Friday, March 11, 2005

Back in Amdavad

New resolutions in the changing Age

1. Never agree to fly early in the morning. And yes 10 o’ clock is early for us nightly creatures. And the flight was at 6.10. So there I was at the airport reporting at check-in counter at 5.57. "Too late sir," was a curt response from the babe sitting on the other side. She smiled the smile of the revenge killer after the knife has drilled a hole in the heart. "But hey there is this freak fog, the flight is gonna be delayed any way," was a quick one from this side. "No show, sir. It's full. I am told, about four ours later, by my would-have-been co-passenger that the flight took off at 7. And people were boarding till 6.30. And nearly 50 seats were not warmed. Joy of Flying, my left foot.

2. Never drive to the airport thinking it's just a couple of days. I saw the tariff card very closely today. By the time I am back, I would have to pay a fortune to get my car back.

3. It's Dandi March Redux here. It's kind of a festival. Gandhiji defied the British in a symbolic event, he walked to Dandi and made salt. So all the Congressis are here to walk the same path 75 years after Gandhi Baba. Flights are full, the arrival lounge was full of folks shouting slogans for wheoever's face they could recognise.

4. Sworn enemies BJP to RJP to Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and BJP leader and Keshubhai Patel (both former chief ministers) were spotted talking to each other. They both hate the present chief minister, Narendra Modi. Vaghela is the Opposition's leader, and Patel is the Opposition camp leader. Gujarat BJP has always had an Opposition camp within.

5. It's a reunion here. I am meeting people I hadn't seen in five years. People I taught and some I learned from. And I am also meeting people from Delhi I hadn't seen in months. Some are here to cover the Dandi March and some are here for the same event as I. And it's not the Dandi March. If I could walk, I would be slimmer.

6. A lot of water has gone under the Sabarmati since I was here last. The earthquake that killed thousands and the riots that killed thousands are just two of them. The city looks the same, good old upward-looking, money-making Amdavad. There is a lot of traffic, the roads are better. I could see Sardar Sarovar water flowing in the canal on the outskirts. Can’t imagine some from the same affable, god-fearing vegetarians turned into monsters after Godhra. Amdavad was the worst hit by the way.

The next morning

1. Sonia Gandhi has flagged off the Dandi yatra. She didn’t take the 232 km walk. She doesn’t need to. One non-khaadi man I could recognise was Rahul Bose the actor.
2. All the rooms in all the good hotels are full. Most descent hotels are hosting Congress leaders. Gandhiji lived, at least his public life, like a sage in one piece of cloth in an ashram, from where today’s yatra began. The 75th anniversary of his yatra is full of people in designer kurtas, staying in five-star hotels, some of the non-believers in non-violence. One Congress leader from Delhi was flaunting her Vertu mobile phone. No Vertu costs less than 3 lakh rupees. And yes, Rahul Bose The actor was also there.

And an addition to the rules

1. Do not go for Gujarati thaali, even if you are dying to taste the local delicacies. And if you believe in not wasting food, you will sin. Gluttony is one of the seven sins.

No comments: