Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Counting Blessings- Small town diaries Part II

What is convex and black and small? A beetle? Nah- an aunto-rickshaw's vinyl roof and when you see hundreds of them without an inch of space in between, you're bound to think -it is auto-rick apocalypse. But apparently it isn't. I'm told smilingly that it is the 'normal' evening rush in Mumbai and 'No, I won't take you where you want to go,' the rickwalla's smile is broader. He's sympathetic, it says, but not mad. I've no option left but to walk, more than a mile, in heels, when finally the roads started to open a little.
I'd never have faced this in my beloved small-town. Traffic has increased, it is unruly, encroachment has narrowed the roads and there are strays aplenty but few jams. True you have to avoid a pit here, a puddle there, a dog here, an apprently deaf cyclist there while steering clear of the ox (which is considerably bigger than your car) by the road side, but jams? No sir. This small town may crawl but it doesn't come to a full-stop.
Space- that is also what a small town gives you, physical if not otherwise. You don't need to be a millionaire to afford a 3-4 bhk, and the h can be huge, a garden, roof and spacious verandah thrown in for good measure.
And the biggest blessing is - hold your breath- savings. You can't spend no matter however much you want to so you save per-force. And why can't you spend? Let me count the ways- 1. No unhealthily expensive but inviting eating joints, the ones that are there have made inconsistance their hall-mark so you don't want to challenge your luck too often. 2. No malls (yes, in this day and age) - the one which opened recently has three shops with all the rejects from Delhi or someplace. 3. No movie-theatres (forget multiplex) unless you want to brave rat-infested, gutka smelling and gutka colored walls of the two existing 'picture-halls'- Thank God or whoever for the Dish....
The list continues tomorrow..................


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