Saturday, January 1
The week that was
I reached Cuttack on the 19th of December. Cuttack is a city in the south eastern state of Orissa in India. Before this I had spent one fantastic week in the Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India. We were there doing our Covering Deprivation tour. We (I love saying this!) travelled more than twenty kilometres and up to almost three thousand feet above sea level to a village called Machikachintalavalasa up in the mountains. The Orissa border was within sight from there. I even found villagers who spoke my tongue, Oriya. It was something of a dialect but most of it made sense anyway and all was well.
Enough situating. As I was saying, my last week was spent in Charbatia. Charbatia is some eighteen kilometres from Cuttack city and on the other side of the river Mahanadi. It is past a place called Choudwar (infamous for its roudy population) and is officially known as A.R.C. (Aviation Research Centre). It is here, in the A.R.C. campus that I was brought up. The 'campus' as it is known to all within, is an odd sight for someone who has passed mostly rural scenes in a CROWDED bus to get to it. The roads are clear and hardly ever in need of any serious repair (almost always).
The people are by no means all Oriya. Sometimes it even appears to have more bongs than Oriyas. The block I live in, for example, has three Bengali families and one Oriya one (mine).
This time, I had plenty of school reunions to look forward to. I was really sorry my camera was not with me. Things came back to me at such a frequency that I started to wish there was something called mindblogging! I found censored clippings from the recent scandal triggering tapes doing the rounds of the school's kids. I found that our market now had two cybercafes catering to the hangout-hungry romantic couples. I wondered how a cubicle that barely held someone of my proportions, could accomodate a 'couple'. I guess comfort was out of the question.
My time there ended in a hurry. I could have had more of Charbatia I guess. But I am increasingly missing Chennai. My train leaves this evening from Cuttack. I can't wait to get back.