Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Raipur (Chattisgarh), 492001

Going to Raipur, either on vacations, or just “to see mummy” always triggers certain mixed feelings in me. It’s the place where I was born, grew up, schooled, and graduated. It’s a place inhabited by my clan for past 150 years; a place where I learnt all the basics of life.

But, for a past few years, my visits to the now Chattisgarhi capital have been brief (can’t stay away from Hyderabad, man!). And, this brief time leaves me to cover some parts of Raipur that I cherish: Parents, cousins, friends, Mana Airport, Habib’s Biryani, Dahi Samosay etc.

Besides the To-Do list above, there are some surprises, too – like the Science teacher, who didn’t bother to stop or even smile at me and Raza, and kept walking with a plebian remark (or was that her way of showing love, Mr. Khan?): “Khaoo Khaoo” – yes, we were just out of a restaurant after cleaning a plate of Biryani!

Things that always put you off about Raipur were still there: lots of cycle-rickshaws (most of them pulled by the migrants from Orissa), dust along side the road, unbridled traffic, lack of eating places, and terrible heat during March-June, etc.

All right, I did see the roads being broadened; attempts being made to beautify the city; now you see streets lights everywhere (yes, Chattisgarh has lots of electricity - don’t believe me, then go ask Madhya Pradesh).

Raipur: The name sounds so familiar!