Looking at some Couple’s dating Raj had a cunning smile on his face. Pritesh is very much tensed and at once says…
“ I am not paying the bill for today..You forced to me to come here, I already had my tiffin alongwith me…”
“Relax , Just seeing that the ratio of couples in this restaurants are increasing day by day…and also the way they behave is so damn funny…too much bollywood I guess in their brains..”
“Hmmm…that applies to you too hahahaha ” .
“Me, Seriously ?”,Raj replies..
“Well the way you smoke , your dressing sense….”
Interupting Pritesh in between,“ Whatever...what will you have your own Favorate Onion Uttapa…”
“Yup…with some ghee on it..”
“Mine Pav Bhaji…”, Raj replied..
“Waiter, one Onion Uttapa with ghee and One Pav Bhaji ”.The Waiter who was a stunted South Indian replied,
“Raj , your previous bills are pending ,when are you going to pay for that..”
“Anna, Pakka this coming month , my first salary will be coming by then“
Being Convinced Waiter takes their Order
After Half and Hour the Order finally arrives…
“Hmmm…looks delicious as always, Pritesh can I have a bit of that Uttapa… ”
“Sure..... hey..hey what the fuck you had a big bite”
“Cummon I am paying for it remember and besides you have your own tiffin..” ,Raj reples..
“Hurry up with your Uttapa we are falling short of time. We don’t want Alok Mishra be the show stopper this time, do we?”, replied Raj.
After few minutes in haste both headed towards their company.
Suddenly a voice from behind made Pritesh stop ”, Pritesh, where are you …you were suppose to present your presentation to Alok…”
“Yes Anamika, we are heading for the conference Room right now ”,Pritesh replied in hurry.
“No .The clients did not made up for today so our Boss is in his Cabin.Do visit him and visit my desk ASAP to select some new shortlisted Candidates for the Marketing department , bye guys…”, saying so she left the reception room…
“I am pretty much confident that she applies Botox”, replied Raj.
“Raj, Cummon we have to concentrate on our presentation right now”, pritesh replied in hypertone.
After climbing up the 1st floor of the company Pritesh swiped his card and approached Alok’s desk..
“Hey Boss, the presentation is all done.”, replied Pritesh.
“Good Pritesh. Raj make sure that the Adversting and Marketing is taken care in every possible way.Hope you have Sorted out Models for this. Clients will be visiting us tomorrow Afternoon”
“Alok , not to worry everything is in flow..But I do have another model in my mind ,just in case where we can do some cost cutting ”
“Who’s she”? , Raj Questioned.
“Anamika ,our HR”
“Raj, what are you saying she knows nothing about modeling”, replied Alok.
Interupting Raj ,Alok replied in Strict tone,“ We need professionals in this, end of discussion.”
On their way out Pritesh replied ,” You do have a good taste for Models.”
“Yeah ,yeah!!” ,Raj nodded , saying so he went to his cubicle going through some of his files to do his routine work.
As promised Pritesh met Anamika to have a final round of interviews…for some shortlisted candidates.
“Hi, Pritesh.Here are the 5 shortlisted candidates you need to filter out.”
“Ok..Bring in the first candidate..”, saying so Pritesh went to his desk...
“May I come in ,Sir” , notified the 1st Candidate in a soar voice which pretty much indicated that he was a chain Smoker …
“Yes sure, come in have a seat.”
“Thank you sir..”, saying so the candidate sat down and forwarded his resume to Pritesh…
Pritesh having a ten minutes of silence as if somebody’s dead was going through the resume…line by line…
After 10 minutes Pritesh introduced himself, “Hi Harish, my name is Pritesh and I am the Marketing head of this company since 6 years..your resume says that this is your first job, you are a complete fresher, how do you expect to cope up with our professionals with no experience?”
“Sir , during my College days I worked on a live project me and other 5 collegues of mine on a matrimonial Project..We all made a total budget of Rs. 10,000.As I and other person were having an IT Background we developed dynamic WebPages and hosted it in Indian host Domain which made it accessible through website.We also hosted ads on Google and created Banners at different College festivals..In short with a budget of 10,000 we ended up making up profit upto Rs 25,000…”
“Good , good you also got Distinction in your MBA Marketing exams. What else what are your hobbies and interests.”
“Well Sir Photography is one of my hobbies and I am good in that, also reading Novels and writing blogs….”
“Ohh, Good what sort of blog’s you have written so far.”
“Well all related to Social…”
Meanwhile Raj in his cubicle was thinking about how to comeup with some good presentation till the deadline.For the first time he has lied to Alok about his Presentation completion and Pritesh was the only Backup he had.
Raj within no seconds dialed the extention Number of Pritesh…
“Hello…” ,pritesh replied
“Its me Raj.”
“Raj, I am in between conducting interviews can we talk a bit later”, Pritesh replied in a hyper tone.
“listen to me.. I am not prepared with the presentations ”
“I mean, I was but…you know my lappy, the harddisk crashed”
“One sec… Ganesh can you just wait outside for a minute” ,Raj heard a feeble voice over the speaker of his phone.
“Raj, I know you since College days and that old laptop has nothing but porns in it and please don’t give me the crap that harddisk crashed… Alok is now our Senior Manager not our trainer anymore.Please take it seriously else our job will be at stake…”
“Ok Pritesh, can you help me out in this, client will be coming on next week from US.”
“Who told you that”, Pritesh was stunned.
“Alok mailed me now itself…Well but we are on the safer side its Surya Iyer who going to visit us.”
“Phew… thank god in that case I can test these new Joiners then ”, Pritesh replied.
After conducting interview all the shortlisted candidates were selected ,but for Pritesh , Ganesh Survana seemed to be the most promising Employee for his Company.All the candidates were called in a conference room .Where Pritesh was busy with some file documents in one hand and having a Offer letters for their Job on the other hand.
“Hi, all Welcome back”, Pritesh gestured passing the Offer letters to the selected candidates who were finding it difficult to sit in those fancy Office chairs.
“Well, I wish your induction started today itself…but we got a huge project for ourselves. Henceforth we need you guys and Ganesh will be the team Lead for this.”
“Well we need to advertise for a new IT product for desktop sharing and really will be a Hot stuff in Markets. All the details are provided in this documented book provided by the client.Our client will be landing up in here next week.So in the meantime I want you guys to complete this asap.”
Meanwhile in Cambridge…
“What? I am the VP for christ sake”
“That’s why I want you to go to India , meet these people I will be busy this weekend.” ,Surya replied.
Claudia with a shock face replied, ”But ….”
“Claudia, I will be really disappointed if you don’t visit them” , Surya replied with a bossy look on his face…
Starring at the Name plate
“Surya Iyer EVP Data stream Inc”
Claudia finally agreed and left the room.
The very next day Alok gets the mail
Hope you are doing well.I will be at client location for few months.So cant visit you guys next week. Infact Claudia who is the VP of our Businees Unit will be touring India to visit you people.
I hope the presentation is all completed for our project
Data Stream Inc.
Sending you the mail in gmail too as I know you don’t take interests in looking at your personal office mails.
Hope you are doing well.I will be at client location for few months.So cant visit you guys next week. Infact Claudia who is the VP of our Businees Unit will be touring India to visit you people.
I hope the presentation is all completed for our project
Data Stream Inc.
With Eyebrows all widened up,”Shit , Surya wont be coming…” pritesh replied.
“Relax dude, why are you so tensed?..” ,Raj replied while sipping a Cup of Coffee.
“Do you understand the severity of this problem..we will loose lakhs of Rupees and the other thing is that it will cause a bad reputation for the company.”,Pritesh fired back in an aggressive mode.
“Ok relax ,I will have a meeting with the new Joinees regarding this project and have it sorted out”,replied Raj and left the canteen.
