October 25, 2006

Dharamsala trip (Chapter 5 - The Gypsy Kings)

With Harshit at Jalandhar bus stand a.k.a East Berlin

With colourful experiences behind us we continued on our quest. The local vehicle dropped us finally at Jalandhar. The bus stand at Jalandhar looked like East Berlin from the past. Rubble and debris all over the place. Not that it did matter, what was worse was that there is nothing called an enquiry desk, no timetable, nothing. Just conductors shouting destinations. We took a bus to Pathankot. They screened a Punju movie 'Dhee Jatt Di' which mysteriously rewinded every now and then. If that wasn't enough, they started blaring Punju music. Punju music also runs along similar business models explained in the above post. There seems to be one singer (or all of them have a similar tone which seems unlikely!), there are standard beats, standard lyrics too. Most songs revolve around 'Pind' (village), 'mitran' (friends), 'daroo' (alcohol but whiskey in this case), 'gaddi / truck' and similar rustic themes. Such amazing levels of economies of scale. If only Indian manufacturing had taken a leaf out of the Punjabi music industry we would have beaten the Japs at concepts like Lean Manufacturing.

Enjoying 'Dhee Jatt Di' enroute to Pathankot - Cheap entertainment for cheapos ;)

Another striking feature is that Punjus have their personalised metric system to measure time. No two persons gave us a common estimate of reaching Dhramsala. Huge volatility in their estimates, ranging from as low as 2 hours to 8 hours!!! As usual I bow to their brilliance.

Pathakot is a lovely place. Alcohol is available at unbelievably low prices. Possibly because its a cantonment area. (Tip: If you wanna go on a holiday you know where to go!) With Old Monk for company ;) we boarded a bus to Gaggal. From Gaggal we took a bus to Dharamsala. Finally after 24 hours and million bus changing operations when we got down it was heaven. We felt like Gypsies.
After a 24 hour ordeal ... Finally in Dharamsala

We went to a Himachal Pradesh Tourist lodge. 440 bucks later we realised that there were cheaper options. What the hell. We resigned ourselves to Old Monk.

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