Monday, May 19, 2008

The French Kiss

Wake Up! Wake Up! sounds in my ears. I pick up my mobile to check time, its just 8:30. We have to leave for submitting the form, said my sister. After some initial hesitation I wake up and went to bath, followed by breakfast and a quick look at the newspaper. Its 9:40 and we leave. The night long drizzle has taken a break. We hire an auto-rickshaw to the Lodhi Estate. The morning rush hour traffic and water-logged roads led to traffic snarls at some bottlenecks. After some time the rickshaw is racing on a Delhi Cantt road. The area has a special place in my heart because of many childhood memories associated. The beautiful boulevard is lined with trees on both sides and is like an urban oasis, maintained by the armed forces. The stretch ends at Dhaula Kuan and now the auto driver takes a different route to avoid the heavy traffic on the Ring Road. He drives through the diplomatic by lanes of Chankya Puri and wades through some roads named on very historic characters. Driving in this area is never recommended unless you are very good at keeping track of roads or are using a highly reliable GPS tracking system. Meanwhile the rain starts again and water begins to fall on me from the sides of the auto. It is Lodhi Gardens on the right so there should be our destination but we are a bit confused now, we ask a number of people but no one seems to know the where-abouts of our destination . Somehow we manage to reach the place, it is Alliance Francias de Delhi. From outside the building seems to be quite posh and we are pleased to go "inside", as rains can intensify at any time. Across the main gate we find long queues of people gathered to submit forms even such a rainy day. The crowd is exceptionally hip and all the very best kinds of fragrances are in the air. People with a wide variety of attires are difficult to overlook and everyone has his/her distinct style. The gate-keeper at the administrative section seems to be a fool to most of the people around. We get a form and fill it and ensure that everything is done. Now we start to wait for our turn, which is supposed to come on a "first-come, first-serve" basis. We are number 45 on the list and number 20 enters the block, we are pleased that we will be free before lunch. But a discussion is going on at the door! "What is this red list and blue list?" ask some inquisitive girls to the gate-keeper. Red ones are people which are pending since last Friday and blue is today's list and as per "first-come, first-serve" blah-blah the blue ones ought to wait till the red list ends. Everyone in the blue list is now perturbed as they are dragged 64 something points in this race! A lot of confusion continues, while people keep on getting disillusioned and leaving the place to find some solace from all the trouble. Many occupy the tables at institutes's cafeteria while others grab seats in the auditorium. Mobile phones come for some handy entertainment, many are now busy chatting with their friends, listening music and playing games. In between we are surprised to find some groups chatting in fluent French as if endorsing the institutes's credentials, these are the students at the Alliance. The day seems to be getting hectic with every passing moment as most of us are not accustomed to waiting a lot, the only good thing is that there is no dearth of interaction and a lot of cultural information is available. A whole lot of informative posters on all possible places, people from different backgrounds, including kids ageing around 12-13 to moms of two! Most have one point in common the lack of managerial skills at the place, which proclaims itself to be the French embassy in India, though it is a cultural centre established by government of France. Its 12:40 and lunch time begins which will end only after 2 in the noon. Meanwhile we go for little snacks, majorly to pass-time and give rest to our feet, as we were standing for the whole day now. After the lunch we are very hopeful that the whole procedure will end soon and we will be able to leave the place very soon. A whole variety of thoughts are coming in my mind now, different plans, I need to this and that, this thing is a must and the likes. In about 50 minutes comes our turn, and my sister enters the administrative block to submit the fee but she is surprised and somewhat perturbed to know that the timing she insisted for are not available. She asks the contact-person for other timings suitable to her but to no avail. So very un-heartedly we have to drop the seat and leave the place. On way back she opts to go to her office and in the way we keep on talking about some other ways of learning the language and getting directly to the next level which begins after about 2 months. It is past 3 and sun is at full glory once again the auto is pacing on south-central Delhi's beautiful yet confusing streets. Humidity has started to take over the pleasant weathers of the morning and I am thinking about the weekend which seems to be going to very humid as MET department at Delhi has predicted unusual heavy rains over the whole week. At Dhaula Kuan we take a very long curve and join the road race on the Ring, the major artery in Delhi's road-network. Lovely to find some gasps of wind helping chill us as the auto speeds at around 60-70 kmph. In the way she leaves for her office and I continue on my way to home, the industrial landscapes of Mayapuri and regular lifestyle in many residential colonies has started to wash the memories of the French Kiss in the heart of Delhi, though I wish to retain them for a long time. I keep on thinking somehow I must be part of such legacy....

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1 comment:

  1. manik itz really kewl!!
    really well described..
    lukin forward to more of ur posts!!

    ReplyDelete

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