09 August 2009
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The middle province.
Posted By bharath
As our intrepid readers left us last, they found us entering Madhya Pradesh with the vigor of Louis and Clark as they proceeded to reach the western edge of the new world. We, of course, have more to report than the mundane grizzly bear or Native American though it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say we saw at least a million Indians on the route as we continued our perilous journey.
We decided to continue to hoodwink our crew into believing we knew what we were doing by stopping at quaint little villages along the way and pretending to be interested in local culture, which for Radhika involved rushing to the nearest tea shop. She would then try to convince me that the said tea stall was clean and perfectly safe; I would then proceed to point out how the said tea stall had diversified into a roaring side business of breeding flies. It is after all a recession and judging by the rest of the village they had followed suit.
As we met the tea stall owner, I realized the secret to his success was customer service. Who would have thought good marketing was all it took to convince me to share my cup of tea, the table, chair and parts of my face with flies. Madhya Pradesh fascinated me the very first time I entered it, I liked the people who were always polite to me and this time around was no different. I loved the green landscape, the men and women working in the fields …Sorry no images to illustrate my point-We were too busy not tweeting, blogging etc.We needed to keep the camera crew in suspense.
Driving through Baranpur, I was surprised to see Radhika jump out of the car and dash off in the opposite direction. Following suit, I pursued to find her running behind an old man in a Gandhi cap. I’m sure everyone’s read Radhika’s post about her discovering the Unani Medicine Man, but what she failed to mention was the following conversation.
Wrapping up our work, as we headed back to car Radhika said “Weird- Did you know that two guys on a bike stopped and asked ‘do you have a problem? To which she apparently replied “Do YOU have a problem?”
I went on to explain to Radhika that she must have been the only woman in the history of Baranpur to attempt to beat the land speed record for no express purpose other than to catch up to an old man wearing a Gandhi cap and the question was purely out of concern.
I’ll put down the misunderstanding to cultural differences.
Reading up about Indore we were lead to believe that it was, and I quote “mini-Bombay”. Let me be the first one to tell you -Don’t believe everything you read. We entered Indore with high expectations and our initial impressions were that it seemed quite progressive. We drove on taking in the sights of the city. Armed with information we went about hiring an auto rickshaw to guide us through the city. He of course took one look at us and instantly insisted we pay him upfront. I was indignant until I looked into the mirror.
We set off following as we dodged and weaved through what we thought were narrow roads, until the roads proceeded to become smaller in dimension with every turn till memories of Varanasi came flooding back (read Varanasi or Bust). How we managed to get through is still a mystery to me, but before the organizers start calling about the condition of the car I shall assure them the car is in perfect condition provided we ever get around to washing it. Did I mention the auto rickshaw driver, a very pleasant fellow, then convinced us that he had to detour through the gully and therefore required an extra Rs20….. Welcome to Indore.
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Being best friends with Bharath has been my biggest challenge to date. Constantly arguing about most topics under the sun and having diametrically opposite perspectives to life makes us such good friends.
Having met at photography school, our shared passion for travel, culture, music, books and art made us drive off to different places on photography ‘assignments’. 5 years down post-grad school we still make spontaneous trips to feed our wanderlust.