Travel: Day 5

3

17/07/2013 by Siddiqui Fayesal

Today is totally ours. Although, technically speaking there are places which we could’ve been to, but we bunked it. For example, Ranikhet, which lies around 60-70 km away, was planned but after enquiry we found out that the route includes vomit inducing routes. So we gave it a miss.

So today I did some personal reconnaissance of the market and the surrounding areas. I’ll post pics soon. There are various things that one learns about locals within a few minutes itself. The locals out here honk a lot. A lot is an understatement. And all of them use those air horns which blast you out of your suspenders (if people still wear them)!

Bikers honk even at stationery rickshaws. Sometimes even at telephone poles. Morons! Like all tourist places touts, guides, trinket sellers etc. judge you by what clothes and what camera you carrying.

I’ve never learnt the art of bargaining. And, if I’m honest to myself, I think a part of the reason is that I’ve not yet understood the value of money. I’ve been blessed with a well to do life. My basic needs, and many luxuries too, have always been met without an iota of struggle!

I’ll introspect later. I’ll zone back to Nainital now.
Deep in thought... Probably thinking of dinner!

Deep in thought… Probably thinking of dinner!

The Mall Road is a one way street, like I mentioned, and the other street runs parallel to the lake. Between the street’s fencing and the lake is a promenade housing candy floss sellers and nut sellers. Boats can be rented at 150 INR per hour. Everything can be reduced by bargaining.

The bhel seller selling at 20 was turned away by my mother, and he promptly reduced it by 10. I thought he’ll reduce the quantity too, but I was surprised to get my fill worth 20!

But I wouldn’t put these high pricing as fleecing. Of course, there are subjective theories that can be propounded at ease but I’m judging a priori and saying that we Indians always bargain. It’s in our psyche. So it’s a legitimate game plan by these sellers. It’s a balance that brings forth an agreement. Even after bargaining one pays a healthy slice towards their earnings.
The Mall Road

The Mall Road

As every of us, at least us Indians, are aware that it’s rare to find roadside shacks selling cola and aerated drinks at the mentioned prices I wasn’t surprised when I was charged 2 bucks extra for anything refrigerated. It’s a sad sad place to be in. Do I bargain and refuse to buy? It won’t help because unless one goes to bargain stores who buy their stuff at wholesale you’ll always, more often than not, pay extra.

Nainital is like any other hill town whose earnings come from tourism. You see clearly marked roads, sign boards, abundance of dustbins (this so happens more due to shops keeping their own bins than the government taking a keen interest in the well being of the town) and directions regarding the safety of following traffic signals.
The usual peekaboo

The usual peekaboo

150 bucks an hour

150 bucks an hour

After an hour or so you can’t extract much in the name of local flavour thanks to rampant globalisation. Every shop owner is either based in one of the metros or in one of the closer cities and visits only during the “season”! There is nothing new. Burgers are more easily available than the once ubiquitous vada, the locally made lime juice is nowhere to be found but the packaged drinks are everywhere (charged 2 bucks extra if chilled). You get the drift, right?

The four days I was here I never, save once, saw a foreigner! And it only struck me when I saw two girls at the medical store next to me. Only then did I realise. I’m still wondering why though…

Tonight is the last night I spend here. I’ve got a train to catch for Delhi tomorrow at 0900. There is a lot that I can write about Nainital. But I prefer to romanticise later.

Siddiqui F.
(03.06.2013)

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