July 07, 2004


More abt the trip....for the first time I travelled long distances by bus in India...i had previously never travelled for more than 3-4 hrs....in the past 12 yrs atleast...but I travelled from Jalgaon to Pune and Pune to Mumbai by Bus, Bangalore to Hyd and HYD to mumbai also by Bus....the best rides were Pune to Mumbai and Hyd to Mumbai....they were Volvo buses that were extremely comfortable. The seats were better than the plane seats (economy class)....they go back twice as much as the seats in plane and had the overhead AC and light controls....it was a nice journey...but very very expensive...more than Train travel but the timings are convenient as most of the bus journeys are over night so u dont feel that u lost a day or so....u travel most of the distance in ur sleep....there were two instances that were note worthy....first was the sleeper bus from Jalgaon to Pune...Adi insisted on me taking the sleeper bus and now I hate Adi for that as I got the top birth (like in a 2nd class coach in the train)....but it was cramped...I couldnt fit there...with great diffculty I squeezed onto the berth then i realized that the light was on the other side (I wanted to read)....I tried turning but couldnt so I had to get down and climb back with feet first (it was very very embarassing)....people were watching with curiosity to know what I was upto:):)......the next instance was on my bus journey from Bangalore to Hyderabad....I was excited that they played Yuva...I was plannning on watching it so I was glad....watched the movie for abt 1 hr and 20 mins before were stopped for dinner, After dinner when the movie and the journey resumed people in the bus wanted to sleep so they made the driver turn off the volume!!!!!!!!!!! so i watched the rest of the movie without sound!!!!!!!!! I was furious as it was 10PM and people were ready to sleep...nothing against them but why to turn the volume off?????

One more incident that I will remember for sometime is my visit to Tirupati....I have walked up the 7 hills before but never with my Mom and sis so it was a different experience...I should give a lot of credit to my Mom for being able to climb the hills at the same pace as my sister (not exactly but considering her age it was good pace)....we stopped for rest every 10-15 mins and drank drinks and ate in the stalls...it was like a fun hike:):) when we went to the temple the next day I couldnt recognize it as it was surrounded completely by buidlings!!!!!!! it didnt loook like the temple that I had been to n number of times....all the stalls were moved to a different locations and there was construction going on every where (just like at the U of Akron)...the whole place lost its charm...thats the best to put it according to me....it loooked more like a commercial place than a religious place....lots of hotels, cottages, guest houses and restaurants...I thought I knew Tirumala (Tirupati is the city at the foot hill and Tirumala is on top of the hill) very welll but this time I couldnt find my way around as they have laid many roads and constructed many buidlings....all things apart...the Darshanam was great....its a complete different feeling when u see the idol of lord Venkateswara....its a divine feeling which is hard to express in words....all the frustrations that u have when in line are completely gone once u see the idol

Lot of other places that I had visited have also changed....the once village where my grand parents stay is now a town with lots of industries and also an engineering college!!!!!!!! it was completely different....it was nice and calm some years ago but now its busy with lots of vehicles and other businesses...I was delighted to see my Grand parents ..... I had stayed with them for 2 yrs when I was little (from age 1 to age 3)....my mom thought I was too difficult to handle with my (then)infant sister...so she sent me to my grand parents house...thats the reason why I call my mom "mummy" and my grand mom "amma" (telugu word for mother)....I used to see all my uncles and aunts call her "amma" so i started calling her that too and I still refer to her as "amma". They have a huge house, I used to feel lost and frightened sometimes when i was little...but now it was a different experience to goto the same house....they used to keep the stuff in the top shelves so that I couldnt get to but now I am taller than all of them so I could reach for things that they couldnt get to without a stool/chair.....its a funny feeling...driving in that place is more difficult than driving in Mumbai (its different may be it cannot be compared)....as it involved cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, scooters, bikes, rickshaws, autos, people, kids, cows, pigs etc....alll on the road and most in the middle of the road...it was quite a challenge.

The other change that I have see in India is the spending capacity of the people. It has gone up tremendously...people have been going out more often and eat out more and there have been a lot of malls that came up recently so people have been shopping more too...The movies have become expensive.....Imax in mumbai is most common hangout for the weekends...if u take a family there u will easily spend abt Rs.1000 just to watch a movie and eat a snack there...I went bowling for the first time in india and I was shocked to see that it was Rs.200 a frame and it was jam packed at 11 in the night!!!!! it had abt 20 lanes and there was come wait time too:):) ...... welll all in all even I ended up spending a lot of money on travel, eating out, buying clothes and gifts and also on telephones (had to call Sindhu in Hyd regularly:):) )...end of a memorable trip :(:(

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