Amar is cruising fast in his Triban ahead of me and the rain is making it really difficult to follow him. He takes a steep left onto the pavement. I try to follow suit. The front tyre skids off the side of the pavement. You know that exact moment when you know you are fucked, the entire world slows down and you can recall all details. Yah that happened. I lost my bearings and the 10 kg bag on my back helped me land face first into the pavement. I could taste the Moscow dirt. Centuries of history, decades of seclusion and years of geo-political power plays and my first taste of Russia is literally detritus from the pavement. And Macha let me tell you this. Its the best dirt I have ever tasted.
9 hours before.
I wait outside gate 9 of the international terminal in IGI. Almost 12 months have gone by from when this dream germinated to the moment it is about to bear fruit. I still couldn’t believe this was happening. Then an announcement in the PA system. It was in Russian. I knew it was time. Some languages, no matter what the fuck they are saying sounds sweet cause it has a particular rhythm to it. That announcement felt like Mozarts “moonlight sonata” to me. I made my way down the ramp, saw two Tamil pasingas and decided not to say hi right now. I got to my seat. On top of the left wing of a gargantuan Airbus A330. I never been in such a big plane. As my boys would be expecting. A comment on the female cabin crew is what is on the cards. But when they are all over 50, you would call it a retirement party than something for a eye candy. As I prayed I got a window seat and as a bonus the seat next to me was empty. Lavish space. When you don’t spam god with prayers everyday and just ask for a favour or two once in a while. The big dude upstair responds.
I was praying till that moment that some fuck up at immigration or ticketing wouldn’t get me in trouble. It was my worst nightmare and when I was one that plane. I felt, the anxiety should be leaving now. CAUSE MOTHERFUCKER, YOU ARE GOING TO RUSSIA.
As I do in planes, I sleep. Like quaaludes mixed with beer type sleep. So first time I woke up. We were flying over the Himalayas and I saw one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen from an aircraft ( That Indigo hostess would top that, but this comes second).
Somewhere over China ( or Pakistan)
Then I passed out again and that sweet aunty ( Aeroflot’s finest) bought me lunch with as a salad, chicken, and an Indian sweet. It was delicious. Then slumber again and and ice cream came. Into the world of dreams and then came nothing else to eat. But then came Moscow.
I saw green. Lots and lots of green to the left wing. Then came water bodies. In a few moments the screen inform of me lit up with the landing camera. Small buildings were popping up and then the frequency increased to an extend that all all the green was replaced with buildings and then the river was flowing through it. It was like the story of civilisation in time lapse mode. The plane made its descent into Sheremetyevo International Airport. We landed and we disembarked the aircraft. I say we now cause I said hi to the Tamil Pasingas and I was oddly talking Tamil. They are two dudes from Kovai. One dude, sashvii works with AIFF to market football teams. He works with KBFC as well as Chennaiyan. And his uber cool mate, Mohammad. So we went past immigration where the guy had a really close look at me. My passport photo looks like how Fox news would portray a terrorist, AKA Saleem from Slumdog millionaire. But he put his Russian stamp on my passport and I was allowed entry into the biggest country int he world.
First things first, we went to get a sim card. Remember MTS, which had that big egg as an emblem. Well they are actually Russian and they are called MTC here. So knowing how they fucked up back home and being a little hesitant about oviparous telecom companies. I went fo a MEGAPHONE sim. Here is my number, hit me up on WhatsApp if you wanna trade bitcoins or hook up or go out for a beer. ( Which is exactly what I shouldn’t be doing before writing) That is my number – +79259164872. ( It will be void after a month so I don’t develop the malignant form of cancer called whatsapp). Then the Tamil bois and this fake Tamil boi split. I got on the Aeroexpress metro train from SVO airport to Beloruski train terminal. Did I tell you I was carrying my Triban with me. If you still haven’t figured out what a Triban is, you are in for a treat as the big reveal will blow your mind and might also mend your collar bone if you had been carrying it on your right shoulder as I have been doing since Chennai.
I got onto the Aeroexpress train which costs a heft 500 rubles but was very fast and felt like the trains you saw in Mr Beans holiday. I sat next to a Russian lady and that is when it dawned on me that beginning a conversation is gonna be little difficult in this country. ( Little is an understatement ). Soon I was there. Belo-Something railway station.So the hostel we are staying at is in a place called Kurskaya. I have to get on a different train from here.( By train I mean metro).
So carrying my 17.6 kg modified tribal I went down the longest descent of my life ( Depression and Moyes comes second to this), the escalator down a metro in Moscow is an adventure by itself. It keeps on going that you cant see the bottom. Let me show you.
NO, THEY ARE NOT SMOOCHING
Not an art Museum , its the metro
I have fucked up real hard on the Delhi Metro, so I asked with whatever shitty Russian I knew which platform it is to Kurskaya and lucky I boarded the right train. I got off at Kurskaya and went out the station. This was almost around the time I started to notice the female populace of Moscow. ( Not to mention months of research on the same on my browser). See, novelty is what drives human being to do something new. But when novelty is everywhere, there is nothing new in it anymore. That’s the same here. Almost all the women between 17 to 35 look like they could do playboys cover any day of the week and the summer makes it even more apparent just how beautiful these women are. I expected this and didn’t let my Mallu eyes wander off too much. Shakeela Chechi has trained us for exactly this. I can keep it in. ( Before the 3rd peg).
I got off and then waited outside the Kurskaya metro station. Waiting for Amar. There, being the mass Tamil payyan that he is made an entrance that even Thalaivar would be proud of.
He had reached one day early and had gone through a whole lot shit, which I will let him illustrate in a different segment, right now he is sleeping. Paavam.
Then we assembled our Tribans and we are on the road. I follow Amar and we reach the point on the road where the pedestrian foot path is gonna fuck me. Which it did. Two hot girls rushed to see if I was alright, they knew English too. How embarrassing Yadu. At least you didn’t get any bruises. ( Couldn’t say the same when I took my pants off, the damage has been done.)
That was my first “taste” of Moscow. That fall sort epitomises everything about me and Amar. We get back up, have a laugh, learn the lesson from it and just move on. And I am glad I had an accident on the first day. Now I don’t have any false sense of pride to lose. I am free. A brown guy cycling through Moscow with a helmet with Mia Khalifa stuck on it.
So we check into our hostel. Whose name we don’t know yet. Its above a Gym which we have marked on Google maps and thats just about good enough now, Its a proper backpackers hostel. With bunkbeds and a common shower. ( I probably will be showering with Peru fans tomorrow, by “with” I mean with just a glass panel separating us, one the plus side they look more like me than most North Indians, ok I am being racist, now lets close this thought bubble and put the beer down)
Then I saw my bed and soon I started to sneeze. I realised that I am getting sick, a slight fever had raised my temperature and that was my body way of saying- “ Madaharchod, you have been sleeping in airports and airplanes and haven’t had proper food or slept properly, sleep chutiye”
AND which I did for 13 hours straight. So the details will be little murky there guys. Will update properly on tomorrows.
Good night and big balls. ( Why did I say that?)