Saturday, March 29, 2008

Coorg – Just like that – Part 2

boulevard of mended dreams...

The first harbinger of the eventful journey ahead welcomed us in form of a construction barricade. The road was dug up so badly, we got the feeling that we’d reentered Bangalore. Well, it wasn’t so. After seeking directions from a surprisingly friendly cop, we continued.

Within less than a kilometer of traveling, the fifth passenger, hangover by name, woke up and was up to his antics. An elderly statesman at the office, a man who had fought and won many a battle with the consequences of excessive alcohol intake, had passed the mantra on to me during one of the sessions. Lemon juice with tender coconut water is supposedly the best way to murder a hangover. No harm in trying right? We pulled over at a roadside stall and downed two coconuts each with the refreshing citrus twist. We continued.

We were as much Coorgie as Sir Alex is an Arsenal fan. And it was strange that this fact dawned up on us only after crossing the Coorg border. “Where do we stay,” was the unanimous response to the awakening. The very resourceful Pooja dialed her manager, a frequent traveler, but more importantly, the guy with access to the internet. Two minutes later we had three contacts of guys providing home-stays. Home-stays are places that offer places to stay, with authentic local cuisine, cooked by the hosts themselves. After a couple of visits and examination of our wallets, we froze on Pompey Valley.

The good had lost its battle with evil by the time we reached our destination. The rusted gates eerily creaked as we pushed them open. We drove in with the car headlights providing the only illumination in the black boulevard. And then there was light. And then there were cottages too. It was beautiful. A very pretty lady welcomed us at the first cottage. We waited for a while before the owner, a gentleman named Thomas, joined us. After completing the formalities and conveying our needs – accompaniments for liquor and some awesome-sounding Coorgie dinner – we walked to our cottage.

We walked through dimly lit and sometimes, completely dark alleys. Our cottage, it seemed to us, was at the end of the world. And that apparently, was in Coorg. Though old, it was a neat and cozy peninsula surrounded by darkness, wilderness and enigma on three sides. It made the verandah a perfect setting for anybody with any dark affliction towards alcohol – cold and spooky. With rum, vodka, beakers of coke, sprite and scrambled eggs, we began a night that was to grow really old.

Darkness has a humbling effect on me. Despite holding the title an atheist, and at times agnostic, the absence of light invariably gives me a reality check. I despise the fear of the unknown with such vehemence when it comes to superstitions and religion – as how the sun was to our ancestors across the globe. But as the night falls, the fear of the unseen, which is far less respectful than the unknown, grips me where it matters. Our little veranda was surrounded by this very same darkness. It was a jungle out there. The noises of the wild along with the eeriness made a killer combo that would have made Hercules pee in his lion-skin loincloth. Anyways, Hercules is dead and gone, or perhaps fighting some multi-headed monster in an immortal cave in a Grecian head. That left me as the only one, prepared to pee in the modern version of the loincloth.

It took another 2 drinks for the fear of the unseen to vanish. It is amazing the kind of things alcohol can make you forget and the kind of things it can make you remember. And guess what, it even gives you a choice. It is this property of alcohol that makes me complacent. I might not have ventured into many junkie arenas (a little hash and a little grass is all that I have treaded on, by, with, in, and off), but the pleasure of remembering things you want to remember, and forgetting things you want to forget, is at its customisable best with alcohol. What possibly better rendition could any other intoxicant provide? Hence the complacency and therefore, the phrase – Alcohol is a man’s best friend. Fuck the dog!

The sins, fear of the dark and lust for alcohol, will have to wait for their respective and dedicated blog entries. That brings me back to the verandah at Pompei village.

p.s. Next up in the series, Mr. Thomas D’Souza of the Pompei Valley fame.


Mainak said...

Alcohol is a man’s best friend. Fuck the dog! - what an intoxicating idea sirjee..seriously priceless..feel like rushing to the nearest bar mid-office after reading this..don't sue me when you see me the next time flashing the same on an self-painted tee..shall sacrifice the saturday afternoon session for the tee..cheers

Anonymous said...

Interesting... I didn't know that Hercules had a lion-skin loincloth.

Anonymous said...

Just did a Google Image Search. His lion-skin loincloths don't cover much...