Monday, June 15, 2009

Philippine Days

Well I’m nobody against Ian Wright (Lonely planet) or Diego Buñuel (Don’t tell my mother …), but indeed my Manila days are filled with beautiful travelogue experiences. And I do feel myself as someone like them. This blog is all about the experiences I’m getting in Philippine backed by the memories of me in India.

Philippine is a beautiful country. There is a beautiful lake stretched throughout the horizon with a series of hills behind it; can be seen from my apartment. I’m staying in Alalabang (in Muntinlupa City), which is in another district but considered as a sub-urban part of Manila. Similar to the relation we have between Thane and Mumbai. But this place resembles me of Kolkata more. There are many similarities. Especially the flyover in front of Star Mall reminds me of Gariahat of Kolkata. And some replication of Eastern Meridian ByPass in Kolkata can be observed in the greenery surrounded roads of these towns.

JeepNi : First thing which I noticed here was Jeepni. It is an awesome vehicle. It resembles a miniature truck from its front view. It has got similar decorations as we observe also done for trucks in India and Pakistan. It’s a stretched Limonouisse made out of a something called Jeep in India. I recall the overcrowded 20 kms jeep journey from Deoria town to my village near Pagra bazaar. The Mahua Patan Bridge on Choti Gandak River and innumerous babul trees on the way. The river doesn’t have that much water in summers before autumn and the island of sands can be seen. But when monsoon cloud arrives the water level goes high, as if its now on a cloud 9. The coins we use to throw it in river, is a part of our culture to offer our worships to rivers by throwing coins into it.

The Jeepni of Phillipines carries people in the same way but its more stretched and lesser crowded. Living in Indian metroes viz Kolkata and Mumbai since past 6 years almost made me forgot what a Jeep used to be. It almost got extinct in my mind. Jeepni made me recall the fainted memories of me going village in childhood. Jeep is still used for transportation between towns in UP and Bihar.

Indeed, For me JeepNi is a heritage of this town, similar to Trams in Kolkata.

Trike : Trike (nomenclature done by me) or Tri-cycle is a Jay-Veeru’s motorbike from Sholey with a shelter overhead. This is also another mean of public transportation as a substitute to the auto-rickshaw we have in Mumbai. Trike can carry upto 5 people including the driver. Trike is mostly used in India by handicaps, but here trike with shelter overhead is used for moving folks whereas trikes without shelter is used for moving garbage. Trike reminds me of 100 number (Sau number in Hindi – Nomenclature done by one of my family friend) in Shahjahanpur. Shahjahanpur is a small town in UP, where mopeds are attached with indigenously manufactured sitting arrangements. They move folks for smaller distances mostly between villages. These rural Nano’es are in practice since long back. But why they were named as 100 or Sau number? Because 100 is a police control room number which has to be contacted first whenever there accident happens. Sau Number is very accident prone especially in nights when the only headlight of the moped may mislead anyone approaching it, not to consider the side extensions of it in darkness. We can see in the image a circle with flouroscent paint over the screen of the attached cabinet of the trike. It is glowing because of the camera flash. Hence, a Philipino trike is not a "Sau Number"; since approaching vehicles in dark can see two lights representing the width of the vehicle.

Be it Trike or Jeepni, they are beautifully decorated by Philippines’ people and it shoulders a major chunk of transportation over here. They are different but remind India to me. The next section not only reminds me of India, but has aroused a curiosity in everyone about India. It’s a sarcastic honour to be from India, since Slumdog millionaire has got all which portrays bad about India. It is whatsoever a reality indeed, besides a glorified history and rich culture of a nation, Slumdog displayed how much we are inhuman or uncivilized also as a nation. Self consciously, I face that ugly side of us. But that movie is an inspiration to people out here.

Jay Ho! : Philippine is driven crazy by Slum-dog Millionaire. ‘Jay Ho’ promotional featuring Pussy Cat is on the charts of every FM channel. One of my fellow colleagues here told me that he got inspiration from Slumdog millionaire movie and he had watched it thrice. Well, if something inspires; you are bound to watch it over and over again. It enables one to have all of its details known by heart. I too had that level of mania, for movie Iqbal. That movie is completely in my mind scene by scene. Still, I do feel the concluding scene of the movie when Shreyas Telpade (deaf and dumb in movie) was running towards the pitch to bowl first delivery of his ODI career. That scene makes me feel as if Iqbal is someone known and very close to me, and his success is mine. Similarly Jamal Malik is a character which has penetrated the psyche of folks worldwide.

I just love to see the glaze in people’s eyes when they come to know the meaning of Jay Ho as to ‘be victorious’. Their inspiration level gets a Gatorade when they came to know the meaning. Jay Ho is now used as a mode of greeting by me to the people I know over here. ‘Jay Ho’ has got a connecting phenomenon for me and the folks over here. One of my friend asked me about some doubts about the movie which they didn’t understood. Like who was that movie star for whom Jamal Malik jumped into the dumps of shit, but didn’t let his photograph got dirty. Or why there was a kid painted in Blue stood in streets when there was a severe massacre between folks and what was represented through him.

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