“The rains in Mumbai have been causing a devastating effects in Mumbai and different parts of Maharashtra all the local buses,trains and airports have been delayed. The Disaster Management team are still trying to cope this situation. This is Mansi Singh from IBN7…”, and then came some fairness ad on the big LCD screen adjusted in between pune airport.
“Madam try to understand the criticality due to weather conditions most of the Flight schedules have been delayed.”,Baljit replied who was the one of the security in charge.
“Oh God! ,My blackberry also not working” ,Claudia freaked out.
The crowd simply went on accumulating in the middle of the Airport as most of the International Flights were redirected to the Pune location.
“You American?” , a stranger in his mid 20’s questioned.
Claudia gave a puzzled look and replied, ”Yes?”.
“Hi , I am Ross Richard from Ohio,and you are…”
“ Richard, I am really freaked out right now…will talk to you later..”,Claudia replied and was busy doing some R&D on her Blackberry.
Claudia despite being the Youngest VP of Innovative and Research Lab at her mid 20 was really struggling to get her GPRS back on her fancy new cell device.
Suddenly an announcement was made, “Ladies and Gentlemen all flights have been cancelled for today due to heavy rains”
“Freaks, trip to Trivandrum not possible?”, Ross replied aggressively..
Meanwhile Claudia somehow managed to escape the crowd and straight away headed towards the ISD booth which was just 2 minutes a walk outside the Airport
“Excuse me can you help me Dialing in Cambridge from here?” ,Claudia questioned to the owner of the phone booth who was busy starring at some hot stills in Feminine Magazine.
“Cambridge? You dial? Where Cambridge I don’t know?”,the owner replied trying to hide the Magazine.
“How to dial US from here?”,Claudia replied slowly to match up the Indian accent.
“Ohhhh US first 603 then area code then mobile Number ”
“Phew ,Its ringing”
“Hey Surya its me Claudia, I hate this place and on the contrary its Raining heavily right now”
“Where are you right now? Aint Pritesh there to pick you up…”, Surya replied.
“I am in puene..Right now all flights have been delayed and I am stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
“Puene??? Ohhh you mean Pune , Claudia..Do one thing, I will provide you the Cell Number of Pritesh, just give him a call his Number is 819#!$!e1. I gotta go have some important Meeting with CISCO, will talk to you later on...” ,saying so Surya hung up the phone….
The Rain needless to say wouldn’t stop pouring water on the busy Streets of pune ,making the traffic more congested and Claudia was totally clueless what to do next..the Owner was not settling for the dollar..
“Its 50 Rupees, no dollars…”
Perhaps Claudia figured it out the man was really stupid and stupid people tend to be more dangerous if not handled properly…
Adding Marathi and English in between the Owner was really sounding arrogant about his money and Claudia with the clueless face was trying to figure it out what to do next..
After minutes an auto-Rickshaw shrieked behind her.
“Madame, everything alright?”
Claudia turned back and it was Ross in the Rick’s backseat…
“I am not understanding what this Black guy is trying to say..”, Claudia replied back.
“Well ignoring your racist remark, I will handle this…”
“Eeek Miinuute, yaaaaha par rukna ”, Ross ordered the Rickshaw driver.
Claudia was busy observing , How Ross was talking in some foreign language and handed over some Indian Rupees …
“Well your problem is resolved...all he was asking was for an Indian Currency”
“Ok, but what was that language?”
“Ha-ha that, it was Hindi one of my Indian friend thought me that some weeks ago..It helped me a lot except when you are in Southern part of India. So where are you heading for?”
“I am totally clueless. I was suppose to be in Mumbai for today meet a guy name Pritesh..”
“Oh! I can understand..I was suppose to be in Kerala..Anyways I am heading towards Vishraam lodge .These Rains wont stop for a day or two as Monsoon season is approaching. Why don’t you share Rick with me, we can book a room and yeah one more thing don’t expect any VIP treatment ..or any fancy deluxe Suite ”
Claudia was not in the mood to argue with Ross and both headed towards the Auto Rickshaw…
“Ohh God traffic again…Hey see Mc Donald’s, its in India too”
“Well the Burgers and French Fries are not the same as they are in US. Trust me you wont like it”, Ross replied.
“Sahib, KFC also right across the street… too pricy and less food”, Sanjay replied.
“Ohh Sanjay good, you know everything about pune ,don’t you?”,Ross replied
“Yes Sahib ,born and brought up in Pune…me a good tour guide for only 1200 Rs and people from Vishram lodge refer me most times… ”
The Rickshaw gradually took up speed as the traffic started reducing ,Sanjay pressed on the acceleration pad ..Tackling all the bikes and Cars to reach the destination. Needless to say that Sanjay was reckless in driving and also a certified driver with respect to the license card he possessed .
Claudia on the other hand was busy viewing the Scenery’s of concrete Jungle, surrounded by pile of Garbage and beggars.
“How could anybody live in such place?” , Claudia Questioned.
“Ok Claudia, it will be ok if you stop commenting without knowing the actual facts about India..I have been touring India since last 9 months and despite of its diversity in food, culture and caste system people tend to be together, the only thing corrupt about it is the politicians trying to brain wash young youths taking advantage of their poverty and caste, they tend to manipulate innocent people and in the end they are only the one who suffer.”
“Seesh!!! You are sounding like some History teacher and second of all I don’t care”
“Oh yeah then stop commenting”, Ross offended.
It was 5:00 pm in the afternoon and Rickshaw halted nearby 7 storied Building which very much reminded of white House, …On the main entrance there was a Big name plate with Vishraam Ashram written on it.
A large queue can been seen on the reception counter. Somehow Ross and Claudia made up to the Reception counter …
“Namaskaram, welcome to Vishram Ashram” , a bald guy replied who was wearing a white Lungi.
“Strange, where are his clothes ”, Claudia mumbled..
“Excuse me”, the Bald fat guy replied.
“Nothing…, Namaste we need to book a room for at least 2 days”, Ross replied.
“Onjiia ” ,the bald guy replied starring at Claudia in Rajnikanth’ s style.
“Excuse me, I didn’t get that”, Ross replied.
“Ohh sorry, you need one room or two room”,bald guy replied in his South Indian accent
“500 Rs. Each, including food for 2 days..Payment to be done now and make sure to preserve the bill”
While The fat bald guy was busy scribbling something on the Yellow bill receipt Claudia was very much offended by his black forest Chest.
“Here , your bills and keys for Room NO: 300 and 301, Lunch on the second floor Canteen..and make sure to close the Windows too much Monkeys outside”.
“Monkeys?” , Claudia freaked out.
“yes the opposite side of building , forest Area”, Bald guy replied.
Both pre-Occupied their room .Despite being the smallest room(with one Bedroom and toilet and no TV for survival ) nobody complained as the rate was far more reasonable. It was 6 pm in the evening Claudia could hear the knock on her room.
“Its me Ross, Snacks are Tea are being served hurry..”
“Yes One second…”
Claudia Opened up the door and both headed towards the 2nd floor.
“You smell different, is it the Beach”
“Yes my favorite apparel Perfume…” Claudia replied.
“And expensive too”, Ross mumbled.
“What’s with the Camera”, Claudia replied pointing towards the Nikon Camera Ross was holding.
“Well I am a photographer and that’s what I do for living, just trying to find out some interesting pics.”
Cafeteria , the Signboard could be seen and too much off Bald people in Lungi were busy serving the snacks on the Banana leaf.
“Are we supposed to sit down.. and eat like this and what’s with the white skirt?”
“Ssh , that’s what Poojari’s wear.” ,Ross replied.
“Well , its very much same as Pope they worship God and do Social Service..and that’s not skirt ,it’s a white Lungi South Indian find these piece of Garments more comfortable ”
Claudia could see a Bunch of 4 horizontal people, sitting parallel to each other and busy enjoying whatever was being served.
