I had heard about Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.I always thought it was a small remote town. Its a pretty big city! I drove down to Vijaywada from Hyderabad. The route was comfortable with the Film City and Pochampalli village,of the famed sarees with the same name, falling enroute. I made it to Vijaywada in good time and headed to the Gateway Hotel where I was putting up.Vijaywada along with Guntur are twin cities in the Guntur district.
The first thing that I noticed about the city were the women with beautiful dusky complexions, clad in fine heavy silks with jasmine in their thick long plaited hair and the men clad in lungis and chappals,casually stepping out of their mercedeses and bmws to dine at the hotel.
I walked down the MG road and went into the local stores displaying bridal couture. The stores boast of all kinds of silk and heavily embroidered sarees and dress materials visually appealing and equally heavy on the pocket!I wondered if I should pick up a saree or two for friend's engagement parties but decided against the heavy silks..
I had a field time during meal times with the best of south indian preparations blended in coconut and exotic spices, the mainstay of south indian gourmet.The curries,rasams,appams,hyderabadi biryanis made me feel like i was in food heaven. I remembered my geography teacher in class 4, who once while describing the food habits of south Indian people told us that the locals in south India eat so much coconut that their sweat actually smells of coconut!No hard feelings!
I saw a guy at meal time whom i recognized from a roadside movie poster to be an actor. He must have been.He was quite attractive with a tall stature and lovely curly hair. I wonder why we haven't seen him in bollywood yet!
Reading up on the city,I learnt that the only Indian family on the Titanic was from Guntur!Work took me to the Nizampatnam port which stank of dried and salted fish and had truckloads of fish spread out across the port for sunning.There were numerous fishermen boats lined up in the crowded bay, wobbling with the waves.A little away from the port, one could see the fizzy white waves of the sea crashing in onto the bay area.
The countryside was beautiful with endless stretches of green fields,coconut trees and hoards of bright red chillies just harvested.These hoards of chillies can actually be seen from air when one approaches the city by plane during harvest time.