Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In love with Paris

Sudha Ramaswamy, my good friend and former freelance journalist from Mumbai who is now settled in Nigeria, shares this experience: (Excerpts):
We had gone to Paris for an eight-day stay...from Amsterdam....It was fun...interesting city.
Reaching the Paris central station....takes you to a place so close to our Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai...God.......the resemblance is amazing.....in terms of the cosmopolitan melting pot of people's thronging the area...Afros, French, Europeans...Turkish...and more...Goodness....the load speakers blare every ten minutes.....”plz be aware of pick pockets and take care of your belongings.”
The fast metro trains are so much cleaner and better and smarter....but just so similar to Mumbai locals....they are fast trains...and zoom away..so much so that you can’t really see out of your window...it’s only darkness....it’s that fast.
Paris is dirty...so much...so much like India and Mumbai, but Paris has “Sex shops” glaring at you from every corner too! Paris is so interesting and Parisians love Indians.
The French are the warmest people I have ever met so far in my life...they are so warm, friendly, helpful, I simply loved them.
The French similarity to India exists in innumerable dimensions as in the lentils that they also cook, their style and manner of taking great interest in dressing...so much in contrast to Holland's Netherlanders....many are pure vegetarians.
But most of all, they have a fondness for Pondicherry - this makes them love Indian food. Indeed we shared Puri ...aloo sabji with a French family that took so instantly to us in the train returning to Amsterdam.
Paris is so ancient and preserves its culture and traditions in its architecture, monuments, road side cafes and pattiseries... nothing seems to have been impinged upon since the times of Napolean Bonaparte...despite the cyber scratch and sniff experience sweeping France just as much as it has done the rest of the worrld.
It’s minus 9 degrees here at Holland now and is snowing.
Thanks Sudha. And best of luck.

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