Sunday, June 9, 2013

Travel: Nothing Like Home...!

For a few years now, we have been celebrating a sort of  ‘Tourism Interlude’ in our personal life- ‘interlude’- unless the period culminates in our getting dissolved and dissipated  in the cultural cauldron that is the North East...there is that precedent, you know… महाराजांनी पिताम्बरास पर्यटना करिता शेगाव पासून दूर पाठवले आणि शेवटी त्याने कोन्डोली ला मठच उभारला!.... पांडुरंग......असुदे! We take up the cause the Warkaris towards the end, of course...

Today, simply stated, we propose to take a hard look at the underbelly of that graaanddd idea, blessed by al-Beruni, al-Vasco, ibn-batuta...of ibn batuta pehen ke juta nikal pada toofan me, thodi hawa naak me ghus gayi, thodi ghus gayi kaan me...!

Reverence and awe for Travel Phiolsophy...

We stumbled upon the ‘traffic sources’ feature on our Blogger Dashboard and it was a revelation to discover that many of the ‘reads’ of our pages stemmed from tourist literature. As one peels off the layers of the ‘traffic sources’, and branches off into other related sites, the hidden hand of the Capitalist Conspiracy becomes apparent in its splendorous dimensions, if that makes sense to you... For instance Wine Tourism or Vintourism, launched in India by the Saint of Baramati, who cannot be named in this blog for reasons of hygiene, aims at clearing up the inventories of red-wine that are decaying fast into acetic acid on account of faulty storage practices. The drive, which finds echo in the fawning features on Red Wine appearing in the Fourth Column, also lends a helping hand to Mumbai hotels carrying these precious hordes of acetic acid. God bless them...!


To revert to the main topic- the endless procession of stuff about the ‘intellectual wholesomeness’ or somethinglikethat of ‘Travel’, which, we readily concede, has always inspired excellent literature.....and which by universal consent is treated as respectable, being a pretentious cousin of Ms. Anthropology and Ms. Sociology…

Many a wise line has been uttered on the subject of Travel, some of which have graced and added colour to our blog as well, to recall a few, the one by T.S.Eliot about rediscovering your own abode, another by Disraeli, “Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen..”

Travel quotations form a major body of Literature, and as Tourism threatens to become a greater money spinner, travel quotes get re-discovered, re-invented and re-tweeted. We observe talks about the all-round benefits conferred by travel getting more and more strident, the cacophony getting louder and louder as travel becomes more and more packaged and structured. The explosion of quotes about the salubriousness (salubriety should be crisper) , one feels,  arises from the human tendency of parsimony. One spends and expects a bang for the buck- BFTB for short. And then the hoo-haa about the ‘transformation’ it begets, ‘world peace’ (remember the beauty contest in Miss Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock) empathy, and some other mysterious things travel allegedly brings about. This BFTB theory to us is the Common Sense of Travel and Tourism quotes.

So- we enter the portals of Google and embark on a cyber-journey of a different kind. We begin with the premise that every particle has an antai-particle, and ergo there must be body of Literature consisting of antai-tourism views, and as we tug at one string, a torrent of contrary quotes inundates us, the choicest being:

“As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.”

“I sat on a toilet watching the water run thinking what an odd thing tourism is. You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile effort to recapture the comforts you wouldn’t have lost if you hadn’t left home in the first place.”

“As I see the world, there's one element that's even more corrosive than missionaries: tourists. It's not that I feel above them in any way, but that the very places they patronize are destroyed by their affection.”

“In any case, a little danger is a small price to pay for ridding a place.of.tourists.” (*)

(*) fits Garo Hills like a glove.


