The ‘P’ String

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Aniruddh Padia, en route to Chennai from Puducherry, 16 August 2011


Lights Camera Action! And there releases a day full of thrill, wonder, awe and surprises. 14th of August 2011 – the most memorable day of the year so far – oh how can I forget it! A trip to the Puducherry JNV to discover the talent out there turned out to be much more than I could ever imagine.

Entry ECR Bus to Puducherry. If you call a local at Mumbai or Delhi jam-packed, you might just want to rethink! Quite unexpected of what was in store for us, Krishna and I “board” the vehicle. One hour down, and I hear this from my mate – “Dude, there’s a lady sitting on my foot!” Continuing, the journey goes on. 2 hours down – and I just remembered I’ve been skipping meals – Et tu Krishna, and down fall Padia! We halt just to realize we’ve reached half as close to our goal. Phew!

We hunt for an auto to the JNV, in the midst of nowhere. Auto enters the scene. Enter Krishna and myself. Destination reached. After being charged an exorbitant amount, we swear for having paid an equal amount for both a 100km journey and a 2km journey.

Food! This is where I expect rice to be staring at me in the face and out comes my spoon. Quite unexpected I see chapattis on the banana leaf. Sweet!

Mel Milaap! Both parties exchange information. Guess what kids want to do now – not an engineer, not a doctor, bacche ko MBA karna hai! Kya Baat hai! After teaching the kids some basics to use the idiot machine, I hear the most hilarious fact – a kid apparently gets pained just when the librarian handed him 30 books for IIT JEE. Let’s not fancy a similar situation. After spending an incredible 4 hours glued on the computer not to study – but install Google chrome, I now realize what installation cost truly means! Point to be noted : Mr Pande is the coolest computer lab assistant and BSNL Broadband is not to be trusted!

So, it seems it just ended. Here comes the masala – an auto driver; lets call him the “dude” for now. So dude asks for 40 and we hear 200. We think dude is drunk. Dude doesn’t like it. We soon realize he may actually be drunk! Dude points to random policeman – “He was my classmate, he drives police car, I drive Auto” Dude drops us at stop, figures he is low on fuel, so takes us along to the petrol pump. Don’t ask me why! What next – we miss 2 buses! Dude tries to do publicity stunt in front of bus to stop it, miserably fails. On the way back, dude finds us an auto to Puducherry. A tamil conversation follows. Dude convinces new auto guy to be good to the social workers just for his sake. Smiles everywhere, dude packs.

We reach Puducherry to realize the vehicle is jampacked. Entry AC Volvo. People run, jump and cling to the Volvo even before the doors open. Now that’s some gold rush!

Whilst on the legendary bus ride back The legendary return bus journey
What next – music on the rocks! A guitarist and a couple of singers – now that’s going to be a journey. 20 minutes down, we discover cops trying to shoo the musicians. Passengers resist. Driver cribs. The decision follows public opinion – the musicians stay. And here I am, with a smile on my face, with some slumber on Krishna’s, thrill on the guy sitting next to the guitarist cheering at every note, and an occasional clapping by the rest! “Give me some sunshine, give me some rain…”

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