11 Feb, 2011
16:30hrs: Its 28’c – not really pleasant – and we’re headed to one of India oldest & busiest railway stations: Howrah. Oh, by the way, I’m in Kolkata and Pranab Mukherjee & Rahul Gandhi are all over the place. While my colleagues enjoyed their tea with some local biscuits (which in total cost Rs.5 for 2 persons), I had my eyes elsewhere: on gol gappe (pani puri) & momos selling on the local thelas. Sometimes I appreciate the clarity I possess: I denied tea because I doubted its quality, but I was willing to risk my life for pani puri – as if it was prepared using Aquafina. As we listen to our taxi driver share his political views, we’ve passed Rajarhat (where real estate is booming) & Salt Lake City (where my friends Panda & Sanjay work). Our driver just mentioned that his ‘fabharit leadar‘ (favorite leader) is Narendra Modi and he’s impressed with his work and the ‘Golden Gujarat’ campaign. His take on the nation: ‘Yeh bahut difficult India hai‘.
19:03 hrs: Just realized the importance of 3 minutes and how far I can run when I have been slowed down. The story starts with some useless waiting at Park Street for a cab, after which we took a local bus over Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) which actually moved faster than other cars. Then we just ran the entire width of Howrah station from platform 1 to 23 (which happens to be on the other half of the station), only to find the guard, ironically, waving the green flag at us and the train showing its @$$.
21:30 hrs: After hours of driving (& waiting in hope) we finally reached Sher-e-Punjab, a notable dhaba on the road to Mumbai (which is still 1900 kms away). The menu card was exemplar for creativity; receipe groups were named like: Bakre Ke Nakhre (Mutton), Sleeping in the night/Morning is the tight (curd/raitas), Continue reading Little sisters and the chief