“Claudia, hurry up grab that empty slot”, Ross replied pointing toward the group of people who had finished their food and were heading towards the washroom..
However finally both managed to sit together with their legs folded, they could see a young Bald guy ,serving Banana leaves and from there came other guy serving Utappa and Coconut Chutney mashed with some tamarind and pudina…
“Whats this now…?”,Claudia replied.
“Its Indian Pizza, try it out with those Sauce” ,Ross replied in a taunting mode
“By bare hands? No spoon or Fork”
“This is India No body cares about your Eating habits”
“Hmmm..its Good “,Claudia replied busy nibbling on those Uttapa.
In the end came the main Course in a plastic cup..
“whats this?” ,Claudia replied.
“Chai” ,Tambi replied and went forward to serve the other people in Queue.
“Its Tea, People in India prefer tea over black Coffee, You must try Darjeeling Tea whenever you go to the North.” ,Ross replied.
Claudia nodded..Pretending as if she was paying attention as of what Ross had to say…
“Ohhhh Cramps”, Claudia mumbled when she was unfolding her legs
“Easy now, just try to stand up and move your fingers…”
“Ross? Is It you” , a nerdy guy from behind in his mid- seveneen’s replied.
“I am your huge fan…”
“Finally someone who watches Discovery.” ,Ross replied in a vibrant mode.
“Yes and the Kangaroo part in Australia, is a hit in YouTube”, the guy replied.
“God, its in You Tube”
“That was my favorite scene, you must copyright that before anybody else steals it for some Movie scene..”
“Hahaha, thanks for the Tip kiddo what’s your name Son?”
“Santosh . So you in India for some Wild life Study?”
“Yes, but this time I was suppose to shoot in Kerala…but the rains and all delayed my flight”
“you are in Luck Mr Richard.I can rent you my Caravan, in one Condition”
“Ohhh , good and whats that?”
“Besides the rent , I will be assisting you”
“Hold on a sec...” Claudia Interuppted,”Ross how am I suppose to reach Mumbai..”
“You can too join us in the Caravan..Mumbai is just a 6 hrs of Journey from the Highway, but again it all depends on the traffic and Rain” ,Santosh replied.
“Ok it’s a deal Santosh”, Ross replied with a smile
“Ok Ross,bye Mam..”
“Bye Ross ,Claudia here’s my card..Will meet you people tomorrow morning at 8:00 am, Caravan will be waiting outside the Main Gate.”
Saying so Santosh went to aid some Pandits in the Kitchen.
“So Ross what is that you actually do.” ,Claudia replied
“I am a wild life photographer and Host for one of the Wild Life Series in Discovery Channel, what about you?”
“Me a VP for datastream company.” ,Claudia replied
“Sounds too techi ” .
“Well, it is …But atleast I get a decent pay” ,Claudia replied.
“That’s obivious”,Ross replied eyeing towards the Branded Black apparel she was wearing.
“Anyways I go to make a call in Mumbai..Can you help me in that”
“You can get in touch with the reception Counter”
Counter: 7:00 pm
“Excuse me Can I make a call to Mumbai ?”,Claudia Questioned interuptting the old Bald who was busy in counting Notes in the reception Counter.
“Yes, sure you pay for it later“.
“yes sure I will do that, Thank you.”
Claudia dialed some Number.
“Is it Prietsh”.
“Yes, whom am I talking to?”, Pritesh replied.
“Hey hi, this is Claudia I was suppose to meet you for the presentation.”
“Hey hi Claudia, I tried calling you , I guess it was Out of service”
“I don’t know I think Voice Roaming services have been deactivated for the time being.”
“Ok, so where are you, right now? “
“The flights been cancelled for today..I am in Vishraaanti Ashram right now, will be heading for Mumbai in a Caravan… ”
“Never mind…You just note down my Gmail-id its ‘ Claudia.Semantha@gmail.com ‘ and forward me your Office address”.
“Sure will do that, anything else.”
“No nothing for the time being..Anyways bye for now”
”Bye Claudia, take care” , Pritesh replied
Claudia hung up the phone paid the bald guy some 10 bucks and headed straight away to her Room.
“Wake up its 8:00 am already”, Claudia could hear the Banging of the door.
“Yeah in a second” ,Claudia Yelled back.
“I have your luggage with me straightaway from the airport; they are doing some Maintenance down there, so today also no air flights will be available. They are loaded up in the caravan. Do check out in case if something is missing…”
Claudia slammed the door, “How come you have my luggage ??”
“Well the staff from the airport just called me...And yesterday in the airport itself, I overheard, your Blackberry …”
“Blackberry, its very rare to find”, Santosh interrupted, gasping for air as he tried to climb the last stair case. “There’s a big tree Just 5 minutes walk away from this Forest area..”
“No santosh here Blackberry we are referring for a Mobile device”.
“What? You Americans are strange, what’s next you name a Laptop, Apple”
“Well, I prefer Apple Laptops”, Claudia replied.
“What you already did? why do you have to name it after a fruit? ”
“Hmmm... never thought about it?”,Ross replied, ”anyways we are all backpacked , so lets go”
“Bahhhut Bahhhut Shukriyaaaaa”, Ross replied.
The Bald Guy in the reception Counter gave a grim smile as if somebody has forced him to smile and waved his hand doing a Namaste pose.
“What did you say to him?”, Claudia Questioned .
“Was just thanking him”, Ross replied.
“Honk! Honk” ,Santosh referenced this Honking to Ross and Claudia to hurry up with their accommodation of their luggages…
“One Second Santosh I guess some of my luggage needs to be adjusted on the upper roof of the Caravan..”
After 20 Minutes
“All set, Santosh open up the door”
The automated Door opened and both headed into the Caravan.
“Wow”, Claudia was stunned by such spacious Caravan.
“Holy Cow, you have your own refrigerator…. ”, Ross opened the Refrigerator doors and “Beer, this is heaven…”
“Those will charge extra..”, Santosh Interrupted.
“I love the way you have placed the Couch in between the Glass table and the red carpet on the floor is really making it look luxurious.”,Claudia replied
“Condoms!”,Ross Exclaimed as he investigated the Couch Pillows.
“Just in case ” ,Santosh replied.
Claudia pretended as if she heard nothing by busy staring at the Carpet.
The Caravan started, and exited the Vishraam residence.
“Claudia want to see some of my Master piece?” Ross Questioned.
“Yes sure Why not? ”,Claudia approached Ross who was busy lazying in the couch.
Ross took out his Nikon Camera from his bag pack and started showing her the picks which was being displayed on the Cam’s display screen.
“Wow where did you took this?”
“In Vishraanti Aashram itself. ”
“The pic is just so perfect..I mean the Bird giving worms to their children and such a closeup pic,really you are one heck of a photographer.”
Claudia clicked on next …”Ohhh that Bald guy, from the reception .” ..next “Again some bald guy serving food to people”…next…”Awwww….A child spoon feeding her Granny, you just click on perfect timings don’t you.”
“Well practice and a good camera make Man a good photographer.” Ross replied.
Claudia for a second peeped out of the Caravan and couldn’t see the Highway miles away.
“Santosh, Its pretty much looks like as if you are travelling through forests … Are you lost?”
“Ok Claudia, You know whats my middle name.”
“No?” Claudia replied.
“Its GPS.”, Santosh replied.
“Ohhh God, this guy cracks bad jokes.”, Claudia mumbled.
“Don’t tend to get on their nerve, these people are born here, if you tend to question them like this they sure will backfire you.” Ross whispered.
The Caravan Halted after 10 minutes.
“What now?”,Claudia replied.
“See the temple outside, my dad takes care of it..He’s also the bald guy.”, Santosh replied.
Claudia was very much offended by this remark
“Why cant you refer them as Poojari’s ” , Ross replied in hypertone when Santosh left the Caravan.
