Day 5: I’m still alive

>DAY 5 in Martalli

Apologies for late update…there were significant factors involved.


So, how do I begin with what happened yesterday? From the beginning? Na…that wouldn’t really be a good idea.

To say the least, I did all of those things I thought I’d never do here…alone. (I din’t do anything illegal…so relax).

Boarded a bus at 8 in the morning for Kollegal only to be told that the information that I need will be available in the District office in Chamarajnagar (another 35 kms from Kollegal Taluk office). This, after having already travelled 65 kms and for roughly 3 hours in a jam-packed bus. And, as I had earlier mentioned in my post…we are all on our own now and not moving in groups anymore.

Too tired and dejected to travel further, I looked for a North Indian restaurant somewhere around. As I found one, my short-lived happiness was soon shown the exit door when the waiter told me that Puri is the only “North Indian” thing available.
Willing to adjust just for the sake of consuming anything “North Indian”, I agreed to order the same. Fifteen minutes later, 3 puris arrived, the size of a large Bhatoora with chutney to go along with it. Ever had coconut chutney (that’s usually consumed with Idli/Dosa) with Puri? That’s North Indian food in South India for you. I gestured the guy to get me some pickle (gestured because there was no Tamil but Kannada here) and that’s how I somehow managed to eat it. And, of course…coffee is my saviour. Anytime. Anywhere.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the case before. Despite being a South India and expected assumed to be a coffee addict, I never was one and hated tea/coffee. I always preferred milk over anything. I still do. But, of late, I’ve noticed my craving for something as bitter as coffee and that has left me quite surprised. Maybe they make it really well here. Who knows? The other day I consumed 3 cups of caffeine while waiting for Gaurav in Ramapura. It’s not really a good thing. I don’t need any more addictions in my life right now.

So, anyways.

I waited at the Kollegal bus stand for over 45 minutes for a bus to Martalli (via Ramapura). Yesterday was the only day in these 5 days that I wore a pair of jeans and kurta (the reason being that I had run out of suits!) and the kurta was long and ‘decent’ enough, in my opinion (lol). And yet, it guaranteed unwanted stares from men and women alike. With the sun right over my head, a heavy bag, disappointment level at its peak, tired and waiting endlessly for that one goddamn bus, I’m amazed how I survived those 45 minutes there.

After another 3 hours of travel, I got down at Ramapura Police Station. I had already spoken to the Sub-Inspector and the constable with respect to the information I needed. I arrived, soaked in dust, with some hope of getting something out of here only to be told that the constable concerned had left for some remote place in Tamil Nadu and the Sub-Inspector was really busy handling a recently arrived theft case.
Another constable there knew Hindi (IMAGINE!). For the past 5 days, I haven’t had the chance to speak a word in Hindi owing to my location. I was pleasantly surprised at his knowledge of Hindi (heavily accented though it may be). He asked me to write down my contact details so that they could post me the data. Left with no choice, as I wrote my name, address, telephone number, another fellow constable noticed that I had written my name in Tamil. He instantly recognized and pleasantly greeted me in Tamil, asking where I hail from, what’s the purpose of my visit and such like. That’s the power of written language, it seems.
Until I was struggling to talk to the cops in broken Kannada, English, Tamil and even Hindi, I wasn’t given any value. The moment I showed my knowledge of writing a South Indian language, a Tamil-knowing constable (Mr. Murgesh) suddenly emerged out of nowhere and offered to provide me with all the information.

Mr. Murgesh and I, then, spent the next hour compiling all the information that I needed amidst odd glares from constables, lady constables, inspectors and criminals. A possible reason for the same was the fact that I was the only woman among around 50 men in that shady place. Another reason could be the fact that I was conversing in Tamil with Mr. Murgesh,who was helping me out with the compilation (But, I’d rather belive in the former than the latter as it makes much more sense to me tahn anything else)

This is another thing I thought I’d never do in my life….visit a police station and a prison cell, on my own. And, I did just that.

It was raining cats and dogs by the time my work got over. I had to wait till the 5.30 bus that arrived at 5.45, again amidst glaring eyes and doubtful looks.  
Do I look like a terrorist?

I reached Martalli at 7, soaked in dust, drenched in rain and dead tired at Bosco’s house. His wife offered me ambrosia in the form of a hot cup of coffee. Yeah, the addiction is soaring now.

I had a long chat with Bosco’s father. He strangely reminds me of a distant (now dead) grandfather.

By 8, all my other group members had also arrived. We then, left for our quarters with packed food and drinks (water, cold-drinks and such like). I was too tired and moody to update my blog in the night…after my varied experience yesterday.

Today could possibly be my last day in Martalli…and I’m already feeling nostalgic about it. It’s rare that you build a connection with people in such a short span of time….

I end this post with a genuine feeling of. . . . *searches for the right word but can’t*



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