Being a Shillongkar, the last two by Tahir Shah, khuda aapko salaamat rakhe... may God bless you, ring true in the North East situation. We draw the attention of the reader to the following passage from a previous post:

“Boss rightly says good that there are restrictions on outsiders buying property in the hill states, otherwise bahar ke saale.. is natural beauty ko bech khaayen..that is outsiders would sell all this natural beauty for a song..Amen!(”

Our friends Dr. Sangma and Manikda may publicly disagree, but...jaane do, apun ka kya...Khublei shibun...all the best...Godspeed to the Tourism Bug, may it flourish..!

Travellers of Vitthal-  Pandhari che Warkari:

Till matters are settled as regards the benefits of Travel, we’d like to pay our obeisance to the Warkaris. They do pride to ‘Tourism’ though people tend to misclassify them into that obnoxious category “tirthyatri”.

Residing at Parel Village, Mumbai 400 012 in 2006, we booked a cab for Hari Hareshwar, intending to depart by 6.00 AM for our little holiday. The cab was nowhere in sight, and we were constrained to call the intermediary Digamber Kadam. Nahi nahi saheb, tumchich chuk asnaar, bagha ki jara khali jawun- warkari aahe saheb’d better be sure Sir, the driver is a Warkari...! The tribe whose public face is the Sigma 6 Dabbawalas of Mumbai! Warkaris of Lord Vitthal of Pandharpur, who faithfully undertake on foot every aashadhi ekadashi  the 250 km. journey from their remote abodes, nacheez proposes, are the real  substantial Travellers of our times...

In the angrezi section above, the idea and purpose of Travel- flows from  the Destination to the Traveller- while in case of the Warkaris, it originates from the Traveller, and flows to the Destination- Vitthal’s home. Who are the real Travellers, I sayyyy...!? According to the neat Travel Literature, the Mega Spenders, no? People on a 7 and half day Tour, who’d rather capture the sights on Handycams for posterity rather than enjoy the here and now...?

Just undertake a wari with the guys from Indrayanikaathi...the REAL Marathis, farmers who would rather swallow poison when their lenders were distressed, than cause losses of crores to Public Sector Banks- you know, Purti Group- promoted by that overweight featherweight from Nagpur... tondaat shen bharun haklawa lagla... punnha ugawala...

Warkaris are the real inheritors of Dynaneshwar  Mauli and Tukaram Maharaj...the Warkaris who care little for the ideology of our Marathi arm-chair intellectuals- the 2% middle classes who jalaoed ghee ka diyaas when a humble ‘protected’ monument was pulled down in presence of 88 aspiring PMs of our land! 

The 2% is more concerned with the hygiene issues inevitable with so many people congregating... that's what they pretend during the chaityabhumi festivities also...what better occasion could there be to test your PM's mobile-washroom theories I sayyy...seems we're selective about our amnesias too...

Our blog has boldly gone ahead, unbeknownst to humanity, renaming the faithful rhythm addressed by that ungainly and infelicitous term ‘theka’, as the ‘warkari’. Mince we’d rather say ‘warkari teen-taal’ than ‘teen-taal theka’.


How do they do it- these Dabbawalas of Mumbai- sigma six of course allows only 3-4 wrong deliveries for a million deliveries. Digamber has a nice anecdote to relate:

This dabbawala friend was once faced with a perplexing situation- somebody spilled paint on some of their colour codes of two tiffin-boxes- ‘dabbas’. He was left holding two dabbas with identical looking codes as a result of the snafus. But he intelligently delivered the right dabba to the right owner- how..? “Mya ughdum bagitla, eka dabya mandi methi chi bhaji hoti ani mal thawuk hota ki Shevde sahebanchya dabbyat baryachda methi chi bhaji aste…- ani Phlumare sahebanchi baayko bahutek batatich deti ”-  I simply opened one dabba, and finding methi- chi- bhaji in one of them, concluded that it should belong to Shevde saheb, for I know it’s often there in his dabba, while Phulmare saheb’s wife usually serves him potatoes…!

              THE REAL MARATHIS: HER REAL SAVIOURS: I MEAN  - मराठी अस्मिता:
मराठी अस्मिता 

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