January 19, 2006

Sunset boulevard

In a road map and tourist guide of Gujarat we have with us, the sketchy section on Dangs mentions the hill station Saputara. This is the only hill station in Gujarat. How did it get its name, you're likely asking. The map offers a sensible answer.

"Saputara," one of the few sentences in the Dangs section says, means "the adobe of serpents." [Emphasis mine]

Yeah, so Saputara must be where all those snakes produce those Acrobat Readers and Photoshops.

***

The Mahadev Highway Hotel in the bustling metropolis of Vansada in Navsari district has a grimy washbasin against a grimy wall. Immediately above is this legend in Gujarati: "Wos besheen."

And the menu is listed on the wall to the right of the "besheen", and that's where I learn that this august establishment has available for Rs 20 each Vegetable Pulao and Kashmiri Pulao and Vegetable Biryani and Hyderabadi Biryani.

I'm intrigued, but not hungry enough to check this out.

But later at the Hardik Chinese Corner in Ahwa, where a sign in Gujarati tells me I can get Chinese and Punjabi food, I am hungry, and the noodle section is a revelation. For I can make my choice from Manchurian Noodles, Mushroom Noodles, Paneer Noodles, Hardik Special Noodles, Hakka Noodles, Szechwan Noodles, Singapuri Noodles, Hongkong Noodles, Hyderabadi Noodles and Triple Noodles.

All written in Gujarati. All made in the same large wok by one sweaty guy in rolled up jeans.

What are Triple Noodles, I ask our friendly and attentive waiter.

"Woh kya hai, woh kuch triple system se banta hai," he says. "What it is, it's made from some triple system."

I ask for mushroom noodles.

And as I wait, I note idly that the ramshackle building opposite is home to "SMARTZ", "Zoom Graphics" and "Ganesh Kesh Kartanalaya" -- that last being a haircut place. Yes, all in one.

***

Fizzy drinks commonly available in Dangs: J.B. (looked like soda), Zipper (tried it, identical in taste and colour to my old favourite from Bombay, Sosyo).

Also Throne Up.

Not a wild success, I have to say, that last name. I couldn't bring myself to try.

***

A small chai-shop in Jharsol sells hot chai all right. It also sells Parle Gluco biscuits. It also sells Natkhat Energy Biscuits ("To Be Sale Loose"). It also sells Barbie toothbrushes.

Would you brush your teeth with Barbie?

***

When leaving Ahwa, you pass a large green sign that says:
    Waghai 32
    Vansada 52
    Bilimora 93

and
    Sunset 1

Well, we couldn't resist. We set off for the sunset. Hours later, we still hadn't found it. Think that "1" is a bit of an underestimate.

7 comments:

Helmi said...

Thank you Dilip, for the chuckle I got out of your very humorous observations. It was exactely what I needed this morning..

vishwa said...

Huhhh surprise surprise.... so it was you who wrote that piece--Ride across the river? I read the small booklet from outlook last month and truly enjoyed your piece. It was very well written--i can say, a blend of all the good elements of fiction and non-fiction. My wife, who's a kashmiri pundit, could very well connect to the emotions depicted in your essay.

It's good i found your blog, even if it was accidental. If i want to find good travel writing(for free, of course), i know where to click!!
Take care

Ram R said...

Always a pleasure to read your travel writing. Lovely piece this.

Anonymous said...

Sunset 1
what are the units? days? maybe light-days.
If only you had found the place we no longer need to teach kids that sun sets in the west. It sets in Gujrat precisely at, guess what, Sunset. This place was discovered by Dileep in circa 2006.

Did you atleast find what it was a typo for?

Pankaj said...

Could it be Sunset Point? The link below points to a Sunset Point in the area:

www.vibrantgujarat.com/pdf/tourism_13.pdf

I have always wondered why there are places called "Sunset Point" in a lot of our hill stations but no "Sunrise Point"? I know of a number of places among the Himalayan hill stations where it is a must to be up before dawn to watch the sun rise in the East.

Good post, Dilip.

Pankaj

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thanks all. The delights of travel!

Anonymous, it didn't look like a typo at all. I think it is some inside joke unless there's a nearby place called Sunset that we didn't find.

Vishwa, that was indeed me. Thank you. I am glad your wife liked it.

Anonymous said...

And as I wait, I note idly that the ramshackle building opposite is home to "SMARTZ", "Zoom Graphics" and "Ganesh Kesh Kartanalaya" -- that last being a haircut place. Yes, all in one.


Just like you Dcube ? All in one !