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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Krishna Guntur Story

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.

Roadside refreshments were loads of coconut water and for me with my 32 sweet teeth,the kheers and mysore paks, which is actually a speciality of Karnataka,were more than welcome.
I am pretty excited about new places all the time and love interacting with the locals.I spoke to them in Telugu dropping a 'Ni per ante?' and 'Nuvu Ami Chestano?' around ,meaning 'What's your name?' and 'How are you?' in Telugu, leaving many in awe and excitement.

Machilipatnam, another port in the Krishna district was similar to the Nizampatnam port except that the fishermen were friendlier.With a little tourist charm and Telugu to my rescue,the smiling fishermen offered me a boat ride and i grabbed it without a thought.Two fishermen untied a fisherman's motor boat and we headed out toward the sea.I was awfully excited!There were thick mangroves on both sides and as we sailed out further,I saw twobrightly coloured lighthouses at a distance,on opposite sides as if they were forming a gateway to the the waves of the Bay of Bengal.It was a lovely sight!And then,I saw the beach!My heart was beating fast as we moved onto the shore and the fishermen helped me out of the boat.
I am a beach person and just love the beach,the sea and the endless walks that make me lose count of time..After a quick facebook snap next to the lighthouse,I walked towards the beach barefoot.The beach was deserted with not a single soul in sight.It wasn't a tourist beach anyway.I saw patches of red across the beach and from the corner of my eye,suddenly saw them moving..The fishermen ran towards the patches and i realized they were crabs!They were beautiful bright red creatures,sunning themselves on the beach in the warm sun! One of the fishermen brought me one and i posed with it for another snap.The beach was endless,beautiful,unpolluted and awesome, a fascinating undiscovered spot.
The walk had to be cut short since we had to head back as the tide was coming in soon.The breeze and the waves were all there was to talk to.The sun was setting and the sky was a flaming orange as we sailed back to the port.

The lighthouses,the beach, the coconut trees,Guntur chillies, the women with jasmine in their hair and of course the South Indian actor...lovely memories from Krishna-Guntur..

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