Off to Jinja, the old capital of Uganda and the stronghold of people named Madhvani, who are the Ambanis of Uganda. The town is about two hours drive from Kampala.
Enroute, we passed by a suburb of Kampala named Ntinda. This is pronounced Natinda. Which rhymes with Bhatinda. Which awoke the Keats in me. I composed this little sonnet to a fictitious, touchingly incompetent culinary craftsman, and narrated it to the missus who, as is her wont when in any car ride greater than 5 minutes long, had gone off to sleep.
"There was a young lad from Bhatinda", I told her, nudging her awake gently, "who found a job as a cook in Ntinda. But when he roasted meat, even on the lowest heat, it would somehow get burned to a cinder".
She looked blankly at me. "What in the world are you gibbering about? What have Bhatinda and Ntinda got to do with each other?". I explained the poem to her. A young man, a migrant, leaving home and its hardships, coming to a strange town, landing a job as a cook and then struggling with his inability to roast meat etc.
The missus did not seem to get the poignancy. "Naren, kindly stop this tomfoolery before someone concludes you are non compos mentis. Now let me catch up on some sleep". The missus tends to use latin when seriously pissed. I continued to compose, silently now, my poetic masterpieces.
There was a young man from Bhatinda/ who married a lady named Linda/ whose hair was highly curled /because the part of the world /she was from was called Ntinda.
Nope. Not as good as the earler effort. Best not to tempt fate by narrating this one to the missus. She has never bitten me but that does not mean she can't. Or won't.
The landscape was beautiful. Just green, green and more green. Our driver Ronald was a dignified and knowledgeable commentator and kept giving me little tidbits of information such as the average rainfall in Uganda, the average temperature, the distance to Jinja, the flora and fauna to be found there, the early white explorer Speke, who afforded great poetic possiblities (The Early White Explorer Speke/ was ordinarily docile and meek/ except when he found/ no shrubbery around/ and he badly wanted to take a leak) but Ronald's constant, dignified commentary rather demanded attention.
Enroute we stopped at a forest called Mabira, which nearly caused civil war in this charming country thanks to one Jay Mehta, husband of Juhi Chawla. This is a long and potentially sensitive anecdote which I will narrate some other time, mainly because I don't know how much truth there is in it. Suffice it to say that if the anecdote is true, said Mehta is a greedy whatchamacallit.
Ok, missus making eyes at me. Will update post lights out.