This post is from my hotel room. It's cold and the traffic outside is a constant hum in the dark, the train hoots in the still darkness, a few lights puncture the inky black outside the sixth floor window. I am sitting on my bed with the laptop positioned, where else?, on my lap.
Had dinner yesterday with a nephew from my grandfather's grandfather's sister's side whom I am meeting for the first time. This side of the family has produced two great Malayalam writers - Puthencavu Mathan Tharakan and his son KM Tharakan. My nephew, who is almost my age, is the managing director of a company in Delhi. I like his enterprising nature and sense of control over situations. He took full charge of the dinner at Kwality in Connaught Place, including ordering a meal which I must say was yummy: tandoori chicken, bhendi masala, dal makhni, nan, and to top it all pudding.
It is wonderful to eat a proper meal after all those burgers at KFC and Macdonnels. Makes me wonder if eateries like Kwality - which serves food the old fashioned way - would go out of business. There was a Kwality restaurant in Colaba Causeway (wonder if it is a branch of this Kwality), I tell my nephew, but it closed down and in its place is an apparel store now.
I like my nephew's direct talk, his honesty and his camaraderie. I have a drink while I fill him up about our family's history, right from my grandfather's grandfather's grandfather's father's time, of which I am something of an expert. We talk of the hypocrisy of new money in Kerala, how our forefathers really worked hard to put us where we are. He drops me to my hotel.
Speaking of meals the day before I went for Andhra food at the Andhra Bhavan complex with Garima, Asheeth and Varun. It was Garima's idea, or, probably Asheeth's, I don't know. It was Garima (she owns an IT company) who directed us to the place. The place is accessed after several blind turns, and suddenly we are in the midst of the hustle and noise of a south Indian restaurant. Andhra restaurant, in this case. Well, the speciality of this place is that you get mouth-watering Andhra food for Rs 60 only. I was a bit apprehensive as the other Andhra food I have eaten have all been very spicy, but this had just the right amount of spice, and the curry, vegetable and the various other delicacies had the distinct taste of well-made South Indian food. I certainly recommend.
After dinner we talk of going to Goa and Kerala. Asheeth has this idea of beach bumming on the Goa beeches, which also appeals to me and also Varun. Only Garima is a bit finicky about the idea. The plan is to go with nothing on you, buy a few bermudas and tee shirts for Rs 100 each, bum on the beach, sunning and having fun, and then discard the clothes there and come back swinging hands. No luggage, no problem. Shave? Why shave? Grow a beard, if you really want to shave use a barber, Varun suggests. Guess I should try this. Garima talks of going really cheap on South India, that is if you know people living on the way. She says she did it for around Rs 5000. It is possible as Kerala is really cheap as far as hotel accommodation and food is concerned. A hotel room comes for around Rs 200-300, or at the most Rs 500, and a full meal for around Rs 7.
Varun and Garima drop me to my hotel as Asheeth has to go elsewhere, and I really admire the sincereity and sense of fun of these young people. I am as if I am their age, there is a hidden teenager somewhere inside me all the time. So is Asheeth, who recently cropped his long locks and his identity on ryze.com is "18 till I die." So I won't reveal his correct age.
Men, that's the way to live life, men, be a bum for a few days, no?, grow a beard, don't shave only, men, what the f***, enjoy life, men, come to our beaches, dere's lot of sosegado here, men. As they say in Mack English.
More to come, watch this space!