Mexico: Impressions

Barely a week has passed when 3 bikes with 4 riders started on their 5 day trip by driving towards the Tecate border crossing to Mexico. Mexico... The name has a vaguely identifiable ring of romantic imperfection associated with it. For a boy who hails from the chaotic environs of a continuously hyperventilating country, the measured dozes of unsullied oxygen sometime leave a gaping hole of desire. This innocent desire for the occasional mathematical imperfection of sweeping mountain curves, the infrequent sight of fault in the perfectly manicured fauna, the silhouette of a city to resemble, if only intermittently, more a dilapidated crone than a lady in short black dress- this desire makes me appreciate the ragged, jagged, relatively arbitrary world that Mexico has to offer. In its crumbling edifices of randomly packed matchboxes, in the arabesque pattern of its road network, in the decreased field of personal space, Mexico reminds me a lot of India. Saying that I love all of this all the time would be falling into a trap that we desis fall in all too easily. The trap of not loving the country but the romantic idea of it. But I do miss it occasionally. Striving for betterment, perfection, one sometimes misses the age of fault; much like that old television that had to be slapped on the side to improve reception, or that insufferable P.T. teacher who was all too ready with the stick.

So what is Mexico like?

The arbitrarily cracked asphalt is often overloaded with disintegrating pickup trucks with a driver in a shabby checkered shirt and seemingly doped passengers curiously staring at you from the open trunk. Children in tattered attires who haven't been told that every stranger is a pedophile wave enthusiastically at you while you pass them on your motorcycle and young girls with skin tight jeans and a bit too much rouge for a Wednesday afternoon giggle and whisper naughtily if they happen to catch your attention. Traffic follows street laws but things always seem to be hanging in a precarious balance, forever in the danger of snapping into a chaotic disarray if only you grew complacent for a second. There are speed limits but the police is refreshingly inept and corrupt so that the time it takes to get from one point to another depends only upon how much of a badass you can be. Shopkeepers humor you with generous help as you gesticulate with exasperated flourish and try to inquire about the price of one 'churro' in your impotent Spanish. Road workers, from behind the clouds of gaseous asphalt and sunny dust, raise the right thumb in a friendly approval of your foreign presence and meanly attired army men on infrequent check posts show more interest in the volume of your engine than the contents of your bag. Drunk girls with time at their hands and mischief on their minds shout from behind the germinating veil of night 'Do you speak English' as three Indians, quite unsure and slightly flustered, fidget and fumble and finally drift. Local bands bellow their loosely strung concoctions as the hopped up night swirls around them in an inebriated frenzy and the sauced celebrations stretch deep into the dark. And below the starry expanse of the unbridled sky with the swathed sound of the distant water and the intoxicating smell of spirited festivities, one sits on the rampart of simplified life and tries to make sense, and embrace to some extent, a world that is so different from the one that he has left for a little while. A very young boy selling insignificant tchotchkes is happy to sell off a considerable portion of his merchandise for 15 pesos and Bhatele remarks, "He finished off his shop" and we break into spontaneous laughter. He laughs too and stashing away the 15 pesos, moves ahead with the satisfaction of a business well done.

Hopefully I'll stop to reminisce some more for there are such beautiful memories.


Parth said...

Nice. I think you are familiarizing yourself with a country the way its meant to be done. Good luck.

Ankit said...

Thanks... I can't wait to get there again :)

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Like a particularly notorious child's tantrums, a mountaneous river's intemperance, a volcano's reckless carelessness and the dreamy eyes of a caged bird, imagination tries to fly unfettered. Hesitant as she takes those first steps, she sculpts those ambitious yet half baked earthen pots.