Sunday 17 October 2010

Kool Koraput & a Corny Oriyan Movie

This has been Dussera, a major puja holiday here in Orissa, and I took up an invite from fellow volunteers Corey and Gina to spend a few days of it with them in Koraput. Koraput is at an altitude of about 2000 feet so is always cooler than down here in Rayagada, usually about 8 degrees I reckon, so it is always a merciful respite from the heat. It is also only 4 hours away by train, making it the nearest place to get to.
The Thursday evening train however was running exceptionally late so I ended up sitting at Rayagada through the heat of the afternoon, through the peak mosquito time of dusk and into the dark. By the time the 4:25PM train actually arrived and left it had gone 7PM. Luckily it made up a little bit of time and got into Koraput just after 11PM instead of the usual 8:30Pm. By this time the number of auto at the station was much reduced and the first one I went to tried to overcharge me, so I walked off and found another shared auto. So after dropping everyone else off at the bus station in the town centre it took me to "backside hospital" where "mora sanga-ra ghara achi" It was a cold evening, everyone was wrapped up in scarves and jackets, it had started to rain, and the auto drivers clearly wanted home for the holiday. By my arrival time the promised aubergine lasagna was never going to be eaten that evening and so had to wait for lunch the following day. It was the case of a quick cup of tea , a short chat and then sleep.
I am always surprised by how quiet Koraput compared to Rayagada - no train noise. I slept like a log and didn't wake up till gone 9AM! The day was written off to rain, it rained ALL day "bursa haba, haba, haba" It rained, and rained and rained! But the windows were open it was cool, I wasn't sweating, I'd slept without a fan on, but did need a light blanket - what a great start to my weekend. Fellow volunteer Kevin came round in the evening, braving the downpour in complete head to toe wet weather gear, bringing bottle of beer - nice man! Corey prepared a mean cornflakes encrusted deep fried chicken with mash and steamed carrots - excellent The man is a good cook. Both food, beer and conversation went down well. Such a change for me.
Saturday saw Corey having to work and Gina and I went shopping. Gina had some errands to run in town and I wanted to visit Omar's (whose shop ex volunteer Hilary named The Best Shop in Koraput). He always has something I cannot get in Rayagada - all imported stuff so relatively expensive but I have to stock up at every opportunity. He came up trumps again this visit - not just the usual nuts and breakfast cereals but also pasta, coconut milk and dried apricots - oh my goodness, how one's mouth waters at the thought. I am now having visions of pasta with walnut sauce! Then Gina came  up with a present of a tin opener and a potato masher - two kitchen items I have been struggling to find and their lack recently saw me prising open a tin of coconut cream fellow volunteer Brooke brought me from Delhi with the saw attachment on my Swiss Army knife like tool kit set - don't try this at home!
Saturday evening dinner was with a staff member from the VSO India Programme Office who was in town for the meetings which Corey had been attending and was therefore my only Indian meal of the whole weekend end , but only after Corey, Gina and I had paid a visit to the recently refurbished and reopened Koraput Cinema. I was amazed how big it was - maybe 500 seats. It was not anywhere near full, but the seats were classic cinema seats with the base which springs up and padded! Comfort I had not expected. Although there was no AC or fans, it was OK, although I think I'd skip it if it was full.
The film was in Oriya, it was my first Oriya film - definitely the way to improve your language ABHIMANYU - THE LOVER WARRIOR. You don't need subtitles to understand the movie. Just like Bollywood movies they are classic tales of good v evil, love conquers all, complete with the obligatory song and dance scenes. In this one the hero ends up working for a local gangster in order to pay for his mother's medical operation, he meets a girl, she doesn't know what he does until etc etc I enjoyed it. I have been talking with my landlady about going in Rayagada and had been saying we should go to a Hindi movie, but now I am not so sure, I think Oriya ones maybe more corny but also more beneficial language wise.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds lovely and I'm so disappointed not to have been able to get to the Koraput cinema. I must have walked past the building dozens of times but can't picture it. My mobile phone provider told me it was the best shop in Koraput and he was probably right, Amar spoke much better English than most and tried hard to get things we wanted. Dussera was fun last year. I couldn't get a train to meet up with all the other vols in Puri so spent the Sunday wandering around the town alone but had great fun, being invited to join shop keepers for a drink of disgustingly sweet fizzy pop and a few words of Oriya and English. Glad to hear you had fun