Monday, September 26, 2005

Sleepy, sleepy Noida

It is a hot Sunday afternoon in Noida's Sector 62.

I am dropping off, in a cab, while my friend J waits for a real-estate broker to turn up and show us some rented accomodation.

The ATM, the lone one visible for miles around - a mildly disconcerting phenomena in modern ATM-every-100-yards-cities - is sleepy.
The dusty road is sleepy.
The half-constructed buildings are sleepy.
The play-school - daringly painted in blues, reds, yellows (?) and whites - is a sleepy reminder of where our country's future architects and dress designers acquire their unforgiveable aesthetics.

The homes across the half-mile wide roads look more dead than sleepy. Not a child plays. Not a bird sings. A leaf moves, reluctantly, goaded by a sleepy breeze. No cabs, no autos zip past. One cycle-rickshaw trundles past, on an average, every half hour. A zigzagging row of sleepy buffaloes trudges past.

I am, understandably, sleepy.
J is, understandably, depressed.
"You could commute...?"
"Need a car."
"Could buy."
"Need money... have loans."

Now, I'm mildly depressed too.
No car, no money. No broker in sight and no access to the happening malls we'd heard so much about.

Suddenly, J begins to count - '2, 4, 6, 8... that's 50 grand.'

I say, "What?"
"50,000 rupees... on the road."
I stare, then roll down the windows and stare harder. "Where?"

She nods at the row of ambling buffaloes, "Amit Varm'a post on the cost of buffaloes, remember?" (For the life of me, I cannot locate that link, despite an hour of googling. Amit, help?)

As I try to picture us - stealing buffaloes, a young cowherd, brandishing a lathi, in hot pursuit, while we try dragging the beasts to the nearest car showroom, attempting to exchange our loot for a second-hand Maruti....
we collapse into giggles.

Two of the buffaloes turn to us and amble over. J squeals, "roll up the window, roll up the window."
I don't. "Maybe they overheard, and are coming over to negotiate a deal."

We giggle louder.

If I wasn't giggling, I'd have described the vision in my mind - in glassy, air-conditioned splendour, these dark beauties regally wallowing in a specially-crafted mud-pond. But we couldn't stop giggling.

And then, the sleepy Sunday afternoon in Noida is not so sleepy after all.


Suhail said...

I am giggling ear-to-ear :DDD. This was one of those light breezy posts of yours. Thanks for writing this.

david raphael israel said...

back at your blog after some absence. What a thoroughly delightful narrative. With such writing, the ostensibly / avoweedly / porfessedly less exciting the locale, the more sardonic & engaging the description. You're a stylist to reckon with. And (an irrelevant point), I've no idea where Noida is.

cheers, d.i.

Vijayeta said...

How i miss NOIDA now... What was once a 30 minute drive away seems really really far now. (And justifiably so, cos i'm in Bombay and pining for my Delhi!)
The buffalo bit was wild! I actually imagined that whole sequence with the buffalo "negotiating a deal"...LOL!

Janaki said...

Hey.. that came back to inspire me to laff away another afternoon!!!Sigh so much money just ambling away!!!

neha vish said...

It's been almost three months since I saw cattle on the roads. I miss the mooing of the cows early in the morning. Hhmm.. Thank you for the visions dear Annie..

Rebellion Arrives said...

Am a fresher on blogs. Would just whisper that it was something close to deserving a booker (if ever there would be one for blogs)...a bit too much kya !! Anyway, Would also like to add that as soon as you enter some bylanes of an ultra-posh sector in noida, would find an ultra-laidback village giggling at if saying - "ha man! so u are a software junkie moving around in your loan-managed four-wheeler...just wait, i will just bring out a self-managed 8-wheeler(also called tractor+trolley) from the dusty galiyan of my nithari, bhangel, barola, all!!"...and you just somehow find that tractor in front of your L-Mgd shining new zen, going to scratch its sweet little body so annoyingly...tht you could just manage mustering...arre yaar, when these gaons(villages) will go!!

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