Feb 26, 2013

The Field Observer: The dusty mines

This post is a part of a series. Check the other parts here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

This blog post is the blogger's imagination loosely inspired by some of his life events over the past two weeks. Any resemblance to any other real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

Day 1:
To piss or not to piss:
I have had extended periods of controlling the urge to piss on long bus journeys. However, this was different. We were to arrive at 8.30 for the bus, but the bus was late, and so was Rowdy. The bus did finally arrive an hour later, and I was the first one to find its location. In the short time between my call to the GT boyz and the time they arrived, I decided whether to piss behind the bus. After a mental turmoil, I decided not to do it. Fortunately, it was a good decision as the driver arrived just seconds later, but unfortunately, I got a change to piss only after 8 excruciating hours.

Wearing caps in rooms:
During a presentation at one of the multiple organisations we visited, many people kept their caps on. I agree caps are important in the field, but I have always been taught never to wear a cap in front of a superior. I guess, we are just wired differently.

Gizmo Exchange:
I had a pretty decent camera, and Porny had an awesome headphone. On exchanging them during the bus rides, both parties were happy.

Rowdy wrong multiple times:
Rowdy has a habit of imposing his opinion on others. Unfortunately, the people on the other side of the desk were far more experienced than him. Naturally, his strong opinions came to nothing and his weakness was exposed, Bottom line- the mighty Rowdy had fallen; he was wrong.

Day 2:

Bihari’s Outrage:
There was no proper drinking water supply in the place that we were staying, and the bottled water the caterers provided were the only source of drinking water. On the morning of day 2, there was a shortage of the same. Naturally, it took some time to get more water, and that made the students late. Also, two guys were ill, and could not come. Rowdy did not understand this, and hence the Bihari confronted him. Rowdy did not take that well, and told me to tell “my” people to behave. Well, he did not have the guts to do anything else.

Underground Coal Mine:
The highlight of the days was the visit to the underground coal mine, apparently one of the cleanest in the country, and a favourite of the politicians. Naturally, the technical aspects of the mine did not get my attention. What did, however, were the exciting stuff- right from the way we entered the mine to the blasts forming an integral part of the extraction.

Generous People:
One thing which could never have escaped my attention is the attitude of the people. The gentlemen in the mine explained their part with great interest and passion. Back at the hostel, the store guys provided me with extra pillows without much persuasion.

Work hard, party harder:
If you thought the underground mine was going to steal the show, you would be wrong. The third night in Nagpur was party night, with drinks on Gizmo Guy. Even Rowdy ended up drinking with the kids, but left early nonetheless, as he couldn't compete with the liquor habits of the kids.

ATM Incident:
The day was still not complete without ‘The Bihari’. By the time the party got over, it was way past 11. With half a dozen girls, and about the same number of guys left in a group (let’s call it group A), Bihari (who was a part of the remaining people, group B) wanted to escort the girls group, as he considered their safety his responsibility. We did stop at an ATM on the way, when Bihari himself withdrew money after the people in group A were done. Group A left with a line which roughly translates to this in English- Our people are done. Let’s go.

Lesson on Life
Naturally, the group B (read above) people were left pretty shocked at that line of thought. Durg, a part of group B, gave the rest of the guys a lesson on life- be good, but if others take advantage of you, it is necessary to screw them back.

Day 3:

Rowdy’s friends:
Rowdy had complained of the small size of the bus from day one itself, however, this day, he turned up with a few long lost friends. The result- the occasional guy had to sit in the cabin!

Crossing Toll Booth like a boss:
With the improving condition of reads in India due to outsourcing, tolls booths have become pretty common. However, there was this one toll booth when the bus went right through it. My initial thought made me think it was perhaps a VIP lane, but on our trip back, I realised that the booth had not been set up properly yet.

After a tiring day of field work, Rowdy wanted to visit an orphanage on the advice of his lost lost friends mentioned above. I understand it is a good gesture, but it could not have been timed any worse. Fortunately, Duru convinced them not to allow us inside.

Better terrorist than geologist:
That was the day I decided I would rather turn into a terrorist rather than a hardcore field geologist (The terrorist part was certainly inspired by the movie Zero Dark Thirty we watched the previous night.)

Nut Cracker:
With boredom at its peak in the hostels, the German Scientist came up with a game he fondly calls the nut cracker. In his words- The rules are that there are no rules. We just need to crack the nuts of the opposition.

Day 4:

Horrible DOCOMO Reception:
By the time we reached day 4, I had lost my ability to make observations- even sarcastic ones. Among the little things that still mattered to me, one was the connectivity of my cell phone. Although not a single day has passed in Roorkee when the Docomo network was down, but its service in the remote areas has been pathetic to say the least.

Chotu's mudra dosh:
There is a characteristic way in which Rowdy salutes people of least importance with an ‘O bhaiyya’ (hey, brother). Although most of the students caught up with the phrase, Chotu got a little bit too obsessed with the same. It ended up being a mudra dosh (Bengali) / takiyakalam (Hindi) for him. And no, I can’t translate that into English.

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