“Sorry ok ,I didn’t knew that he would take that as an insult”
“Don’t Apologise me ….”, Ross replied.
“Are you guys coming”, Santosh yelled tapping on the Caravan’s Window.
Being the VP Claudia ,always choked up saying sorry to anybody and this was one of those moments as if she going to propose Santosh.
As soon as Claudia and Ross exited the Caravan, they could see a huge Concrete rough stair case , probably made up by breaking up the Mountainious Area and the sideways were surrounded by Monkeys attacking the devotee’s thali’s filled with Banana.
“Don’t worry these monkeys wont harm you. They just wander here for the Prasad, especially Bananas.”, Santosh replied pointing towards the Prasad counter which was busy distributing a Prasad thali, which Mandatory consisted of Bananas..Don’t know the reason as of why the Monkeys didn’t attacked the Main Distribution Center…Maybe the ugliness of the shop owner which pretty much depicted the replica of a scare crow. It’s really strange to see that the Ugliness most of the time never invite problems.
Ross busy started showing off his talent by Capturing some pics in a No Flash and Sound Mode.
“Awwww…so cute”, Claudia replied in a pleasing manner pointing towards the Kid who was enjoying sharing his Banana with the monkey and all thanks to Claudia Pleading remark, Ross’s Camera lenses zoomed on that scene and a new MasterPiece was created.
“Are you guys Coming” ,Santosh yelled as soon as he reached the main entrance of the temple..
“Goshhh, we have to climb these staircase ”, Claudia mumbled and started counting the stair case
“Cummon , Claudia stop whining .”, Ross replied.
Ross could see Claudia gasping for air as soon as they reached the Main entrance.
“Om bhuu bhuaswaha……” , a loud chanting can be heard around the corner.
“God , I am late”,Santosh replied.
“Late for what?” ,Ross replied.
“For the SatyaNarayan Pooja.”
“The what?”, Claudia Interrupted as always.
“Prayers , Claudia”, Ross replied.
As usual Santosh got scolded for being late, later on Dad gave a stern stubborn look at Ross..
“No Camera’s allowed ” ,his dad said.
“ohh Sorry, I wasn’t aware of it as such”,Ross replied.
“Pithashree , this is Ross and Claudia , our new Caravan Customers ”
“Only two? its your responsibility to take care of others people too?”
“yes , I did do that but these were the only people to be found at this point of time.”
“Hmmmm….then I’ll talk to Suhas then to recheck ”, saying so the Poojari left the room.
“ Is this some sort of social service, I mean renting us the Caravan”, Claudia Questioned.
“We in all have 10 Caravan and most of the time its used for touring people the best landmarks in Pune, but due to heavy rains many people have been facing the problem of transportation…hence we come into place and its not social service ,you will be paying us the rent for that ”
“Is this Haanuman?”, Ross replied pointing towards the statue in which the face depicted a monkey faced human having a tail.
“Yes, it is and it is believed that Hanuman resides here due to the population of Monkey in here”,Santosh replied.
“Yeah ,VaaanarSena”, Ross replied.
“You have been travelling to India for a long time , aint you?, Santosh replied with a smile.
“Yes, my friend also seen lots of rats in a temple drinking milk and nibbling on the prasad’s and the same stuff were consumed by Pandits and the devotees ,including me.”
“Whats that ?”, Claudia replied pointing towards the other statue which looked Horrifying.
“That’s Goddess Durga ,Godess of destruction..Its believed that she’s responsible for destroying something for Good.If One cycle is destroyed she does it in order for some restoration of other cycle or to start a new cycle.”
“Pretty much like thread?”, Claudia replied.
“Never mind that’s some technical term .” ,Claudia replied.
Santosh could see his dad coming back.
“Beta, I talked with Suhas he will be taking care for the rest of the people in Vishraanti Aashram, thanks for taking care Son , Bye Rus and Claudia”
“Its Ross”, Santosh replied.
“That’s ok, bye bye Namaaaste”, Ross replied and both headed back to the caravan.
The Caravan started and started heading towards the nearby Highway.Ross was busy lazying on the Couch sipping a Can of chilled beer and Claudia who was busy struggling (flexing up her Neurons) finding a way to say sorry to Santosh and finally for the first time….
“Santosh , really sorry for the Bald guy remark…”
“Err, that’s ok ..I can understand.”
Now again there was an abnormal silence for an Hour.
“Phew ! Finally reached the Pune Mumbai highway ” ,Santosh replied.
“Owww great” , Claudia sighed looking at different Vehicles of different sizes Speeding up .
“Ohhh God there’s been an accident”,Ross replied as he saw a bunch of people gathered over a ruptured Car whose Windsheell was broken into pieces.
“Accidents is like Mandatory in here ”,Santosh replied.
Santosh clicked on the Clutch changed the gear to fourth and then hitted the accelartion Pad.The Caravan gradually started speeding up from 15 km/hr to 80 km/hr competing with the Sahyadris mountains which probably seemed not to be moving, probably because of its never ending ranges.
“Heyyyy…. Why its dark all of the sudden?” , Claudia questioned.
“Relax its just the tunnel..and more will be there coming ahead….” ,Santosh replied in his typical South Indian accent…
As usual Ross was successful in taking out some stunning pics of the Sahyadris ranges.
A big Sign Board could be seen ahead “Mumbai 93 Kms”.
After an Hour the Caravan halted..
“Saantosh , what happened?” ,Ross replied.
“It’s the toll Both….”
After 5 minutes the Caravan started again.
“Wow Ross , look at the scenes.” ,Claudia notified Ross who was almost asleep on the couch.
Ross by default took out his Camera and approached the nearest window.
“Its Khandala Ghat” ,Santosh replied.
“Its amazing…”, Ross replied and started taking up the pics.
Crossing the Zigzag lines of Kandala Ghat Ross and Claudia came across best Scenaries Pune-Mumbai Highway had to offer.
“Hey… whos he??” ,Ross replied investigating Claudia’s Laptop
“Hey , stop pondering on my laptop” ,Claudia offended
“Hey Santosh ,just Googled Apple and Blackberry and guess what, I only got Apple Ipods and Blacberry cellphones”
“That’s why , you Americans are difficult to understand.” ,Santosh replied
“We are??” ,Claudia exclaimed.
“Well you give fruit names to laptop and Cellphones and you come to India leaving your comfort zone to find peace….”
“Listen Buddy , we both are here for our Business trip”,Claudia replied
“Yeahh…that’s what everyone has to say….camuflauging the peace part”
“Whatever…” ,Claudia Mummbled sipping Coffee.
Suddenly a message popped out in Claudia inbox…
Sorry for the inconvience caused because of the weather delay.We just wanted to confirm the timing when are you going to come. All the project details and our contct are attached in the Mail itself.
Will Call you once in Mumbai.
After an Hour the Carvan halted
“Hey, theres a small Canteen you guys want anything to eat..” ,Santosh Questioned.
“Whatever that goes up with the beer” ,Ross replied.
Santosh stepped out of the Caravan while Ross and Claudia were busy enjoying the beer.
“So is it Kingfishy???” ,Claudia replied.
“I guess so..but its too mild”
Santosh entered the Caravan with a Plate of roasted peanuts with garlic, onions and spices sprinkled on it.
“Ohhh God, its so good with the beer”,Claudia replied tasting some of those peanuts Masala.
“Would you mind leaving some of those for me”,Ross replied protecting his portion of peanuts.
“Ross…sorry (burp), I am getting out to get some fresh air.” ,saying so Claudia exited the Caravan.
Ross sighed as his peanuts were safe.
“EEEEw, that guy got Tuberculosis”,Claudia freaked out.
Santosh and Ross came running out of the Caravan (Ofcourse Ross was missing his masala peanuts right now.)
“See that guy throwing out red saliva on the streets” ,Claudia replied pointing towards him.
