Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The city of Vizag is buttressed between the Eastern Ghats and the majestic deep blue Bay in what can be considered as interior gulti [1] land. My first experience of this city was two years back when I was here for almost four months enjoying the sun and sand. It was and still seems to be slowly waking up to some unheard of concepts like book stores, (the variety that sells text books are many and abound the city streets) music stores (leave alone a sole representative), and even the novel second hand concept of a second hand book store that George Orwell (was it?) popularized in his essay about blue bottles, silver fishes and the musty smell of old books.

It still is advertised as the city of destiny whereas as a good friend of mine put it aptly as the city of dust-iny, which is inevitable because of the dusty beaches, dusty roads, dusty buses and nearly dusty everything. There are some really good roads in the form of the highways to compensate for the lack of them elsewhere. Good roads generally beget great drives and being a beach city some great sunsets. Great sunsets, there are many with litter free beaches thanx mainly to the efforts put in by the local authorities who manage a workforce that cleans up the city by night.

This gets us to the main reason and the germ behind this piece-meal of writing. Great drives? I’ve realised they exist only in Hollywood movies where the lead characters never seem to get a butt ache after a loooong drive. The traffic in this city would amaze a Martian endlessly and make him self destruct in a matter of minutes at peak hour that’s if he isn’t run over in the traffic while trying to cross the road in the first place. The trouble being the needless white/yellow stripes in the middle that make the roads a strange mutant descendant of the zebra rather than serve as a partition. Add to that a general design deficiency and a streak of schizophrenia in all the gultis who drive anything that has two wheels remotely related to it. The bus and truck drivers fancy themselves as prototypes for the ‘Monster Truck Madness’ [2] series; the car drivers- nonetheless Senna and Schumacher reincarnate, often find themselves chased down by the many Chirus [3]in their fancy bikes that tear about the city with utter disregard to any rule of the road and to the frantic gestures of portly figures in white and khaki who armed to the teeth with a whistle and a majestic staff unfortunately don’t transform into superheroes at the drop of a stale masala-vada to fight crime with mega budget special-effects.

The city however is a foodie’s delight with some really nice bakeries and restaurants serving delectable cuisine from everywhere, hotels that offer great buffets and a la carte at affordable prices and food served otherwise that burns stomachs and pockets equally. That it invariably tends to be cooked the gulti way with lots of spices and equally copious portions of fat can be overlooked from time to time when the growl of the stomach assumes epic proportions over common sense. No wonder then that the hospitals abounding the city offer quality services to the greedy the needy too.


[1] Gulti: Please refer to a previous article regarding Port Blair and Andaman for the exact picture.

[2] Monster Truck Madness: A really stupid computer game that makes the player believe he/she can drive like a trucker under the effects of cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol that leaves the player with myopia and a migraine. This self-belief is shattered when the skills are tested on road leading to innumerable accidents en route to monster truck nirvana.

[3] Chirus: (abbr) Chiranjeevis- roughly translated to ever lasting. Refers to the omnipresent fans of the gulti superstar [4] who would do anything to emulate their silver screen idol, often with disastrous consequences to others invariably and at times to themselves too.

[4] Superstar: A general confusion surrounds this ominous term and its usage with regards to SRK, Bachchan, Sachin and his truly endorsing band of merry men in blue, Rajni deva and his compatriots from Kollywood or to Chiranjeevi, Mahesh babu and their ilk of logic defying heroes from Tollywood to the holy steps of the High Court over rights, wrongs, copies and copyrights.

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