Saturday, April 16, 2005

Saturday afternoon rants...

The 1966 movie Blow-Up directed by Michelangelo Antonioni starring David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave is quite a strange watch. I know it is a cult movie, but at the rate I watch movies, despite having hordes of them and now two DVD players, I never end up seeing any, but this I had to see, after all it did inspire the classic Bollywood cult flick Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.
The movie is technically brilliant, the cinematography and lighting is perfect and though the editing seemed a bit vague at times, chopping off overt sexual movements, I for one would have loved to see a bit more of the threesome, the script is weird. Not that it is a bad script, just surreal, but this movie was made in Britain in the 60’s so I have to assume that there was a lot of LSD involved, because end of the day this reminded me of a pretty weird LSD experience. Not a bad trip per se, but just one of those weird trips you might have every once in a while.

Someone was asking me yesterday why I haven’t moved out of Delhi, say to Bombay or some place (not out of India, as yet). I’ll you why. I love driving too much. Delhi is the only major city in India that has any semblance of roads. Decent motorable roads that you can drive decently fast on. Look, I know Bombay has Marine Drive and there is the Bombay-Pune expressway, but try getting from Nariman Point to the expressway in the middle of the day, it will take you a good two hours. Yes, the Western Highway rocks, but trying to zigzag through Carter Road, Pedder Road or the Juhu Versova Link Road, all arterial links in the burbs, is insane. True, not that traffic during rush hour in Delhi is any better, but better than Bombay for sure.
Lets look at the other cities now, shall we? Calcutta, what can I say. True, the quality of roads has improved since 1987 when Dad finally emigrated out of there for good, but still. That said, the roads near the Maidan are great for some right foot heavy action. Still too little, if you ask me. Chennai roads are worse than those in a B-city, ‘nuff said. Really, Chennai is an overgrown village if the roads are any indicator. Bangalore and Hyderabad had rather nice empty roads a few years ago, but now reeling under the influx of overpaid IT engineers with big cars, the roads have collapsed along with driving habits.
End of the day, if you want to zip your car, Delhi is the city. Damn the expressway, Delhi-Agra and Delhi-Jaipur are almost as good (though not as scenic) and longer. Heck I’ve done 250k’s sustained on an Audi A8 30 minutes from CP at 12 in the afternoon, try doing 50k’s sustained on any car (on any day) 30 minutes from Churchgate. OK, so I’ve done my mad Marine Drive runs at four in the morning too, I think we were doing 120k’s in a Palio, but I also think all of us (Nixson, Mixson, Shades and me) were high as kites on a lot of Charlie and JD, and beautiful as it was I’ld still rather do Shatipath or even Ring Road at night now that it has all the flyovers.
But, the real best in the NCR is still the incomplete Greater Noida Expressway, where else can I touch 250k’s in any car in India.
By the way, I should really get the Toyota Innova and the Hyundai Tuscon for a test drive. After what I will doing to Hyundai, I should get that car fast.
Anyway, Blogger is acting up again, and I am currently thanking the voice in my head that told me to type this out on Word. Anyway, the Sundarbans visit looks more and more sure as the weeks move on, I think I should really go there, I will be beautiful. The visual of a tiger moving through the swamps that I saw in a Valmik Thapar documentary was brilliant, but before that I’ve got to get Tigerman to take me along to Bandhavgarh. I might have ranted about travelling a bit in my last post, but travelling on your own is a great thing, no work to worry about, no hotel bills to care, no this, no that. Been some time since I travelled on my own. Great fun.

But, one day when I have the balls to travel in the really, really cold parts of the world, I will go to the Icehotel in Sweden. Its above the Arctic Circle and the average room temperature ranges between minus four to minus nine degrees centigrade, but they certainly look like beautiful rooms in the brochure. That is cold. And the best part is that the hotel melts down every year. It melts, they have to build a new one every year. Every year! And I thought the Japs are the craziest people on the planet. But, then it costs 2800 Krona per night for a couple, and the helpful currency converter at Yahoo tells me that by today’s (rather yesterday’s – it is the weekend) exchange rates that works out to a mere Rs 17,122 a night.

Man, Udaivilas is cheaper, and on a journo’s salary I can never even afford the airfare to Sweden forget a nights stay. But I will go. Whether that means I leave this profession, lose all my ethics or take over Daddy’s business (which will leave me even more broke) I don’t know. But go I will.

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