Vantage point

Friday, May 16, 2003

I love travelling. Which is why thought I have travelled to some pretty non-happening places in the past few weeks, I am enjoying it. I guess it has something to do with the solitude combined with the motion. Sometimes I read a book, but most of the times, I am thinking. Thinking about anything and everything. When I am alone, and surrounded by strangers, I think my thought process becomes a lot more lucid.

I have many "dream jobs". One of them is to be a travel writer. So if anyone from Lonely Planet is reading this, tell me if you want my resume. :-)

I have to meet a few customers in U.P. So I thought the best place to set base would be good ole Lucknow. I tried getting into a train going from Delhi to Lko, but nahh, it was too crowded for me and my big suitcase. So bravely, I decided to take a bus. The bus journey has to be one of the scariest I've been in. Having travelled on the Mumbai-Pune, Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Agra highway recently, my expectations about what a highway should be had reached the "First World" levels. This journey brought me back to terra firma. Firstly, the bus I was travelling in was a normal State Transport bus (In Pune we call them ST or YashTi). So the bones got a good workout. I sat cramped next to a burly fellow who obviously had a lot of faith in the medicinal qualities of garlic.

Our driver seemed to be a hall of famer from the Monster Trucks. And the highway was so narrow......whoa!

Anyway, the 12 hour journey was anything short of comfortable, but during that journey I thought of the plot of the story I posted earlier today. Have been thinking of a few more alterations as well.

Was goggling something, when I came across this site of two American bikers.

These guys have biked all over the world, as you can see from their website. What caught my eye was the fact that they had been to Maharashtra, and specially to Pune (well, what is Maharashtra without Pune, eh?;-)). This is the page about their Pune days. It is fun to read, especially since they praise my city a lot, and lambast its traffic. Here is an excerpt from the page about the Osho commune people -

Osho is the current moniker of a guru who used to go by the name Rajneesh back when he was operating out of Oregon and driving around in his many Rolls Royces. Remember? He got nabbed on tax evasion and fled the country, back to his native Pune to set up this place. While he�s no longer "in the body" (i.e. dead), the cult is still going strong and seems to attract mostly Europeans now. Lots of French and Germans running around in maroon robes, screwing each other with wild abandon (freedom of sexuality is a big part of the Osho schtick, and, presumably, its draw). After washing off seventeen layers of caked-on road dirt, we went for a sunset stroll. On the way over to the ashram we passed a young woman holding a rose up to her nose and wearing the most bogus beatific expression I�ve ever seen. I can�t recall a time I�ve felt a stronger urge to punch someone in the nose. Others, all clad in maroon, came streaming out of the ashram�s elegant gates, looking similarly brainwashed. We tried to get inside for a peek but this was strictly verboten. How did our Canadian friend get inside if she wasn�t a member? And if we two BikeBrats found these people so transparently phony, what on earth did they think of the likes of us? Here we were, surrounded by people of our own race and backgrounds for the first time in months, yet never had we felt so alien, so other.

Nice writing style. I am gonna read some of their other descriptions.