If you are a resident or a native of Gujarat, then this post is strictly not meant for you, especially if you have a soft corner for the place. Infact, you will only be wasting your time as things I am going to elaborate upon may sound totally out of context for you, so please save yourself the trouble and the ‘cocomallu bashing’. Considering in the last two months I have been to Gujarat thrice, I want to give you an aggregate of how much of a misfit I felt in that place. People nodding their heads and grasping the downside of these trips, yes my friend, this post is for you!
An inherent part of being a mallu, is enjoying and looking forward to overnight train commutes. Netravati and Kanyakumari express are well-known express trains ( Kanyakumari not so much of an express as it takes two nights to reach Changanacherry) that carry people to and fro from God’s own country. These trains have instilled many a qualities in me without which I don’t think I could have been a better judge of character. Now, most of the times my travel to Gujarat has included the inevitable Gujarat Mail. Is it only me or does anyone freaking realise that the train has no pantry car?? I mean are you kidding me? No tomato soup, no veg cutlets, no payampuri, no chay coffee and yes what I am about to say might hurt sting like a bitchlious bee, no IRCTC’s Chicken Masala!!!!Gulp. Clearly, you haven’t understood the enormity of this problem otherwise you would have started alienating yourself from any relative or friend you have living there. Being a mallu, for a fact, I can tell you that I get on a train only when I am assured of some home cooked yum chicken, rasam, buttermilk and off course idli and red onion chutney for the next day. Ok fine, I may be getting too judgmental here, but why don’t you have tea or freaking coffee in that god-forsaken train. Another thing, Netravati has always maintained its standard of being fashionably 5 -6 hours late. It is actually a smart tactic by the railways because by that time everyone’s out of food and no one has an option but to order for that drenched in vegetable oil payampuri. No but this Gujarat Mail wants to act smart na. Bloody shit, it reaches Ahmedabad well before 6am!! Imagine, if Netravati or Kanyakumari were to do that to us, we bloody wouldn’t have gotten off only!
And if you step foot in Gujarat on a Saturday or Friday, may the lord be with you. The fact that Gujarat has the most number of drunkards just reinforces the irony that it is strictly a dry state. I don’t wish to dwell on this particular topic more because by now you must be cancelling your ticket for that friend’s wedding which is scheduled to take place in Surat next week and thinking to yourself, “Sala, cocktail ke naam pe hum saab ko Chu@#$% banane wala tha”. Yikes!
Ok chalo, I can survive without my dose of port wine or cheap vodka, but dude what about food?? Declining a man or a woman their fair share of tasty non-vegetarian food, is a freaking human rights issue. So by nature, the mention of chicken or its foreign unheard counterpart, ‘the fish’, will naturally attract only rude stares. Being brought up in Mumbai, the gastronomic smells of Khar or even Danda’s fish market, actually is a very comforting smell which reassures you about the availability of food. But no, in Gujarat you will not encounter no such fishy fumes. I can tell you I roamed for about two hours in Ahmedabad searching for a decent eatery that would serve fish and chicken. Kya kare paapi pet ka sawal hai!
Yes, another thing that I shall prepare you for are the autos in Gujarat. These guys know you are not a native when your Gucci and Diesel don’t read as ‘Gukki’ and ‘Disol’. For a 10 min ride they will charge you Rs.150 and for an hour long ride they will try to change your whole perspective about how good their dhoklas, fafdas, theplas, etc. are, and how you must have kachori for breakfast. Do I have to explain myself here that we malayalis have the most elaborate food items for breakfast?
See things like -
why Dal has to be sweet
why snakes don’t mean anything dangerous, it actually stands for snacks
why are there so many flies
why are movies, eating and shopping the only chilling activities
Yeh saare mere samaj ke bahar hai. However, I agree the main roads in Gujarat are the size of Mumbai’s highways or perhaps broader, bandini dress materials are much cheaper and have more colour options and people do occasionally give you a free lift. And before you commence upon writing a blog just like mine, visit the place and see for yourself. It is not that bad a place han.
Hence, before I conclude, I would want to make another very crucial point, if you want to make your stay in Gujarat truly pleasurable, make sure for company you don’t have a bong or a mangalorean or an extra mallu.