The Indian Who Survived Australia (Part 1)

Three weeks ago, I took off on a vacation to Australia. I realise that’s an unusual destination, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, since Australia lies way down South (or as North Indians call it, ‘Madras’), it is currently the middle of winter there. It’s so cold, Aussie women are dating Indians just for the body hair.

Also, we’ve all heard stories about how hunting Indians is a popular Australian activity, second only to disowning Mel Gibson. So naturally, I was quite apprehensi¬ve about the trip. I had visions of being mugged, stabbed or worse, having to drink Foster’s (Australian for Kangaroo Piss)

About thirty seven drinks later, I landed in Melbourne. Up ahead, there loomed a visa officer who looked like the love-child of Sly Stallone and Razor Ramon. As a brown goateed man travelling alone, I needed this about as much as I need rabies.

However, Australian Rambo just asked me a couple of routine questions and waved me on with a cheerful “Have a good trip, mate!” This politeness, as I soon found out, was a regular feature across the country. Bus drivers, cabbies, shopkeepers, pimps – everybody was friendly, thus leaving me confused and disoriented, like Akshay Kumar at an etiquette class. My head was clouded with questions – Why is everyone so nice? Where are the violent racists that I’d been promised by the media back home? Are they afraid that if they mess with an Indian, Anchorman Arnab will break out from the TV screen and eat their children?

You know you’re in Australia when you step out and see Indonesians, Malaysians, Indians, Koreans, Japanese and maybe three Aussies. The first ‘native’ I met was two days into my stay. It was good to meet him, especially since he owns a beach house at a small seaside town called Sorrento, about 2 hours away from Melbourne. As it turned out, this place was the scenic equivalent of Scarlett Johansson in a bubble bath. With Megan Fox.

The ocean at Sorrento is an expanse of blue Listerine mouthwash being gargled by a rugged coastal mouth, creating reams of froth in a metaphor that I swear wasn’t meant to be disgusting. Let’s just say that Australia has a coastline desktop wallpapers are made of. Also, miles away from the city, in the dead of winter, millions of stars come out to frolic in the night sky, turning it into God’s own Punjabi Wedding Decoration.

However, there’s only so much nature a city boy can take. Soon enough, I sought out some of the city’s most famous sources of liver and coronary damage. This was followed up with my first attempt at ice-skating, an experience wherein you pay to have all of Earth’s gravitational pull focussed on your butt. (I know there’s an ice-skating rink at Esselworld, but since I live in New Bombay, it’s easier for me to travel to Melbourne.)

Due to a lack of space, I have to end this column here. However, the next one will be an account of my trip to Sydney, featuring prostitutes, skydivers and that Sydney landmark famous for its operas, Harbour Bridge. The only downside of my Sydney trip was that I caught a cold there. I think it may have been racially motivated.

(Note: This is my HT column, dated 25th July 2010.)

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16 responses to “The Indian Who Survived Australia (Part 1)

  1. Great, as always! Today dude, you've just pulled me out of a potential stress attack. Thanks.

  2. You write really well Ashish, looking forward to reading part 2 of this article.

  3. "I know there's an ice-skating rink at Esselworld, but since I live in New Bombay, it's easier for me to travel to Melbourne"Laughed out loud at that one. It's funny because it's true.

  4. Haha, dude! Women dating Indians just for the body hair it seems! Hilarious 😀

  5. Well done!you did find some things to write about Australia.Glad we lived up to the friendly stereotype and not the racially abusive one. You are welcome here any time my goatee'd friend!

  6. Aha! So you did catch a cold!*cue in Anchorman Arnab*

  7. excellent! you seem to have had fun! put up some pictures…listerine mouthwash sea and all. 🙂

  8. the government should pass an Act on salvaging body hair. It comes handy at least in Australia, as Ashish has finely described.

  9. that made me laugh. a lot. well written. can't wait to hear about your sydney experience.

  10. whatte post bhaincho

  11. I read your column in HT for the first time yesterday and it had me hooked! I absolutely had to Google you down…you have inspired me I'm starting my own travel story now!!

  12. Alter-blogger: Thanks! Happy to help :)Priyank Sharma: Thank you. Part 2 should be ready whenever I get off my lazy ass.Suprateek: Yes. Malad is evil.Deepak: Thanks Chuck!Emma: Hey, thanks! I'm guessing you'll find a mention in Part 2. Looking forward to seeing you in Bombay!Anonymous: Yes. Had Anchorman been around, he would've interrupted the virus from spreading.Mukta: Hello! Yes, it was much fun. The pictures will be on Facebook soon.Psychograph: If that happened, they would start with Anil Kapoor.Wankatesh: Thanks man! Keep wanki-err… reading. Keep reading!Magik: Feel aa gayi na macho? :DAnonymous No. 2: Thanks a lot! (Why the anonymity though?)

  13. I laughed so much!!! 'Madras' and Madrasi – the all generic term to describe any southie who crosses the non-southie's pathAnd, Ice skating is fun, all you need is balance. I tried it out (studying in London, Christmas time event) and did not fall once *feels needlessly smug* 😀

  14. Read this in office..laughed out aloud..just in time for the boss-equivalent to peer down at my screen and see my "work":p

  15. too cool. You have one of the best writing aptitude, I must say. 'Hairy Indians, 'Archorman Arnab' and the ice skating bummer.. everything were too hilarious.

  16. everything was… typo sypo is becoming so common in this fast-typing world.. have you experienced the gen x (we were the gen x).. gen z's SMS english? english is no longer a funny language but a typically abused funny one…

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