The AP Chronicles

I was reading this post earlier today and got to thinking of my own (solitary) experience of living away from home. Sometimes I really can’t believe I spent almost 2 years there...

After just under a year of working with my first company, I got an opportunity to work with a fairly well-established Pharma OTC company, but the posting was in Vijaywada, HQ of Krishna (a district located on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh).
While I quite liked the setup of my first company not to mention the job itself, I wasn't really rolling in the dough, so I took the new job. The thought of moving out of home, living and working in an alien city was quite intimidating and continued up until the time I boarded my train to Vijaywada from VT station.

The folks had come to see me off and I remember feeling distinctly out of sorts as the train started to pull out of the station. As I numbly waved my goodbyes to them, I had half a mind to just jump off and tell Dad that this was a huge mistake and I didn’t really wanna be away from home. As their shapes started to blur with the distance I lit up a smoke and drew deeply. Gave myself a mental pep talk - "Listen... you're almost 24... There’s tons of people who've left their homes at far far younger ages, traveled greater distances than you for education... work.... This is an experience. You're getting to see a different part of the country... Think of this as an Adventure!!"
And that last line, dear reader, kept me going for the 20 or so months that I was there...

My flat was located kinda on the outskirts of the city. It was a 1 BHK affair... some 600 feet or so. HUGE by Bombay standards and I used to pay a rent of Rs. 1000 (!!). OK let me explain coz there was a tradeoff... One, the location as I've mentioned meant lowish rents anyway. Second and most importantly, I was told I could be shifted to any empty flat as and when the current flat I was currently in, got sold off. Since I really didn’t have much junk of my own and was on the road for like 20 days a month, I figured the deal was a good one and took it.
*Course the deal came back to bite me in the a$$ shortly...

Summers were a bitch in AP. Temperatures used to routinely hit 45 degrees. And when on the odd occasion, the mercury would touch 48, then the locals would go, "Oh today it’s really hot." (?!?!) Never have I so craved the humid heat of Bombay more.
Sometime though, it'd get a little scary. I remember touring a place called Bhadrachalam in the peak of summer in '03. The temperature was a skin melting 51 degrees! I was so dehydrated before my meeting with the local distributor, I decided to stand in the shade of a nearby 'Cool Drinks' stand and have a Goli Soda (btw this is one of things I sorely miss about small town India) to cool off. As I'm replenishing my body with the fluids it so desperately needed, I saw this slightly older chap walking by and after a few feet of passing the shop, dude just collapsed! Several bystanders rushed to guy and carried him off the road into the shade. By then my sales guy called me in to meet the distributor. About an hour later, we got done and stoked by my previous Goli soda, I decided to have one more. The crowd that had gathered before had gone by now, but I asked the vendor if Fainting Dude was ok. He muttered something back, which my colleague turned to me and quietly translated, "Saar, he has expired..."
I decided then that two summers were quite enough for me in this place.

*Shortly after this trip I came back into Vijaywada. It had been a tiring train journey. I had been on the road for about 17 days at a stretch and when I got off the station, I'd made up my mind not to haggle with the rick guy about the usual overcharging they'd do. I just wanted to get home. But no motor ricks so I had to get into one of those cycle ricks which I hate coz I'm a big built guy and I can’t stand the thought of someone peddling my fat ass for a good 5 kilometers. But no choice and at that point I didn’t really care so sat in and headed home. Reach my building and find the elevator is out of order, so I trudge up 3 flights of stairs. I tried to open my door but it wouldn’t open. I hear someone coming up the stairs and its my neighbor who says my stuff has been shifted to another flat in a different building of the complex! So I go to the office and collect the keys to my new flat which is located in the 'A' Wing on... wait for it... the 7th futhermucking floor! So yet again its WALK WALK WALK up 7 flights of stairs!
That was NOT a nice day... no sirree.

I wish there was enthralling stuff to write about my time in AP but being located in Vijaywada meant that the only "exciting" things to do was going for weddings in my distributors' or team members' families (immediate or extended), or some puja associated with Diwali or Pongal or somesuch.
But the standout memories of the entire AP experience were:-
- While traveling upcountry in an area with heavy Naxal presence, our bus was pulled over and a thorough search was carried out of every passenger and their luggage for grenades and firearms.
- Visiting the beached submarine, INS Kursura, at Vishakapatnam's Ramakrishna beach. I now have major respect for the (small built) dudes who'd spend weeks under the waves in these metal tubes. Must've bumped my head like 10 times in those cramped confines.

