A Jughead travels round the world in six months

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By Philip Mudartha
Bellevision Media Network


Mumbai, 17 Nov 2013: Julie and I are married for thirty-four years. It took that many years to start a family, raise the kids and let go of them. Dekhtedekhte, my hair turned grey (not to mention my mustache). I turned sixty, sufficient reason to retire and take sanyas from Qatar.


A month into retirement, spent mainly in brooding over what to do with our lives, it dawned on us that we must do things that we always wanted to do but had not done.


Like what?

Julie said, “Jenny, my friend  has come back from a trip to Singapore. She has splashed her photos on Facebook in hundreds of costumes and poses”. Jenny and Julie were classmates in high school.


“Pack your bags and let’s go”. I said.


“Arrey, aisekaise pack your bags and go? We are family. It is not like you go on business trips, that also alone.”
Our marriage was made in heaven. For me a lowly human, it means that we squabble a lot before making up our mind; to be exact, her mind. Here, on earth, the meek inherit the earth; therefore, men and bulls only will inherit it.  If you are happily married, you instinctively know what I mean. If you are not, don’t bother.



Where to go, when to go, what and how to do what we should do, what to take with us and what not to, and above all how to pack our bags were some important talking points, until the taxi arrived to take us to the airport.


Once settled with our seat belts buckled inside the aircraft, we were at peace. Well, almost. Did you shut the water tap in the closet and also fix the padlock on the terrace doors? Did you take the garbage out? Did you, did you..? What would we poor idiot men do if God did not create Eve?


The next best thing, besides God, is the in-flight entertainment on most airlines. Bless the soul who thought about it. It comes with a headset. You can put it on and feign deafness or promptly go to sleep. Most airlines offer movie selections specifically intended to cure insomnia. That way, they save on alcohol costs too.Because, men and now-a-days women too, feel an urgent urge to quench their thirst immediately upon boarding a flight.


Boarding flights we did, many of them. In fact, we celebrated my retirement flying 61,000 Km, taking us from Seoul in South Korea, Miami in USA, and many cities in between. Besides flying, we took to trains, buses, taxis and boats to ferry us another 15,000 Km within India and abroad.  Add them together; we went round the earth twice. And I do not count the 2,000 Km or so, which I have covered on foot walking as my daily exercise and many grocery trips on behalf of lovely my wife, done in solitary loneliness.


Why did we travel

Beats me; I do not know. I am trying to figure that out. When we arrived home, the city of Mumbai was celebrating Diwali. Windows and gates were lit up with glittering illuminations. Men and boys burst firecracker bombs till sunrise. We were back to a deafeningly mad world out here. Not that the world was not mad everywhere and anywhere we went.


We were mad too; despite having such good times globe-trotting, within eight hours of landing we were dining out at a swanky but dimly lit restaurant named Jughead’s which is hidden in atree lined narrow lane in Khar.If you are a fan of Archie comics, you will recognize Jughead. I share his love for food and dry sarcastic humor. The similarities end there though, for I am short, fat and like girls. Well, every rule has an exception. There is one girl out there, who is the exception.



The evening was young; so, let’s cap it with laughter. We rode second class on a train to Lower Parel and made it to Canvas Comedy Laundry. Vasu Ritu Primlani was in town leading a pack of ten in a show appropriately titled New Stuff. For the uninitiated, Vasu is an internationally acclaimed environmentalist, besides being a top notch stand-up comedienne.


“I have performed all over the world. I am just back after performing to capacity audiences in California. But, I love Bombay audiences”, Vasu flatters us in her welcoming emceeing style. Loud applause; very lovely audience, indeed.


When applause stops, she delivers the punch-line, almost in a whisper: You have lowest standards in Bombay, you know! Pin drop silence; awkward moments.


Then she talks of one of her uncles who recently went to Hong Kong on a family holiday. He came back with one thousand digital pictures of buildings, bridges, roads and parks. See, see, awesome nah? Wonderful nah? Yea, yea, yea.  What lovely photography, amazing nah?


I know what is coming. She retorts: He could have downloaded Google pictures; why bother to go to Hong Kong to photograph them? The audience roars in laughter. After all, we can laugh at others’ folly easily.


Next day, I get a call from Bellevision. We heard you were in USA. Would you write a travelogue for us? Give us many pictures, please.