The best thing about Claudia was that whenever she used to freak out, she used to make unnecessary hand moments to emphasize her points, get a bit loud attracting others and used to look cute developing red spot on her nose.
“Will you calm down…Geezz”, Ross replied.
“For a sec I thought she was being eve teased”, Santosh mummbled.
“Claudia , that guy had a Paan”,Santosh replied.
“He had a Pan??? As in frying pan, that makes no sense???”
“Noo Paan its much more like a mouth freshener, wait I’ll just bring it for you..”, saying so Santosh went to the nearby Pan shop which pretty much reminded Claudia about Hotdog stalls in US.
“Here have some”, saying so Santosh handed out betel leaves enclosed with some Areca nut, coconut, fruit preserves and rose petel leaves to Ross and Claudia.
“Ewwww…I feel strange chewing this Leaf..sort of Vomitting” ,Saying so Claudia spitted out the Pan and down came the red Saliva.
Again the Caravan started and started heading towards Mumbai.
Mumbai: 11:30 am
“Hey that’s Gateway of India ,right???” ,Ross questioned.
“Yes, and on the right, it’s the Taj Mahal Hotel and that’s Radio club on the other side,Incase you want to do some shopping then you must try Cottage Emporium” ,Santosh replied pointing towards the shop.
“Naaa..i want to get to Bandra for my meeting” , Claudia replied
“Looks like its only us heading for Kerala then..” ,Ross replied.
“Hold on a sec, why don’t you guys spend your day in company’s Guest House, we all can start trip from tomorrow onwards”,Claudia replied.
“Seriously!! I mean you are a Technical Geek.. you spend most of your life starring Laptop in offices wearing Branded Apparels planning some Business Models…”
“Cumon , me not like that the moment you mentioned you are a wld life photographer, found t to be interesting ”
“Kerala is 1543 kms and at times you have to be fast, have Patience that makes you drop off to sleep with boredom and most of all respect wildlife”
“I am the youngest VP for my company who was raised in Illinois in a peasant family and you think I cannot survive , you got to be kidding me….”,Claudia responded in a stubborn tone.
“Alright , if you insist. Dont come whinning later on..”
“Pritesh, I am telling you these machines in future will control us just like our childrens” , the security guard said who just learnt lot about powerpoint and excel from Pritesh.
“Naaa…..” ,Pritesh replied.
Suddenly the phone rings on the Security Desk
“Is pritesh there”, Raj replied.
“Yes Sirjee, one second”, saying so the security guard handed over the phone to Pritesh.
“Dude , you should start charging that security guy, always requesting you to teach paint,xcel ”
“ahaaha, yes I did, evening tea is on behalf of him.”
“ooow Good, anyways just got a call from Claudia, the securities from the main gate are not allowing their Vehicles due to some security policies”
“She’s here already here ,God cummon Raj, hurry up…meet me in the main gate.”
“Kaka, atta yehu dyaa(let, them in)” ,Raj requested to the security.
Security was too stubborn to let them in.
“Pritesh never mind I’ll take them to my apartment” ,Raj replied.
Saying so Raj entered into the Caravan.
“Hi Claudia, I am Raj sorry for the inconvinence caused, vehicles without a proper gate pass are not allowed inside the Company’s premises.Anyhow , how did you manage to get this Caravan.”
“Haa ..never mind long story, we rented this in short, anyways this is Ross, he’s a wild life Photographer and that is Santosh our Guide”
“Hey guys nice to meet you.” ,Raj replied.
“Raj, needed a favour from you I will be travelling south of India tomorrow itself after the meeting with these people..Can you arrange a guest room for them too?”
“Yes, sure not a problem.I guess I have seen you somewhere Ross” ,Raj replied.
“hahaha, I get that a lot my friend, yes you might have seen me in Discovery/Geo ”
“Ok Santosh, I’ll just give you directions to Vikas apartment, just take a reverse and take that right hand side road.”
The Carvan started again heading towards the Vikas apartment.
“Hi Pritesh, everything has been taken care of, all the testings and analysis have been done and well prepared with the presentation” ,Ganesh replied with a smile.
“Thanks, Ganesh Claudia is here , right now meeting will start in the evening , make sure that all is taken care of.”
“Sure, I will” , saying so Ganesh left Pritesh’s desk.
Caravan was now stuck in a huge traffic
Kids started tapping at the Window selling Business Magazine.Claudia somehow managed to buy a Magazine for Rs. 150($3) -“World is Flat”
“Hey look another KFC,Ross we should try KFC in India ” , Claudia replied.
“Sure Claudia, will do that but lets settle first , have a good bath and a good sleep.”
Finally the Caravan halted at Vikas apartment.
Raj had some talk with the Security on the counter on the Main entrance of the Tower and came back with two set of keys in his hands.
“The Security was not willing to let you park your vehicle within the society premises, anyways I did convinced him for a day and here are your keys its on the 13th floor 423a and 423b.”
Ross , Santosh accomodated in one room and Claudia in other, it was quite luxurious as compared to the rooms in the Vishraanti Aashram .With 1BHK and a huge LCD Screen TV right across the wall, was a dreamhouse for every Mumbaikar .This was one of the posh area’s in Bandra and mostly Filthy rich Gujrati’s resided in this place.And being Navratri all elder Guju were busy doing preparations for Dandia celebration ,while young kids were busy collecting money from the residents.
Claudia was busy eyeing the Mandap which was filled up with all young and elderly woman in their tradtional Saree worshipping Lordess Durga.All these ceremony were held up on the main ground .Also some young kids were busy stealing Modak’s placed in front of the statue and pretending to be praying at the same time.Th e statue was around 6 feet and it was same as what Claudia saw it in pune. The Caravan could be seen right around the Corner of the ground.
Suddenly the door bell rings ..
Claudia steps away from the windows , peeps through the peep hole and sees Raj standing in front of the door.
“Hey Raj…” , Claudia replies opening the door.
“Hi Claudia, we are all set for the meeting, lets go. ”
“Kem Cho Hansa Babi”
“Muja ma Raj , ye madam koniche???”
“Office Colleague che”
Claudia was just staring at Raj and the fat lady who were busy having conversation…
“Hello , how do u do??? Today Dandia come play with us tonite..” , fat lady replied in a childish manner.
“Sorry?? ” , Claudia responded.
“Well here we have a Dandia celebration where we have this traditional Garba dance.Its fun”
Suddenly a kid runs in front of them like flash and then runs the fat lady behind him saying “Beta Khaaan kai leeee….”.
“what was that all about???”
“That’s Mom’s -Son relationship where Son refuses to eat food and Mom makes her eat food”
Raj and Claudia approached the Parking area where Raj’s Maruti was parked just around the corner.
Both of them adjusted themselves in the Car…
“God , atleast its ten times better in that Caravan for continous 4 hours.”
“Thanks , I just changed these seats yesterday.”
The Car gradually accelerated and left the premises.
“So how did you meet Ross and Santosh?”
“Well..its a long story all thanks to the Monsoon”
“You are lucky indeed to meet up such people in just 1st Visit to India ” ,Raj replied.
“yes I guess so.” ,Claudia replied with a smile.
Meanwhile Ross was busy cleaning up his camera lenses and Santosh was in the Mandap Worshipping Lordess Durga .
“Who’s he?” Gaya questioned to her friend.
“That’s Santosh , our Pandit couldn’t make it on time so Sarla approached her and he’s claims to be a pure Brahmin ”
“Owww that’s great”, Gaya replied.
Gaya Patel was one of the youngest thin hot Guju in her young teenage , who liked late night pubs, being Wooed by boys, and most of the Gujju nerd’s doubted about her being a virgin. Her skin was white as milk and anybody would fall for such beauty.
“See , that Hansa’s daughter has no sense of clothing in Mandap too” ,Sarla replied to Gitanjali.
