I am sitting in a much fancier hotel in Calcutta while I type this. We (my team for now that is) is going to some place by the Ganges called Falta tomorrow and so today my sales officer and I lugged my suitcase, my bag and myself and him into a state transport bus, got down bag baggage because it did not go where we wanted to and then got into the right one. The bus driver drove as if there was a bomb wich might explode the moment the bus touched any speed below a 100. Every time we whisked past a oil carrier, I would imagine a very violent death and thank God I was only imagining it.
Past week I have been to Kolaghat and Moyna, both classified as Rural Distribution territories by my big FMCG Company. Which means they do not have means to directly distribute their soaps and shampoos to these areas and hence sell them to sub-stockists. Fascinating did you yawn? The point of this para was to get the point across these are not easily accessible areas by means of transport. Often for my comfort the sales officer (henceforth SG) would arrange a bike. Now I am a bike person as in bike vs car argument. However, sun beating the daylights out of you(sometimes I crack myself up!) and 100 kms on a Hero Honda 100CC on roads as smooth as Om Puri’s cheeks can cause your back and ass to die and go to heaven.
Another day we took a jeep. Now these vehicles are driven in a fascinating manner.
Once the inside is filled, the driver waits for the top to be filled. His assistant still calls out after its become a double decker. The new guests simply dump the vegetable bag they are carrying onto the laps of one of the paasengers inside and proceed to hang onto the side as if it’s the most natural thing to do. One guy came, put the baby he was carrying onto the lap of the guy next to the driver and proceeded to hang. Every turn he would shout ‘too close’,’vehicle approaching’ etc. Of course I was sitting inside with the crotches of 5 men blocking my view. If you are claustrophobic this will cause serious trouble.
The biggest problem for me is well the ‘pee’ problem. Now please keep your jhaadi wala jokes to yourself, its really tough! 2 years ago a BLT quit 2 weeks into the program because she couldn’t walk all day and couldn’t use Indian style. Now I can use any style but am a cleanliness freak when it comes to loos. The first time I asked my distributor where the bathroom was he looked at me and replied sheepishly “actually we don’t have any woman here na,,” That’s the state in most places I go to. The shopkeepers don’t even get female customers forget female company people! They just do not know what to say (or the language to say it in either!). but my sales team has been so fantastic I do not realize am the only woman in all nearby radius most of the time. And no untoward incident till now. Maybe because am always accompanied by a burly SG.
So anyways today marks 2 weeks in Calcutta though I have not really been in it. But I have liked what I have seen. This is not a wanna-be city. Its embraced its slow, leisurely way of life. I have never seen anyone in a hurry here. Also every one loves to chat and I really regret not knowing the language because the hindi here kind of makes Sanjay to Sunjoy so there is only so much you can follow.
On other news I am going back to Mumbai for some 5 odd days. Considering by now I have screamed myself hoarse that its my favorite city, this will be my last tango at NITIE. I am also selling off my beloved desk top. For 3 years it was my most loyal companion. Through happy photos, loud sad songs on winamp, a zillion movies-good and bad, marksheets, presentations, reports, CAT scores and calls, to gtalk cupid! It was my friend through good times and bad. It was customized just right. Switching it on after coming back from vacations with my favorite playlist intact and password neatly prompted, all favorite sites at a click, it was like meeting a friend who knows everything about you.I really cant imagine it sitting in some cybercafé, touched by some freak searching for fraandship on Orkut and downloading porn. How can this be made a painless partition I do not know, but trucking it home meant an additional 10-15k which wont even be what it is valued it now. Would you or anyone you know want it? And treat it like family. I will keep the 20Gb songs intact.