Monday, September 6, 2010

UP and about......

UP = U.P = Uttar Pradesh (Which, if I am to believe Maananiy Mukhya Mantri Su. Shri Mayawati Ji, is on its way to be an Uttam Pradesh)

I have always maintained I am a Mumbaikar. Born and brought up. Despite numerous trips to Jhansi and Jabalpur, i never really related to these places. But, somewhere, I am whats called as a bhaiya. A part of me is from UP/MP. I am somehow related to these places - though, i admit, this came to my notice only after Kajrare kajrare (Bunty aur Bubli)and Beedi jalaile(Omkara) were released.


Last Monday, i left for Lucknow in an emergency situation (which, by the way, was the biggest work related emergency i had faced - half and hour after being told there are no emergencies declared in this company. And its true, everyone from the MIS guy to senior consultants expressed surprise at me travelling at such a short notice. I feared i may spoil the culture in the new company, but just blamed it to being my life - all people i know who joined the company recently went abroad, i went to rural UP. Places like Lucknow, Kanpur, Bittur, Malihabad, Itaunga, Kannauj, Hardoi, Farrukabad were all just names till last week, now they are all reality. I am hoping for some other names like London, Singapore, New York etc to will also turn to reality soon :) ).

Took a circuitous Mumbai - Delhi - Lucknow route. By the time I reached,the emergency had subsided. BP was normal and i was looking forward to doing some relaxed work. Which i did. Only i traveled like 1000 kms. In rural UP (plus Lucknow). And saw and learned a lot.

Whole of UP seems content with their lot. Even the richest of farmers and businessmen hardly do anything out of the way to help thier lives. The poor are content being poor. Met some retailers who had sold just 1 TV in 3 months. And they are doing nothing about that. Difficult to believe unless you see it.

The rich in UP live like rich should. Huge kothis, lawns, multiple cars and so on. The upper middle class lives like the way they would live if they were super rich. The government servants are the new royalty. UP is one place where being a government servant is still rated highly. The general population looked fairly better off - but 30 kms out of city and there is contrasting poverty. They say Kanpur, 90 kms away, is pathetic and real representative of UP.

People are nice. ask anyone for directions. Google maps wouldn't be as precise! Every one from driver to hotel guys and people i met seemed co-operative soft spoken nice guys. (Maybe this was a Lucknow region thing). One would say Lucknowi tehzeeb is no longer seen, but believe me it is. Not conveyed in chaste Urdu, but general behavoir, normal conversations, even arguements happen very decently. Traffic in general seems disciplined, but the general rule is the other person should look before i cross! Groups of young girls and guys would be 'hanging out' at CCD's (the one at Gomati Nagar is awesome, also at Hazratganj) and it was fun to listen to them saying silly things just to be talking to the girls / guys in the group. Interacting with the opposite sex doesn't come easily to them maybe. A lot of beautiful people too, stylish, urban. But that was just one section of the city.

My Hindi has been thoroughly exposed. I am lousy. Wanted to say 'disappointing' in Hindi, thought for about a minute and still did not get the word....

People in Lucknow love cash, ATMs across the city, every corner. And most payments to be done by cash. No debit cards. Give them cash, they will happily count!

The trip's timing was good, rains and greenery all around. Fairly good roads too, so travelling was a joy.

Also went to the Bhool bhulaiya in the Bada Imambara. It was fun to listen to a matchstick being lit or the guides whispering into the wall at a distance of about 330 feet. He attributed it to "deewaron ke kaan hote hain".

Btw, in between all this, I also did some work.....and met some intresting people.... some of those NGO's and self help groups are doing really good work in the rural areas....

..............continued.

3 comments:

suku said...

arey...itni "nirashajanak" nahi hai aapki Hindi:):).......and though UK,US are beckoning ..........not many get to c d real interiors of india........so njoi while u get to do it:):)

Swathi said...

nice post

akash.Ingle said...

well so u have visited similar places where i used to stay for months... Would agree ppl are nice and helpful... well good that you travelled in rains... In summers you have cursed yourself for being there....