God knows why theme parks were created. At-least why theme parks were created in India. This is because a day at an Indian theme park is about as interesting as a day spent staring at Krishnamachari Srikkanth talking about "innovations" cricket should introduce (such as drawing a strip on the pitch to facilitate accurate LBW decisions).
This morning I woke up to a loudly ringing phone. Expecting to be informed of a brutual murder, involving a man lying on the floor, arms and legs twisted at an angle that would have resembled a combination of the petruvian man and T Rajender, I was jolted back into reality when I realized it was Mahesh cooing his hellos into the phone. Making a mental note to cut down on Dan Brown books, I realized he was going on about some trip to an "amusement" park. I readily agreed as it provided me with a much needed break from an heavy work-schedule involving getting up at ten, breaking fast at eleven, and browsing the internet till two; not the same day, but the next morning. My only other concern was finance, and amazingly I found a couple of hundred bucks which I had not drunk my way through in the form of fruit-mixes in paan-stained glasses. I dressed with painstaking carelessness, and found that I had matched a blue shirt with a blue pair of jeans. This tends to happen as I tend to not wear anything other than the colour blue. Another motivation for me to go was the fact that Mahesh was arranging for the transport in the form of an Ambassador driven by Schumacher's second cousin.
The motivation for Mahesh to organize the trip was that he wasn't under any form of motivation, which he would have promptly ignored. He however was under compulsion from all of his family to take his cousin, who could not understand a word of Tamil, from Varanasi to a popular theme park in Chennai. In this way, it turned out that we were a motley collection of reluctant souls forced on a joy-trip when we'd have rather been at Dr. Rajkumar's funeral.
We reached the place, which was on the way to the place of Mahesh's intellectual study of Computer Science Engineering. Since he was well versed with the route, he pre-warned us of the precise spots at which to cover our noses, as there were an assortment of garbage dumps on both sides along the way. We entered, payed through our nose for the minimal thrills and frills package and promptly got tagged -you know, the way they tag cattle in ranches, the way Saddam used to tag the dead after each small stint at ethnic cleansing. The first ride was called "Shuttle". Well in essence it was a powered swing which was designed to look like a space shuttle. The operators were reluctant to let the swing really soar because there were an assortment of senior citizens amongst the riders. Usually(I have made a total of eight trips to Kishkinta) they swing the contraption high enough to facilitate the viewing of the wheels beneath, but this time they did not do that. After half a dozen swings, we disembarked. The next ride was the Tora-Tora. It is not known why this ride was called so...but maybe because it tends to churn things in your stomach, causing people to throw up...torrrooouuuaaaggghhh...torrrooouuuaaaggghhh -which is precisely what happened to the man sitting in front of me. Luckily centrifugal force carried everything away from me, and I haven't yet opened my account on any theme-park doshams.
The next thing we did was to ride something called the trooper, but I will not go into word origins here. Mahesh sat out on this one because it went too high up for his liking. So, I ended up taking a car with the non-Tamil speaking guy, and by the time my challenge of throwing one's hands up for at least one revolution got across, we were getting out of it. The flume ride turned out to be a damp squib, quite literally. A boat goes up, comes down, crashes, drenches its occupants for no useful reason with salt-water. The heat must have gotten to us, for we did this twice. At this time, we had a plate of samosas each at rates so high that Warren Buffet would rather have eaten his left sock. We also had the cheapest lemonade we could find, whose ingredients consisted of methyl iso-cyanide, ethyl mercaptan and benzene hexachloride all mixed with di-hydrogen monoxide.
Having filled our tummies with non-biodegradable toxic waste, we proceeded to a place called Manthira Arai (Mystical room) which possessed the mystical quality of being able to rotate with the help of a single phase induction motor, or any other contraption for that matter. The room was closed off and we were asked to view the room on an ajacent screen... The room had a fixed camera that rotated along with it. A guy in a poorly designed spider-man costume performed a few antics in the room by walking all along the ceiling, walls and floor. At the end of the show, a question was asked at the audience (still seated members) and one man put up his hand and managed to get the point across that the thing rotated. He got a T-shirt with the Kishkinta logo, and an opportunity to walk into the room and generally make a fool of himself. He made a fool of himself and got away. His friends promptly made a fool of themselves by tearing the shirt apart into pieces. We trudged on into the next show, a sort of virtual reality show, where the chairs move in sync with the on-screen video. We were to watch some sort of ride into a coal mine. It was pretty good, but it can only be realistic enough only if they'd have been able to simulate free-fall sensation, which is virtually impossible. Thankfully, the room was air-conditioned.
We went on to ride an inflatable raft down a slope, which was pretty exciting. We pushed some more unpalatable stuff into our stomach, and started off for home (me thankful because I needed to start writing my records as it was only a week away from the exams). Other things we did, which I did not mention include riding the Arabian Nights (Cups and Saucers) twice (this is nothing but a fancy contraption where a smaller wheel rotates inside a larger one and you are made to sit in one of the cups on the smaller one), the bumper cars twice, where you are allowed to smash you car into any others', which under normal circumstances would have cost you a lot of money in the form of compensation and bribe, and ride the Tora-Tora a second, pukeless time. We fancied a ride on the shuttle a second time, but we got out after sitting on it for ten minutes because the hydraulic walkways would not fold up. I was thankful that the hydraulic walkways had not malfunctioned at the end of the ride. Imagine a truckload of people sitting in a swing twenty feet above the ground unable to get off because the walkways refused to lower themselves! We'd all still have been sitting there!
We decided enough was enough and started back home. I just realized I had been to a place where there is no giant wheel and I have not been upside-down even once and people call that an amusement park! On coming home, I showered and went online (to hell with records). Mahesh had his work cut out for him. He had to drop his cousin back in T Nagar. He reached home at nine in the evening, a hundred times more tired than I. Who wouldn't get tired having listened to an hours worth of heavily accented Hindi?
Hell of a journey.