Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pune - Mumbai - Zurich - Basel

Every face, every heart, every talk has a stoy. The more faces you see the more stories you pass by. Closer and longer you look at these faces, the stories get detailed, interwined and you never know when is it that the story has touched you and impacted you to take some actions. I am not yet pushed to actions more than writing a blog but some day, it will go beyond it.
Travel gives you intersting opportunities to visit more of these stories. I was on a holiday last week. I had been to my family. 6 months away from the family has taught me a lot, and I miss them every moment I am here. My son, he is growing faster than ever, my parents are growing older and my wife is growing prettier :). Ofcourse more about it has been written by happy. While coming back from home to Basel, I started on a KK travels shared cab. Exactly at 5 in the evening after a full day and a full week of total fun and joy, I was going away from my family, back to my work. I really did not want to.

I thought Happy, my son, being so small, would not understand that I am leaving him again for may be next few months. But he started crying and it melted me. I felt like crying. There were 3 more people sitting in the cab. I thought I will rather talk and talk about them then thinking about happy as that would have made me cry. Out of the 3 the one sitting next to me was an uncle. He was a banker. He was going to drop his son sitting next to him to New Zealand. His son Sourabh, with whom I happened to have a common friend was returning to NZ where he had done his studies and was going back for job. And there was a young girl sitting in front sit next to the driver, with a colorful green - pink bag. While we 3 were talking at the backseat she remained silent, and I thought she might be a little edgy and may be one of those whom you meet most often in offices, young software engineer working 5 hours a day, enjoying good phones, great chilled-out life and having little idea about the difficulties of the world. She must have been of my cousin Chirag / Sis Pooja's age. I look at all kids of their age with a "bade bhaiya" look trying to find what is wrong with the generation.

Sourabh happened to be a cricket fan and someone who had loved playing the game in college, dedicated follower. I could see a sportsman from heart in him. I am not a sport-type. I would be lying if I say I follow cricket. I dont even follow that. Long years back I ued to follow Lawn Tennis. I had tried keeping myself updated about major players in various sports and how they are playing but keeping myself updated with tournaments and teams was something I never did. We started off talking some very interesting stuff as the car glided over the mumbai express. The girl was still silent. With occasional calls. Uncle was very nice, trying to talk to all, making friends. I think he too must be thinking about the stories behind faces the way I do.

Half way during the tea break, I saw Shekhar Ravijani (Vishal-Shekhar duo) having Wada pav on highway outlet. I am not sure why any one did not recognize him there. I would not make a mistake in identifying a film personality. I did not want to disturb him. I thought even if one person would identify and go for his photograph / autograph, his entire evening would be ruined with mob trying to do the same with him. I had the best Misal Pav you get on expressway.

While getting down from the cab for this misal pav, I noticed the girl ahead with a Yonex Kit. I found it interesting. And when I came back she was having a discussion in Marathi with uncle and Sourabh. Well she did not sound the way I expected her to be. She told us her name was Aditi Mutatkar. It did not ring any bells never heard of that name. She had to tell us that she is a badminton player and has been playing for India for years. Well a surprised look on our face. It was only after a couple of more minutes that I realized that she is a National Champion.

First thoughts : Why the hell is a national champion of a sport travelling in a cab with ordinary people like us- the "Bhedchal"?

And then everyone in the car was talking. Discussion started with Badminton and my knowledge of Baddy was not as little as knowing fact that Saina Nehwal plays badminton and Deepika Padukone's dad used to play it and nor was it as high as knowing that there is a Swiss Open Badminton Championship, right in the city where I live, with 8-9 Indian player being a part of it. The discussion went on to how is the plight of badminton players? How they need to shell out money from their own pocket to participate in games. How highly unsustainable a life of baddy player is if s/he doesnt have the zeal for spending life on it without earning much. While talking this I personally realized that the Baddy champions too dont earn as high as most of those boring software engineers who live "onsite" i.e. people like me. And that is shame. I mean comeon - she is a champion. I would not write more about this, you can visit Aditi's Blog to hear it first hand. Kudos to her.

I had made up my mind by the time we reached Mumbai airport that atleast once I will go to support the Indian players and take my friends along. Unfortunately Aditi's match was in my office timing, and office after a week's break is very demanding. She lost and that is what sports is not about I understood. Its not winning or losing, its playing. We made a big group though and did go to Swiss Open. Though I never met Aditi there, but I did follow all our baddy stars - Saina, Ajay, Thomas, Rupesh, Jwala and it was very very interesting. The Indian turnout at the matches were so high that even the Swiss Open websites mentioned it.

One thing that I disliked about it, we are celebrity crazy. We love people and make big figures out of them but dont really appreciate the sport. I wish as many people who turned out came to watch Badminton as they came to watch Saina. Hopefully some day it will happen.

So closing that part of the story, after I reached Mumbai airport, I boarded my swiss air flight, and I knew it was going to be a good night sleep. But there was one more interesting story by my side on board. There was a lady - Christine or Catherine, I dont remember her name any longer. She was going to Barcelona. And she was talkative. She told me that she was in India learning Yoga. So I thought one more, fake Yoga follower from west. I am getting a little too cynical I believe at times. I asked her , where all did you go and I was expecting, Taj Mahal and Himalaya, and Rajasthan and Haridwar on her list. But she started with Hampi, Gokarna, Mysore ... DIfferent indeed. She mentioned that she was in GOa for 10 days where she got robbed, but then she also said Goa is not India. I really appreciated that.

The most interesting comment from her was that India is a place where you cannot generalize, a person you meet would be very bad and the very next person sitting next to that might be very good. She told stories of her travel by Sleeper class train, local buses, autos etc. She was indeed a low budget traveller. And she said that now she has got a bill from bank asking her to pay a lot of money that she did not have. She worked as a freelance Journalist writing for Greek newspapers in Barcelona. But there was a story, very intersting and very nice in all her talks.

I specially remember 2 incidences that she said. First that with her maid in Mysore who spoke and understood only Kannada, she used to talk in her half learned Spanish, and still they could communicate. I found that very interesting - thinking of both of them talk! Another one was about Indian food. She found it very spicy and interesting but soon had caught disease. She also talked of a Baba she met enroute , who she said looked sad when she left him to go to Mysore :). I could see what she meant! SO yes I was back in Zurich. Meeting quite a few interesting people .

From Zurich to Basel too I met an Interesting person ,who would be a part of our team here and who was a Gujarati too - Nikunj. LIked talking to him as well. But because I know him now and meet him, no stories here :).

I really wish my son can read these stories that life brings forth. These stories are written with heart and emotions and not in language. I hope Happy has the heart to feel all of it.


Samien Kidwai said...

Wow! A nice travelogue. :)
It's always gud to read ur stuff, be it a story or an article.

saurabh said...

Jay bhai....first of all wud like to mention that ur a very gud writer as I anticipated...
I hope u write sum more detailed descriptive version dedicated to aditi's experiences that she shared with us...

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