Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"Galis" (alleys) of India

Hello friends! I bring good news. I am well on my way to recovery today. Oh, it feels so good to be up and about. I feel so energetic today, that I changed linens of all beds in the house. Plan to have the house "squeaky" clean by Friday. If you are reading, this, I would like you stop everything for at least 15 secs and pray for those seven people who lost their lives in the Gurudwara shooting incident in Milwaukee. May their innocent souls rest in peace. On a positive note, if you have not noticed the Google logo recently, you should check it out. The logos are tuned toward the Olympics. Its actually little games that you can play. Congratulations to Mary Kom on winning the bronze. What a fight! This is India's fourth medal at the London Games, making it the highest ever medal haul for the nation. She became the first Indian women boxer to claim an Olympic medal. What is amazing is that she is a mother of two. This shows her determination. Go Mary! More power to mothers and women. In a country where women are still not free to do what they please, this comes as a motivator for many young women who have the talent. As if the Mangalore incident, where girls where stoned by the "Hindu Taliban group" for attending a party with men, was not enough, now posters put by an outfit in the Jharkhand capital have threatened acid attacks on girls and women who wear jeans or do not wear a dupatta. *sigh*. Somebody stop this madness. Ok, switching gears to Song of the day from the movie Ek dujhe ke liye:
solah baras ki baali umar ko salaam
pyaar teri pahali nazar ko salaam  

jis me javaan ho kar, badanaam ham hue
us shahar, us gali, us ghar ko salaam
jisane hame milaaye, jisane judaa kiyaa
us vaqt, us ghadi, us pahar ko salaam


As I was humming the highlighted lines of  the song, I realised how much the "galis" of India have contributed to my childhood.

Gali near Krishna Temple in Udupi, Karnataka

Gali leading to the Golden temple in Amritsar, Punjab
A typical Gali in India selling clothes

From the pictures above, it is evident that the life in India happens on the galis or the narrow streets of India, so much so, that they have named the streets after food and art form of India. For example in Delhi they have a street by the name of  "parante waali gali", in Hyderabad they have a street by the name of "nautanki gali" etc. Often, a rumor starts on the galis and spreads through the town like wild fire. As you navigate the narrow alleys of India, you can't help but notice small children playing unusual games with things they find on the streets like stones, leaves, bottles etc. An amazing sense of calmness prevails on their faces. Scrawny rickshaw wallas pedalling away some tourists, amidst pushy vendors selling food, clothing etc., to earn their daily wages is a heart touching sight on the galis. Romancing couples, struggling to find a private moment, brings a smile to your face. Watching beggars begging for money at every corner of a gali makes anyone want to eradicate poverty altogether from our otherwise fun streets. Every day, rain, shine or fog, such is the scene of the galis of India. I have my own memories of the galis of Manipal. You bet, I know every one of them. My friends and I would cycle through all of them, every evening, ringing the bells as we came across a familiar face, acknowledging their presence. Every gali had a different smell, story and feel to it. We had our own "code" names for the galis. One of them was the "Katte gali". This gali had a seat (katte) on which my friends and I assembled every evening to spend 2 hours doing nothing but chatting away. Oh what fun! On one such evening, a Cobra decided to visit us. I was the last one to know about this not so kind visitor. I barely missed getting bit. I shudder every time I think about this. What if?  And then there was the high school gali, the hospital gali (spent some nervous times here), the temple gali in Udupi, etc. Its always fun to visit these galis when in India. My favorite part of the trip! These galis make a Nukkad (corner). I remember the popular TV series called Nukkad from the eighties. It captured some realistic moments. Alright folks. Good night. I am sure I will dream of "Maya gali" tonight. Lol! 


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