I’m not sure how I made it to Secunderabad. Somewhere in the midst of the 15 hour train ride my mind flew out the window and flapped around until well after my arrival. The trip was very long but luckily my berth mates were women and the people across from me were a newlywed couple — of which the husband appeared to be a wrestler. This reason alone kept all the mischievous “where are you going” boys away. Most of the people in the car were in Bangalore to watch the WWF wrestlers and everyone talked about this endlessly.
This was one of my first journeys on a sleeper train and it seems that there is a “Sleeper Train” etiquette: at 9:30 everyone quickly eats dinner, at exactly 10pm everyone goes to bed, the lights on the train go out, and after a long sleep everyone woke up at exactly 7am and fold up their berths. The trip started at 5pm so at 10pm after five hours of sitting in the same spot I was happy to lay down. The berth was actually quite comfortable and I was immediately grateful for my ear plugs, blow up pillow and sarong, which doubles as a blanket.
Sometime during the night the train stopped and didn’t move for two hours. The lack of motion immediately woke me up and after a while I was left wondering if the conductor needed a nap, the train broke down or if something else was happening. I couldn’t help but think about other sleeper trains that were robbed and other traveler ghost stories. The one distinct advantage to our delay was that instead of arriving in Hyderabad in the morning, we arrived later during the hottest part of the day.
There seemed to be a shortage of rooms in Segunderabad and in my searching I met a well educated man also in search of a room. In the end I found a place for 70 rupees with a bathroom and the gentleman ended up being a good resource on all things India. We went for lunch and had some egg pastries; and then dinner in a nice North Indian restaurant where we ate butter chicken (I know!) and cottage cheese spinach pannier. Finally, at the end I went to see my first Hindi movie. I wanted to see Raja Hindustani but it was sold out (and has been since the movie came out). Instead we saw Auzzar.
I have been told many many times that Indian movies all follow the same formula and once you have seen one you have seen them all and their ever consistent fight / romance / twist pattern:
Auzzar in a nutshell (spoilers): The heroes (Sooraj and Yash) are introduced and their girl (Prarthana) is grabbed. The two fight to save her. The villain (Bhaiji) is introduced threatening the life of the heroes’ father (Thakur).
They meet on a street and fight. There is a song and a cricket match and the heroes’ father (Thakur) is stabbed. He is paralyzed. The son (Yash) goes to the bad guy’s house and they fight, the bad guy (Bhaiji) gets pushed out of a window.
The good guy (Yash) then takes over his father’s business (which is gang related) and becomes a bad guy. You find out the best friend (Sooraj) is really a cop. The bad guy’s son (Baba) wants revenge so he has the best friend (Sooraj) put on the case of his father’s murder so he has to arrest Yash.
There is a marriage between Yash and Prarthana and then a lot of nose touching and hand holding (supposed to be sex). After this there is a fight, kidnapping, song and touching scene — none of which I could understand because it is in Hindi. Then there is a party, more fighting, a confrontation and then a twist where you find out the father (Thakur) isn’t paralyzed after all (sorry for the spoiler). The girl is kidnapped again and there is a scene with lots of gunfire and karate kicks. After a touchy huggy scene the movie is over.
I actually found the movie quite entertaining. It had a very innocent Grease type feel to it and I swear that during one of the dance sequences they were actually doing Grease Lightening dance steps. The crowd really gets involved; they whistle, boo, joke, sing, and comment. In one song the hero sings, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” to a busload of female tourists and they all immediately fall in love with him; and, I suddenly understood why I’ve heard boys sing this song to me as I am walking by!