“hmmm…sad to see such good girls getting spoilt …”
Sarla and Gitanjali besides organizing for Society functions were also well known for their back bitching and spreading false humour at times, all the young teen kids hated her , as she had N number of tennis ball under her Custody. Her policy ‘Grounds are for adults not for kids ’ has caused n number of incident and once a Police case, just because a football entered her Living room area.
Ross using his expertise Camouflaging techniques adjusted some lenses on his Cam and started taking out the Worshipping pics ambushing himself behind the tall tress right across the Corner of the Society.
“You from CID” , a ten year kid questioned .
“You are the police guy , right taking pics secretly”
It was the same kid who Claudia and Raj met in the sixth floor, who used to be aliented from other kids and loved to hang out with girls of his age.CID was the super hit series and people of all ages loved to watch it , no matter how bad the logic was. The kid had a Big specks on his face as if, he’s has been preparing for some sort of PHD’s.
“What’s your name Son?”, Ross questioned.
“My full name is Amit Vora” , Amit replied the same way as her kidertan teacher taught her, incase someone asks his name.
“Nice to Meet you Amit, I am Ross and I am a photographer not a cop”
The American accent was probably confusing him at times, but as her sister Gaya used to watch Friends every weekend, his brain analysed what Ross meant in a faster sense then an average kid.
“Can I take a picture, please please please!!!!!!”
“Yes sure ”, Ross replied in a Jovial mood as he loved kids especially when they pleaded, that made them look much cuter.
Amit took up the Camera in his hands and ran away like flash …
“Hey… stop” , Ross replied and now was concerned about the lenses as it costed worth thousands.
Amit sprinted near to her elder Sister and pretended to take pics of her.
“Amit, whose Camera is this???”, Gaya replied.
Ross came running grasping for breath…
“Kid, easy now that’s a pretty expensive Camera”
Gaya with her sweet looking charm managed to grab the Camera from his Young Brother.
“Here you go, Sorry he’s like that only grabbing other people’s stuff and running away”
“Thank’s ” , Ross replied with a smile.
“Pretty impressive team, Business Intellgence technique is going to be a boon for this company, here’s my approval , carry out the Good work team.”,Claudia replied handling over some contract papers to Raj and Alok , indicating them to sign up some agreement terms.
“Stop starring at her breasts” , Ganesh whispered to his fellow mate who was busy staring with his Glasses on.
It wasn’t his fault afterall.
The deal was done Adsclient has struck Gold this time.
Mid-Night: 9:30 pm
Claudia was surprised to see Ross and Santosh dancing wearing some Indian traditional dress with two sticks on their hand.The atmoshphere in Vikas society was vibrant with Woman wearing Chaniya Choli , Gagra choli, the DJ was remixing some Dandia songs and people of all ages where dancing with accordance to the Ryhthm’s of Falguni Pathak’s Pre-recorded Song s.
Most of the Girls were eyeing towards Ross the way he was dancing holding those fancy Dandia sticks , was as if he has been doing it since he was a child.
Suddenly a TV Van halted in front of the society and two thin guys in their early 30’s came and started videoshooting the Dandia celebration Organised in Vikas Society.It was because of Santosh Gada who held top Notch position for a Gujrati Channel . He was almost the CEO of that company, well he was going to be promoted to be the Board of Directors next week .He had his own contacts to get his work done on his terms and conditions and very few people in his society actually knew about his Calibre and status.He was the most quiet person , enjoyed viewing the celebrations and has the ability to blend in without getting noticed.
He was Busy eyeing Ross keeping distance.
Claudia came from Nowhere wearing Ghagra Choli and went Straightaway to Ross.
“How do I look ”.
Ross was stunned to see her in those Indian tradiotional dress.
“You look different,wow…. I don’t know what to say…”
“Thanks Ross , I borrowed it from Raj’s Neighbour ,Cerela something her name is ”
“Come on Hop in the crowd , I’ll show some of my moves” ,Ross flirted.
Falguni’s song was uproaring and being remixed like never heard before, the Gujju crowd alongwith Ross ,Claudia and Santosh were going mad and almost lost some Calories and were sweating like never before.But it all came to an end when a Police Vehicle halted Signalling that its 11:30 pm already.But in the end Bribery won and the Police left the premises. The festivity went on till 1:30 am .
There is an Emptiness in all of us… and we busy try to fill up those emptiness whether it be via our festivities , our ambitions , our professionalism, our religion , trying to connect with each other with the commonality we possess , trying to disguise of our very existence with something else and always not able to figure out our reason for existence.
Morning: 10:00 Am
Santosh woke up .Being a Brahmin he has never slept so late and this was the first time his brains were forcing his eyelids to close and doze off for few more minutes.
“Wake up champ, we got some shooting to do?”
“Long story never mind…”, now hurry up
“I am all set” ,Claudia came lets go.
“Hey, whats going on?” ,Santosh questioned.
“Well, tell him Ross.”
“We will be doing a Video footage for ‘Discover Mumbai’.Santosh Gada our next door neighbor seems to be my No.1 fan. He paid me some decent money for this one day project, in which I will have to project the real Mumbai in front of all the Indian Audience ,no script no thing and you my friend have a chance to videoshoot”
“Oowww ohkk that’s cool”
“And Action” , Santosh screamed in his unusal accent.
“Hi, this is Ross and here I am going to have a 100$ cab ride across Mumbai, and our tour guide the cab driver Vinod will make sure that we don’t miss any Part . Claudia ready for the ride…”
“Absolutely Ross, this is my first visit and sure am excited about this….”
The Cab started and Santosh somehow adjusted sitting in between Ross and Claudia pointing the video Lenses to the driver.
“Sirjee the first location I am going to make you visit is the Mumbra devi temple. Bombay was renamed to Mumbai because of Mumbra devi.”
The Cab passed through some Zig Zag road and finally halted at Mumbra station..
Santosh Video lenses exited the Cab and now was busy recording a temple top the hill where the mumbra devi resides. From the station itself the remple was visible from between the hills.
“Mumbra is majorly dominated by Muslim Community and the Station is surrounded by butchers and poultry stalls. Its a small temple with a rock like structure painted over in deep orange representing the dieties”, Vinod replied busy staring at the Video Cam.
At the foot of the hill a young lad asked each of them to carry a container of water to the temple top..Seemed like there would be people at the top who would require water.Hence started the journey Ross, Claudia and the Cab Driver carrying extra weights with them.There were steps all the way to the top.
After visiting the temple all were in high spirit…Santosh unfortunately had to turn off his video recording as no cameras were allowed in the temples.
Satyanarayan Pooja was going on and Pojjaris were Engrossed in worshiping rocks painted in Orange.
Afternoon 11 pm:
Shivaji Park , Mumbai:
Vinod halted the Cab Just opposite to the Gate of the largest park in Mumbai.
“The grand statue of Shivaji in the park is one of the very few statues in which Shivaji is depicted without having drawn out his sword.”
Santosh Camera Zoomed to bunch of Students playing cricket. But the tactic they were using was a bit weird. They were throwing underarm as in what it was like a bowling ball. The Main batsman had weird sense of holding and responding to such simple Balls. The fielder never looked at the ball and somehow managed to catch it.
It was surprising to see that they were all blind and yet able to hit and chase the ball.
Vinod introduced Coach Deepak Ramchandran to Ross and to his surprise RamaChandran was one eye blinded.
“Hi Deepak, I am Ross and I am really surprised to see how such blind kids are playing Cricket.”
