Friday, July 28, 2006
L and I just about escaped being kidnapped in Dharamshala. Technically I should write about this here but that will only pay tribute to my pompous assumption that I am this big succumbing to wanderlust every second kinda person. Which I would be if I didn't need to satisfy an attendance requirement that would give me a hall ticket to write an exam , after a set of which I will get a paper with a stamp on it that will qualify me to further my passions in this world . Also maybe I should delete wanderlust and start another one called feminist angst to filter this one of it
Anyhow, so L and I go to Dharamshala. I am the bookish knowledge expert because usually when I have nothing better to do I read travel books and dream. I did not however with my knowledge of even the Tibetan doctor's residence know that there are people in unlikely places who we will have to learn to watch out for.
Kashmiri man will be called Faisal though now I think that was his brother's name.
He spotted L and me outside his shop and said come in.
F: Not for business purpose, come have a look, see what you like...
So in we go looking at a more embellished version of Kashmiri shops that are all over Com Street. Some one tells me how do they make money? I mean, except for the gullible foreigners who buy things from 'exotic ' India..?
I don't know HOW but it ended up in him offering us to take us to Kashmir and us, silly, excited, AGREEING.
He offered us a good price, a ridiculously cheap price and an overnight journey on a Sumo from Dharamshala to Srinagar and accommodation on a houseboat...
Now Y , cynical , untrusting bitch begins to suspect something wrong.
But of course she is still tooooooooooo eager to go to Kashmir. ( Two days after that major October earthquake).
Then we find ourselves in this dingy little room in a narrow lane looking at pictures of the Dal Lake . L goes on about how her aunt , a journalist has shown her all these pics before.
Faisal shows us pictures of himself at various locations with girlfriends from different countries.
'At that time she was my girlfriend'.
(Ten years ago he may have been hot)
By now the cynic explodes.
He tells L: You seem like a very trustable person. It’s your eyes.
This was in acknowledgement of Y's cold , indifferent , bordering on rude behaviour.
He launches a new strategy. A French woman , he said will be coming too. One that he knows well and is friendly.
A man in the meanwhile brings a tray with three tea glasses. True Hindi movie style , he takes the small one , and we are handed tall glasses. This , he explains is Kashmiri tea. Some yellow thing whose taste I can't remember for reasons that will be explained later.
I wanted to be out of this dingy little room soon and be in the all pervading sunlight
He said we could talk to the French woman
L is assigned the task. French woman speaks worse French than me. And sounds more Indian than me.
We left , L gave her number and we agreed to meet for dinner before pushing off at night to paradise on earth
a) Just had an earthquake
b) Was a 24/7 59 year war zone
( I just calculated 59 years don't call me unpatriotic)
The plan was to avoid him for the rest of the day but Dharamshala is a small town. By the end of one day we knew many many many people and they knew we were south Indian women from Bangalore blah blah.
But yeah before all that I started feeling incredibly dizzy. I knew that either
a) There was something in the tea
b) I was too influenced by Hindi movies
But since I survived I thought it'll probably be
c) By now my body is immune to intoxicants.
Yeah so later , that is for the rest of the week we SOMEHOW avoided the Kashmiri man who eventually got the point.
Yeah KLPD for you'll , we didn't end up in a harem in Saudi Arabia.
Anyhow that wasn't all. There was another guy from Arunachal Pradesh who was convinced we had run away from home and more stories later.