The cool Delhi girls and the above 50 know-it-all Punjabi gentlemen

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Lil General family was on a vacation to Amritsar en route Delhi earlier this month. This was to be our last vacation to the Northern part of India for now. This post is inspired by the mind-blowing experience of those 10 days.

My Father-in-Law retired earlier this year and is moving back to his hometown by the end of this year. Before he left Punjab, we wanted to take Lil General there once. Not that he would remember anything, but just for memory sake. I have been there two times before this and I totally love the place - the best vacations I have had are at Amritsar. Since this was going to be the last time I would ever visit Amritsar, I had a lot of plans drawn up for those 10 days - visit to the Wagah border, stuffing myself with aloo-mooli-gobi parathas with dollops of butter, curd and pickle and going to the Golden Temple.

Stuffing too many parathas can't be good for one's health, so I realized after two days of incessant eating. Vivek and I took turns to fall sick dashing to the toilet at 4 a.m. It wasn't a good scene. Two days later LG fell sick and two weeks later, he is still yet to recover fully. So the vacation was a disaster - no sightseeing, no shopping, no eating out..just lying sick at home and flying back ten days later.

But there were some funny incidents that we observed during this travel.

Scene at the Delhi airport : Mother, two babies and two nannies.

I live in the Stone age for sure. It was hard to believe that the impeccably dressed lady in black tights, a silk kurti, D&G glasses, highlighted hair and pedicured feet was the mother of two under-4 kids. I wondered where she had the time for all those parlor trips. Within minutes, my question was answered. Two nannies appeared out of nowhere lugging their baggage and promptly taking one child each while the mom went to get her Rs.86 coffee (yes, can you believe a coffee could cost so much at the Delhi airport? ) at Cafe Coffee Day. Two nannies for two kids. This can happen only in India. This was the first time I saw nannies being flown just so the mother need not be bothered about taking care of the kids.

I dismissed this whole thing as a one-off case. Anyways, the perception in India is that Punjabis prefer to live a lifestyle more than what they can afford and flaunt off way too much.

On our way back, I met another lady who was traveling with her 2 year old son and the nanny. So this is definitely not a unique thing in today's times.

Scene at the Indian Airlines flight from Delhi to Amritsar :

An elderly Punjabi gentleman was seated with another elderly gentleman friend of his in the row before ours in the flight. The hostess offers a imli (read: tamarind) candy and the gentleman (let's call him the candy uncle) demands a full packet. The hostess gently refuses saying they are running short and will give him some more if she has any left. The candy uncle takes offense and returns the one he picked up too. She would have stepped a little ahead when he abuses her and the airlines in Punjabi.

Twenty minutes after we took off, the lady comes with a pack of imli candies and the candy uncle gladly accepts it with the a wide grin. Now, just in case you didn't know, this pack of candies is available in every kirana (grocery) store in Amritsar for Rs.15.

Time to land and LG gets a little restless. Refuses to feed or drink water from his bottle. Instead he shouts for a sec then stops, then starts again. This caused him comfort and I let him do that so long he was opening and closing his mouth. Now this annoys the candy uncle and he reprimands me while Vivek was looking away. I didn't want to create a scene and let it go and decided to tell him to mind his business if he said that once more. Vivek was pissed obviously but I asked him to forget it this one time.

We have landed and the standard instruction to keep our mobiles switched off is given. Candy uncle switches it on and ignores the hostess request to switch it off - all the time commenting to his friend what these ladies knew about flying.

The flight from Delhi to Amritsar is actually bound to Sharjah with a stopover at Amritsar. So there were some Mallu gentlemen seated in front of the candy uncle. Candy uncle tries to converse with them but the Mallu gentlemen couldn't talk in English / Hindi. Candy uncle makes fun of this to co-passengers.

Candy uncle had little courtesy for passengers ahead of him that he shoved his way through to get off the plane. Vivek commented loud enough for him to hear that maybe they should tie a rope to such people so that they can just get down instead of going down the stairs. Or still better put them in the luggage compartment down.

We were the last to get off. Vivek was quite annoyed by his behavior during those 50 minutes that he asked the air hostess, "Do you get such jackasses everyday?" she understood who we were referring to and replied assertively, "yes sir we do."

Candy uncle was again not a one-ff case. Many over 50 gentlemen in that part of the country have such an attitude.

The cool Delhi girls :

Now, I've been to Delhi before. But I don't know if I wasn't attentive enough or if I was color blind to take notice of those beautiful girls. All the well-dressed girls apparently seem to be in this city. Honestly, the way I was dressed, it was worse than the nannies of kids in Delhi. Nicely done hair, cool glasses, stilettos, capris, silk tops, matching accessories - it looked like a dream to see every girl in Delhi turn out this way. And it wasn't just at the airport. Even in the city. There's something in the Delhi air that it does to you. It's not just about dressing well - the confidence shows and the way they conduct themselves is amazing. They dress and look the part. You gotta see it to believe it. Delhi, its not fair to the other cities.