- Being told my "worth" at one of those afore-mentioned weddings. "Saar... you're very young and holding such a good post in a company like ____. You'll get atleast 50 lacs from girl's side!... Should we find a good Andhra girl for you saar??!"

- Got 'picked' up for a one night stand (yup... first time ever!) in Vizag. Hah! Who knew that an evening, which started out with a innocent drink at the bar, would end the way it did! Oh and she was an older woman too. OK so while not a cougar, she still older than me. Aah so many fantasies fulfilled in one night hehe

By the end of Dec '03 though, I'd had it with the place and the job. So one fine day, I packed my bags, mailed off my resignation to the Hyderabad office and headed back to Bombay. I still think of that time in my life as one big adventure. An experience that came squarely under Life Lessons.

I don’t really miss that place - except that sometimes... I do...



Couple of weeks back, I'm waiting at one of those ridiculously long you'll-be-rotting-here-till-the-end-of-time signals, when I see a woman, by the side of the road chatting away on her mobile, walking towards my general direction.

She walks past my rick and eventually goes out of sight. But I'd stopped watching midway... more interested in seeing my fellow wait-ers at the signal gawking at this woman. Pretty much every dude including the 2 guys on a bike next to me and my own rickshaw-wala had their eyes fixed on her. Couple of reasons for this - A) She was good looking. Not a spectacular, drop dead gorgeous specimen but a decent looker nonetheless. B) She had the kind of clothes and makeup on that suggested she might be a model/actress heading to/from a shoot.

The moment she passed us and was reasonably out of earshot, the pillion rider whispers something to the biker and they both let out a smirky laugh. Just got me thinking of how juvenile Indian men can really be. I mean its kinda pathetic but the majority (and I'm talking strictly about the urban and reasonably well educated category) of these men just don't have it in them to be classy about such matters.
Some weird Pavlovian thing I guess... Woman walks by... Tongues hang out.. and you don't have the ability to do anything nor the willingness to remain quiet, so you pass nasty comments.
I like my women as much as the next guy but I just can't stand just how crude some guys get when it comes to women and describing them.

Speaking of juvenile, back in school, and you know how hormonally raging teens can get, breasts were a matter of serious and utter (udder?!) fascination for all of us. So in typical teen-sian words, one would compare sizes and in descriptives which ranged from, "Arre dekh uske 3 litre ke..." to "Usko AMC bulatey hain... Aarey Milk Colony... hahaha..." to the most inane one (with the requisite hand gestures) I've heard in all my years, "Dekhe kya uske?!! Kya mast ball-beel hai!"
Someone please enlighten me as to what the fuck a Beel is. Also is it only me or do others find it cringe-weird when Indian men refer to breasts as balls???

After doing a quick read thru on the above post, its a little more obvious why this website believes what it does... Bah!


X fest

Couple of weeks ago I was doing my usual routine of trolling the torrent sites checking out what's new in the music world and randomly scrolled down to the movies section of a particular site and was stunned to see a print of Wolverine available for download.
From a numbers perspective, there were 35,000 seeders and 65,000 leechers!

I'm not averse to the wide wonderful world of Internet piracy but please please P L E A S E save the Wolverine for the theatres. The Adamantium clawed X Man deserves the big screen treatment and if initial reports are true, the wait will be well worth it.
He certainly has, for the longest time, been a fan favorite with the male readers, but the ladies too have taken a real shining to Wolvie. Altho methinks that has a lot to do with Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the character.

While I am excited to see the Logan/Wolverine backstory (this is a prequel to the series), I am also kicked about seeing another personal favorite Remy LeBeau a.k.a Gambit who I think is the coolest X Men character after Wolverine. I hope Taylor Kitsch has done justice to the character.

Today is the official release date for the movie in the US. Can't wait till it hits our shores!

Gambit: You know it's a bad sign when I'm the voice of reason