Vasu Primlani, did you know, Google cannot compete with us novice photographers?  Our pictures are in great in demand.
No hurry, okay?


I will describe my follies in Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Bahrain and USA, the countries I was in during the past six months. But like Jughead, I have my oddities and idiosyncrasies.  I travel for pure personal pleasure with scant regard for taking notes of tourist guides repetitive account of history, architecture, and blah, blah, blah. I am very selfish, like Jughead. And I love food, drink and people. I have met and spoken to probably a thousand and more during my travels, at least half of them girls!


Then, I am obsessed with toilets. When I was abroad, even Modi shed his obsession with temples and pumped for toilets. No sane travelogue describes the importance of toilets in foreign shores. When you eat and drink as much as I do, you need them; don’t you agree? Then you must know how to use them, especially because in India we are used to do it anywhere and everywhere, like a dog when it finds an electric pole. (Ladies, please skip this paragraph).


And what do we do in there? No. 1 and No. 2, right? Don’t we need our left hand, a water jug, a lota? Some countries, especially in the orient and Middle East, empathize with our cultural sensibilities and install bidets with hands-free shower faucets.


Especially, more cultured among them like Koreans have invented toilet seats fitted with programmed gadgets which are smarter than iPhone 5S. Only the arrogant, proud and snobbish pretending super-powers like British and Americans give a hoot. The Europeans go an extra mile and fix programmed locks on theirs, and charge a fee to enter! But all of them want us to adopt their ways. What is toilet paper for, they snort! Only, they do not know that during our doing it in forests and backyards, we used leaves as herbal toilet tissue.


I leave you with a picture, finally. I took it using my iPhone 4 at my hotel room in Gangnam in Seoul. You can download them from Google too.  If you intend to travel to Korea, China, Japan and their yellow neighbors, Google and learn more about how it works.



I promise you more on my travels round the earth, only after you react. After all, you are the best readers in the world, as Vasu Primlani would say.



Comments on this Article
Jitu, Jampot Mon, January-27-2014, 3:02
"Well, every rule has an exception. There is one girl out there, who is the exception. " Ha ha ha... "(Ladies, please skip this paragraph)." .... which one? The one that preceded it or the one that followed?? "After all, you are the best readers in the world, as Vasu Primlani would say." - Of course we are! Why else would we read your blog? :P
Francis J. Saldanha, Moodubelle/Bahrain Mon, November-18-2013, 9:29
The travelogue from a genius! is a very interesting one to read especially the language, timing and situations. Just perfect!!! Am not surprised with the decision making process of Dear Philip Mudartha Sir to convince Julie Madam (the other way round!) to go on a tour and round the world for few weeks/months! Over all a very good-humored article and typical of my good friend! Eagerly waiting to read your follies about the other destinations including Bahrain! Keep writing Sir…
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Mon, November-18-2013, 7:51
Philip, you are inspiring every retired person to live a jovial life. Retired life is best part to do things when you always wanted to do and the way you wanted to do. I too dream about retired life...get up in the morning very relaxed...Idli, Vada and news paper. Coffee and cigar!!! compared to hectic and tensed, often worried...what is in store(tension) today???, more so in Gulf countries.
Benedict Noronha, Udupi / India Mon, November-18-2013, 5:54
To laugh or not to laugh is the question. Any how the write up is more interesting than the subject matter.Cartoons are well presented than the matter. Keep it up and make the viewers of Bellevision jovial.
Michael Sequeira, Pamboor/Nairobi Mon, November-18-2013, 3:40
As always the read is enjoyable with humour and sarcasm.When it comes to human attitude towards various lifestyles and choices you know how to pen down without restrictions.I learn from your travelogue the attitude of people from different nationalities.Travel exposes to different cultures and enables one to balance with diverse cultures and religions.Would love to read more to enrich my experience through your travelogue.
Victor Castelino, Boliye/Dubai Sun, November-17-2013, 7:29
A travelogue in lighter vein? Are you serious? Should be interesting.
Lance D Costa, Mangalore / Abu Dhabi Sun, November-17-2013, 12:24
A nice and humorous article. Enjoyed reading from beginning till end. Keep writing your travelogues Mr. Philip.
clara, mumbai,dohaqatar. Sat, November-16-2013, 1:41
Very good article.writemore about travel experiences.
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