Thursday, August 02, 2007

The outdoor experience in Indore

The sight of the mall was very energizing. As the taxi passed the Mangal mall the crowd & the color simply reminded me of Bangalore. But before the mall the two huge buildings of Dainik Jagran & Dainik Bhaskar was something as well. The buildings communicated how big these two newspapers are in that part of the country. In Bangalore the two leading newspapers Times of India & Deccan Herald are also located on the same road but their buildings don’t quite give away their standing in the city.

Being in the heart of India (that is what Madhya Pradesh is promoted as) one would expect Hindi to be the preferred language for communication. There were no surprises on that front. One thing that I noticed on the very first day in Indore & the few days there after was how the medical stores were named. This side in Bangalore it is largely called medicals/ chemists/druggists and of course would be prefixed with some other name. But that side I noticed that there was no such thing. It was simply called “Dawaiyaan” (meaning Medicines) & it wouldn’t be prefixed with another name. That was strange. The other thing I observed was that most of the shops would have a very simple & obvious name to it. For example if there was a shop selling mobile phones, it would simply be called “mobile phones”. But yeah I found something interesting as well. A place called Ding-Dong hotel. Now that’s something right?

Indore being close to holy places like Ujjain & Omkareshwar one would have expected a lot of sadhus around there. But that is actually not the scene. Infact that is not how it is even in Ujjain for that matter. But yeah I did see some sadhus in Indore. Just try to visualize this. A group of sadhus in langotis are walking by and then suddenly you realize that the one who is leading them is not even wearing that. That’s exactly what happened with me. I did see a sadhu in Indore and a completely nude one at that walking down one of the city roads. I can tell you that was not a pretty sight.

For us city bred people some habits die hard. One thing that we wanted to do in Indore was to go to a discotheque. For obvious reasons of course. That is have some fun and get a fair idea of the kind of crowd that is there. After realizing that Geoffrey’s in the Treasure Island mall does not have a discotheque, we hopped into an auto after explaining to the driver that we wanted to go to the discotheque named Volcano. After a short ride were outside a four floors building. The security tells us that Volcano is not in this building & somewhere else. The auto driver is clueless as to what is happening. After a short argument with him we hop into the auto again. Once seated inside he reveals, “why did you have to ask the security. There is a disco inside. Don’t I know? It all happens here. You guys should have just gone up”. But the place hardly had any trappings of hosting a discotheque. No crowd hanging around. No fancy name board, nothing. But after the auto drivers explanation we realized may be it was a dance bar & not a discotheque. We finally reached another building that had a big board saying “Volcano”. But the thing written under that was weird. It read, “the family discotheque”. Now what was that? Once again no trappings of the building actually hosting a discotheque. Nevertheless we went inside hoping for the best. Outside the entrance to the disco a security guard stopped us and asked us what we wanted. When we announced that we were there for the discotheque, he asked us all to sit on some chairs that were nicely placed around there. The owner was summoned. A fat man wearing all white appeared. Gold chain, bracelet & a mobile in hand. We repeat our purpose of visit. “So you are four?” he asked. “Well now not possible” he says. We all looked at each other trying to comprehend what the owner chap was saying. Some more dialogues were exchanged. When we stepped out, all of us had this feeling that the discotheque seemed less a discotheque & more something else.

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