When Mood Music
2006-03-19 13:55:00

Saturday 18th/Mughal’s revenge part 2
I finished blogging yesterday once my trousers had dried – then sat on the mall steps and read a newspaper until I remembered that I had promised a friend a favour. This involved asking someone else for something, so I went back into the cafe to email them. As I was doing so, I felt another blast of gastric pain.

The cafe-owner noticed and asked me if I had a problem, then gave me three pepto-bismol tablets. This was very generous, since they’re not available in India. (He stocks up when he travels abroad.) They dealt with the pain almost instantaneously and I’m hugely grateful to Mr Cyber-cafe. (I offered to take some of his business cards to my hotel as a way of saying thank-you but they seem to have evaporated from my wallet last night! I am going to recommend this place is included in future editions of my guide-book. For anyone who’s coming to Pune in the near future, it’s “Cyber Highway”, shop No 8, Legacy Plaza, 313 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Pune 411001.

After this I went back to my hotel and watched some of the cricket. (Annoyed with Pieterson for throwing away his wicket. However, by close of play, England had made 279 so have a reasonable chance of squaring the series.) This was interrupted by powercuts, so not a perfect day’s viewing: maybe I should have stayed in Mumbai. I filled in the time trying to learn Devanagri script. It’s horrible: there are dipthong/consonant conjunctions for every combination of simple letters, so there are effectively over 200 symbols.

I ate some jeera rice (fried rice with cumin seed) and poppadoms and drank lots of bottled water, followed by a large Foster’s lager, then went for a walk around the Laxmi Road area to watch the festivities for Chatrapati Shivaji’s birthday. I’m kicking myself for not taking my camera but I was scared of pickpockets or being mugged as a rich westerner: part of Laxmi Road is the local red-light district. Lots of sound-systems, marching brass-and-drum bands in fantastic uniforms, lorry-based floats moving slowly along the street: fantastic and I’m very sorry I can’t share it with you visually.

Today, now that the dairy products have passed through me, I feel hungry but fine. I’m pretty sure that the past 10 years’ near-abstinence from dairy has caused my gut flora to evolve/change so that they can’t deal with dairy products. (Well, that’s my current theory.) I’ll test this tonight by eating at the place I had the ‘paneer overdose’ but insisting on a purely vegetable meal: results, no matter how embarrassing for my stance, will be posted as soon as I get off the bog and on with the blog!

Sunday 19th
A very pleasant morning. Drank chai with a Korean and an Iranian and learnt a little about both places. The Iranian is about to start his doctorate in civil engineering here. I’m not sure whether he hankers after pre-Khomeni days but he’s certainly not impressed by Ahmin-wots-his-face’s current antics. He also reckons that Iran is very close to getting nuclear weapons and when they do, it’s good-bye to Israel. (He didn’t appear to be in favour of this, just stating his view of what is likely to happen.) I think you can understand why this made my blood run cold…

However, I have to say Mr Iranian is a bit of a chancer: he has a wife and girlfriend in Iran, both of whom told him to be a good boy. Er, no, he’s had a very nice time, thank you, on Laxmi Road, then tried to pay in US dollars, and got chased back to the hotel by 2 taxi drivers who wanted their rupees!

Hooray! my email account is no longer treating a friend as a spam artiste!

Once I’ve finished here, it’s back to the hotel for more cricket-goggling.!

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