revolution types"

"No, some other place. Pere-Lachiase Cemetery. This has only a few"

"Hello? This sign says there are more than a million people buried here"

"But not many we know"

"Oh. So now we are claiming to know these people"

"Thats there. Then how does it matter whose grave it is? Lets go around and find a few"

"Exactly. There's so many of them that we may know some of them"

"Truffaut. He is here"

"Oh good. Lets go find his grave. Then we can even give SB some story about how we took all pain and came here in the snow to see his grave"

"Does she even like him?"

"Does it matter?"

"I guess not"

"At this point, since that's the only person we know, lets go find the damn thing"

No, we didn't find it despite the map. But we did spend an hour walking up and down other graves.

We ended up liking this idea of visiting random dead people so much that the next day, we ended up at Pere Lachaise cemetery. Where Chotu claimed that we didn't need a map as he had it all memorised. Turned out to be a tragedy as after an hour, he had to go back out and buy a map. Not only that, we had to run all the way from Paris Nord metro teminal through French immigration, UK immigration, and security to make the train. But no worries. Getting lost in a cemetery has its advantages. In addition to rock stars, we found a few interesting graves - Chopin where a group of Polish school kids had a full orchestra going, some PLO types, and just as we were about to leave, this.

[1] So what if its 20 F and one is totally jetlagged? Its still so romantic to see the sun come up over the lake. Even if the lake is barely visible. No silly French city is going to beat my Hog-butcher.


??! said...

The French immigration at du Nord are such idiots. They once insisted I scan the pizza (in its box) that I was carrying to eat on the train back. I'm still not sure where they imagined I could have stuffed anything dangerous in that thin crust.

Fëanor said...

The Tatas are toadies of the Chabots? Why are they at their feet? Huh? Huh?

??! said...

Thanks for the comment - made me look at the snap closely again. And thus made me notice the corny header on the three memorials. 'Good thoughts, good words, good deeds'? So each one of them embodies one aspect? Please!

...although you could argue that it's true in JRD's case.

Space Bar said...

Truffaut is pleasant. Now if you'd found Bresson somewhere...

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john kitchen said...

the pictures are fabulous... wish i could be there too...

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