Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Coorg - just like that - Part 1





I left Carnival at midnight. I was high. I was happy. I was satiated. I had a heavy mind to distract. A lost religion to reclaim. A life to look ahead to. I had done all that.

Carnival is a small and inexpensive bar in the heart of a pub-infested brigade road. Since advertising guys are underpaid contrary to perception, it was a favourite resort to many a creative mind. It was a colleague’s bachelor party. We drank to his life after marriage – the joys and the sorrows; the compromises and the sacrifices; the so many don’ts and the occasional dos. It seemed extraordinary to me, how the beginning of something as happy could mark the end of so many other equally joyful events. But love is blind and hence all the costs associated are hidden.

As the rum and coke united in my veins, the future lay dazed in front of me. What now? Now, if you thought it was the philosopher in me talking, think again. My mind was in quest of the next source of alcohol to keep me running. It was a Friday night and it was only midnight. I needed more alcohol. After intense introspection, a good friend’s home beckoned. I answered the call.

I summoned a rickshaw to go to Kasturi Nagar. It was dark and I had serious doubts about the intentions of the rickshaw driver. For all I knew, he would have killed me. But I would not die in vain. I messaged the details of the driver to my boss. In case I was unable prevent death, the killer would never go unpunished. However, none of that was needed. I was in one piece as I rang the doorbell.

A friend from Mumbai had come down. A good friend. He was fondly called ‘Doda’ during the hostel days. When the fondness grew, ‘Doda’ was often followed by a rhyming obscenity. It had been a few years since I’d seen him. I was happier. I had an emergency stock of liquor in my bag. A neat mix of Old Monk, coke and water. Muah!

We started drinking. In 15 minutes, we lost interest in music. In another 15 minutes, we found the confinement of the walls suffocating. In yet another 15 minutes, everything Bangalore looked passé. Hence we packed and left for Mysore. It was 2.45 am.

As with all spontaneous journeys, we did not have a clue as to how to get to Mysore. We had a tourist map. And for a long part of our journey, that was about all we had. There weren’t many willing citizens on the streets at 3am in the morning to give us directions you know. And moreover, men do not ask for directions if they have the minutest of ideas about directions. I was one of them. In my drunken haze, I remember taking my fellow travelers in a complete different direction for about three kilometres before a call centre cab came to our rescue. U-turn.

One among the four, Shiva by name, was the only qualified driver for three reasons. One being that the rest of us was drunk to our oesophagus. The second, and a very prominent reason was that he owned the car. Well at this point, you can argue that the car was as much his as it was his wife’s. Well, there comes the third reason. Wives are women and women can’t drive.

Doda downed alcohol as if he had just been released from solitary confinement in Gujarat. For those who do not know, Gujarat is a dry state. And it also succeeds a lot of profane adjectives associated with the non-availability of alcohol – impotent for instance. The bottle was over as if it were a matter of pride to finish it in 30 minutes flat. Speaking of flat, Doda was down curled in front of a shop after his alcoholic adventures - exactly an hour after the vodka exodus. I carried on. But then again, I had the advantage of not having a liver.

We reached Mysore at about 6.30 in the morning. Guides and hotel boys closed in on us like zombies from one of those b-grade horror flicks. I still believe that if I hadn’t rolled the glasses up, they would have eaten me alive. But rolled them up, I did; and hence am intact. After warding off the scavengers, we managed to get a large room, a ‘penthousish’ arrangement on the terrace. Shiva, who I consider an antisocial, was up and away for his masala dosa while we fell unconscious onto our rectangular pieces of heaven.

The sun was shining in all its glory when sanity woke us up. Mysore has its share of history for travelers. Tipu’s palace was one of them. Despite my memories of visiting the palace since time immemorial, Doda’s doggedness drove the car towards the palace. Th drive to the palace however, lasted only as long as a green board that hung above. It read ‘Coorg’.


to be continued...

3 comments:

Rahul said...

Last Sentence, there's a 'Tdrive'.
Err??!!?? Or maybe it's something fancy that i didnt get.

kr!$hn@ said...

bastard...it takes US forever to plan a trip and watch it go down the drain...next time we wont plan...we'll jus get u alcohol!!!

Cris said...

you alocholic maniac! I am surprised its not a ghost that wrote this!