Honeymooning in the Hills

I’d been on a great trip like the voyagers of yester years and swept acrossvarious countries in the Summer. Well, I’d only been gone three weeks, and I had only gone to Asia. But the journey still felt like an epic one, and what better place to log it than my old blog? Now, I am going to go for the classic NRI effect and make a statement intended to annoy the masses: I had clean forgotten how hot the Indian summers could get. Folks who live there claim it has already cooled down because of the monsoons. But I thought it was still hot, very hot. We did our best to escape the heat and retreated to Kulu Manali.

Kulu Manali, I learned was the latest vacation hot spot. One evening, under the pretense of reading a book in the garden, I silently drank in the antics of a newly married couple playing basketball in the garden, and almost split myself sideways, while attempting to keep a straight face. The poor fishes were taping themselves playing, with witty comments about each other peppered with love dialogues. I could have told them that 5 years from now, they would squirm faster than a bunch of earthworms watching it, but that would have been plain mean of me. So, I did the next best thing and watched them.

I must say those honeymooners brought on a flood of memories. Before you recoil in horror, let me assure my readers that I am not here to tell you about the time my dearest and I recorded ourselves on our honeymoon. I do not wish to impose ……

I have probably remarked on this blog that I was brought up in the picturesque Nilgiris in South India. Ooty, the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, was home to the southern half of the honeymooning crowd, and our home was often the abode for honeymooners who were the third related cousins to the aunt who was just two hops away from the distant maternal uncle (who incidentally also knew my paternal grand-uncle’s maama through adoption, did you know?) There have been times when folks would arrive on our doorstep with a letter of introduction from someone like this, and we would be entertaining them for their honeymoon. Or rather vice-versa. The children of the house were quite adept at studying the smitten behavior from the long-lasting, and had our own jokes running in the background. What I did not appreciate was the fact that the guests being honeymooners needed a separate room, and mine was offered up without the slightest word of consent from me. Indian hospitality I tell you – tut tut.

Some of them were decent guests and chatted up with us without having to touch each other every 5 seconds to make sure it wasn’t a dream. I am sorry to say this glowing statement of conduct did not quite pass for a few of them. What appalled me was the fact that these visitors would then go on to ask us to accompany us to show them around Ooty. Thank Heavens my father did not usually consent to these requests, but the fact that they would ask was enough to give me the jitters. I mean, what do they expect a school going girl to do with them while they walked arm in arm down a quaint lane in Ooty? The problem, I realise now, was the fact that we as a nation try to get the maximum bang for the buck. So, while honeymooning and linking arm in leg or arm as the case maybe, we should also drink in the Botanical Gardens – Botany classes, and the HPF (Hindustan Photo Films Factory – Engineering) and Marine Sciences in the dying Ooty Lake.

There was one moment when a pair of them came back eating out of one ice-cream. Caused quite a scandal in the 80’s I tell you.

THUMP!

A loud thump woke me from my reveries. Apparently, the female half of the couple had inadvertently basketed the ball from within 5 meters of the hoop, and the thump was a loud congratulatory smack, which the male half was promptly recording for future use. I looked up. The couple smiled and asked if I could take a picture of them. I smiled and obliged. They positioned themselves next to a largish rose plant and smiled at the flowers together while I clicked.

Honeymooning in the Hills is still in, and love is in the air.

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

Did you hear about the new Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video? I headed on over to watch it – all a-twitter I must tell you. This song like “Hamara Bajaj” was a defining one for an entire generation.  Doordarshan played it over and over again, and I never once tired of it. My lips were ready to smile, and even had the angle set on them, I just had to spring it on when it started.  I was actually humming the song before starting the video.

Then it started.  Groan! I can’t say it was entirely bad, but I have a distinct preference for the old one. It has all the Bollywood/Collywood/Jollywood heavy weights, light dressers and banian-bicep shows that you can think of, and the tune s—s! The transitions felt jumpy even to me. I had to come scurrying back to find the old one – midway through the new one, for there was another aspect, the thing just went on and on, like people had nothing better to do. Well, maybe we don’t, but we’d like to retain the illusion we do.

I was really glad to see this video – the one that has tucked away good memories in my mind

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gstRrEmTcBc&feature=related

This one delivered – even after all these years.  The seamless transitions, when the beat and language changes, are amazing.  So many people from different walks of life, different landscapes and languages.  It gave me goosebumps to feel the fabric of India as we knew it through that song again. Looking at the noticeably younger faces of Revathi, Hemamalini, Big-B, Mithun Chakra, Kamal, Lata Mangeshkar, some Cricket player (I forgot his name) etc, felt like looking through an old kaleidoscope.

I can forgive Doordarshan all those hours of “mourning” when someone died and  countless “Vayalum Vaazhvums” now that I saw this video again.

Update: I originally thought the unedited version got released by mistake, given that each one had their own ego trips and screen time where they could pick their abaswaram, and pet movie songs.

Also, no different walks of life concept at all – no Sports, no Science, no advances in IT. Nothing! This is like AB’s drawing room view of India and Five star hotel beaches. In a country full of throbbing hearts, every heart beat alone in the video – by the rocks, by the beaches. Unattached, desolate and painfully slowly.