You can take a man out of Bihar but can never the Bihari out of him. This was reenforced recently, when I got a chance to go to Patna for my school reunion. The school decided to give me a ‘significant achievement award’
for something that I am yet to figure out, but that is a topic for another day.
I sat on an Air India flight at Delhi, on a Friday evening for Patna and heard this announcement for the first time in life… “please do not sit on the arm’s rest as it will break if you do so”. Air India, what do you think of us Biharis ? I am deeply hurt….we never do such irresponsible things…ok, may be sometimes…but still, you can’t generalise this !! Maybe your seats are so uncomfortable or they have bugs…try and find out the reasons, before humiliating us. Fun fact – Patna was ahead of Mumbai and second only to Delhi in terms of ease of doing business, according to a World Bank Ranking in 2009.
After landing, we walked towards the arrival gate…no bus…no fancy over bridge …just you and the nature… and just few policemen nudging you to walk properly. As I was exiting, my phone rang and I heard…”सर, हम ड्राइवर साहब बोल रहें हैं “ (Sir, this is your driver speaking). This was so cute, much cuter than what you hear from those Über drivers these days in Delhi. On my way to the hotel (of my nephew who doesn’t ask me to pay), I noticed that Patna has changed. When I was growing up, the apartments were named Narmada, Ganga, Jamuna and so on…now they are called Durga Marine Drive and hotels which were Maurya & Chanakya are now called Panache and Exotica. Living in Gurgaon, where all apartments have fancy English, Italian and other alien names, I know that Patna is coming of age.
As I reached the hotel, driver mentioned “thanda kar diya hai” (its getting cold now), as the hotel staff ran towards the car to help me out (being owner’s mama does help).
Next morning, we went to Zoo for a morning walk (rich people go to Zoo… by car.. for morning walks there). It was a nice walk but we couldn’t go to the animal area, as it was cordoned off due to some spray to deal with ‘मुर्ग़ी वाला बीमारी’ as explained by a staff there who came running to us and asked us to go back. Outside the Zoo, when we asked a street vendor to take a picture, three passerby came to help him out with that. Yes, Biharis are helpful …and we decide if…and when others need help.
School was great fun…as always…although we all missed alcohol (which is now banned in Bihar for last few years). Meeting some of the teachers after more than 2 decades was nostalgic, specially Trivedi Sir who once famously said ‘all are right but all are wrong, except Pratik John’ when I surprisingly solved a maths problem exactly as he wanted us to. Few friends asked if they could get a franchisee of PwC 😊….and couple of them asked if PwC is like PWD…
The memorable evening ended with a coffee at Barista…the tagline aptly summarised the trip…’I can’t Expresso how much you bean to me’….