Friday, March 20, 2009
It was the ‘Judgement day’ – to go ahead with the trip or to get back to Chennai. There were trains available from Mangalore to Chennai giving me some options which may not be available further down the route. The recovery was satisfactory and I was optimistic of going further. I bought a road map of Karnataka for reference and to plan the route. The only places that sounded familiar on the coast was Udupi, about 60K from Mangalore and Karwar. After some consultation with the hotel staff, I figured out my next 2 destinations as Kundapur and Honnavar.
On a leisurely channel surfing, I stumbled into a movie channel. The movie was unfamiliar but some of the dialogues caught my attention immediately. The movie was Into the Wild based on a book with similar title. It was about a young man of 23 years who gives up his job and family to be on his own and travel to Alaska by hitchhiking. I could not agree with everything that was shown in the movie. Some of the scenes were very impressive with catchy dialogues. Be it the scene when he says, Careers are 20th century inventions and I don’t want one or the one when he quotes Tolstoy, ‘If we admit that human life can be ruled by with reason, the possibility of life is destroyed.’ It did provide me with some ammunition against the standard questions posed to me then and now. The spirit shown by Christopher McCandless to step out of the comfort zone in search of true freedom deserves admiration. The approach towards the same did not attract my admiration. The essence of the movie lies somewhere between philosophy and stupidity though one could end up making a mistake by taking the extreme positions. And finally, the line that inspired me to write my experiences, ‘Happiness only real when shared’. Subsequently, I read the book written by Jon Krakauer and found it to be more balanced than the movie.
The dinner for that night was at a Jain Restaurant a few blocks away from my hotel. The prices looked cheap and I was keen to try them. I opted for a ‘Gujarathi Meals’ which comprised of 5 rotis, 3 curries, a small cup of kheer, a small cup of curd and a bowl of rice with rasam! The cost of the dinner can be seen in the photograph. It tasted very homely and delicious. Affordable food is almost extinct in big cities these days with the exception of few canteens in government establishments. Political parties promise food grains at anything between Re.1 and Rs. 2 per Kg – some to the extent of giving it free too. However, when it translates into a ‘meal’ in cities, it is well within the reach of the majority of the population.