“Hello Ross, You see there’s a reason for everything that happens in life…some of them were born this way while some were forced to be this way,..our institute that is Viklangh Shala is one of the very few institutes in Mumbai helping and improvising such handicapped kids and to our expectations some of them are working in Information Technology, Finance Department, Choreographing young talents etc ”
“Wow that’s great , I really respect you Mr Deepak for doing such a big thing for such physically challenged kids. By the way how did you train kids to play Cricket.I mean how are they able to respond in such an accurate manner”
“Well you see Ross the ball has a bell within it which makes noices whenever a ball is thrown or approaching someone.The rules of this are pretty much simple , the ballsman first shouts out ‘Ready’ first and later on if the batsman is ready he too shouts out notifying all the fielders and the bowler that he is ready for bowling.”
“Ohh I See they hear the sound and react to it,sounds interested can I join them too”
“Ye s Sure”, Deepak replied.
Ross was blindfolded and was given a chance to bat.
Bowlsman replied ,“Ready”
“Ready Mate”,Ross replied mimicking Australian accent.
The first ball was thrown. The rings made sounds and Ross was clean bold the ball has hitted the Middle stump. Again the Ball was bowled again knocked out clean bold and again and again and again the Video cam kept on recording Ross’s pathethic wicket loss and all were having a hearthy laugh watching this.
“Atleast I tried” ,Ross taunted.
Claudia and Santosh cant control laughing.
“Ok and the next stop Juhu beach ” ,Vinod replied facing towards the Camera.
The Cab left the Shivaji Park premises. It was almost 6 pm now and the Sunset scene was the best thing to be seen at this moment of time.
“Juhu Beach is one of the famous beaches in India.Its located on the shores of the Arabian Sea..you guys should try out Pani Puri’s and ofcourse the main course the Paav Bhaji.”
“Hmmm… tastes like apple pie” ,Claudia replied.
All were enjoying the roadside Pani Puri enjoying viewing the beautiful sunset sight.
“First time in my life I have tasted such awesome Paav Bhaji” , Santosh replied with a sense of hunger satisfaction.
The Video Cam was indicating low battery and they have almost completed shooting Celebrities House location and random videos on the beaches.
Finally the video zoomed to bunch of college students having some Junkies… it was roadside Chinese food
“So we have a bunch of regular students ,visiting this roadside ,”,Ross replied facing towards the cam.
All 4 college students nooded hi in front of the camera , with no clue what to respond as if they were camera shy.
“So whats your fav dish here”, Ross questioned to one of the fatso guy.
“Well Chicken Manchurian Rice mostly and chicken lolypop chilly style”..
“Ohhh the dish name itself sounds Yummy, we should try it Claudia”
“You should try the lollypop with the schezwan sauce ” , the fatso guy replied.
The Camera Zoomed to bunch of fried chicken legs stuffed in chillies capscicum and some brown gravy on it.
“And cut”, Santosh responded who was almost going to puke seeing those chicken legs, being a Brahmin Santosh was allergic to see any one chewing on Chicken legs.
Morning 11:00 Am
A huge commotion can be heard outside, Santosh for the 2nd time slept over night. Santosh Gada was highly impressed with the videography .
“Ross , I am really impressed with the Video shoot you did for Discover Mumbai…”
“Thanks Saantosh ”,Ross replied with a smile.
“Tell you what , I am offering you a contract for Discover India ”
“But I am suppose to be in Kerala for Wild life Video shot.”
“No problem you can append those videos too, stakes are huge and for Discovery ,also you will be having an additional members in your team ,having long experience in sound engineering /Editing and will be acting as a technical assistant ”
“Sounds great,but you need to accommodate my collegues too Claudia and Santosh and there’s not much of a space in our Caravan to add additional members.”
“Don’t worry about that , I have rented a spacious Vintage Caravan which provides a Mileage of 5000 km and runs on Diesel..Santosh’s Caravan stays here in the meantime”
“I still get my rent right”, Santosh the Poojari questioned Ross entering the Gada’s room .
“Yes , Santosh don’t worry you sure will be getting your rent”, Ross replied with a smile.
“So all set here is your Contract paper, I want you to sign on it and you can set your Journey from tomorrow onwards.”
Evening all the Gujrati lads were busy enjoying the Dhoklas ,Fafras and Masala Soda with Ross , Claudia Santosh and Santosh Gada.
This Lads were an expert with respect to Geographical toplogy of India and were doing Internship for Discovery.
“Ok Ross, so you will leave from here at 6:00 Am morning and will be heading towards the South-India if possible Coimbatore, Chennai. Budget for the travelling will be taken care of so you don’t need to worry about that.”
It was mid-night all have their instruments tested the optical Zoom,the picture clarity the night vision etc and all the necessary packings were done.
Mrning 6:30 am:
All the people accommodated themselves in the Caravan.The Caravan left the premises and was straighaway starting heading for the Southern side of India.
Street folks all started starring at the Caravan, this was the first time for most of the mumbaikars to see such huge spacious Caravan, at Churchgate the traffic police stopped the Caravan to check for the license and registrations.
Ross rented an Autorickshaw and the caravan started following it. The two technical team members were busy recording the every activity of Ross. One of the team member was in other Rickshaw holding the camera in a different awkward position recording the moment of the autorickshaw.
“Hey folks, we are heading towards the south of India from Mumbai and with me is Satish Patil my tour guide for Mumbai and the owner of this very own rickshaw and satish here is going to take me to one of his favorate place where he enjoys his humougous Vada Pav. ”
“Yes Sahib, the best VadaPav and only for 8 Rupees”, Satish replied driving the Rickshaw.
It took half hour to reach the destination and it was Gupta’s Vadapav.It was a roadside stall and people of all ages were seated at that place,not to mention the students who came from the nearby colleges spent almost all their days in here as they didn’t understood the single word what teachers had to convey.
The two technical experts jitendra and Raju were taking closeups of that locations, while Santosh was busy in the Caravan reading the ‘How to Operate this Caravan’ Claudia was following Ross to enjoy the very moment of having an Indian Snack(for free)
“Hummm, its good this single piece of snack is enough for a breakfast”, Ross replied
“Also try dipping the same in a Coconut Chutney and try it out”,Satish suggested.
All were enjoying the taste of this Humungous Vada Pav ,having its official name in the menu as Bada Pav.
“Well that’s about it, whats next Satish what is the next terroitory that needs to be explored…”
“Ross, the next territory you will be going on with my friend Youseef and its Mumbai Local Train, I have to go catch up some Customers from Vidyavihar take care guys”,saying so Satish left the premises waving his hands towards the Camera.
“Owww alone ,sounds like a challenge mate,lets do it” , saying so Ross and Claudia had a 15 minutes walk to the Railway station.
“Where to?” , a guy behind the ticket Counter replied.
Claudia seeing the Crowd refused to travel by train.
‘Sanddust Road’, is what Ross replied after confirming with the technical teammates where will the Caravan will be halting next .
“So , Youseef what makes Mumbai Local Trains so famous”,Ross questioned.
The two technical assistants were having hard time to cope up with the recording probably because of the enormous Crowd.
“Why don’t you try it out for yourself , if your reach your Destination sahi salamat(in one piece), I would recommend you to take a lottery ticket at that point of a time ”, saying so Youseef and Ross had an hearthy laugh.
Both started boarding a train and Ross accidently boarded up in the ladies Compatment, seeing so Jitender too boarded the same Compartment recording the consequence of his unknown mistake.
“May Allah save Ross, Women are overcrowded at this peak time and tend to be more vicious whenver a male boards the Ladies Compartment”,yuseef replied facing towards the Camera.
Ross was stuck in a weird position in between thousands of Girls and woman and also was slapped from some unknown hand which was recorded buy jitendra Video Cam.
“God what is this full of women in here, Am I in the Wrong Compartment and where is Yuseef”, Ross questioned himself.
The nervousness was pretty much visible on his face, the crowd of the ladies and Woman kept on Coming into that boogie and Ross keep on getting into the very centre of those crowd and most woman even started abusing Ross in Hindi.
Luckily the next station was their Destination and Ross somehow managed to get out of the crowd.This was the worst experience for him.If it was even a seconds late to get out of the train he would have ended up reaching to some other destination.
“Ross, you alright” ,Youseef came running towards Ross.
“Yes, Mate it was an aweful experience for me, got slapped twice by an unknown hand…”
The Caravan has reached way before the train halted, waiting for Ross and his technical team to come back in the caravan and edit the recordings for today.It was 6:00 pm in the evening.
It was time to add some God’s voice in the audio…to make the video gloom.
“Mumbai teaches a lot about about life. Probably no other city in India teaches you as that of Mumbai. Once you are in Mumbai for some time you would feel bad to leave the city. You will feel as if you are leaving your home town.This is the place which has largest Slums in India, it represents everything that great about India and area where it needs to improve and it might just look different from what it is right now.Mumbai buzzes through activity all through 24 hours.
(Ross to one of the Graduate students--prerecorded) “What makes Mumbai so special?”
“In Mumbai all the general public Is smart about their Normal Chores in day to day life.People here are not worried about the Street thugs or a street time hoodlums who mushrommed in the city once, some rapidly blosommed into the most wanted gangsters with dozens of Criminal Charges.The only thing they are worried about is the Political Arena where people from nowhere are elected as Political Leaders trying to apply the divide and rule policy.Pirated DVD, VCD guys can brand themselves as walking Planet stores as they open up any where according to the Morning or evening traffic.Cricket is what Mumbaikars love as lord of the Cricket Sachin Tendulkar was born here and inspired millions of people.Dont be surprised if you see a group of blind or deaf teenagers playing Cricket. Bollywood and Vadapav along with a Cutting chai is a all time hit here.There is no right reaction , there is only yours own reaction when you visit Mumbai ”
And so the recordings were edited added with some background sound of tabla ,sitar etc.
Every video that were recorded were edited with respect to the Contrast, Brightness, trimmed and appended at the end.
The Caravan has just caught up with the accelaration and Ross was having his mindset to the green fields Maharashtra has to offer.
Claudia initially was blaming herself for taking this trip, she was feeling uneasy and the atmosphere of India has already made her dizzy.
For the first time , Claudia was wishing if she would have better stayed in her company’s Guest Room watching Harry Potter and suddenly in front of her a big poster of Harry Potter passes by, below the Banner its written in Marathi(local Language) and besides that a bunch of girls and women can be seen wearing all kind off clothes.Most of the Young girls where in their tight blouses making their Breast shape visible and transparent to people of all ages who were busy crossing the streets. This was the red light area where girls and woman of all ages did this for money.The young girls who were at the age of 11 -12 were kept in an hideout from elder male targets by an elderly lady named Laila . The intern students have pre-planned an interview Laila with Ross and the technical team were ordered to use the Spy Cam.This was the place where very few people or the fortune riches knew about it.Claudia refrained from exploring this area as it was definitely not safe for her. Ross and the technical Crew got out of the Caravan and started walking in between the slum area, where Laila was guiding them to reach the safe area where all these kids were kept it was a two storey Chawl, on the 2nd floor busy with their studies and other activities.It was a great initiative take by Laila to educate these kids while their Mothers where busy in their work making fulfilling some other mans lust desires.
But there was something wrong about this 8 year old girl. She was beautiful as an Angel lying on bed around the corner of the room and an elder brother probably 12 years old who used to take care of her.
“She is suffering from final stages of HIV”, Laila said to Ross.
Ross was stunned and almost was about to cry to see such a beautiful Girl suffer from such disease.
“Is she going to die Massi??” , the twelve year old guy questioned to Laila.
“I don’t know Rahul Beta” , Laila replied looking a bit upset.
At that moment Rahul knew that she meant ‘Yes’ in a nicer way.
“Where is her Mother”, Ross Questioned.
“She died weeks ago , she was suffering from AIDS we got these kids lying around the streets, we cant afford Money for the treatment..”
The cam recorded how kids were happy among themselves ,their Innocence and dignity intact…Luckily till now no man has caught hold of this place.
This was the darker side of Mumbai Ross and the team members have ever seen.It was time for them to leave the premises….
Laila Bidded them farewell, and the caravan started leaving the red light area.Ross and the technical members were not in the mood to comment or not even in the Jolly mood they usually used to be.
“Whats with you guys?”, Claudia questioned.
“hmm.. What ?”, Ross replied.
“You people are Mute all of the sudden?”
Something Changed , as if time has stopped and for the first time they really understood the value of life.
The Caravan just started travelling the Konkan Belt and most of the teammates were in Blissful state admiring the beauty of nature, the trees, the meadows, the Mountains , the lakes….
All scenes were busy being recorded in the Hi-tech Video lenses, which depicted the mastery of creation which is very much balanced and yet so tender.
The Concrete Roads went on Narrowing and eventually disapperared as it started penetrating the Southern Side Of India.The Roads now were pretty much like almost made up of Red soil with big green trees on both the sides…the Caravan halted nearby a a small ‘Lunch House’ restaurant .
This is the place where lots of tourists used to visit this small restaurant when travelling via Road.A pure veg Hotel well known for its Daal Rice for only 15 Rs.
Inside the restarant:
Claudia was having trouble swallowing the Indian food,for the first time she had tried daal rice but she was not able to digest it.
Ross and the rest of the Crew members understood this and told her to try some sweets alongwith rice and ordered the waiter to bring up some Gulab Jamuns.
In the end came some sweet dishes th e jalebi and the Keer made up of rice. They all had their Stomach filled up
…. The Trip was a bit dull now ,but soon it end up being a big mess, all the Crew members were stunned on this sudden event. Thankfully Ross had his Debit Card in his pocket to make the necessary payment, but the problem was this small restaurant did not accept any Card Payment and no ATM were to be found anywhere in here. The Tyres of Caravan went missing .Laptops and other gadgets which were used for editing disappeared. One of the front Windows of Caravan were smashed into pieces and the only thing remaining was a few luggage and one HandyCam..the Goa Police Station was very far from this locality and they were planning to visit the Goa’s local Tour Guide within an hour, but without any Proper signals on their Cell phones they were stuck in here.Passport and Visa of Claudia went missing.
Restaurant Manager Gazing these people with his red eyes which pretty much showed that he was drunk and not in a good mood
“So how are you paying for the bill”, Manager questioned adjusting his white Lungi.
Ross took out his Swiss Watch worth 230$ and handed it over to the Manager.
“Heres, my watch gifted by my nephew.Please give me rest of the Change this is worth 11,150 Rs.”
“Ohhh, no no no no MoneyBack , either the watch remains here or you can work here for a day”
“Are you Fucking out of your mind we just had 2000 Rs of meal, we had no idea that our stuff would go missing here I want to calling the Police first to sort this out”
“First Money then call whoever you want to”, and signaled his Waiters to surround them.
Suddenly a man from behind wearing a black turban with black Moustache and beard held the Manager from behind and pushed him in his direction.
“Whats Going here ?” , Kuldeep Questioned.
“They haven’t paid for their food ”, Manager replied with a frail look on his face.
“Hello Sirjee, What seems to be the problem here”, Kuldeep questioned to Ross.
“Here My friend Santosh just went out to bring up some cash to pay the waiter and to our surprise most of our luggage went on missing..now this idiot is not accepting my debit Card and refusing me to pay the rest when I am giving him my Swiss Watch”..
“Ohh Sir, don’t worry, I am the District Commisioner Of police from Punjab was here on a tour with my family” and pointed towards his family who were busy enjoying food “and are heading back to Punjab ..heres Your Money” , Kuldeep gave it to the Manager with an arrogant look.
The Manager like a Silent Mouse fleed away to his Cash Counter….
“Anyways heres my Card incase you have any issues do call me, as of now I will just speak with one of my Goa Police Head to help you out in this.”